Rewriting history

Last night I had to re-write history.

Now let’s put this into perspective, there were no time machines involved nor any book burning, but I did have to edit an already published podcast because it contained snippet of an interview that my guest had since decided she didn’t feel comfortable with. She had received permission from her friend (who’s story she was relating) but after her friend heard it she had a change of mind as it related to domestic abuse and she realised that their mutual friends would hear the podcast (full interview) and discover something about her that she didn’t want them to know.

I was in a quandary as I had used a 30 second clip from the full interview in my already published descriptive trailer, Introducing Sondership: Introducing Sondership | Sondership

She hadn’t asked me to adjust the trailer but I felt compelled to do so as I wouldn’t be complete if my guest took anything but pride in what we had created together. I didn’t know what was possible with regard to editing already published material but took a look and it was really quite easy, so I’m writing this post in case anyone else ever needs to go back in time.

I use Buzzsprout for podcast hosting, Descript for editing and transcription creation and Podpage for website creation (CMS) and hosting.

It was as easy as this:

Open up the original file (which I keep) and delete the offending section - in Descript this is as easy as going into a text document and deleting a paragraph and the audio section is removed.

As the podcast is already live you can’t just publish from Descript to Buzzsprout directly, you need to download the file (wav or mp3, I used wav to minimise loss of quality). I also downloaded the transcript as an SRT file :

If you go to the episode in question you option to Replace Audio File

If you pay for Magic Mastering this will still be applied to the file automatically after it uploads.

One the same edit page you can also unpublish the transcript and then upload the SRT file you created in Descript

After giving it a little time to update the RSS feed (maybe 5 mins) I went to Podpage and in the Episodes section of the admin site I chose to re-import episode data which automatically updated the audio file and the transcript

All other platforms (Spotify, apple, google etc) update over the following few hours. I did it at night and by the morning most had all updated. I specifically checked Listen Notes as I know it’s one of the few that carries over your transcript and it had not so I had to login, claim the podcast and then on the Podcaster Page Refresh the RSS

And that’s it, history re-written. It took me much longer to write this post today than it did to actually do the work last night which in total was probably about 10 minutes effort, including figuring it all out.

The intention of this post isn’t so much a guide on how to do this on these platforms but to let you know that it’s possible, regardless of platform. I hope you find it useful.


Danny, thanks for sharing.

@dannyattias - thanks for this great post. I had to engage in this same process a while back and seeing the methodical and sequential way you thoroughly moved through all facets of such a change is very helpful. And, as you say, the point is “Yes, this can be done.”

My first post-release edit was based on the fact that a guest had switched jobs and started worker for a “competitor” of sorts. Thankfully, the company connection reference in the initial version was not vital (for the comments that immediately preceded or followed it to make sense), so deleting it on the audio file was not difficult, and I was able to easily edit Show Notes to update the change. Since then, I’ve included the following item in the written correspondence that is sent to guests as we prep for the recording.

"…You will have an opportunity, probably off mic, to share how people can get in touch with you and/or find out more about your work. How much you want to share is up to you as this contact information will be embedded in Show Notes, not in the audio itself. (This practice is in place because people shift roles, organizations, phone numbers and email addresses, and updating a text version of such edits is far more efficient than doing so in audio. The written format is also more accessible for the listener/reader.)…"

So far, so good. Having such details in place is a solid idea and even more critical is knowing how to change something when that inevitable unforeseeable circumstance arises, which is why your post is so helpful.

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@dannyattias, this is a very generous write-up! Thank you so much.

One point about this Podcaster Community is that some things (for example, the stuff in all the #public categories) is completely available for free. People don’t even need to create a free account, they can simpy read.

You can grab an easy, share link to any topic. At the bottom of your original post, is a chain-icon, clicking that will popup a URL that you can copy and paste anywhere.

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