Monday, April 09, 2007

A Shorter Version of the Podcast?

April 9, 2007

At today's Here on Earth editorial meeting, we discussed the idea of sending out a second, shorter version of our podcast which would end by the first break - i.e. at twenty minutes into the program. Apparently, most podcasts are far shorter than one hour, and, according to podcast listening patterns, young people especially are far more likely to listen to something that's hit and run. The good news is that, providing they like it, they will want to listen to the whole thing. Any disclaimers? We'd especially like some feedback from our podcast crew, and by the way, what should we call the thing? Here on Earth: R2D2? Here on Earth to Go? The Here on Earth Podcast Digest? Please help if you're so inclined. We need you!



Camilo Alcantara said...

I am a frequent listener of your program. I have been listening it the last 18 months, always using the podcast version. I never have listened your program on a regular radio (I do not have it).

I knew about "Here on earth" just browsing on the podcast lists. To listen the full programs is a key part of it success . If you make a shorter version, it will loss the freshness of a live broadcast.

Best regards

Camilo Alcantara
Mexican PhD student at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gina said...

I listen to you program exclusively through podcasts, and enjoy listening to the complete show (in fact, sometimes wish I could hear more!). I'd hate to think that we have to change in depth programs and conversations because young people have trouble focusing on anything that lasts more than a few minutes or a few seconds! television, movies, magazines - they've all been adopting some of the MTV-style overstimulating imagery. Let's keep radio programs free of that!

Joe Hardtke said...

Hi folks! Joe Hardtke here, Technical Director for Here on Earth.

I've personally gotten some questions about the short podcast idea and felt Jean's blog was a good place to address them.

To be clear: If we decide to go ahead with this plan, we would not discontinue the full length podcast. If you're currently a subscriber, you'll continue to get the full program as usual. Nothing will change and you will not have to re-subscribe.

If the idea is put in place, new subscribers would have an option from this point forward: They can get the full 52-minute podcast, a shorter 14-minute version (basically this would be the first segment of the program) or both podcasts if they so choose. Current subscribers can, of course, subscribe to the short podcast, too. It would be available to everyone.

We hope, with this plan, that people who've never heard the show can have a smaller, compact podcast as a taster for the full show. The short version would be the kind of podcast they can listen to in one sitting on the way to work, on the bus, during a walk, in the car or before class. If they like what they hear, they can make the switch to the full version.

We first stumbled upon the idea when a podcast listener told us he listened during his morning workout but never made it through a whole program. He always got around 20 minutes in but would get the next days program before he could finish the last show.

All that being said, we're still looking for your feedback on this idea. In fact, if you have any questions, drop me an e-mail:


Joe Hardtke
Technical Director
Here on Earth

Joe Hardtke said...

Oh, and we're still looking for podcast titles if the idea takes wings. Please let us know!

Camelio said...

Hi again!
As a frequent podcast listener I can tell you that if your shorter version of the program contains only the first segment, it is not going to make any difference. What I am doing regularly is exactly what you said, I download the full program and listen, if the first segment does not like to me, I stop listening and move forward to another program or music. If later on I realize that I made a mistake or for some other reason I did not listen the whole program I always can take the podcast from the point I stopped listening and continue. Or start listening again from one point that allows me to remember.

So, for me, that is not the point for having a shorter version of a program, may be the arguments in favor can be related with the speed of downloading the podcast and/or the space left on the device we are using for listening, but that is a different discussion.

Best regards
Camilo Alcantara

Anonymous said...

Please leave the full version of your show for podcast listeners!

Joe Hardtke said...

Good point, Camelio.

I know my MP3 player (an iPod) allows me to pick up right where I left off if I stop listening to a podcast mid-show and switch to something else.

I'm not sure about the space issue. I know my iPod is filled to the brim (4 gig of space) with music and podcasts. Big files sometimes make a difference for me. Does anyone else here have opinions on the size of our podcast files? Are they too big? Are you not bothered by the file size? If it's too big, do you just listen on your PC at home? Please fill us in!

I must tell all of you that this discussion has been very helpful to us. We've been bringing up all of your points in meetings lately.

Camelio said...

I don't have any space problems, but I recognize that a shorter version could open new listeners for you.

I think that the people who already listen your program through the podcast are not going to change to a shorter version.

The people more likely to be atracted by this idea are going to be all the owners of small mp3 players, those who owns a 1 GB device. And even with that, this people will have the sense of loosing something from your program.

I would like to suggest not to put the first segment of each program but to have instead a podcast with the weekly reccommendations you are posting on the forum, or doing something like the BBC news bulletin, with an abstract of the last week programs.

Best regards

Camilo Alcantara

Anonymous said...

What a great show! I typically download a bunch of episodes, then play them in my car. Sometimes 52 minutes on many topics is not enough. So cutting that in half would be a challenge but I understand cost factors. Just keep the show on the air.

All the best,
Mark Turner
Charlotte NC

Anonymous said...

Hello! Thank you for the wonderful show, I love it.
I live in Guadalajara, Mexico, and listen to your show using the podcast version. I also typically download a bunch of episodes to my MP3 player snd listen to it while doing my chores or working on something at home. I have a 30GB MP3 player, so space for me is not a issue, but I agree that it might be for a lot of people. Keep up the good work!

Best Regards,
Jorge Leon
Guadalajara, Mexico.