While radio broadcasters are routinely critiqued and coached by their program directors in aircheck sessions, podcasters usually don't have the same opportunity to get feedback from professionals. In this blog series, we invite a panel of broadcasting professionals to critique up-and-coming podcasters.
Dave Cross hosts the Talking ’Shop podcast. I invited three broadcasting professionals to listen to the first ten minutes of one of his podcast episodes and offer feedback. You can hear the episode here:
Here's what our aircheckers had to say:
Co-host of the syndicated radio morning show, Bob & Sheri.
What an engaging guest! I appreciated that the host, Dave Cross, allowed his guest to speak without needless interruption, which sounds like a minor point, but actually requires real skill on the part of the interviewer. It also demonstrates respect for both the guest AND the listener.
The manner in which the guest presented the content really drew me in – and I’m definitely not the target audience for a podcast that takes a deep dive into Adobe Photoshop.
The audio quality itself made for a pleasurable experience. As a heavy podcast listener, I’m always grateful when the technical aspects of the show do not distract from the content.
Ways to Improve:
An idea the creators might consider: using a compelling soundbite from your guest at the very top to tease what’s to come. For example, at around the :25 mark, the host tells us who we’ll be hearing from on this episode. Rather than a minute-plus of biographical detail, how about a great soundbite (good stuff at roughly the [5:43] mark), followed by an abbreviated bio? While we always want to give our listeners as much info as we think necessary, there was a great deal in the guest’s bio that could have been woven into questions and prompts throughout the entire interview.
The host might consider streamlining some of his questions. At roughly the [2:15] mark, Cross talks about both the personal project and printing. I listened to that setup three or four times, and felt like it could definitely be tightened. Jump into that great content! Trust yourself, your guest, and your listeners.
This episode has so much depth and emotion. The subject matter was really far, far beyond what had been promised in the intro. Had I stumbled across this on my own, I might not have stayed long enough to discover how wonderful it was. My suggestion to the creators is to tell your listeners right up front that yes, we’re here for the nuts and bolts of Photoshop, but we’re also here because photography itself is such a fundamentally human and emotional art form.
Owner of Sound Off Media Company and host of the Sound Off podcast
The show’s imaging: The show starts with imaging that states the title “Talking Shop” and then defines what the show is about: “The Podcast All About Adobe Photoshop.” A short concise piece of imaging is important because one can never assume that someone has listened to the previous episodes; imaging is especially useful if a guest or listener re-posts the episode to another website.
The interview: Very well structured and whether it was by design or not, I loved that the host Dave started the interview talking about a passion project that Glyn (the guest) is involved in. I could hear Glyn’s excitement for the project and immediately felt a part of the conversation and the story. So many interviews can feel “inside” but this was I felt included. There’s something wonderful about a great guest who can tell stories – and Glyn did just that.
Ways to Improve:
The Introduction: The introductory piece Dave read sounded like a standard biography, with the kind of wording one finds on a website. (Turns out it was.) I really wanted to be upsold on the upcoming interview with the host Dave telling me, in his own words, why I should be excited about the interview with Glyn, and what solutions the two were going to offer me. The interview and conversation is very good and deserved a grand introduction.
There were a few transitions that could be improved on: The first was immediately after the show opening where the host repeated the show title. (I’ve heard some people refer to this as “parroting”) The second is transitioning into the interview. After the introduction, Dave re-prefaces inside the interview what the show is about and what they are going to be discussing. (Glyn’s personal projects and the importance of printing) The challenge for the host is to connect the guest to the listener’s ears as quickly and effectively as possible.
Host of the Grammar Girl podcast and founder of Quick and Dirty Tips
Good job quickly saying what the show is about.
The guest and story were interesting.
The host seemed well prepared for the interview.
The audio quality was good; it was easy to listen.
Ways to Improve:
I like giving a lot of props to the guest, but the introduction of the guest seemed too long and sounded like it was being read, so I started to zone out before the end of that part. Try to streamline or spice up your guest intros.
About 12 minutes in, I was enjoying the interview, but I was also thinking, “Wasn’t this supposed to be a podcast about Photoshop?” It seemed more like it was about photography or even more specifically about being a photographer. That’s not a bad thing, but maybe change the intro to the podcast to make it broader than just “the podcast about Adobe Photoshop” so new listeners aren’t confused.
The guest mentioned a controversy about the GoFundMe, and you didn’t follow up on it. You shouldn’t say there was a conflict and pique people’s curiosity and then not say what it was! Since this is the only episode of this podcast I have heard, I don’t know if this is a pattern, but I might lose interest in the show if the interviews have too many softball questions or it just seems like a platform to flatter the guests.
Want to have your podcast critiqued?
Seth Resler is the digital strategist at Jacobs Media and 20-year broadcasting veteran. He worked on the mic and behind the programming desk at radio stations in New York City (WXRK), Boston (WBCN), Seattle (KNDD), St. Louis (KPNT), Providence (WBRU), and Silicon Valley (KEZR) before crossing into online marketing. Having produced and hosted six podcasts, Seth is a passionate advocate for the podcasting space. He helps broadcasters and other organizations develop and launch podcast strategies. He routinely speaks about podcasting at conferences, including the National Association of Broadcasters Show, the Worldwide Radio Summit, the Nielsen Audio Client Conference, and Podcast Movement.