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Oh Podcasts, Why Do You Have to S*ck?

perigk profile image Periklis Gkolias ・3 min read

I find podcasts extremely overrated. Yeap, I know this is an extremely selfish and biased opinion, especially given the popularity of this "means of entertainment".

But on the other hand, most things that s*ck have traction. I can't recall something that was super ugly and didn't have fanatic and passionate friends.

I will try to explain my view.

Bad equipment

Too many podcasts have bad equipment. I find it extremely disrespectful and annoying to hear only half of what is discussed, due to low quality microphones.

I understand and respect, if the podcaster is completely amateur and hobbyist but most of them have 1-2 sponsors per episode. Not sure of the monetary reward, but a decent microphone cost about $100 or so?

Wasting time and mundane subjects

Why should I spend 70 minutes hearing a discussion where the important information is spread here and there if I can read an article of the same topic which will take me less than 15 minutes to read?

For example, I can recall a 70-minute long episode in a podcast, about VS code tips. There are tons of articles in dev.to alone which you can read all in less than 1 hour (all of them).

Be innovative fellas. I can find countless reviews of the newest Django or var vs let and const. Don't be dull and boring.

I would be happier if the subjects were more unique, subjects that you cannot find easily around.

Enthusiasm

Too many podcasters fail to deliver enthusiasm to their audience. I don't blame them. I can't be enthusiastic if I don't like what I am doing, either.

So the question is, as Steve Jobs would say: Why are you living someone else's life if it is obvious you don't like what you are doing?

Chit-chat

So the podcast begins and the host starts doing some predetermined chit-chatting with their guests. I thought I was about to hear you to learn something, not to spot some fake spontaneity.

Sadly, if I want to attend dialogs between strangers, I would opt-in for Netflix. :)

I am not saying the podcast should sound like an interrogation, but one certainly need to keep a balance and not try to fill the time with low value small talk.

Lack of transcription or summary

Most podcasts don't offer some kind of transcription or summary (with "links" to the respective time range).

Why is this a problem? First of all, you might need to skim some parts and no one can blame you for that.

Also, not all listeners are native English/German/Spanish/whatever speakers. Some words might be inaudible. Some phrases might be too much of a slang, only a native could get them. I think you are getting the point.

Blogs s*ck too

Many blogs don't offer much quality to their readers (this might be one of those :) )

But in blogs, you can "just skim" or "read the headers" to see if it is worth digging deeper. So you dont have to listen the whole part to get the hint

The outliers

Of course, it would be silly to say that if you are labeled as a podcast, you are doomed to mediocrity.

Some podcasts that are of high quality and are my first choices when I choose it as a mean of information are (random order):

Of course, the list is only indicative. I am pretty sure there are other high-quality podcasts that I didn't have to hear till now.

Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time read this article. I hope you enjoyed it. Podcasts could be a great mean of information and entertainment if done right but looks like this is not the case for most of them now. If you feel against my views or have any high-quality podcast to recommend, please let us know.

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perigk profile

Periklis Gkolias

@perigk

In love with Python, but I admire all the stacks that offer solutions without testing my patience. Avid productivityist, great-food worshipper, always-smiling.

Discussion

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A podcast is like a blog; there are lots of terrible blogs out there but there are also people who know what they're doing either through trial and error or having a good mentor/guide.

My issue with podcasts is I cannot listen and code. Or drive. Or do anything other than listen and I'm far too twitchy to sit still for an hour.

 

Totally agree. I should have noted that in the article.

Yes, they are being advertised as passive methods of learning but being still and idle doesn't mean passive necessarily. Great point

 

I guess it's not easy to run a really great podcast.

Same reason why most restaurants are not Michelin 4 stars.

But I agree somethings are simple to do and could already improve the experience. But there's lack of time, ignorance, laziness...

 

Sure it is not easy to present quality. And if you do it fails due to the count of competitors where you are hidden in he crowd