Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Free Advice for Podcasters

By Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D.

I listen to a lot of podcasts. Some are original and some are based on radio programs. I listen to a mix of history, technology, politics, literature, and music. Here are some random comments and advice for people who produce podcasts based on my own listening experience:

  • Commercials are OK but make them interesting. Remember how easy it is to fast forward on an iPod.
  • When you announce an author’s name while reviewing a book, spell the name. It helps if I like the book and want to check online if my public library has it.
  • Same goes if you announce URL’s online. Spell them out.
  • You don’t really have to edit out the “uh’s” and “you knows” but please edit out long pauses. They can be really jarring.
  • Drop the introductory theme emusic and sound effects. Just announce who you are. I listen to you because I’m interested in what you have to say. I don’t care about your attempts to create an audio “brand” or “image.” (I stopped listening to Grammar Girl long ago because of that awful scritchy-scratchy theme music she had at the beginning of her programs.)
  • Longer is better. If the topic is interesting, I don’t care how many minutes long the program is. But really short 1 minute bursts just don’t interest me.
  • If you have to announce rights, permissions, and copyright information, please put such announcements at the end, not at the beginning; this stuff is the audio version of the annoying “FBI Warning” at the beginning of movies on DVD.  (Are you listening, BBC?)
  • When you rebroadcast speeches and seminars, please edit out unintelligible questions and comments from the audience.

Can you think of any more?

Copyright (c) 2009 by Dennis D. McDonald, a former podcaster.

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