Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Rules

All this recent talk about podcasts and those who listen to them have got me thinking about what makes for a good podcast. And when I say 'good podcast', I mean it's one that I'll come back to again (and maybe even again). In no particular order:
  1. Have a clearly advertised theme. Well....duh. While you don't have to limit yourself to a narrow set of topics for discussion, don't veer off into rants about the sorry state of the Beanie Baby collectables market when you're supposed to be helping me grok the finer points of car repair.

  2. Know what you're talking about. Another 'duh', but do a little preparation. I don't care whether or not you're an expert on anything, but do a bit of homework. Understand your topic.

  3. Quantity does not equal Quality. If you're podcasting on a weekly basis, any episode over an hour is too much for me. If you're releasing new episodes on a monthly basis, don't go over 2 hours. Otherwise, I'm just not going to keep up. Do you really have that much to say?

  4. Learn to speak complete sentences. It's not a lot to ask, but for the love of Xenu do not spend your time punctuating each thought with 'umm' or 'you know'. Just don't do it.

  5. Having a few drinks while you're recording is just fine, but having one too many is not. I like to listen to podcasters who are having a good time, and that often involves some 'light refreshments'. But if you cross the line into frat-party territory - you're no longer interesting. You just get boring.

  6. Pay attention to sound quality. If I can't hear you or you sound like you're talking through a length of hose, I'm likely going to turn you off. Even worse: the sound level or quality varies wildly between members of your podcast crew.

  7. Listening to you and your friends 'party' is not as fun as you think. If you're having fun making your podcast, I'm having fun listening to your podcast. But if your crew spends most of the time shouting over one and other and laughing maniacally about nothing apparent to your listeners, I'm movin' on.
So, what have I missed, folks?


Kid Dork said...

You really don't like TalkRadar, do you? HA HA HA!

Good points, although I differ in that I don't mind if podcasts soar over the one hour mark--as long as it's still interesting. I also don't mind a little straying from the topic--Giant Bombcast went on about Top Chef for a few minutes this week, for example. But it was still entertaining, but if this went for half an hour, I'd be pressing the magic kill button on the Ipod.

Entrance music is good, as well. And bumper music. And not complaining that you didn't have time to prepare this week's podcast. Yes, I'm looking at you, Mr. David Ellis.

Crazylegs said...

I agree that straying from topic is okay if the conversation is compelling enough. I think my problem is that there are too many podcasts that look interesting and too little time to listen to them all.

I like your thoughts about music. It's a small thing that adds a ton of polish to the experience.

You know, I think I forgot one point: geeky girls who swear like sailors. That gets me every time.

Kid Dork said...

Speaking of which, I can't find 'Alpha Holes' on Itunes. Have you taken them all just for yourself?

Crazylegs said...

Oh yes. Christy is all mine. But you might try 'Analog Hole Gaming'. I just downloaded the Nov 1 episode.

David said...

"Quantity does not equal Quality". Perhaps the rule most often broken.

Another one I would add is "Break the show into segments". Add some bumper music and stop talking once in a while.

Now, be truthful; doesn't Micecast break every one of these rules? Every week?

And TalkRadar is a mess. Just like Giant Bombcast. Too many guys talking crap all at once.

I really shouldn't care so much.

Crazylegs said...

David - You've found the Micecast-shaped hole in my 'rules'. But it's the exception that proves the rule. While I don't listen to *every* episode, you really do miss a lot of gems if you're not paying attention. An example: One of them made a passing comment that fish eggs can pass through the digestive system of a duck unscathed, and still hatch into a viable fish. There was no argument. The context: blue-skying how carp might make it into the Disneyland water system.

I haven't sampled Giant Bombcast, but I have a hard time with TalkRadar.

Kid Dork said...

I don't mind the Bomb. I've heard two episodes, and smiled a few times. Joystiq has been good the last two weeks, as well. As for Radar, I've stopped listening. I'm now listening to that Tetris Effect, and can't decide if it's good or sophomoric, or both. But it *is* Canadian! So let's get them on Shauna Rae!

David said...

I'm sad that I missed the egg story. Mabye it's in the ones I have yet to be irritated by.

The Bombcast is very similar to TalkRadar - a clusterfuck.

David said...

I guess Sean and I will disagree, but I have listened to weeks and weeks and the Bombcast and, to me, it grates after a while. Probably gang-bang podcast fatigue on my part.

Anonymous said...