Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Mar 28

What I Want From My Podcasts

Podcast listening has taken over my life. I mean, okay. Not literally. But I’ve more than doubled the number of podcasts that I subscribe to in recent weeks, and not all of the new additions were hits. A podcast has to hit all the right spots to be a hit with me

The Host

A good podcast host needs to embody several qualities:

  • Have a pleasing voice
  • Ask insightful questions
  • Guide the show along and keep pace

Rarely will I tune into a podcast more than once if I don’t enjoy the host’s voice and pretty much never at all if the host is distracted or unable to shape to lead the episode with the proper guidance.

Production Values

I don’t need intros and outros. Simpler is better. But sound production needs to be up to par. Sync up volume between the host and guest, for example, so the show doesn’t suddenly become louder or quieter when the person who is talking switches.

Time Block

For the life of me, I cannot understand why any podcast is over an hour long. Even when listening on double speed, this is painfully long. Furthermore, a few shows seem to be pretty inconsistent in terms of length. While one show may be only 30 minutes, another may be well over an hour. Not cool, guys. (Yes, I’m talking ’bout Planetary Radio).

Guests

Lexicon Valley hasn’t had many guests since the host switch in summer, and the quality has surely declined. It’s nearly unbearable to listen to the same single person speak week after week. If the podcast has multiples hosts, it’s easier to swallow, but I like guests.

I don’t have any hard and fast preferences regarding guests. Celebrities might be a perk (I enjoyed Aziz Ansari and Trevor Noah on Freakonomics, for example), but they’re not necessary. The guest simply needs to be interesting enough — and the host needs to make that apparent — if it’s an episode about the guest, or the guest needs to have authority and knowledge on the subject that the episode is on.

This brings me to my final point.

Education

Save for a single podcast (We Paid to See This), all of my subscriptions exist to teach me something about the world or, perhaps, myself. I want to learn. There’s an endless array of podcasts out there if you want to laugh, cry, listen to stories or simply be amused. And while I enjoy the water cooler talk of some podcasts, what I want is to talk away smarter.

So while some podcasts are fun and funny, they’re just not my thing. And I’m not their intended audience.

That’s why I’ve loved Freakonomics for over a year (in fact, I like the podcast better than the books!), subscribe to Lexicon Valley, listen to space policy episodes of Planetary Radio and tune in to Sex Out Loud.

Most of those podcasts manage to check off all the boxes, but none of them miss more than one (at least not consistently).

Oh! If you think you can recommend a podcast that I’d like based on this post, let me know in the comments!


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