In Stephen Downes’ OLDaily yesterday, he shared an interesting resource that he found and reviewed. It was about “How to make your podcast the right length: how long should a podcast be?”
My first kick at the topic was to read Stephen’s thoughts since they were right there in front of me. Based on his regular daily writing, I expected that his thoughts would be along the same lines of his writing. Keep it short, sweet, to the point and be brutally honest. I was kind of surprised when he took a different direction.
I don’t want my podcasts to be cold and efficient. I want them to be warm and engaging.
That’s pretty consistent with what I know about his stuff. I saw him at an ECOO conference a few years ago and every now and again, he’ll share a presentation that he’s made to a particular audience. He typically doesn’t call them “presentations” though, he refers to them as “talks”.
I think that gives him leave to tell stories and add the personalization that enhance the listening for me.
My next step was to head over to the article that he makes reference to.
The author, James Cridland, makes the argument that the podcast should have a definable lengths and makes the connection to the average car commute to work. It makes sense if the intended audience is one that listens as they drive.
But there are times where that just doesn’t cut it and it’s noted in the post as well. If it takes three hours, then use the three hours but “not one minute“ longer.
Again, good advice.
This all raised its relevance to me and the timing of the post and Stephen’s review was timely. I read it Tuesday evening and had my radio show on voicEd Radio this morning. While not what I strictly call a podcast, it’s a live radio show that is recorded and then placed into an archive where it can be downloaded and replayed just like a traditional podcast.
In this case, there is a definite timeline. It’s not as long as it needs to be. The show has a one hour time limit and Stephen Hurley and I are done at that point whether we think we are or not. While it’s tagged as a conversation between the two of us, there is a great deal of planning. My typical plan going in is that there’s probably 75 minutes worth of content. As the show progresses, I’m mentally editing out some of the points, estimating how much is needed to end the show right on the dot.
And it seldom does. I really struggled with the concept in the beginning but it’s something that appears to be getting better with time.
There are usually a number of things that I intend to include that get left off the show. The conversational part with Stephen is always a moving target. The show is truly live and the conversation is generated on the fly. If one or both of us want to head off tangentially, we do.
Any flex time that we have comes from the song of the week that plays the show in and out.
Fortunately, I do have an out. Blog posts can be as long or as short as needed. So, while the Wednesday radio show is on a timeline, the blog post that follows up on Friday morning can be as long as I want.
I found both the article and the commentary on it very helpful. It’s why I like to read commentary and research on social media. Whenever I can read and walk away wondering, I’m happy.
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