Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@ddmcd.com) consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management. Follow him on Google+. He publishes on CTOvision.com and aNewDomain and volunteers with the Alexandria Film Festival. He is also on Linkedin. To subscribe to emailed updates about additions to this web site click here.

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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