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talkshoe_logoAre you looking to get the word out about something near and dear to your heart? Maybe you want to add another facet to your online presence. Ever just dreamed of being a talk show host? If you’ve answered “maybe” to any of those questions, is the place for you. is a web application and community-driven site that gives you almost all the tools you need to produce your own podcast – FREE. Yeah, that’s my favourite word too.

The only thing I found TalkShoe lacking on was adequate instructions on getting your podcast going. After rolling up my sleeves, whining like a child to my wife, and many glasses of cherry kool-aid, I got it figured out. Now, I’m going to share my new found wisdom with you. There may be other ways, even better ways, to do this but this is the way I did it.

Step 1: Get the Gear

headsetGo and buy 5 Online Shopping Sites That Will Actually SAVE You Money 5 Online Shopping Sites That Will Actually SAVE You Money Online shopping sites can make you spend a lot of money, but there are a few out there that will actually help you save, too. These are five great places to start. Read More yourself a headset that has earphones and an attached boom-style microphone.  I prefer the kind with just one earphone so I can hear the dulcet tones of my sweetie’s voice as she tells me to get off the computer and finish my laundry. Gives me goosebumps.

The headset doesn’t have to be expensive. I bought a $12 pair from Wally World and the sound is good. The podcast sounds as good as any other that I’ve heard.

Step 2: Download and Install a VoIP Client

For the neophyte, VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol.  For the newbies, neophyte means newbie. TalkShoe does have its own VoIP client called TalkShoe Phone, but it doesn’t really work well at all. I went with something called SJPhone from SJLabs. They have clients for Windows, Linux and Mac. I’m a PC, so I’ll stick to that.

You also want to ensure that you have a broadband connection. VoIP requires a minimum of 96kbps upload and download speed. If you aren’t sure whether your connection is capable of supporting a good VoIP connection, head on over to MySpeed’s VoIP Speed Test to check on it.


Setting up SJPhone may seem a little complex, but you only have to do it once. Here’s what worked for me.

Open up SJPhone and click on the Menu button near the bottom of the phone, and click on Options…


In the Options window that opens, first take a look at the Profiles tab. We need to make a new one so, click on the New… button. Yet another window will open.


In the Create New Profile window, you need to type a name for the new profile. Why not type TalkShoe? Then it’s easy to remember what profile you need for calling TalkShoe. Change the Profile Type to Direct SIP Calls. Now, you can click on OK.


When you click on OK, you’ll be back at the Profile Options window. Let’s go into the STUN tab, shall we? Here, we simply want to make sure there is a checkmark in the Use discovered addresses in SIP checkbox. Let’s get out of here by clicking OK.


Now we are looking at the Options window again. Make sure that TalkShoe is noted as being in use.


Why was all that convoluted stuff necessary? Well, it makes SJPhone play nicely with TalkShoe. Since TalkShoe’s built in VoIP phone doesn’t work well, this is the necessary work around. There are other workarounds, but this is the one I’m familiar with.

Now that that hurdle is hurdled, we can move on.

Step 3: Go Sign Up at TalkShoe

Signing up for an account at TalkShoe is very straight forward. Once you are on the TalkShoe website, click on the button near the top-left corner that reads Sign-Up.


You’ll be required to enter your information in a form like this one:

2_sign_upA few notes here – the Phone/PIN number is to help you identify yourself automatically to the system when you call in. If you are going to be using a VoIP client, like I am in this tutorial, just use your home phone number. Oh, and that’s obviously not my real PIN number.

Click on Create User and you are on your way to your podcast.

Step 3: Create the Test Podcast

I suggest setting up a Test Podcast that isn’t listed publicly, so that you can work out the kinks before going live. Simply click on the Create button near the top-left of the screen.

You’ll go to a new page, where you should click on the Or Create a new Call Series… link.

2_createOnce you do that, you’ll see this:

3_createI suggest that you use the word TEST somewhere in the title. That will help you later, if you have to manage more than one podcast. Change the Type to Unlisted – doing so prevents people from popping into your podcast test. Change the Recording option to Automatic. What that does is set up TalkShoe to start recording your podcast as soon as you start it. This is important because you want to be able to play it back to yourself later to review your own show.

Go ahead and click on the Start Now button. It’s a bit misnamed as it really doesn’t start the show right now. Instead it brings you to a new page. On the new page, you’ll see a green box near the middle of the screen like this one:

4_createDoing this opens up a new window that looks like a chat client. The reason it looks like a chat client is, well, because it is! Hang on, because this is where things get a little tricky….

