In an Ocean of Podcasts, How to Enjoy the Chaos


PodMov Daily: Friday, September 17

Episode 506: Week Download Complete

In an Ocean of Podcasts, How to Enjoy the Chaos

Julie Shapiro will never catch up on podcasts. For 25 years, the executive producer of Radiotopia and Ear Hustle has made a career out of listening — just about constantly. Her secret to enjoying the endless landscape of content may help you out, too. It begins with Snoop Dogg’s comments on dressage in the Olympics.

In January, Shapiro heard two unrelated episodes that happened to mention horses. Since then she’s tracked every time they pop up as a kind of personal game on Twitter. For fellow overwhelmed listeners, “maybe a similar thread would offer some relief and reward?” Any topic will work, from Star Wars to citrus.

This offbeat tally system has served Shapiro’s life in unexpected ways. In a constant flow of stories, it’s a chance to take a closer listen: “The Horse Thread is completely inconsequential and nonessential, and yet it keeps me steady, navigating through the roiling ocean of podcast content we’re all swimming in.”

Ups and Downs: Podcasting’s Trough of Disillusionment

We’ve all been in the Trough of Disillusionment, that dreaded place between the excitement of a new project and actually getting it off the ground. According to Karen Burgess of Pacific Content, “The Trough isn’t as bad as it might seem. It just feels that way because you’re comparing it to that overinflated peak.”

Burgess uses a model showing that “over time, there are ups and downs — but cycles eventually resolve, often returning the system to some kind of balance.” The Peak of Inflated Expectations (“that post-brainstorm, everything-is-awesome phase”) is followed by a dip. Building out a new idea is tough, and often demotivating.

To escape the Trough quickly, podcasters need “well-planned, well-articulated and aspirational expectations.” Burgess explains how a realistic attitude allows creators to appreciate the first signs of progress. “It’s time to use all the method and the magic you have at your disposal to find your way to higher ground.”

Wise words this week from Julian Shapiro, a writer, marketer, and developer who recently learned the struggle of podcast storytelling. For your own creative struggle, we recommend his essay on the value of bad ideas. Enjoy!

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Social hour: Tomorrow from 11:00 am to noon CT is Podcast Share Hour by Podcasts in Color, the last of 2021. Berry will be resharing POC shows posted up to 24 hours ahead. Twitter posts and Instagram stories must include a description, link, the creator’s city/state, and #PodsInColor.
  • Video evidence: Just one takeaway from yesterday’s Latino Podcast (non)Listener Report 2021: “YouTube seems to have become the go to search engine for almost everything among Latinos, especially young Latinos.” Read or watch to learn more from the 64% who aren’t yet listeners.
  • Quarter note: This Thursday, September 23, Libsyn’s Elsie Escobar will host “Podcast Planning: Reach Your 2021 Year-End Goals.” The free workshop will cover taking inventory, managing time, creating a realistic task list, and the value of early planning for a strong year ahead. RSVP required.
  • Star chart: An upcoming “podcast movie” from C13Features isn’t “really a movie at all — or at least not a traditional movie. Who are we to define what a ‘movie’ is?” Sam Barsanti of The A.V. Club figures that big names (in this case, Kate Mara and Adam Scott) distinguish it from audio drama.

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