Carefully Answered Questions

Have questions? 

You've found the right place to start finding answers.  Here are answers to some of our most common questions.  Please contact us if you need more help or if you have a question not found on this page.

Log In Trouble

I can't log in because I'm stuck in a loop. What do I do?

Sometimes the Safari browser causes a loop during the login process. If this occurs, you can try a couple things: 

1. Clear your browser cache by clicking "Clear history" under the "History" tab in the menu bar.

2. Try a different browser such as Firefox or Chrome.

How To Access Purchased Audio

I'm logged-in, but I can't see a download tab on the Journal issue page.

This may be an issue with your browser. Frequently, if this occurs, the subscriber is using Safari. To troubleshoot, you can try a couple things: 

1. Make sure you are using an up-to-date version of Safari.

2. Clear your browser cache by clicking "Clear history" under the "History" tab in the menu bar.

3. Try a different browser such as Firefox or Chrome.

How can I listen to my purchased audio through My Library?

There are two ways to listen to audio through My Library: through a web browser or through our app

If you have a subscription to the Journal, or you have purchased other audio products from us, your audio is available to you from My Library. After you’ve logged in, click My Library in the navigation bar near the top of the webpage to see the Journal issues to which you have digital access. My Library is organized into two product types: Journal subscriptions and other audio Products. The Journal issues are organized by year; simply scroll down to find the desired issue.  Click the volume number icon for a particular volume, and you'll be taken to its Catalog page. Other stand-alone audio products that are separate from the Journal are located in the Products tab in My Library just to the right of Journals.

The Catalog page allows you to listen to the Journal issue via streaming over the internet without having to download any files.  Simply click the Intro button to listen to the Introduction, and the Play button to listen to the interviews.  You can navigate the audio using the built-in audio player. 

If I don’t want to stream the audio directly through the website, what are my options?

You can now listen to the Journal and other MARS HILL AUDIO products either through our app or by downloading and transfering the MP3 files to your preferred device. You can find our app by searching for it on the iTunes App Store or in Google Play. In the app, you can both stream and download audio directly on your mobile device.

If you do not own a smart phone or iPad:

After logging in, select a Journal issue from My Library to be taken to its Catalog page.  If you don't wish to stream the audio and would rather download the files, click Download and save the ZIP file "MHA Download.zip" at the prompt.  This ZIP file contains 1) the MP3 audio files of the issue and 2) M3U playlist files for easy import into iTunes or your music player of choice.

When this file is downloaded, it is placed wherever your web browser routinely stores downloads, although you may have been prompted after clicking on the link to select a place to save the file. This file is a “zipped” archive which must be decompressed (or “unzipped”) before you can listen to the MP3 files it contains.  If you have a Mac, double-click the file and note the location of the unzipped files. If your computer runs Windows, right-click on the ZIP file and select “Extract All...” to bring up an Extraction Wizard. Follow the instructions to begin the extraction, and when it completes, check the “Show extracted files” box and click Finish.  

The unzipped contents will be displayed, which will include MP3 files and a playlist file entitled [Product Name].m3u, which can be used with iTunes.  Remember where these files are located because you’ll need to navigate back to them later. Next, open iTunes and attach your iPod or preferred device to your computer. 

If you are familiar with using iTunes, simply import the [Product Name].m3u playlist to listen on your computer or your MP3 player; or, create and burn two new playlists onto CDs. If you are not familiar with iTunes, but have some experience installing software or opening files that you’ve downloaded from the Web, the steps listed below should help you.

For iPod/iPhone/iPad:

  1. Once in iTunes, press Ctrl-S (or Cmd-Option-S on a Mac) to reveal the Sidebar on the left.
  2. Note the PLAYLISTS category in the Sidebar. Navigate back to the other window where the MHA Playlist 139.m3u file you unzipped earlier is located, and either double-click to automatically open the MHAJ playlist, or click and drag the file directly on top of the word PLAYLISTS in the iTunes Sidebar. (You may have to arrange your screen so that both iTunes and the other window are viewable.) The MHAJ volume playlist should appear in your list of playlists as MHA Playlist 139 with all of the MP3 files for this issue added to your Music Library.
  3. Make sure the MP3 files can be played in iTunes. If they do not play, try Step 2 again.
  4. In the Sidebar, under DEVICES, click on your iPod/iPhone. In the Summary tab, under Options, locate the “Manually manage music and videos” box. If it is checked, move on to Step A5. If it is unchecked, move on to Step B5.
  • A5. Drag the playlist MHA Playlist 139 under PLAYLISTS up to your iPod/iPhone icon under DEVICES. It should copy over to your device.
  • B5. Click on the Music tab (next to Summary and Apps). Check the Sync Music box, and make sure either “Entire music library” is selected, or if “Selected playlists...” is selected, make sure you’ve checked MHAJ-139 in the list. Click Sync in the bottom-right hand corner. It should copy the files over in the syncing process.