Step 4: Calling In to Your Show

In the chat client, near the bottom, you’ll see some different numbers. The one we’re concerned with is the Enter Call ID.

Go ahead and open up SJPhone. Now the next part is REALLY important. You want to enter the following as the number to call:

CALL_ID is the number of your show. Let’s say it is 53082. PIN is your pin number that you chose when you signed up. Let’s say it is 123456789. So you would enter the string Why does that work? I don’t know, honestly, it just does.


Now click on the blue telephone icon to make the call. If it is working you should get a confirmation message that you are connected. Start talking!!!

While you are talking away on your test show, play around with some of the controls in the chat client. Get to know how they work. Now is the time to do it when no one else can hear you mess up. It seems like a lot of work to set this up, but it really isn’t much more than a half an hour. Plus once it’s done, it is done. You shouldn’t have to monkey with it anymore.

If you are still having difficulties calling into your show and getting your VoIP working, I suggest heading over to TalkShoe’s show, Get TalkShoe working, do you need HELP? They’re very helpful.

Be sure to also check out other MakeUseOf articles regarding podcasts:

Do you have a show on TalkShoe or a podcast? What do you use to create your podcast? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

  1. trapper
    June 8, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    If is how the host calls in via SJphone, how do other participants call in? Is it ?

    • Guy McDowell
      June 8, 2009 at 8:16 pm

      Good question! If you have an account with TalkShoe the syntax is the same. Only you use your PIN number. I don't think a person can call in completely anonymously via the SJPhone option I've listed. I believe you would have to use a VoIP to Landline connection. I could be wrong about that though.

  2. Guy McDowell
    June 8, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    I got an awesome letter from Neil Fusillo, CEO of Infinideas, inc. Providers of the proxy VoIP I mentioned in the article. Here it is:

    Doing a company vanity search as a somewhat routine Monday-morning
    pre-meeting ritual, I noticed a recent article on how to
    set up a TalkShoe podcast.

    In Step 4, you discuss calling the show with the call ID, and the PIN:

    "Go ahead and open up SJPhone. Now the next part is REALLY important.
    You want to enter the following as the number to call:


    *CALL_ID* is the number of your show. Let’s say it is 53082. *PIN *is
    your pin number that you chose when you signed up. Let’s say it is
    123456789. So you would enter the
    string** Why does that work? I
    don’t know, honestly, it just does."

    Just to let you know, the reason that setup in IdeaSIP exists dates back
    to a fellow named Randy Resnick (if you're into Wine or Asterisk, you're
    bound to have run into him before) and the Wine Lovers' Podcast on
    TalkShoe. He signed up with IdeaSIP years ago and wanted to work out a
    way to get people into his wine podcast via VoIP. We also sponsor his
    Wine Podcast in a couple of countries with some IdeasIN numbers that
    forward directly to the podcast when it's active. The trick was getting
    it all to work with TalkShoe.

    In the beginning, that was easy. TalkShoe just had a single SIP userid
    and you'd dial in, enter in your conference info by hand and voila --
    you were in. Later on, they changed it to a unique SIP URI for each call
    ID and you just had to enter your pin. Now, it all has to be encoded
    using SIP headers. Each time, we'd go in and make the changes so that
    Randy's podcasts -- now both the Wine Lovers' podcast and the VoIP
    Users' Conference podcast -- would work.

    If you're familiar with Asterisk, the way this works in Asterisk is
    handled by this snippet of dial plan code:

    ; Talkshoe forwards
    exten => _7463.,1,Answer
    exten => _7463.,n,Set(TSSTRING=${EXTEN:5})
    exten => _7463.,n,Set(TSPASSCODE=${CUT(TSSTRING,#,1)})
    exten => _7463.,n,Set(TSPIN=${CUT(TSSTRING,#,2)})
    exten =>
    exten => _7463.,n,Dial(SIP/123@talkshoe,30)

    It's somewhat ugly in order to handle the encoding from our Proxy server
    through our Asterisk server and then on to Talkshoe. We could probably
    have done it all in the proxy server, but to be honest, I'm not sure why
    it wasn't done that way. Still... it works, so we haven't been in a rush
    to 'fix' it, as it were.

    This way, we could allow users to dial in directly or, as in the case of
    the wine podcast, forward IdeasIN DIDs directly to a particular podcast.

    So now you know why it all works the way it does.

    Thanks again for mentioning us. We rely somewhat strictly on
    word-of-mouth for our consumer customer IdeaSIP product, so it's always
    nice to see some exposure out there.

    Neil Fusillo
    Infinideas, inc.

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