What are you attempting to do with your podcast? Do you deliver value each and every episode? Will your listeners understand if you let them know you’re ending the show?
This is the sort thing that comes up after a few months of podcasting. The tech stuff is generally in hand by then. Indeed the stress levels are generally much lower after three months in the space. It is at about this time that content, the continual creation of content can become a question.
You could take a break. You could rearrange you episodes and rename the ones you’ve published as season 1. So long as you let your listeners know what you’re doing there’s generally no dramas. If you started as a seasonal podcast you will have implicitly told your listeners this.
Seasonal podcasting has much to recommend it. You get to plan the next season and have a few episodes for the next season “in the can”. This makes some sense. After all there aren’t any rules in the podcasting space other than those we make ourselves.
Gardening or farming podcasts would fit nicely to this pattern. Say ten weeks per actual season of the year. Equally if your podcast is of an educational nature or part of a school year, this pattern again fits well. The thing is to make a decision pre-launch and stick with it for at least a year. Now that can seem like an eternity.
As I approached 35 odd episodes I heard fifty was the benchmark for those who had achieved the podcasting equivalent of finishing high school. By the time I reached 47 episodes 50 had, somehow morphed into 100. Didn’t matter, head down record button on and keep going. I was nervous in the 90s but the 100 mark held until I passed it.
As I mentioned in the last post (here) I suffered a dose of laryngitis and was off the air for a period. These things happen. So a seasonal approach would probably have been an advantage. I chose though to setup a continual feed podcast.
By continual feed I mean one that comes out, in my case, weekly without a break. I’m now approaching the end of year 3 so it is doable. Many podcasts follow this pattern. I enjoy forcing my life to fit with the pattern of a weekly podcast. I know it can be a hassle for some. Look to the time you have available in your life and decide from there. As it turns out there are many things that are not essential in most first world lives. These can be replaced by a podcasting routine that actually brings far more personal satisfaction that watching another made for Netflix generic story. (Hint: I’m not impressed by much of the content on Netflix.)
Either way, seasonal or continual there may come a time when your show naturally comes to an end: your life has changed, the passion is gone, the story has been told.
Here you have a choice. You can let your listeners know it’s coming to an end or you can just stop dead. I think you know me well enough to realise the former would be my preferred method. Respect for listeners is the basis of all I do and advocate.
History shows in particular need to consider their endings.
The best way I’ve seen this done was The History of Rome. Mike Duncan had taken us from the mythical founding of Rome through to the death of the last emperor in the West. At the end of episode 179 he told us this was likely to be the last episode. There might be another coming as a kind of wrap up but only if his wife did not deliver their first child in the next week. She delivered and the show ended.
- Stick with a format for at least a year.
- Let your listeners know of any changes you are planning.
- Be as considerate as Mike Duncan.