How long is a podcast?
Something I wrote on a blog a couple of weeks ago has provoked quite a lot of debate. Unfortunately, because the blog was from an executive over at Absolute Radio, some of you may not have seen it.
Adam Bowie, Head of Strategy and Planning at Absolute, wrote a post on his personal blog questioning our decision to split some of our podcasts into two parts. It seems that iTunes is only serving the second half of some of these podcasts to listeners automatically, requiring more manual downloading to get both parts. You can read Adam's post here. I thought it worth repeating some of our reasoning here on our own blog.
I'll take our new two-part Danny Baker podcast (149,730 downloads in December) first. We had correspondence from listeners before the new Saturday morning show even started. They all wanted to know if the podcast was going to be the whole show, we assured them it would be. Now if we offered this entire show as one part, it would be one hour and forty minutes. I don't know about you, but I really wouldn't download a podcast that is one hour and forty minutes let alone listen to it.
In addition we have discovered that listeners like podcasts made available as soon as possible. With Danny Baker the intention has always been to make Part 1 available before the show is over at 1100. So anyone that tunes in late, or doesn't get up that early, or dare I say it, is listening to something else, can get it immediately. There have been a lot of emails from the listeners thanking us for making the whole show into a podcast but, as yet, no complaints.
In terms of Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews (288,037 downloads), we get three very common questions:
- Why don't we get the whole show (you do).
- Why are all the reviews so rushed at the end (that's what the show sounds like)
- Can we have the reviews in a separate podcast? This last one is quite common:
We have experimented with putting the interviews at the end of the podcast, but I often found listening back it didn't make the show terribly cohesive. We have also podcasted 2 or 3 shows from Mark and Simon during the week and this been well received.
Now, faced with the longer show, we want to offer the whole thing. So how do we do that given that we know listeners don't want a 90-minute file, they want the reviews in a separate podcast, and they want the whole show? The two-parts seems to us the best solution. We may be wrong. You, the audience will, as always, tell us. One part or two? The decision rests with you.
Brett Spencer is Interactive Editor at BBC Radio 5 live