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5 Podcasting Trends that Need to Die

It’s the year of our Lord two thousand and nineteen which means, if you’re reading this, you have your own podcast. That’s existence in our world today. Everyone needs food, water, air, shelter, and a forum to discuss their thoughts about a niche topic no one else gives a shit about.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I love me a good podcast. Here in the Clock Out network, we have a few of them that are pretty good, and generally, poddys make the morning commute far more bearable. But that’s not to say that podcasts are perfect. Far from it, in fact.

There are a lot of things that all you wannabe podcast hosts and hostesses are doing that really piss me off. I have a feeling I’m not the only one either. So please, for the love of God, stop doing the following.

The long intro

The inspiration for this article was when I attempted to start listening to the podcast “My Favorite Murder.” It’s been recommended to me countless times, but I really didn’t have any interest. Until that is, I was on a long drive and an episode popped up into my recommended feed on Spotify. With nothing else left to listen to, I shrugged my shoulders and threw on the first episode I could. And dear Christ it was painful.

They did not start talking about the subject of the episode – you know, murders – for 30 minutes. That’s right, I had to sit through 30 minutes of ad reads, the hostesses talking about their personal lives, and their upcoming (or just finishing tour) for half a goddamn hour before they got to the content I was there for.

Look, a little banter to start an episode is fine. Doing ad reads sucks for us listeners, but it pays the bills (and we’ll touch on those later). But please do not bog down your podcast with a five-minute discussion of your personal life for the last week. Most of us do not give two shits.

Inside jokes

Going off of the above example, can we please stop with this obsession that all our podcasts have to create a “community” filled with these little inside jokes. It’s not just that there was a 30-minute intro, but that it was full of inside jokes I had no idea about.

Calling your listeners something insufferable (for this case, “murderinos”) is dumb but at least I can follow that. But making jokes about a guy being a “George” or something that your cat did twenty episodes ago is really going to turn me off from listening. What you’re essentially saying to new listeners is that there is no point in listening unless you’ve gone back to the beginning.

Too many guests

This is really a peeve that only applies to podcasts with multiple hosts: bringing on a guest for every single episode is just incredibly frustrating. It makes it seem as though you, the host(s) have nothing interesting to say.

Worse yet, so often those guests aren’t even relevant, they’re just friends of the hosts who happen to be available to talk. Usually, they’re hosts of other podcasts, which means it’s just guests cross-promoting podcasts to an audience of people who will likely never check out the other. I don’t care what your struggling comedian friend has to say about the last episode of Westworld especially if they haven’t watched any of the episodes.

Look, I don’t mind having guests sometimes, even guests who aren’t very familiar with the source material…every once in a while. Usually, I’d prefer that there be about a 2:1 ratio of interviews to pure discussions, but I’d be okay with more guests and interviews especially when they are quality content.

Obviously, if your podcast is meant to be 1-on-1 discussions and interviews, you need to have guests more often. But if you have a topic that you and the other host(s) will be discussing on a regular basis, let that subject matter and your own personalities be what drives the podcast. Not whatever random guests you can pull in every week.

Length

This is just a general peeve for me, but I hate podcasts that are too long. A podcast should be designed to be consumed during a person’s commute, so between 25 and 45 minutes. Any shorters and it won’t even get you through your daily gym session, any longer and you’re going to end up listening to it over the course of several days.

Again, there are always exceptions to this rule, but the ideal length is no more than an hour and no less than twenty minutes. If your podcasts are consistently outside this range, please know you either need to put out a lot of content (for short pods) or less (for longer ones). Oh, and if you are alternating length for no discernible reason, I hate your guts.

Ad breaks

I hate ad breaks not because you’re trying to sell me something. I hate ad breaks because you’re trying to convince me you’re not trying to sell me something.

Not for one goddamn second will you convince me that you actually find MeUndies to be more comfortable and worth the jacked up cost over a pair of Fruit of the Looms or Hanes briefs. I know damn well you’re not eating Naturebox, cooking with stuff from Blue Apron, or whatever food delivery service you’re shilling. Sure, I believe they may have sent you a sample, you tried it, and thought it was good, so your conscience is clear selling it to your merch-buying minions, but quit having that bullshit back and forth where you talk about how you use this stuff all the time.

Just get up there, shout out the product, where we can buy it, what your promo code is, and be on your way. No need to belabor the point longer than you have to. Also, ad breaks should always be right at the start of the podcast and then the intro. If you start getting into the podcast then kill the momentum because you need to talk about Squarespace then I’m going to use your promo code to make a website devoted to nothing but funneling bad reviews to your iTunes page. And quit begging for likes and subscribes, it’s 2019 we all know how the imaginary internet points work.

13 comments

  1. I think guests are fine, but they have to have something to contribute. If someone is on a podcast about a show, they should at least know the characters names. I don’t care about whether its your buddy or a celebrity, if they aren’t more than a casual fan, I could do without hearing from them.

    I think length depends on the podcast. Most of the weekly podcasts keep it to under an hour which is good, but I love hardcore history’s 4-5 hour mega episodes. I enjoy listening to it over a few days or on a real long drive.

    Like

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