Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Podcasts are too bloody long!

Is it just me, or does anyone else think these hour long podcasts are just way over the top…

I just did my very best to get through the latest TalkCrunch with Arrington, Malik and Scoble but didn’t make it half way through. I don’t think I’ve ever made it through an hour long podcast yet. I have had it on in the background as I’ve been doing other things, but invariably I tune out and realise I’ve missed the last ten minutes and wonder what the point was.

I had to wonder as Az, Om and Scoz compained about suffering from information overload and being time-poor whether at any point they gave thought to editing down their hour of jabbering to a more palatable 30 mins.

There’s a lot of things I can do in an hour. Maybe, I’ve just got a short attention span but listening to an unedited dialogue for sixty minutes is not one of those I’m going to make a habit. When podcasters start respecting my time and edit out the crap to fit it into my 15 to 20 min lunch break, well then I just may start having more respect for their podcasts.

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22 Responses

  1. gibber says:

    I heartily agree, except that I think you’re being generous by giving them thirty minutes. I can’t listen to a voice-based podcast for more than five minutes before I completely lose interest.

    I can digest a written blog post (even a long one) very quickly, and therefore I can read a lot of them. You can’t listen to podcasts ‘at your own pace’ and therefore can only listen to as many as you make time for. Add in poor editing direction and production qualities of most podcasts, and I prefer to just ignore them altogether.

  2. Robert Scoble says:

    I wonder what you two think of talk radio? Millions of people listen to that every day and on KGO radio it goes on for 24-hours a day.

  3. Robert

    The benefits of Podcasts are that you can fast forward by using the features on most in browser features, or fast forwarding on your MP3 player.

    You can’t do that with Radio.

    Podcasts are an interesting way to consume content as it’s ambient, you can walk around and do other things.

  4. […] This post in response to Phil’s experience listening to the TalkCrunch podcast “Pocasts are Too Long“.  While yes, an hour could be considered long, he’s in more control than he realizes.  Phil, here’s some tips and suggestions that could empower as a podcast consumer: […]

  5. Robert Scoble says:

    Jeremiah: I totally agree. My point is, though, that there are hundreds of talk radio stations in the world, each spitting out 24-hours of content every day. No one complains about the length of that. You just listen in when you can.

  6. Colin says:

    I have to agree with Phil in general. Most shows are too long.

    I like the X-Play’s video podcast aproach of giving you about 5 minutes per video.

    Does having everything available create more pressure? It’s not like TV where you just miss a show, you have it all there sitting in a queue making you feel guilty about not seeing/listening to it.

    If everything was consistently broken up into chunks so that you could fast forward meaningfully to skip a section that could work.

    That’s probably missing the point of this post though. A lot of shows do ramble on. Sometimes this is a wonderful contrast to the slick shows you get on mainstream TV or Radio but the rest feels like a waste of time.

  7. Colin says:

    Thinking some more about the editing issue I was wondering if it would be worth having two versions of a show? Relatively unedited and edited. I can see why relatively unedited shows are attractive, but I don’t always want to listen to them. With the internet and new ways of distribution this ought to be technically feasible.

    Would this be possible for the producers however?

  8. Robert Scoble says:

    Colin: it just takes time. When we’re taking time out of our weekend to do something you aren’t gonna get editing. If you want to pay for it (or are willing to deal with advertising), I’d be happy to hire an editor, though.

  9. Rob Irwin says:

    Is it stating the bleeding obvious, or do I have to point out that talk radio comprises multiple broadcasters with multiple personalities and multiple topics of interest and multiple channels to choose from? An hour long podcast, week after week, or month after month, is the same self-important little man (or woman) largely banging-on in the same voice, about the same stuff. It’s massively, massively, massively chalk and cheese.

  10. Phil Sim says:

    Robert, in reply to your talk radio analogy, basically what Rob says – there is far more diversity in talk radio, professional programmers keep the pace moving and its interactive. I bet there’s not a single radio station in the world where the hosts just talk for an hour.

    I also have to agree with Colin. I’d far prefer to have the podcasts broken down, so I can listen to the bits I want and not have to listen to the bits that might not be relevent to me.

  11. Rob Irwin says:

    Although they’d never admit to it because half of them seem to think they’re the next Big Thing in waiting, a lot of podcasters still have a lot to learn. Some programs ramble along with the hosts obviously thinking that more = better, when they could probably run half that time and have a punchier, more effective program. It’s like when I got into journalism and my prose was coming from a background in writing essays or my thesis… I soon learned to chop my words down to simply say what needed to be said, and get-the-****-out-of-there. Podcasters, largely enthusiastic amateurs, have a lot to learn and, without the same sort of guidance that a rookie journo gets on a newspaper or magazine, I think it will be a longer process and we’re going to see self-important, rambling, boring podcasts for some time to come. Those who wise up first and start delivering the content in a more engaging, punchier way, will clean up.

