Let's cut to the chase. Podcasters, stop doing these things in 2010 (or sooner if possible):
- imitating the loser trumpet sound from The Price Is Right- I never want to hear the human voice trying to make a trumpet sound again. I've heard this sound at least twice a week for the past 50 or so weeks. It's like a cute cell phone ringtone: funny the first time, nails-down-a-chalkboard each subsequent time.
- contrived, shoehorned segues- Unless you are being ironic (and then only incredibly sparingly), do not try to devise some ridiculous on-the-fly segue into your next news item. We're grown-ups. We realize the news stories are not necessarily directly related to one another. We're OK with that. Newspapers don't feel the need to segue one story into another, and they've been doing this shit for hundreds of years. What makes you think you know better?
- keep meta-talk to a minimum- Tell me as little as possible about your podcast/website over the course of said podcast. Don't give me a long-winded introduction to everyone on the podcast every episode. Introduce anyone who is not regularly featured, and put a bio for each of the regulars on the web page for your podcast. Don't tell what you are going to do over the course of the next hour or two; just do it. I will figure it out pretty quickly all the while being entertained much more efficiently than I am by excessive navel-gazing.
- (optional) if you are relatively unknown, stick to the topic- If you're just some guy who started a podcast out of his basement, chances are I, a first-time listener, do not want to hear how awesome that party was last night and how you were about to ask out that girl but then you got dizzy and threw up all over her boobs. In fact, I don't really want to hear that no matter how popular or well-known you are. I constantly try new podcasts and have to ditch most of those because there is twenty minutes of bullshit about the podcasters' personal lives before they get into discussing the alleged focus of their show. This is a delicate balance because you want some of your personality to come through;that's one thing that makes your show unique. At least make your anecdotes quick and/or funny and remotely related to the topic at hand... unless I know you in which case you are exempt from this rule altogether. ;-)
I post these helpful tips not to be inflammatory but as a community service. Many of the shows that employ these techniques have other redeeming qualities that result in my desire to continue listening. Shows that have no redeeming qualities can feel free to do all these things because I have already filtered you out. Most importantly and, even if it means ignoring all of my aforementioned guidelines, keep putting your stuff out there. After all, if I don't like it, I can always unsubscribe, right?