Let’s Be Clear

Just so’s we’re all on the same page in regards to this quality podcast vs. public radio thing, I’m not arguing that quality is unimportant or shouldn’t be strived for. It should always be. If you got a game, stepping it up should be a priority to you. However, the notion that one must be at the peak in order to play is erroneous.

Some people, like this guy, seem to be thinking I’m advocating for low quality or that I think as he puts it that I’m for “I turned the mic on to see what would happen”. Wrongo, pop filter breath. Thousands of new people are coming to this, and they got to start somewhere. That is usually – although not always – on the low end of the curve. I’m amazed at how fast I hear people improving by the boatload. I too have unsubscribed from shows because of bad audio quality. I’ve also stuck with a lot that were pretty rough because I wanted to hear what they had to say.

Like I said over a year ago when I first started my podcast, your content banks up your karma and your audio quality sucks it out. If you don’t have much banked with what you are saying or playing, you’d best not push your luck with the sound. However, my basic opposition to Stephen Hill’s stance is the notion that the floor is “public radio” level of production or no one will listen. That’s demonstrably bullshit. Do your best work, have something to say, make it sound as good as you can this time and better next time, but do the work. If you don’t do it today, then you won’t get to the better one tomorrow, right?

And let me state for the record in stark opposition to a lot of the talking heads and wagging tongues out there, I don’t care how many bad podcasts there are. I don’t have to listen to them and neither do you. Everything appeals to someone, if not you. How can people throw around the “long tail” terminology all the time without grokking what that really means? Do the work, get better and maybe I’ll come back later. My first year on radio was bad, and I don’t blame you if you turned it off (although living in a small town in rural Kansas with one station helps with audience retention.) I did it and did it and eventually got better. Most of the radio I hear is bad, too. The big difference is that podcasts I hear tend to improve over time and the wacky morning DJs suck forever.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

3 thoughts on “Let’s Be Clear”

  1. Dave, I always come back to the story you told a long time ago on the clambake about the famous short story writer whose early work really sucked. But he kept writing and composing and refining his style until, one day, he was one of the best writers.

    Today, the zero-cost entry for blogging, and the zero-risk activity of producing and publishing audio/video via podcasting, makes it a perfect time for ordinary people to just start creating stuff. Those who find a passion will improve over time. Sure, there will always be a lot of crappy presentations, but people’s ideas and their presentations will get refined by merely practicing regularly, and through the feedback of an engaged audience.

    So, in this new world of citizens’ media, the presence of “crap” on the network is a feature to be celebrated, not a bug.

  2. Dave you never cease to crack me up. I can hear this being said in the late great Johnny Carson’s voice,”Wrongo, pop filter breath.”

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