  12. […] Just a few more thoughts on my earlier post as regards to podcasts. […]

  13. […] Related links: Socialtwister 2.0, Squash, Web Strategy, The Jason Calacanis Weblog and digg GigaOm, Michael Arrington, Om Malik, Robert Scoble, ScobleShow, TalkCrunch, TechCrunch […]

  14. Guys, it’s simple – if you don’t like the podcast, stop listening. Go back to listening to radio. Or to one of the other 200,000 podcasts out there. Have more than one on your mp3 player. Here’s a news flash for you – most podcasters aren’t podcasting for you. They are podcasting for the people who do find what they have to say interesting. If you aren’t one of them, go listen to something else. It’s a free world.

  15. Oh and Phil – good to see you blogging again mate.🙂

    cheers
    Cameron Reilly
    CEO, The Podcast Network
    GET PODCASTS: http://www.thepodcastnetwork.com
    BLOG: http://www.cameronreilly.com
    EMAIL: cameron@thepodcastnetwork.com
    MOBILE: +61400455334
    SKYPE: cameronreilly

  16. Phil Sim says:

    Cameron, the point is I wanted to listen to it. I care enough about what those people have to say that I would like to hear the dialogue but I don’t care, or I just logistically don’t have enough time to devote that much time to it.

    When it gets down to it, podcasting is a media and all media eventually finds a form and shape where fits. Movies are 90-120 minutes for a reason. The TV News is 30 minutes for a reason. Most people are going to listen to podcasts in their lunchbreak or on the way to work, so if the podcaster really cares about what they’re doing then they should design their podcast to meet the needs of the audience they’re broadcasting to.

    That assumes they’re not doing it for totally, self-indulgent, egotistical reasons…

  17. Rob Irwin says:

    Here’s a news flash for you – most podcasters aren’t podcasting for you. They are podcasting for the people who do find what they have to say interesting.

    I’m not sure whether the actual content, and our interest in it, was ever under question? I thought we were discussing length and presentation?

    I mean, you can take one of my favourite subjects and royally root it by presenting it wrong, or making the podcast 2-3 times longer than it needs to be. And if I say, “Hey, that sucks!” it has absolutely nothing to do with the content.

  18. Robert Scoble says:

    Rob: I take it you’ve never listened to Rush Limbaugh. He takes pride in rarely having guests or callers and talks for several hours a day (and has millions of listeners).

    >>Movies are 90-120 minutes for a reason. The TV News is 30 minutes for a reason.

    Film can’t be longer than that (it won’t fit in a can to distribute to movie houses). TV news had to be 30 minutes or 60 minutes because it had to fit into a programming schedule.

    Podcasts don’t have those limits.

    Oh, and TV news is longer than 30 minutes on CNN. There it runs 24 hours a day and no one seems to mind that.

  19. dwlt says:

    Robert, podcasts do have those limits – they have to fit into my life schedule. The problem with podcasts is that if I’m listening on my computer then it is too easy to be distracted by reading other blogs or articles or (heaven forfend) actually doing some work.

    Two or three times a week, I have a 90 minute commute (45 minutes each way), so ideally I’d like to listen to a podcast on one half of the commute while catching up on reading material the other half – therefore, podcasts do need limits. Just because you can make them longer, doesn’t mean you should.

    Also, to say that CNN is 24 hour news isn’t really true – it breaks that up by having a variety of shows, some of which are 30 minutes, some of which are 60 minutes, all of which are also “chunked” by the commercial breaks.

  20. […] Podcasts are too bloody long! « Squash Yeah, they are. (tags: podcasting podcastjam) […]

  21. Rob Irwin says:

    Try as I might, I still don’t get these analogies between someone’s podcast and radio or television.

    Sitting infront of a 24hr cable news channel is nothing like listening to someone’s podcast.

    If you put 24hrs of cable news alongside 24hrs of someone’s podcast, you’d be comparing, say, 40 different presenters/reporters (if not more) and 100s of guests and interviewees, versus 1 reporter and, let’s say, 24 guests if we assume 1 guest per hourly podcast.

    So I think it’s pretty clear why cable news can run 24hrs a day… the variety is just extreme, compared to a podcast.

    With a solitary voice and perhaps one guest per show (and sometimes not even that), today’s podcaster who wantes to get ahead has to pull his head out of his arse, realise he’s not the most important being in the universe, and keep the shows clipped to the length they should be. Quanity does not equal quality in ANY media.

  22. […] Let’s start with the length of podcasts – one of the seemingly obvious barriers to podcast adoption. It all started with a simple frustration aired by Phil Sim, Managing Director of MediaConnect Worldwide and MediaConnect Australia. (Check out Phil’s blog here). There’s a lot of things I can do in an hour. Maybe, I’ve just got a short attention span but listening to an unedited dialogue for sixty minutes is not one of those I’m going to make a habit. When podcasters start respecting my time and edit out the crap to fit it into my 15 to 20 min lunch break, well then I just may start having more respect for their podcasts. […]

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