Eliminating The Preliminaries
October 12, 2015
There are some areas in which broadcast radio shows and podcasts are different. This column is not about those areas.
No, this time, let's focus on one thing you should do no matter whether you're on the air or on the Net. It's this: Get to the point.
It's simple, yet so many hosts misfire on it that I'm wondering if they ever listen back to their own shows, and it's practically standard operating procedure for podcasts. You'll hear hosts introduce themselves, then just... well, they talk about their week, what they had for dinner, something that happened the other day, anything but what will be the ultimate topic or guest. Or they'll introduce the guest, go off on tangents for 10 minutes, then reintroduce the guests.
You do not have time for that.
On radio, you have a few seconds before a listener decides to hit the Scan button. On a podcast, you have the same seconds before the listener decides to use his or her time on a potentially more interesting show. The exception is when they know your guest or topic is so interesting or major -- an A-list celebrity, a topic in which they're invested -- that they'll fast-forward to hear it. But just consider how YOU listen to podcasts. Your time is valuable, and if you look at a show description and the guest, for example, isn't someone you're into, you'll go off to another show.
Moral: Stop wasting listeners' time. Stop wasting YOUR time. You don't need multiple introductions, and if your story about going to the chiropractor's that interesting, save it for your guest's reaction or make it an episode. But if your show's 10 minutes in and still not at the good part, it isn't going to keep people listening or subscribing. You can edit that stuff out. And you should.