On August 8th Derek wrote…
“…But the audience for my wife’s podcast, Lip Gloss and Laptops, is something else. They have a much smaller number of subscribers and readers, something in the high hundreds, with something like 10% of the monthly downloads of Inside Home Recording, as far as I can tell. But they get about the same amount of email as IHR does. In other words, probably almost every one of their listeners is truly dedicated, and they’re involved and sending feedback…”
It was a good post and he goes on to speak of the coming day of how advertisers are going to reevaluate smaller chunks of a larger pie when it comes to audiences. The usual, thought provoking Derek post, as normal. Derek is a bright guy who, rightfully, hates REO Speedwagon, but I digress.
That said, the broader topic of listener/reader feedback probably has been floating in my head in the last few months – probably too much. Listening to many a podcast and reading many a blog, the best I can come up with as to what makes audiences respond is a combination of open-endedness, what type of personal attachment do listeners have with the topic, and is there perceived likelihood of of having an effect.
In the case of open-endedness, Christi and myself spent many, many hours producing the diabeticfeed podcast. The production values are as good as they can be for cheap, carefully crafting self contained shows. We would occasionally read listener feedback and ask for more. But we would take a topic, and give it an intro, expand, then end it – leaving sometimes very little room for others to come up and say “Did you ever think about this…” Compare this to the Podfather, Adam Curry. Adam comes up with a topic, lightly grazes the surface then gets others to expand on the topic, which usually is not too serious, over the course of many podcasts. A good example of that is his recent fascination with toilet paper. He is brilliant in evoking a response from others.
With personal attachment – I mean it in the “How close are you to the topic” way. Again with diabeticfeed – the listeners are very close to the topic discussed, too close at times. Diabetes is not necessarily associated with a positive experience, making it hard to want to add to the conversation. With a podcast like Lipgloss and Laptops, topics discussed there are light and lend themselves very well to discussion. Inside Home Recording covers the topic of audio recording in much depth. I love this podcast. It is sometimes hard, though, to discuss with authority the voodoo of audio recording. Derek and Paul do. When I listen to IHR, I listen intently, hoping to catch the grain of something I can use. I would love to send a picture of my podcast recording rig – but Audacity, Skype, a Griffin iMic, a Behringer UB802 and a Radio Shack Mic with a pantyhose “pop” screen does not an interesting rig make. You really have to know your stuff, or have a well crafted question, to add to the fabric of IHR.<br>
Perceived likelihood of of having an effect is equivalent to a tree falling in a forest. Before anyone speaks, they obviously want to be heard. (Why do I write this blog, now that I think about it?) I recently I wrote an email to a podcast I really enjoy, podcast411. The email was a comment on Rob’s recent rant on Jay Thomas (who had the ground breaking role of “Remo,” the deli owner from the middle 2 seasons of the 4 season run of “Mork and Mindy” – a role that all other actors playing deli owner roles are compared to) and how Jay Thomas views podcasting in general, and Keith and the Girl specifically, from a old line radio guy’s point of view. Since I spent 4 1/2 years in radio, I feel I can speak with some confidence to the issues made of Jay Thomas’ point of view in the podcast. Rob did not write back. Did he get it? Did I send it to the wrong email address? Did I offend? I don’t know. Tree fell – did you hear it? I still am a fan of podcast411, regardless – the podcast is too darn interesting. (Update: Rob did write back about one month after this was posted. His podcast, still very interesting.)
Along the same lines, I recently wrote an email to Leo Laporte telling him of an odd character in his Radio Leo XML feed and it was making iTunes choke. Thinking that in the piles of email that he receives Leo would not see an email telling him of the problem. But I had to at least say something, because he is not exactly on speed dial. I checked the feed a few hours later and it was working – and he wrote me back with a quick thanks. Tree falls – it was heard. We all like the feeling that we are making a difference with our words and actions.
One final point – Kerri at the sixuntilme.com blog spends as much time responding to comments and hunting down other diabetic bloggers, it seems, as she spends actually blogging. Not only is she bringing others in, but she puts effort in also listening and responding – much effort. Kerri has a gift. I think part of the secret is hiding somewhere in there.
I am sure I am not the only one who has giving the topic some thought, and as I go along, I will listen to others opinions – like yours – please leave a comment if this prodded you in any way. I will read it. Try to change my mind if you think I am wrong. Expand on what I am right about. There is no time limit and the comments are always on.