Some Thoughts On Adding Random Clips Into A Podcast Feed



StarTalk Radio podcast artI had different intentions when I first thought about typing this post. I wanted to compose something critical. Maybe even a bit snarky. But after doing some research, I’ve found that I may be in the minority in my way of thinking here.

Let me explain.

I subscribe to the popular StarTalk Radio podcast. Traditionally, StarTalk has released one full-length episode a week for as long as I’ve been listening. But recently, they began inserting short “Cosmic Minute” clips into the main podcast feed. I was a bit confused when I heard the first one, as there wasn’t any warning that these clips would be coming. I shrugged off the first Cosmic Minute and moved on. Until the second one landed in my podcatcher. Then, I became annoyed.

I subscribe to StarTalk Radio to get the full-length episodes. Not these minute-long clips. Yeah, I know. StarTalk Radio is technically giving me more content that I already like, so who am I to complain. But Cosmic Clips are simply snippets of interviews that have already been aired on full-length episodes, some of which I’ve already heard. I just don’t really have any desire to listen to this repurposed content. In the future, when a Cosmic Minute clip announces itself in my headphones, I’ll just hit the next button. No harm done, right?

For the most part, yes. I surveyed mentions for the @StarTalkRadio account on Twitter and I also looked at comments being left on the show’s Facebook page. I figured I’d find at least a few people out there whose attitude was in sync with mine. Nope. In fact, I didn’t see anyone commenting on the whole Cosmic Minute thing at all. I guess fans of StarTalk Radio don’t mind these clips randomly showing up in the show’s podcast feed. And that’s great for StarTalk.

But overall, I don’t think it’s something most podcasts should do. It’s been proven that consistency in production and release schedule is one of the best tactics for growing and keeping an audience. Why take a chance on alienating current fans by randomly dropping repurposed (or even new but “different”) content into an established feed? It makes more sense to create a second feed for this kind of thing and direct people to where they can find it. Let them subscribe to it voluntarily. Don’t just send it out randomly because you can.

Sure, most of your subscribers probably won’t care. But some will, and instead of telling you about it, they’ll probably just unsubscribe. And while StarTalk Radio can probably afford to lose some listeners, that’s not necessarily true for every podcast.

Posted by Shawn Thorpe


2 thoughts on “Some Thoughts On Adding Random Clips Into A Podcast Feed

  1. I agree with you. I subscribe to NPR’s Ask Me Another podcast. It’s a fun little game show; however, they update the feed with extra bits not included in the show. These are extras and usually run about 2-5 minutes, but it’s not why I subscribe to the feed. I just want the main show.

    With my own podcast, I created a second feed for clips like these. It was actually a great move, since I now have made it another “show” of sorts.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Steve.

      One thing I’ve realized over the years of being a podcaster is that I think podcasters probably listen to more podcasts than non-podcasters, so we are more bothered by these types of things. I’m willing to bet most people listen to less than five podcasts regularly, so these drop-ins don’t bother them. And if the creators of the offending shows don’t receive enough negative feedback, they’re not going to stop doing this.

      Which makes me wonder why these shows are doing this to begin with. I’m sure a marketing consultant somewhere told them it’d be a good idea.

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