One of the benefits to listening to podcasts is the freedom to listen on your time schedule. iTunes saves your progress (unless you accidentally touch the forward arrows), so that you can pick up where you left off at your convenience. A little over a year ago, I started two podcasts: AudioTim, and the Holy Worlds Podcast. I’ve tinkered with different formats, and modeled them after my favorites (Dead Robots’ Society, Get Published, I Should Be Writing), all of which can post podcasts beyond 45 minutes in length.
Six months ago, I stepped away from HWP to focus on getting more AudioTim episodes per month. HWP has found people to step up in my absence, but recently someone from the Holy Worlds forum suggested I cut the length of the show down from an hour plus to just a half hour.
The argument for a half hour show is because people have less time, and shorter attention spans. She suggested cutting the show in half if it is going to be an hour long interview. This is a pertinent question to ask myself as two of my last three interviews have been 90 minutes long. I haven’t cut them in half, partly because it would require me to interrupt the flow of the conversation as well as record an ending that explains why I cut the episode there, and then another intro for the next part. If someone is able to listen to an hour or more in one day, then I don’t want to make them wait till the next day to post the other half.
It’s impossible to account for all the ways in which people listen to your podcast. Many of the people at Holy Worlds.org are home-schooled, so they might not leave the house all day, or when they do, are with their parents and therefore not listening to a podcast while they do errands. This means they are probably sitting at their computer or listening during short breaks, and might not have the full hour or more to listen. I’m not really sure what my demographic is for AudioTim, but does this mean I should change how I interview people?
Personally, my favorite times for listening to podcasts are my commute and while exercising. In the summer, there is nothing better than a writing podcast to inspire me as I jog. As my endurance improved, I was jogging for about an hour, and it bummed me out to have to listen to two different shows. For that reason, the hour long shows became my favorite for jogging, and shorter shows like Dragon Page Cover to Coverfit in with lawn mowing or split between morning and evening commutes.
I would love your opinion on this. I won’t hold it against you if you are turned off when you see 1:30:00 pop up in my podcast list. I need to know this. It is especially pertinent as I go to edit a recent interview with Robin Sullivan of Ridan Publishing. The thing about her interview (regarding the current dispute with Amazon vs. IPG) is that I fear breaking it up will hinder listeners keeping up with the train of thought. I suppose I could plan ahead and create a smooth stopping point, but when informed people like Robin are on a roll, I don’t want to interrupt their flow of thought.
Some shows like Writing Excuses have the Audible book of the week advertisement in the middle. I could insert a promo in the middle, but that could further distract you from the flow of thought.
So, the question for you is whether you’d prefer two 30-45 minute episodes or leaving the whole conversation in one episode is better.