I originally wrote this for my old website twelve years ago. I just found it while digging thru my archives and thought I'd post it here at the new site. Why? Well being a consumer of podcasts as well as a creator of them my points are still if not even more valid today. I also want to make sure that everyone understands that I do this to help out my fellow podcasters from falling into traps that will destroy the interest in their shows. So now lets get onto it.
Let me be very clear that this is in no way an attack on any particular
podcast or website. This is more my take
on the rise and eventual decline of podcasts dedicated to the genre movies that
we all love.
Like many of
you I was really into the horror podcast scene of several years ago. This is even before I thought for a second
about doing my own show. We all had our
own favorites, but regardless of what shows you listened to the experience was
the same. Personally, I looked forward
each week to downloading the shows and listening to fellow fans talking about
the new releases and discussing their memories of growing up the warm glow of
the television while watching the late-night horror show or a favorite VHS
tape. For a guy like me it was a Godsend
because I lived in an area where there wasn't a community of fans for me to
something changed. At first, I thought
it was just me getting old and jaded.
Then I started having one conversation after another with fellow fans on
the net and at conventions. It seems
that I wasn't alone in suddenly losing interest in the podcasting scene both as
a contributor thru the Gutmunchers podcast and as a listener. What happened? I have some ideas that I'm going to share in
Before you start recording ask yourself some
questions. (aka. What the hell am I
ever record a second of a show you need to ask yourself what your goals
are. What kind of show do you want to
do? What sort of content do you want to
provide? Can you pull it off?
seem like obvious things to sort out before you do a show. But I’ve listened to podcasts that are put
together by people who are in love with the concept of a show but haven’t put
any thought into it. When I started the
Gutmunchers podcast I knew that I had a specific set of goals. Heck I even had a mission statement (like the
on the front page of the website). I
wanted to review a couple movies in each show.
These would be movies that either myself or my co-host liked. I didn’t care if it was a new release or not. My goal was to turn other fans onto the
movies that I liked.
The other big
goal of mine was to interview interesting people who worked in and around the
movies we all loved. Some of them had
done other shows and some of them hadn’t.
One of our first interviews was with Carol Speed who a lot of fans and
promoters thought was dead (I’m not kidding guys). This was the kind of person that I wanted to
talk to and share with others.
Now I’m not
trying to say that this was the only way to do a show. There are a lot of different approaches to
podcasting. When the shows first started
it was all new and people put a lot of thought into what they wanted. Especially since in the early days the
editing tools and hosting weren’t necessarily free people it caused put effort
into it. Then things got cheap and even
free sometimes so that everyone piled on without thinking about it. This of course leads to my next point.
Too many podcasts (aka. The good ones got buried
I think that
the combination of free tools for editing and free hosting options lead to
everyone and their brother starting up a podcast. This is further complicated by the ease in
which you were able to get it added to iTunes and therefore delivered to anyone
that had an iPod. When this first happened,
I thought it was amazing to be able to reach so many individuals with so little
effort. And it really was. But that also caused a fatal reaction for the
With all the
free services that were available you could literally decide to do a show and
have something “live” in just a couple of hours. And this was with some basic editing. So what happened is that suddenly everyone
had a podcast and the market was saturated.
Not only that but since it so easy most of the shows were put together
terribly. The editing was lousy, there
was dead air, and no one put any effort into the content. I could go on, but I’ll talk more about this
later. Bottom line was that the one show
that put the work in and sounded somewhat professional got tossed in with the fifty
others that were garbage.
I know you are
asking yourself what is the harm in friends recording stuff and being
goofy? If it was just a hobby like when
my friends and I used to make “shows” with my old cassette recorder then no
harm no foul. But that isn’t what
happened. Those involved acted much like
the independent filmmakers that run around the woods over a weekend with a
camera and call it a movie. They started
to promote their “shows”, fought for listeners, started tearing each other
down, and went to companies to try and get screeners. Now personally as a fan I got so burned out
with the feuds (to be fair I was part of one) and the hosts constantly bitching
about one another that I stopped listening.
I don’t think that I was the only one either. As a former podcaster, it was also
embarrassing to tell anyone that I had a show because I didn’t want to get
lumped in with this crowd. Hell, I
always lead off with the website and never mentioned the show until I was
established with them.
You just aren't that interesting! (aka. Fart jokes
just aren't that funny after the 20th time)
This one is simple. I've sampled so many different podcasts that
I lost count a long time ago. One of the
observations that I made along the way is that far too many podcasters want the
show to be about them. In some kind of attention-grabbing
desperation move they want their personality to be the central focus of the
show. Sorry guys but even Howard Stern
got boring after a couple of years of listening to his radio show uncensored
and I personally think he is a genius. What
chance do you have in holding an audience?
The answer is not much.
In my humble opinion,
a horror podcast or really any movie podcast should be about the flicks and not
about some goof talking about how much his farts smell or calling his co-host names
for two freaking hours. Guys you need to
understand that the movies are your content and are why your audience is
"tuning" in for each episode.
When we were doing the Gutmunchers podcast I tried hard to focus on what
was important, the DVDs that we were covering and the interesting people that
we were interviewing.
Too many people half doing half assed work. (aka. Watch some damn movies!)
This one just
kills me. I was listening to a show that
I won’t name here. They were doing a
best of show where they discussed all the horror flicks from a particular
year. Only they hadn’t seen or couldn’t
remember half of them! This is just lazy
and shows a total lack of respect for your audience. I might have sucked as a podcaster,
but I always watched the movies and did the work for the show. If you don’t have the time to do your research,
then chose a different direction for that particular show. Maybe the professionals can just wing it but
you can’t. If you could then someone
would be paying you to do this instead of you recording it in your
This leads me
to another point about doing the work.
Would it kill you to have a script?
I’ve listened to shows that had no focus and wandered all over the
place. The hosts didn’t know what they
were trying to do or in what order they wanted to do it. You need to know what the plan is before you
ever record a damn thing. There is
nothing so annoying as dead air. Podcasting isn’t a visual medium, so you need
to keep things rolling along. Nothing will bring a show to a screaming halt
faster than not having a script.
Wrap up (aka. Yes, I probably pissed off some people)
These are my
thoughts on what happened to the podcasting scene. When I first started writing this I
approached it as a how to for podcasting.
You know so I could pass on my experiences and encourage other budding
podcasters. But the more I got into it
the more I realized that I didn’t want to encourage anyone to become a
podcaster. Trust me the work you put in
will never be worth it. The online
horror community is vicious. You are
either going to do a lousy show and add to the crap already out there, or you
will be good at it and then incur the wrath of those that are jealous of your
success. Instead of spending hours
editing and tracking down interviews I’d recommend just chilling out and
watching some movies.
me? Disagree with me? I don’t hide behind a screen name, and I put
my contact information right out there.
Either way you should feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with
feedback. This isn’t meant to be a shot
at any podcaster or show in particular and shouldn’t be taken as such.
© Copyright 2021 John Shatzer