From time to time, I listen to a handful of podcasts. But I’ve noticed that a few of them have a common problem that begins to drive me crazy.
I’m not going to name names in this particular post because of two good reasons.
First, I’m not out to crucify someone else’s work. I realize, thanks to a 26-year broadcasting background, that producing a podcast, even with today’s technology, produces numerous challenges. When you’re dealing with technology and media, there’s almost nothing that turns out to be as easy as it seems it would be.
Second, I realize that while the issue I’m about to mention annoys me to no end, it might be something that only annoys me. Since I may the exception and not the rule, there’s little point in getting personal with podcasts who do things the way I wish they wouldn’t if the rest of their audience isn’t bothered.
With that disclaimer, let me explain one more key fact: for years, I’ve had a very short commute to and from work. I live about five minutes away from the office.
In an emergency, I can get there fast. There are definite advantages to this fact.
One disadvantage, specifically when it comes to podcasts, is that I don’t have a lot of chance to listen to them in one sitting.
Even the famous Ted Talks seem to follow a rule that 18 minutes is the perfect length. In my case, unless I were going somewhere else or listening at home, it would take me about three or four trips, part by part, to hear a podcast 18 minutes long.
When I’m going somewhere further away, I don’t mind that 20 minutes all that much.
But whether I’m driving for five minutes or 45 minutes, I don’t want my time wasted.
Some of the podcasts I listen to, however, don’t seem to worry about the time of their productions.
Maybe it shouldn’t be a bad thing that a podcast can range in length from two-and-a-half minutes or so to two-and-a-half hours. But it seems to me that if podcasters could more consistently regulate the length of their programs into a standard format the way television programs do, their producers might develop a greater appreciation for the value of time.
One podcast I’ve listened to for a few months takes, on average, about six to seven minutes of joking around before its hosts actually get to the point of that week’s episode. Even if I didn’t have a commute that would at least get me through the nonsense portion in a single sitting, why do I need to listen to that much of nothing waiting for them to begin with the topic at hand?
And why are there, apparently, so many podcast listeners who don’t seem to mind that?