Podfading

I think this Wired article on “podfading” is downright silly. It breathlessly points out that sometimes people start a podcast and then “gasp” might stop. This is of course unlike anything else in the world, since no one has ever stopped doing a sidelight ever. Everyone that knits or plays guitar in coffee houses or writes articles for Wired freelance does it forever in an unbroken fashion. No TV, radio or Broadway show has ever been cancelled or had its principals decide to stop in order to do other things. Give me a break.

This is a blazingly clear example of that “product” vs. “process” breakdown I talk about. The gist of this article is that these ceased podcasts are products that failed. I see them as experiments that were cheap to try and were worth a shot and from which people have learned things. As they even point out in the article, some people that stop one show regroup and start a different show. Is anyone seriously suggesting that people continue a show that isn’t working for them for whatever reason? Are they suggesting that no one should start unless they can guarantee they won’t stop? If not either, what’s the point? Try it if you want to, stop if you need to.

I agree with Scott Fletcher’s take but feel even more strongly. When we have the Uplifter meetings and help people get started with blogging, podcasting, and vlogging I don’t give a damn how long they continue. Ideally, they will continue exactly as long as suits their needs. I want to make sure that they have the tools to get started and if they have those, all is well. Don’t let the big media (even Wired) tell you that you have failed. If you walk out of the situation knowing more and feeling more empowered, it was worth it.

11 Replies to “Podfading”

  1. It’s a huge mistake to treat this medium like other media such as Radio and TV with their concept of scheduled shows. Those media have to have scheduled shows so the audience knows when to tune in. Our audience tunes in whenever they damn well please, and we should take the same advantage to produce when it is convenient for us. None of the podcasts I listen to produce on a schedule. The day I “have to” do a podcast for any reason other than that there’s stuff in my brain that needs to get out is the day I say goodbye to Mr. Microphone.

  2. Dave, I identify with the ‘anti-hype’ flavor of your post, and I agree with the triviality of people quitting hobbies. Someone recently asked me if I thought that podfading was a problem. I just sat there, dumbfounded at the absurdity of the notion.

    That said, is a ‘gasp-oriented’ podfading story any different from stories about “The West Wing” being cancelled
    (http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/01/22/D8F9TAU07.html) or TV Mid-Season lineup changes (http://www.tv.com/index.php?type=20&action=displaystory&story_id=2676&pg_rev=3)? I might agree that they are ALL silly stories, but I still find them interesting.

    As for podcast schedules: While some might resist the ‘concept of scheduled shows’ prevealent in every other form of media (print, TV, Radio, Web, lectures series, conventions), I don’t mind the idea of a podcast schedule. I LISTEN to the shows whenever I want, but also I like to know [roughly] when the next shows will be available.

    Workin’ for the man, my entire life revolves around a schedule and I look forward to the release of new shows on prescribed days (or just in general periodical/time frames). I suppose that this reveals that schedules mostly serve a) the audience and b) anyone making money on advertising. The producers’ lives would be simplified if schedules were eliminated.

  3. Like they say there is no such thing as bad publicity. When they do an article on it people might not remember the article but the word “podcast” will stick.

  4. I did a guest spot on the FeedBurner podcast about this subject. It’s worth noting that it’s not quite as simple as quitting a hobby only in that it’s a kind of hobby that people subscribe to. That, I think, is why there is any buzz at all about the subject. If it was just another website that went off the radar who would notice?
    Anyway, here’s the 10 steps to avoid podfading:
    http://blogs.feedburner.com/podcast/archives/2006/12/10_steps_to_avoid_podfading.php

  5. Peter, even so things stop and start. They stop publishing magazines that people subscribe to. Every TV show gets canceled at some point, and every radio station eventually changes formats. I don’t even agree that it’s a bad thing. What would be the upside to anyone of continuing a show you no longer want to do? I haven’t listened to your show, but I’m not so sure I’d even argue that this is something to be avoided. In my PME talk I went over reasons it made sense to stop and why I don’t think that’s a big moral question.

  6. Yeah I see what you mean that article is very pointless. I pick up and quit hobbies all the time, and I have had a lot of them overwhelm me. Unless you find a hobby you cant live without or that makes you a lot of money, odds are you’re going to quit eventually.

  7. I think that since talk radio is so popular that many people think it is easy. And with the ever growing popularity of Vlogging and podcasting, it is very easy for anyone to try.
    I’ve often thought of podcasting or even live streaming some of our games on the internet, but just have not reached that point yet.
    Either way, anything that people try is nothing but a good experience, whether they succeed with it or not.
    –coach

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