Podcasts. Yeah.

The keys to podcasting, according to “Mr. Andrews”

  • Have a Subject and Something to Say about it.
  • Don’t try to be everything to everyone. You can’t be.
  • You don’t have to be as funny a Monty Python sketch, but if you’re boring, nobody will listen unless they are REALLY dedicated to the content.
  • Mind the cliches: Content is Indeed King, Go Low and Slow, and Do NOT Chase that Stupid Rabbit down the Hole.
  • Postmodernists Pick on Dead White Guys for a Reason.
  • The longer it is, the better it had better be.

The Good:

  • The Unger Report is one of my favorite NPR podcasts. Funny, smart, well-produced–I mean, it is NPR, after all. This is a great example of voice-only, no-frills production. Unless there’s a particular tone to be set, like a soundbyte from FDR & music to match, there’s usually no background music to be fooled with (which, to be honest, I’ve begun to find annoying in my survey of podcasts over the last week or so), so the content is at center stage. It’s intellect, wit, and news rolled into a nice, short format; and Brian Unger has a great voice for voice-only materials–some inflection, some character, but nothing over-the top. (I always get a kick out of listening to Howard Shore, for example, who has this strange nasally/old man voice that I can’t quite settle down to…)
  • Poetry Magazine was started in 1925 by Harriet Monroe, one of the great patrons of American literary Modernism. I particularly like their avant-garde offerings (yes, I like DADA. Deal with it.) This is a great example of podcasting that plays to a specific niche audience. World-wide fame and broad listenership–even of a mildly viral fashion–is a lot to ask for. The best podcasts I’ve heard aren’t just produced well, but they’ve also got a great sense of identity–the creators know what they’re about and have a specific subject they’re creating podcasts about, and they DO it. PM in general has a good variety of offerings–readings of the 3-5 minute variety, “interest” or survey pieces of the 13-17 minute variety (like my a-g stuff), and even long lecture podcasts of 45 mins or so.
  • Ask a Ninja I cannot describe the glee that this vidcast gives me. Why do we like it? Because it’s ODD. And, the producer manages to make a man dressed in a black mask visually interesting–through intercuts and big movement. Like Monica (who is apparently my long-lost twin), I found the ad in the middle more than somewhat disturbing. Of course, because there’s somewhere around thirty seconds of content AFTER the ad, we’re (at least supposed to be) compelled into sitting through it. I think that there are much better ways to advertise in video formats than “commercials” in your podcast (youtube-style “annotations” come to mind, for example).

The Bad and/or Ugly:

  • SModcasts–too long and wandering to be worth the listen. You have to REALLY like Kevin Smith’s sense of humor to sit through these hour-plus monstrosities. I’ve worn out my copy of Clerks., but have yet to muster up the patience to sit through an entire SModcast. That and the fart jokes and voyeuristic tone gets old. That, or I am…
  • Podictionary. Seriously. Zzzzz. This podcast just goes to show that having a specific topic directed toward people with a special interest isn’t enough. It’s got to be interesting, too.
  • The same goes for the Classical Mythology Podcast. Double zzzzz. Old white guys droning about Greeks. You know, Greek mythology IS interesting. If someone would ever present it that way, I might die. Of shock.

Notes of Note:

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4 thoughts on “Podcasts. Yeah.

  1. OK, Chris, I enjoyed your favorites except Ninja singing “Turn Hannah Montana into a can of spam”? Can you really handle hours of AskaNinja? :-)Your “Worst” choices were definitely that! I thought “Podictionary: what a creative tool!” and was very interested, but that podcast proves…you can speak TOO slowly on a podcast!Thanks for the rules too. I’ve copied those so I can refer back to them as I continue to work on my podcast!

  2. Carie, there are not enough words in my lexicon to describe the unbearable joy that I take from AskANinja after a long, grueling day of grading student essays. And yes, that podictionary is HORRIBLE. When I tripped over it, I thought, “Hmm, okay. I’m a word-nerd, so this should be cool.” I don’t think I lasted the entire five minutes…

  3. Chris, I am afraid to say that we might have been separated at birth. I, too, included Ask a Ninja as one of my favorite podcasts and yes, I have, as you, spent too many hours watching and re-watching certain episodes. It makes me laugh every time. Clearly Carrie has not fully embraced her inner ninja [:-)] – she should watch the episode on ninterniships.

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