Biases Against Podcast Professionalism

A note on podcast tonality from Kari Gee(?):

Some podcasts & hosts are almost too podcast-y, you know? The production values are slightly too polished, the voices a little too smooth. It’s like a schtick sometimes, like a schmoozy Rat Pack Vegas number: they hit every single beat you expect them to and leave no room for chance. But my biases against “professionalism” are my own cross to bear, so I barrel through.

Samesies. If it sounds too glossy, and it’s not from the NYTimes or a big media company, I’m out.

I’m not sure why. Are they too self-assured? Faking it instead of making it? It almost feels unprofessional, in the way recent college graduates will show up to their new jobs in shiny dress clothes for the first month or two. They think they appear professional. But they look like newbs to everyone else.

One constant problem you run into when showing ads to people in focus groups is the snap-to-grid tendency. People judge an ad by whether or not it looks and feels like their expectations of an ad.

No one needs an imitation of a radio show.

Just make it good.

Don’t worry so much about making it glossy.

Glossy attracts glossy listeners.

And they’ll want to connect on LinkedIn.

Keep your filthy marketer mitts off of my podcasts

I really like podcasts. I listen to way too many. And I subscribe to way more than that. It’s a problem.

I’m spending a lot of downtime filling my head with other people’s thoughts instead of letting my head sort out my own thoughts.

This has been happening for almost ten years. That seems crazy, because it still feels like a new habit to me. But I’m still excited about it and I prefer listening to podcasts over watching TV. That seems like a big deal.

So naturally I’ve been getting a little nervous as marketing people have taken an interest. Some are trying to apply standards to it. Other companies are making moves to create proprietary formats in the name of better tracking for advertisers. And then there are dudes that look like villains in 80s high school movies who are running companies that are unafraid of using the words programmatic and advertising in the same sentence as podcasts.

Hate crime! Boo! Hiss!

Podcasting is great the way it is. Yes, it’ll eventually be spoiled by money and business and advertisers and big production budgets. But I like it just the way it is: small and weird and open and way-off the beaten-track.