Audio, Programming

Transcribing Podcasts for Fun and… Fun

I’m an avid listener of the Doughboys podcast — two comedians review chain restaurants with guests, taking the process seriously but being funny while doing it. At the top of each show, they play a “drop,” which has come to mean a listener-submitted audio file, usually a humorous remix of clips from previous episodes.

I’ve always enjoyed audio manipulation. I remember making fake radio dramas as a kid with my sister using the sound effects built into Windows 98 and the system audio recorder. In high school, I used GoldWave to remix a recording of a classmate burping, making a song-length trap beat.

I turned my attention to making drops for Doughboys. Initially, I had a few different ideas that I executed by manually cutting audio out of the full ~90-minute episode mp3s, but eventually, I wanted to chase some more ambitious results, so I decided to look into automatic transcription and clip extraction.

The result of that decision and nearly two years of iteration is Dropseeker: a set of command line scripts that will both transcribe an entire podcast feed (for free) on your computer and allow you to search for words and phrases and automatically extract any clips that contain them as separate audio files.

I don’t claim any credit for the actual transcription software. This part is all accomplished by whisper, an amazing (free) transcription tool that I have to imagine is putting audio transcribing companies out of business. Dropseeker takes whisper and puts it to work on podcasts specifically.

How does it work? Once you’ve downloaded it (and installed whisper), you can transcribe an entire podcast feed by just running this command:

php fetch.php --feed https://example.com/podcast-feed.rss

After that has finished, you can start searching and extracting clips. Want to find every instance of someone saying “Burger King”?

php search.php --search "Burger King"

Want to extract a clip of every time someone says “I’m _____ of the _____”?

php search.php --search "I'm * of the *" --extract

Want to extract a clip of every time someone says “burger” or “sandwich”, plus an additional second before and two seconds after?

php search.php --search "burger" --search "sandwich" --extract --before 1 --after 2

Want to search for every time that someone says “restaurant” around the same time that the word “fork” is used?

php search.php --search "restaurant" --context "fork"

Need to only search episodes from 2022 for mentions of “chicken wing” or “chicken wings”?

php search.php --search "chicken wing*" --match 2022

As you can see, this could save a person a lot of time. Alternatively, it could cause a person to spend a lot more time making drops that are more and more elaborate, not saving them any time after all.

In the last two years, I’ve submitted 55 drops to Doughboys and sent in 25 audio submissions to other podcasts I listen to that have similar features, like Comedy Bang Bang, Hey Riddle Riddle, and The Sloppy Boys. Most of this wouldn’t have been possible without Dropseeker, at least not without shirking the responsibilities from my real life.

If you’re interested in transcribing podcast for your own purposes, download Dropseeker and give it a shot. I’m happy to answer any question by email or in the comments.

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Cooking, Food

Cooking Around the World: Canada

There’s nothing more Canadian than poutine: fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. I also bought some pulled pork as an additional topping option, but it was unnecessary.

Previous Entries in Cooking Around the World

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Cooking, Food

Cooking Around the World: Cameroon

For our Cameroonian dish, I made Poulet D. G. It’s essentially chicken braised in a parsley/onion sauce. The chicken was nice and juicy (I used thighs), but I found the sauce to be pretty bland, which was surprising given how much onion, garlic, and parsley was in it. It also didn’t photograph especially well.

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Cooking, Food

Cooking Around the World: Cambodia

For our culinary trip to Camboda, I made Char Kroeung Sach Ko, a stir-fried beef dish containing lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, and turmeric. I wasn’t able to find galangal, but it turned out ok. I probably overcooked the beef and cooked at at too low of a temperature though. We ate it over rice noodles.

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Audio, Comedy Bang Bang

Neil’s Theme – Comedy Bang Bang Plugs Theme

Comedy Bang Bang is a comedy podcast. In each episode, they play a listener-submitted song or audio clip to introduce and/or close the Plugs section of the show. This is one that I made.

If the player doesn’t load right here, you can download the file directly.

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Audio, Doughboys, Drops

Wrap God – Doughboys Drop

Doughboys is a podcast about chain restaurants. In each episode, they play a listener-submitted audio clip that is usually a mashup or remix of audio from previous episodes. This is one that I made.

If the player doesn’t load right here, you can download the file directly.

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Audio, Doughboys, Drops

Friends – Doughboys Drop

Doughboys is a podcast about chain restaurants. In each episode, they play a listener-submitted audio clip that is usually a mashup or remix of audio from previous episodes. This is one that I made.

The Doughboys are friends. This drop was played in the episode “Erewhon with Dan Lippert & Ryan Rosenberg.”

If the player doesn’t load right here, you can download the file directly.

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Audio, Doughboys, Drops

Stairs – Doughboys Drop

Doughboys is a podcast about chain restaurants. In each episode, they play a listener-submitted audio clip that is usually a mashup or remix of audio from previous episodes. This is one that I made.

I collaborated on this Doughboys drop with fellow Doughscorders S E A G U L L S, who provided the main vocals, and Chicago Leah, who provided the various “stairs” harmonies.

If the player doesn’t load right here, you can download the file directly.

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Audio, Comedy Bang Bang

Boyfriend Plug Theme Remix – Comedy Bang Bang

Comedy Bang Bang is a comedy podcast. In each episode, they play a listener-submitted song or audio clip to introduce and/or close the Plugs section of the show. This is one that I made.

If the player doesn’t load right here, you can download the file directly.

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