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Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by playthrough, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    So, the company I work for has greatly expanded its content over the past few years, from stories on our website to a very active blog to popular social media channels. I'm proposing that we launch a podcast next but fully admit that I know little about them. But I know a lot of folks here like them, we've had threads where everyone shares their favorites.

    For those of you who are fans, what do you like in a podcast? I don't necessarily mean content (if you hate baseball you're not likely to listen to a baseball podcast no matter what), but formats and length. Are your favorite podcasts weekly? Monthly? Are they especially polished or do they sound like two guys talking in a basement, and do you care?

    I'm going to start sampling a bunch but am curious on any thoughts from the SJ.com crowd. Thanks.
  2. Webster

    Webster Well-Known Member

    Of the podcasts which I listen to, most are weekly or bi-weekly and come out on a fairly regular schedule. I think that "guy in a basement" style tends to work better, but only after the credibility of the hosts is established. For me, 40-60 minutes tend to work the best, with regular segments.
  3. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    For length, I think Webster is right that 40-60 minutes is about right. My commute is about 50 minutes, and most of my preferred podcasts are right in that window.

    Sound quality is also a big thing. Two people talking on a phone is terrible. Two people in a studio, so that it's good radio quality, is much better.
    Bad sound really makes a podcast feel amateurish and takes me right out of it. If I'm interested in the content and the sound is good, I'm more apt to give it at least a few minutes.

    Also, unless you have a very strong host or it's a one-on-one interview format, a three-man team seems to work pretty well for podcasts. You can hide some hosts' weaknesses, bounce things around more, get more of a "hanging out with friends" feel.
  4. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    A lot of people listen to them in double-time on their iPods or iPhones.

    I listen to a lot of the longer ones, but I have earbuds in for most of the work day, unless I'm giving a presentation.
  5. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks all. We have access to a production company here, so that would be a plus. I agree, sound quality is key.
  6. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Being from a radio background, I would add to write down a "clock" or "rundown" (however you want to call it) and try to stick to it.
    Keep the segments in order every week. That way if someone likes a certain part of your podcast and they know it runs, say 25 minutes into the show or so...they can fast forward to it and find it quickly.
    Since you have a studio, make good use of it, don't just record "live to tape". If you screw something up, edit it out, and record that part over again.
  7. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Outing alert: Playthrough is Alex Bloomberg and he works for Gimlet Media.

  8. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Hey no outing!
  9. britwrit

    britwrit Well-Known Member

    There are podcasts where the hosts are funny/interesting enough they can go solo week after week. But a steady rotation of funny/interesting guests goes a long way to keeping the show from running out of gas.
  10. Bradley Guire

    Bradley Guire Well-Known Member

    I started one last month, just because I wanted something new to do. The company just wanted more multimedia, so I picked the format I wanted. It's 30 minutes once a week, and the bulk of the show is a guest interview. The guest is from our little sports world, but the interviews are sometimes never about sports. I don't want to turn off a casual listener, because just "sports" is enough to lumit my potential audience. This is basically my weekly feature/profile. Last week, I had a kid who's signing for the Coast Guard. He wants to fly helicopters for search-and-rescue missions and stuff like that. Really interesting stuff to me.

    One thing that sets us apart from the newsroom's podcast is that they're NPR lite. Very monotone, very safe, very boring. And all they do is read week-old headlines. No effort at all. My show is anything (that won't get us fired) goes. It's unscripted and lightly edited. It's meant to be funny. My editor plays the straight man, and I'm the fool.

    We also keep it local when it comes to the other chatter. We don't drone on about the NFL or anything. I figure no one cares what I think about deflating balls.

    We just got on iTunes, and we're trying to figure out how to promote the show better outside of our own website and print house ads.

    Here's the link if you're interested. I call it Canyon County Sports 'N Stuff.

    Idaho Press-Tribune: 2c Sports N Stuff
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  11. Bradley Guire

    Bradley Guire Well-Known Member

    And for the tech stuff, we have a portion of the photo studio set up with an old iMac. We use free Audacity for recording and editing, but we splurged for a good USB mic. I do all of the editing and uploading.
  12. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Agreed with Batman -- sound quality is a huge deal. Get really good mics.

    Also, be professional about the content. I can't stand podcasts that sound like two buddies shootin' the shit. Way too many podcasts that aren't done by pros are littered with inside jokes and "What did you do this weekend?" crap.

    I think 30 to 45 minutes is a good time target. I think the question of how often post a new one is totally dictated by content -- how often do you actually have something to say about it?
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