As much as I love and promote all sorts of podcasts, I feel like it’s time for me to go on a rant. I’ll be the last to admit this: Some podcasts are not perfect.
Even though podcasting is still a relatively new and developing platform for content, there are still annoying habits and clichés that drive me nuts.
Podcasting is a medium where people can get creative with how to work with audio — just take a listen to fictional narrative podcast for example. So please, if you’re making a podcast don’t stoop down to these mistakes.
When ads don't match the show
There tend to be a few brands that one always hears as advertisements when listening to a podcast: Squarespace, Audible and Mailchimp, to name a few. For those unfamiliar with podcast ads, the host in the middle of the show usually reads off the ad and sometimes try out the product as a mini-review.
Podcast companies like Gimlet Media for their ads, personalizing the advertisements even more. For podcast junkies like myself, it’s easy to become accustomed to hearing the same companies over and over.
But what really gets on my nerves is when an ad doesn’t match up to a podcast’s content. For example, is a Gimlet Media-produced podcast about the history of the mafia in Providence, Rhode Island. The show constantly talks about murder, corruption and political scandals.
But when the hosts go into an ad break for Blue Apron, a DIY meal-kit service company, the difference in tone is jarring. One moment, the hosts are describing in vivid detail how a mob henchman blasted away another guy with a shotgun. The next moment, the hosts are casually chatting about how easy it is to make chicken parmesan.
It’s almost laughable when something like this happens, and it makes me consider to stop listening to a serious show like "Crimetown" right then and there. There has to be at least a little more hindsight into how ads fit into a show.
Treating podcasts like radio
This complaint is a bit more nit-picky in my opinion, but it’s still valid. For many new podcasters, it’s easy to forget one is creating a podcast and not “radio.” There’s a difference.
A podcast is similar to traditional radio in that it has recorded interviews, varied segments and, sometimes, gimmicks that make a show special.
But because radio is a live broadcast and podcasts are not, the two should be treated differently. Radio hosts say phrases like “we’re back” because often times the hosts are literally back from a music or news break. Radio has to constantly remind people what station they’re listening to; podcasts do not.
Podcast hosts — especially ones that do interview-driven shows — might be tempted to host their shows like a commercial radio personality, but it’s unnecessary and contrived. Podcasters should let their voice come through in a podcast.
A microphone or headphones in the logo
Yes, most of the time you need a microphone to create a podcast and headphones to listen to one. But I beg podcasters out there, please don’t incorporate either of the two symbols into a podcast logo.
Everyone who listens to podcasts frequently knows microphones are affiliated with podcasting, but you can be a tad more creative with how to present a podcast. Some podcasts are than others with this.
This is probably more of a complaint toward graphic designers than it is podcasters, but I’m still tired of it.
Liam Niemeyer is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What ruins a podcast for you? Let Liam know by tweeting him @liamniemeyer.