Podcast Criteria: What’s Good?

Many times I have been asked how I decide what makes a show good. Too many times I have found it easier to say what makes a show not good. I thought I would briefly describe how I listen critically to a podcast to form an opinion.

  • I make sure that I am somewhat interested in the topic.
  • The sound has to be quality enough to not make listening a chore, which includes not leaning in and out of mic range.
  • The length has to be in proportion to the topic (s).
  • The primary caster has to have enough personality to be engaging, but not so much as to be obnoxious.
  • Consistency in music, sound effects, features, and format.
  • Personally, I don’t mind a little side-tracking, or getting off-topic, if it naturally flows out of the conversation and is entertaining.
  • Polite, or at least halfway decent, behavior. Yes, women do listen to podcasts – even tech podcasts.
  • How well the topic has been researched.
  • Having pdf’s to accompany a podcast is a great idea for subject matter that has a lot of detail. These should be available for download from the same location as the podcast. (Yes, iTunes supports this.)
  • Show Notes – a web page with information relating specifically to individual shows, hopefully with a list of any links mentioned, etc.

There’s much more, but that’s it in a nutshell. Someday I will make a list of all my peeves about podcasts, and share some of the more ridiculous ones I have heard, but not today.


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