Loneliness of the Long Distance Podcaster: Podfading a year on

Interesting article in Wired about podfading – even more interesting response here.

Those will remember Scott Fletcher of Podshow coming up with the word ‘Podfade’ when he stopped doing his previous podcasts, including the great-but-too-short MT Conversations. Interestingly PodCheck until this week seemed to have also podfaded – thing is, like Ross’s comment from the latest show is podcasting is very time-consuming – some people have stopped, some like Ross from Mashup Podcast or Scott from Podcheck seem to be doing them when they can.

I’ll say one thing from my experience, doing this since November 2004 – I’ve nearly shut down Radio Clash several times; at show 25, then show 50, at the 1st year or then at Xmas – podcasting is a lonely business; this is why to podcast listeners I’d say this: if a show stops, or you like a show, give them some love, email them, It can seem sometime like you are talking to a brick wall (quite literally) and knowing someone is out there makes the world of difference. But it is VERY time consuming and I think sometimes the audience don’t appreciate that unless they do it themeselves (which is partly why I encourage people to podcast themselves, even if they do podfade it gives you an insight and also ‘takes the power back’ from the existing media broadcasters) so I totally understand and respect those who decide to call it quits.
At the time (nearly a year ago) I talked the in reponse as my experience about my experience as a listener – PodFatigue, you can get fatigued or overwhelmed listening to many long or many short shows…what I don’t understand about the response piece on 43 Folders is that the consensus seems to be to shorten your show.

Wrong.

As a podcaster with a fairly long-ish show (but not the longest) I’d say change your frequency first – I think part of the podfading problem is that people are trying to replicate existing old media scheduling, not they are creating shows that are too long – what’s too long for one audience is too short for another; and I think in this Faster and Faster generation it’s easy to go for the shorter soundbite over the long; the fast food over the slow meal – this has infected radio and TV and everything is headlines, 30 second sniplets.

Why? Do a show every month if you want to, or ever day, you and your audience will judge the right length…just keep in mind something I do agree with from the 43 folder article:

Raise your bar for quality and way lower your bar for frequency, and I promise you the whole thing will be much more fun for everyone.

The quality seems to drop for shows going for a daily kick, and I don’t see why they need to be daily unless you are a news show…all that happens is that they rack up in my Podcast directory and eventually I delete them. I’d prefer it if more shows went weekly or less daily as I can’t simply keep up. And going away and coming back? That’s fine too. Don’t stress about it, people will be still here.

It’s these old media expectations that kill podcasts and make it ‘not fun’, so ignore the pleas for ‘more shows’ and do it when it’s fun for you. I said this a year ago and I’m saying it now. I’d prefer to have a few quality shows irregularly coming through cf. Podcheck. KASS, Mashup Podcast rather than no shows from those people, or have that ‘quality bar’ drop.
I’ll still be here.

Relatio Clash

Tim B Written by:

11 Comments

  1. Jeb
    February 8
    Reply

    I’ve sorta gotten past the feeling that I should be doing them more frequently and am settling in to doing them when I’m ready. I like keeping my show at 90+ minutes so if I get three or so posted each month I think that’s a good schedule.

    You’re right about it being lonely.

  2. February 9
    Reply

    keep on with the podcasting! I dont care if it is monthly, Juice will be waiting…

  3. February 9
    Reply

    Don’t worry I’m not going monthly yet! Just pointing out that we all (podcasters) feel the pressure to ‘succeed’ and measure out success by things like listenership., feedback and frequency of shows. I’d rather have a happy podcaster with a few shows than a burnt out one with many, as a listener.

    As a podcaster, I don’t want to leave my audience with no shows, but I have to sometimes balance this with my own life – we all have to.

    So it was a general call for people not to stress about schedules and frequencies; audiences and podcasters alike – this is a new medium, we don’t have to replicate the old if we don’t want to.

  4. Cindy
    February 12
    Reply

    My suggestion to Jeb would be to NOT fall into a scheduling trap, because to me that’s the fast track to pod burnout.
    Podcast when you feel like it — as Tim put it, it’s quality before quantity.

    Tim – thanks for the nod 🙂 more tk in email to you.

  5. Mr Pants
    February 13
    Reply

    Tim,

    I listen to each and every one of your shows. You put them out whenever you can as the quality is always top-notch. Even the Barcelona Bathroom show was great and you were working within some odd limits. As I gear up to launch my first podcast into the ether, the number one question for me has always been “Will anyone listen?” But for me, it’s not going to be about who listens, so much as it’s going to be about me doing something. Maybe it’ll be a silly show, maybe it’ll change people’s lives, but I can’t determine that in advance.

    Podfading… Gotta love these new words that simply add “i” or “pod” to the front. It’s podtacular!!

    Well, that’s enough from iMe!

    Keep it up, Tim.

    Sam

  6. Kieran
    February 16
    Reply

    Keep up the good work man,

    You should not feel you have to do it every week if you don’t feel like it.

    Kieran

  7. bitter betty
    February 19
    Reply

    I’m listening.

  8. hugh
    February 21
    Reply

    hey folks, just a little note to commenters with podcasts – make sure you leave your url when you comment on a blog or podcast…for you jeb! I’d like to check out your podcast but there’s no link!

    anyway, as mentioned in my email tim, great show, enjoy it – one of my favourites.

  9. February 23
    Reply

    You have hit the nail right on the head about schedules. I have found that the longer I go between shows, the more listeners I seem to get. The podcasts that don’t clutter up my aggregator get listened to a lot more than those that seem to never stop coming.

  10. February 23
    Reply

    Lots of people have lots of reasons for listening to different shows. I love frequency. not everyday but I really like a few daily shows and I like having a few weekly shows. there are shows that havent updated since 2005.. that to me is disappointing… but youre right.. if its quality its quality… but having that company.. that voice.. that show… with you each week.. its something to look forward to. Kind of like, in a different sense, these shitty night-time telly dramas I get hooked on every tuesday night.

  11. Josh J.
    July 30
    Reply

    Tim,

    I am only just now reading this blog entry. You see, I have a huge backlog of podcasts that I’m slowly making my way through. Yours I like to really listen and savor, which is why I’m six months behind!

    Anyway, your comment made me realize that although I’ve been listening and loving your show since the beginning, I never reached out and told you. I forget that all the rules have changed – I wouldn’t think to respond to a traditional radio DJ, because my comments wouldn’t make a whit of difference. But the beauty of podcasting is that we all have a voice. Since you’re not being paid to do this, though, you need some positive feedback from your listeners to encourage your efforts.

    So, let me go on the record as saying that yours is one of the best podcasts out there. I love your charming witticisms and accent (I’m American), even all the “um”s have grown on me 🙂
    But the music – wow, you’ve introduced me to some fantastic stuff. I love that you include links on the show notes so after hearing something wackadoodle, I can go learn more about it and often download it to impress my friends.
    I’ve no idea how you find time to do all this, I just hope you keep it up. So, from this faithful listener to you – THANK YOU!

    JJ

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