Today, I talk about some predatory practices I've seen and heard about that may be designed to prey on the uninformed. In other instances, they appear to be prepared to serve the podcaster, not their audience. I explain what I feel is “normal” activity in podcasting (especially interviews) and what I think is “over the line.”

I also comment on a great article from Tom Webster, which ties in nicely with a documentary called “Worst to First” which shows how Z100 in New York City described their show in a way that positioned themselves as an authority.

Because of My Podcast: Craig From Live Well and Flourish

Craig got a speaking gig from being a podcast talking about AI. Check out Craig's show at

What Happens in A Normal Interview Situation

During the scheduling of an interview, you might be asked to do a pre-interview (always helpful). You might be asked to a bio, headshot, logo, and links to your social media.

In some cases, you might be asked for potential topics. While not the norm (usually, the person knows why they are bringing you on their show), this is not a red flag. In my opinion, this is someone trying to save time and wants to know the most straightforward path to the “good stuff.”

I use a tool called Brandy that I use to make a “press kit.”

What I Don't Consider “Normal” For a Podcast Interview

Look for signs of things that are all ABOUT THE HOST. For example:

“You need to leave me a five-star rating in Apple iTunes and take a screenshot of it.”

Here is a thought: if you can't get your audience to leave you a rating or review, THAT IS a red flag.

When you must pinky swear or write in blood that you 100% promise to promote your appearance (no matter how bad it is)…

You must supply 10+ questions for the host to ask you.

This wreaks of “I didn't research and don't want to.”

While I understand that the host doesn't want to waste their time interviewing you, that could be accomplished by them doing this thing called “research.”

Again, Stats Are Bogus

Companies Promising to Grow Your Downloads

Some companies approach you, promise to advertise, and put your advertisements on sites like Yahoo, CNN, and other places people go to READ stories. Your ad may have a button like, “Click here to listen.” Which takes them to a player or page THEY control (or a player they control). In the email I got, the company (whom I'm purposely not naming) could notify the site visitor about future episodes using THEIR system. When we say “subscribe,” this is NOT to Apple, Spotify, etc. This is to THEIR system, and you GET NOTHING regarding information about YOUR subscriber. Yes, I don't get any information from Apple, but I'm not paying Apple $500 monthly.

This will drive downloads up. The questions I ask are:

  1. How many of those people on Yahoo who click listen are podcast listeners?
  2. Why don't they drive traffic to a site on YOUR website where we use YOUR player from YOUR media host?
  3. Why not have links to subscribe to YOUR show on Apple, Spotify, where YOU control the data and don't have to rely on their numbers?

It's not that I don't trust their numbers. Actually, yes, it is. I don't trust their numbers, and I don't want anyone between myself and my audience. (which is why I don't recommend Apple subscriptions over something like Supercast).

If you do want to notify them, you can as long as you're still paying them $500/month.

Why not set up a page on YOUR site and buy some Facebook, TikTok, Google, Buzzsprout, ads? Then, you can use a link shortener like Switchy to monitor your progress. You also control your spend.

Just a thought..

Tom Webster Makes Me Think Again: We Need Better Descriptions

Tom Webster's insights are something I always take time to read. He makes me think, and I love to think. In his latest article, “Making The Case for Podcasting,” he explains that if we want to grow the podcasting INDUSTRY, we need to explain better the benefits of podcasting over other forms of media. For example:

Driving is stressful enough without having to jump around from station to station to skip commercials, find a better song, or change playlists. You don’t text and drive, so why try to manage all of that as well? Put on a podcast and keep your eyes on the road with your perfect drive.

There are four other examples that you should take the time to read.

Worst To First Radio Documentary

In the documentary Worst To First, you learn how Scott Shannon took Z100 from last place to first place by inventing a NEW format and then getting his audience involved to help promote the show. He let people know they were broadcasting from the top of the Empire State Building. This seemed to add credibility to their station (even though ALL stations broadcasted from the Empire State Building). How we describe our podcasting and our shows can make a difference.

I am guilty of arguing over RSS vs YouTube when the audience doesn't care. They want good content.

So ask yourself:

  • Does the audience care if you and your co-host met in the 4th grade? (or will they only listen if you had been together from the 3rd grade)?
  • Does the audience care that Tuesday is Tough Love Tuesdays and Fridays are Free For All Fridays? Think of it this way: Do you care what box your next Amazon shipment comes in? No, you only want the product to be good.

We Need to Showcase the BENEFITS of Podcasting and Not the Features

Features: Some features of podcasting are it's delivered via RSS, and it is time-shifted.

Benefits: You can listen to them on your phone, computer, or tablet and don't have to “tune in” at a particular time. This means you can listen anywhere, any time.

More Benefits: Radio is 30% advertising. Podcasting is much less, if not zero.

More Benefits: Mainstream media often has short interviews that don't cover much and are thinly veiled commercials for a product. Podcasting allows deep dives on topics with no FCC restrictions. You can speak as freely as you want.

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About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.

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