If you encounter any errors during this process, you may have some settings that need re-configuration.

Do I need to use iTunes?

Although other applications will also enable you to listen to MP3 files and to burn CDs, we can only provide instructions for Apple’s iTunes at this time because of its popularity.  

iTunes

Can't you set up a "one-click" procedure for downloading and loading your products in iTunes?

Not that we know of. To our knowledge, the only way to get audio files into iTunes automatically is to download them through iTunes, and we can't make the arrangements to do that for reasons explained here.  Even Audible.com, which is much larger than MARS HILL AUDIO, doesn't have a procedure for importing their audio into iTunes with a single-click. 

Fortunately, however, you can now listen to the Journal directly from our new app or from our website with just a few clicks/taps, without having to download files! For more information on how to use our app, click here. To listen through a web browser, simply log in, click My Library, select the Journal issue, and click Preview/Play, and the audio will stream over the internet directly to your computer, iPhone/iPad, Android phone/tablet, or other internet-connected devices through the web browser.

Why can't I get a Journal subscription through the iTunes Music Store?

The iTunes Music Store (iTMS) is a wonderful invention. It makes a lot of audio and video available to a lot of people and it makes a lot of money for Apple, Inc. If an audio or video producer wants to give away a free podcast without keeping track of recipients, Apple will gladly distribute it for free. MARS HILL AUDIO has taken advantage of this service in the past by distributing our free podcast, Audition. But if a producer wants to know who his listeners are or provide audio on a six issue subscription-basis, iTunes can't help.  And of course, Apple keeps a very large portion of the proceeds from sales.

Almost all of the spoken-word content sold at iTMS is provided under an arrangement with Audible.com, a fine company which has pioneered the distribution of spoken-word audio online. MARS HILL AUDIO was distributing a few products through Audible.com long before Steve Jobs ever thought of selling audio online. For example, Gilbert Meilaender's Bioethics: A Primer for Christians, which we used to sell on cassette, has been available in a downloadable format for a long time through Audible.com. And when Apple entered into an agreement with Audible, suddenly Gilbert Meilaender was there in the iTunes Music Store, along with Eminem and Shakira and many others bereft of a last name.

Because of the terms of our contract, if you were to purchase Dr. Meilander's book from iTMS, MARS HILL AUDIO would see a profit equal to only about 10-15% of the amount we would see if you were to buy it from us.  Additionally, when you purchase anything from iTMS, the producers know nothing about you and so can't establish a relationship.  We just get a check in the mail.  But this doesn't work so well for a non-profit that seeks to cultivate relationships with its listeners and depends on donations for a significant part of its revenue.  As convenient as the iTMS has made the purchasing of downloadable audio, as a struggling nonprofit organization, dependent on the sale of products for our survival, we just can't afford to take advantage of their services.

MP3 download instructions for CD subscribers

I'm a CD subscriber; how do I access the MP3 version of my subscription?

If you're a CD subscriber, you also have access to the MP3 format of the Journal.

If you've never created a user account on our website before, you'll need to register before you can log in and access your subscriptions. When registering for an account, make sure you use the email address associated with your subscription. This is important, because the system checks your available subscriptions and products against the email address of your user account, so be sure it's the correct one. If you regularly receive emails from us, then the email address at which you receive our messages is the one we have on file for you.

Once you've logged in, just click the My Library tab at the top of the page to see a list of Journal volumes available to you. Click on the Journal volume you want to download, and follow the directions for downloading MP3 files to your computer.

What if I don't have an email address associated with my subscription?

If you've never provided us with an email address, or just aren't sure which of your several email addresses might be associated with your subscription, go ahead and create a user account on the website with the email address you want associated with your subscriptions. Once you've done that, send us a message through the Contact Us page and we can manually link the user account you just created with your subscriptions and products. In your message, be sure and include your first and last name, as well as your zip code, so that we can correctly identify your account.

