We’ve listed our most frequently asked questions, but you can always contact us if we haven’t answered yours!
As many as your ideas need, and not a single episode more.
In practice, though, we find that it’s helpful for listeners if you break down your show into seasons or cycles of either 10, 12, 13, or 23 episodes. This mimics the format that most broadcasters use, and it’s just a format that audiences have grown familiar with.
There’s no rule that says you can’t drop “season two” directly after “season one,” though.
Thinking about your show in “season” format is also really helpful when planning your content and preventing burnout. We’ve spoken with many aspiring podcasters who feel that starting an open-ended show seems overwhelming. Focusing on just your first ten or twelve episodes is a much easier way to get started.
Yes. 28 minutes and 30 seconds.
Although podcasts aren’t bound by the rules of traditional broadcast radio, this is one legacy best practice we can really get behind, for a few reasons.
- First, most of your podcast listeners will experience your show while commuting or while multitasking. Most folks commute for less than a half hour in each direction, and most activities get interrupted or broken up at around the half hour mark.
- Second, “Average Quarter Hour” is one of the most important metrics in radio, and experienced broadcasters will tell you that it’s nearly impossible to keep listeners focused across more than two 15-minute segments. Keeping your episodes below 28:30 ensure that more of your audience will enjoy a beginning-middle-end experience, and they won’t abandon your show mid-episode.
- Third, we’re seeing more radio stations and networks “borrow” podcast programming to fill time slots on traditional channels. If you’re already running below 28:30, it’s much easier for your show to become eligible for these enhanced distribution opportunities.
Of course, you might have way more than 28 minutes of ideas—or a conversation you can’t bear to edit. When that happens, just split that content across multiple episodes, so your audience can digest it better. Just because some of the heavyweights in the industry can pull off two hour recordings doesn’t mean your audience is ready for you to do that just yet.
We’re fortunate to have so many excellent podcast platforms competing for your business.
We’ve personally used, and can recommend:
- Fireside: We’ve posted plenty of episodes of our own podcasts here, as this service from podcast pioneer Dan Benjamin was built with all the knowledge gained from Dan’s years managing the 5×5 podcast network. If your podcast emphasizes guest interviews, Fireside’s built-in website generator has the cleanest guest tagging system we’ve seen.
- Transistor: This fairly new entrant to the pack includes one of the cleanest embeddable audio players on the market—it’s the one we use for our own portfolio and blog notes recordings.
- Anchor: If you’re dreaming of monetizing your podcast, this Spotify service makes it easy for you to start hosting sponsored recordings for free. A great starter service if you’re dabbling as a hobbyist, too.
Over the years, we’ve also worked with Blubrry, Libsyn, and Simplecast. They’re all solid, and your decision will likely come down to a specific feature that you’re really attracted to. We’re happy to help our clients make that decision, and we can also help you migrate from one platform to another if you end up changing your mind.
We do, and we’re preparing a rundown of our favorite tools. Plus, Marco Arment wrote a fairly definitive microphone guide a few years ago, and we already agree with about 98% of that.
However, we also believe that the best gear is whatever you have with you at the moment. We’d rather hear you capture raw audio on an iPhone or even on a cassette deck than miss the opportunity to record at all. Our post-production process is surprisingly forgiving.
When you sign up via our secure website, you’ll enter a credit or debit card that we’ll charge monthly for your service retainer. We’ll continue to charge your monthly retainer amount on the same date each month and extend your retainer to include four more episode production cycles.
We ask clients to commit to a minimum cycle of four episodes per month. If you know you’ll be on hiatus or you suddenly experience an event that forces you to pause production, just contact us. We can suspend your production and resume it when you’re ready.
(Please keep in mind that, after the acceptance of your “pilot” episode, our production fees are non-refundable.)
We use automated credit card billing to keep our overhead low, so we can offer lower prices to our monthly service clients. However, we understand that some organizations can’t always use a purchasing card for professional services. In those instances, we have partnered with FundboxPay to offer Net 60 financing.
We’re fans of the tradition of finding a fun quote or a play on words to use as an episode’s title. During our transcription and post-production process, we can suggest a few ideal titles for your episode.
Not only do we find them helpful in post-production, we believe they are essential for both accessibility and search optimization.
We use an automated system to generate a “first draft” transcript, which is then corrected and refined by our research team at the same time they’re preparing your social media snippets and publicity copy.
Yes, and because we want to, not because you’re making us.
We’ve designed our studio to work with a small handful of clients at a time. We think that strong personal relationships make for great radio. Therefore, we’ll meet at the outset of our work together, and at routine intervals throughout your production season. Although we won’t suggest meetings when e-mail will do, we will use our time together to discover more about your goals and about the unique qualities you want your show to transmit.
The first time we work together, we’ll provide extra time and a single round of revisions so we can learn your preferred audio style.
After that, we’ll optimize our process based on your preferences so the finished product is ready by broadcast standards. If we’ve made a technical error, we’ll fix it for free. However, if you want to take a second swing at editorial changes, that production will count as an additional episode.
To keep our prices as low as possible, we ask clients to commit to a routine production schedule. If you miss your drop-off time, we’ll usually be able to accommodate you at our next window—typically 2-3 days out. If we discover that you’re routinely missing deadlines, we’ll work with you on a production schedule that can help build a buffer of inbound material.
When you’re using our team for all of its pre-production capabilities, expect about 2-3 weeks from concept to completion. If you’re just dropping off raw files for us to edit, we usually turn those into finished episodes within three business days.
We take vacation about 3-4 weeks per year, and we’ll alert you well in advance so we can get ahead of your distribution schedule.
Our core production offering includes guest research. While we won’t be able to guarantee that we’ll book a shopping list of dream guests, we can use our network of publicists and subject matter experts to ensure you’ve got strong, diverse, interesting voices on your show.
Sure, we might be biased on this one.
We’ve seen plenty of apps, bots, and “AI” generators all promising that you can record and launch a podcast right now with no experience! And that may be true for casual podcasters, especially if you’re just recording quick solo monologues.
However, competition for sound quality among podcasters has grown intense. Shoddy editing, muffled recordings, and lack of attention to detail can lead audiences to ignore your ideas.
Our team specializes in helping non-broadcasters sound great on the air. We do what no app can—hone your unique voice and match it to the production elements your audience will truly enjoy.
Many podcast networks and distribution platforms now support the ability to show alternate cover art for each of your episodes. Upon request, our design team will deliver custom art based on a core template with each new episode, at no additional charge.
We can help you source talented voice artists from our network of actors and broadcasters, as well as from our partners who represent narrators and voice professionals from around the world. (We’ve even been known to drop a few voiceovers ourselves.)
Talent and licensing fees are not included in our production packages, but we can help you locate talent and negotiate voice rights at no extra charge.
Yes, and it’s one of the things we do best.
Our core production service includes access to our research team, who can provide a guest dossier that includes suggested questions or other background research to help your interviews sound insightful. (A few of us started on NPR productions, so we know how to get past the fluffy chit-chat and into the real guts of a conversation.)
Although we don’t create original theme music ourselves, we have an agency license to a large library of “needle-drop” music that is already cleared for podcast use by our clients.
We can also help you source licensed music from professional libraries, or commission original compositions from within our professional network of composers and performers.
Our production process includes generation of social media text and images, ideal for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Our team pulls a few of your episode’s most compelling quotes and turns them into instantly-shareable social content. We even generate social-optimized waveform videos as part of our core package, at no extra charge.
Our new client onboarding process includes access to our design resources, who will generate a network-ready covert art asset if you don’t already have one of your own.