As a blogger who works with, and writes about WordPress and its related topics, I always find myself in search of the latest news and updates. However, I don’t listen to podcasts. I find them too long and I get easily distracted and end up not listening to them (I prefer to work to music). So, I thought about creating a podcast I would listen to. One that is short, and to the point.
The idea was to create a frequent podcast (every week day) that would keep me updated with all the latest news and developments in the world of WordPress. But instead of relying on manual work or spending hours recording and editing audio files, I wanted it to be as easy as possible.
The Solution – WP Briefs
Say hello to WP Briefs. Up-to-date WordPress news, every weekday, with a brief podcast. Written and presented by AI.
Whilst AI writes and performs the podcast it doesn’t do everything. I had to make an app to collate the news, and link everything together, and I am still fact checking everything to make sure it’s not making stuff up.
I started by making a simple app using PHP and reef.js (I need to write more about using Reef, it’s awesome), which loads and filters several WordPress feeds. Then, I manually select the articles that I want to mention in the podcast. Next up is where the magic happens – using the OpenAI API to create a script from these articles.
Once the script is ready, I use Amazon Polly to perform it, using text-to-speech conversion technology. The website is powered by Jekyll and the episode notes are markdown files; I use PHP to generate and publish these automatically.
The whole process takes around 10 minutes; most of which goes into caching all the news feeds.
The Lessons Learned
Creating consistent content can be challenging; I have spent a lot of time tweaking and improving the AI prompts that write the script. I think we’re in a good place now but I’m constantly learning, and AI is changing rapidly, so I’m likely to continue improving them.
I’ve also learnt that some websites block bots from accessing their RSS feeds. Some of these sites are prominent in the WordPress community. Unfortunately them blocking the feeds means they won’t get featured on the podcast.
I’ve never created a podcast before so I also spent quite a lot of time learning how to publish and update them. I ended up picking Spotify for podcasters (previously Anchor) and submitting the generated RSS feed to the other providers. I’d like to use an API to upload podcast episodes but there were no good, inexpensive, options for this so for the time being it will be a manual job.
Something else i have noticed that’s not related to building this project is that WordPress.tv posts a LOT of videos. I didn’t realise they had so many videos, there’s a lot to learn there and I never see anyone talk about it.
I think that GPT4 will help improve things the writing further. I’ve applied for access and am impatiently waiting. I hope it will improve content filtering and script writing.
Currently I use Amazon Polly for the voice synthesis- it’s very fast and produces acceptable results but they are still a bit robotic. I considered ElevenLabs (which I have used for Youtube videos) but decided it would cost too much. If the podcast becomes more popular I will likely swap to ElevenLabs.
An AI-Powered Future?
AI technology has made it possible for me to create a podcast that I enjoy listening to. It’s short, easy to produce, and keeps me updated with all the latest WordPress news and updates. By using OpenAI and Amazon Polly, WPBriefs is created in only 10 minutes a day!
Now I just have to hope other people like it as well. If you want to hear it for yourself then check out WP Briefs.