About CD and MP3 Subscription Formats

In what format should I purchase the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal?

Many people choose to subscribe to our CD subscription format because they like having a physical object on their shelf. We sympathize with that and prefer that as well. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult to produce the CDs and have them shipped in way that is economically viable, such that we cannot say how long we will be able to continue with the CD option. We encourage you to purchase our digital subscription, but if you must have the hard copy, cherish it while it lasts!

Luckily, it is much easier to listen to the Journal digitally now that iOS and Android users can take advantage of our app. Many of the steps involved in downloading the digital files are omitted when you listen on our app (though, with a digital subscription, you can still download and "keep" those files on your PC!).

What are the other benefits to listening to the Journal through our app? 

Our app is free to download and provides non-Journal subscribers a free demo issue and regularly released app homepage features, such as our Friday Features, past Areopagus Lectures, and tributes to previous guests. Journal subscribers also gain access to these app-only features in addition to their purchased library. For more information, please go to our respective iOS and Android providers at the iTunes app store or Google PlayAnd don't forget: CD subscribers can access the app as well!

Do you have plans to convert all the back issues of the Journal to the MP3 format?

We probably won't do this, but a lot of the material from those back issues will be available on MP3 as Anthologies.

This decision is really a matter of trying to allocate our limited time and money as wisely as possible.  Sadly, we don't sell as many back issues as we'd like, partly because it so difficult to advertise old periodical content, especially since some of the features are inevitably outdated.  So our plan is to take the best of the old material and repackage it into thematically organized Anthologies

Technical Specifications

What are the specifications of the MP3 format used for the digital version of the Journal?

The MP3 files are produced at a bit rate of 64 kbps and a sampling frequency of 44.1 kHz.  The MP3 files use a single (mono) channel, which halves the file size compared to stereo output.  We think the reduction in file size (and download time) is worth it, since spoken word doesn't benefit from two channels very much.  

Digital Sharing Etiquette

What are the ground rules (a.k.a. digital etiquette) regarding the sharing of Mars Hill Audio content?

Regarding the sharing of MHAJ subscription content with friends, we would - of course - like more people to know about our work and to benefit from it. But, we also need to stay in business, which means we need to keep selling our content and limit the ways in which distribution methods can be abused by those who don't quite appreciate the real damage done by careless redistribution.

Honestly, the best way to share our work is by encouraging people to download our app, because it's free and we often release audio features that are available to everyone. If you or your friend does not have a smart phone or iPad, we've come up with a compromise between total restriction and getting Napstered to death. If you want to share material with a friend, you are free to e-mail it to them as long as you agree to three conditions:

1) you forward them a link to our website (www.marshillaudio.org) and to our podcast page (mhadigital.org)

2) you gently ask the person to whom you're sending it not to send it to anyone else

3) you not send any one person more than one feature from each issue of the Journal. An exception may be made if you're willing to burn a CD of the Journal; in that case, you may by all means share either one or two disks with someone, as long as you give them a friendly reminder not to rip MP3 files from it.

Lastly, we ask that you share only features from our Journal and not other products in your efforts to introduce others to MHA, as most of our other publications are fairly inexpensive to purchase.

We also offer a sample issue of the Journal, and our podcast Audition is another great way of introducing others to MARS HILL AUDIO.

In the end, there's no way we can police this, but we're trying to be good stewards on behalf of our subscribers who are paying in order to continue listening to MHA.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation!

Back Issues of the Journal

Can I purchase back issues of the Journal?

Yes! Many (though not all) of our back issues are available to purchase as digital downloads. We are also adding new content on a regular basis so that you can purchase other types of audio products in addition to the Journal. Please visit our catalog to see a full listing of MARS HILL AUDIO products.

While many audio companies are giving up on CDs, we still like the shelvable, sheathable, sharable qualities of these shiny discs. About half of the subscribers to our Journal still prefer CDs over MP3s, and we're happy to oblige. However, the cost of reproducing CDs of our back issues has become prohibitive, which means that we can only sell hard copies of what is currently in stock. If you would prefer to purchase a back issue on CD, please call us at 1.800.331.6407 or email us at soundthinking@marshillaudio.org!

Additionally, we plan to continue re-purposing the content that is not outdated into new, topic-focused Anthologies. Keep an eye out for them!