Podcasting Essentials: Strength in Numbers

It’s been a few days since I first posted the first part of my series on podcasting. I wanted to continue that theme today and talk a little bit about your show format and decisions you need to make – particularly when deciding to do a show alone or with someone.

At Suicide Fan, I do two formats of shows. this is important because each format serves a different audience. I mean, both shows cater to sports fan, but there is a definite difference in fan that listens to each. The first format is what is typical for a podcast. 20-40 minute show, big bandwidth, mixing of elements, etc. This show was the original and continues to be the flagship show. The fanbase that is targetted is an internet-based audience. They surf the net, probably blog themselves and perhaps listen to podcasts regularly.

I decided early on that this show would be done with two people at a time because, frankly, it’s a whole lot easier and more natural sounding to do a show with someone than to try to create compelling and (let’s be honest) interesting show when flying solo. It’s all about conversation. Debate can be had with multiple people. The dynamics of a show shift when talking to someone than when talking to yourself.

My philosophy is always have a wingman if you’re going to talk more than 5 minutes. The exceptions to these rules are trained broadcasters who have done radio or television shows for years or those rare podcasters who just have an uncanny knack for pulling off an interesting monologue.

The second show is a 60 second daily show. The format of theis show is quite a bit different. For one, it’s done solo. Because it’s around a minute in length, I am able to offset the boring monogue stuff by adding continuous, but not overpowering, music behind me. Instead of talking about multiple issues, I focus on one topic. The verbage is meant to be concise and I often use a script to delineate my thoughts ahead of time. The fanbase served is a fast paced group that doesn’t have a lot of time for radio or television, and thus, not podcasts.

These two formats work well for a sports podcast but you should have a firm idea ahead of time who you want to target. Let’s be honest, you can’t target everyone, so don’t try. The key to building the podcast audience is not the quantity of listeners to a given show, but keeping a low turnover rate. You want folks to listen the first time and come back and listen all the time. You may get your dad to listen to a show, but unless the topic is interesting to him, or unless the format you have chosen suits his style, you may not get him to listen to the rest of the shows.

Understand your target audience and what makes them tick. This will help determine what choices you need to make in developing the show.