Today we have some lessons from fast food that apply to podcasting, and I talk about zagging when everyone is zigging,

Bernie's Greatest Hits

1:58 My cat is pretty popular on this show as he chimes in all the time. When I went to Pittsburgh last week apparently he got a record deal. He's releasing “Bernie sings the hits”

Someone Is Doing a Show Like Mine – So I Didn't Start my Show


One of the most frustrating parts of being a consultant is seeing someone who has the right stuff to create a podcast, but they are more skilled at finding reasons not to press record than actually pressing record. Today I have two points I want to make

Someone will come to me and say, “I want to do a podcast about ______” but someone is already doing a show like that. The first thing I say is to go to iTunes and see when their last episode was published. Many times the person has already hung up their microphone.

But what if they haven’t?

Let’s look at McDonald’s. Here are some interesting facts (well facts according to Wikipedia). McDonald’s was not the first hamburger chain. A&W was first in 1919 followed by White Castle in 1921. McDonald’s didn’t come about until 1940.

Fun facts:

McDonald’s started as a barbecue joint. They found that hamburgers were more profitable. So they started in one direction, and then followed what their audience wanted. I always say your podcast is a recipe not a statue. You can change it any time you want.

White Castle developed the supply chain and automation to have a nationwide food chain way before McDonald’s did. But when McDonald’s did, they didn’t recreate the wheel. They looked at what others were doing, and borrowed the best, and tweaked the rest.

Now when burger king came along in 1953 did they say, “I would open a restaurant but someone else is doing “Assembly line” hamburgers? No. They didn’t recreate the wheel, and they tweaked it (adding flame broiling and “have it your way” at Burger King).

What is the one thing that is common here? Well in the US apparently we can’t get enough of hamburgers. If you throw some meat on a bun and squirt some ketchup on it, we will eat it. In America I think if you put enough ketchup on anything we will eat it.

They saw their competition and looked at ways to innovate. Breakfast was introduced. Bigger hamburgers like the Big Mac were introduced in 1967. Later the innovation of the drive through window.

So if someone is doing a show like yours, WHO CARES! If you think it will be fun, if you think people will enjoy it, DO IT. The WORST thing you can do for yourself in podcasting is COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS.

Podcasting is like golf, while there is competition, you are really only competing against yourself.

Now to my second point, and this builds on innovation. Todd Cochrane recently launched a new Podcast Legends show and it is interviewing podcast pioneers (people from 2004 – sorry Chris Hardwick is not a Pioneer) and one of the things I forgot about (I started in 2005) was the WHACKY shows that just made you go WHOA!?!

Yeast Radio was by Madge Weinstein and was one of the most subscribed to podcast in 2005. Madge would say outrageous things about the government, about her hygiene (she was often bloated), and in general said things often people only think. She was an angry, jewish, fat, Lesbian. There was one other small twist.

Madge was a dude (Richard Bluestein ).

One other thing, if you could handle the language, Madge was pretty darn funny. Madge was the queen of tuning in because you didn’t know what to expect.

The really cool thing was there was NO WAY that this would EVER be on radio or TV. It’s kind of what made podcasting special, unique, and intimate. Madge is still going strong at

One person did a show called the daily download where he recorded his thoughts while using the bathroom…

Dave Slusher from the Evil Genius Chronicles mentioned how one podcaster had a show called Podcat where he would play clips of other shows intermingled with clips of his cat.

Why did people do this?

Because THEY COULD. There was no radio, no FCC, no program directors, and it was YOURS. If people didn’t like it, WHO CARES. Podcasting was much more of an art form. People grabbed their stick microphone and press record, because they had something to say, and they could be creative.

I think we’ve gone too far from those days. Now we over-think podcasting as if our lives depended on it. We are all preparing as if this is going to be a full time job some day because it might be. That is true.

Maybe We Should Zag?

I was listening to the Start Up Podcast where they have a team of 18 people per podcast (roughly), and when they launch a show it sounds painful. It sounds like there so up tight about it. I guess they should be as they are doing this as a business. But let's look at women singers. Back in the day Madonna stood out for singing in her underwear. No EVERYBODY sings in their underwear. So now there is  someone sings with a bit more passion, keeps her clothes on, and has oodles of talent that lead to her selling 31 million records (Adele). She stands out because she's not doing what everybody else is doing. Maybe, just maybe it's time to stop doing a “This week in,” or “On Fire”, or “Three guys one brain” shows. Maybe, just maybe we should all spend that extra time figuring  out if there is something we can do that might make us stand out (realizing that there is no way to do something 100% original)

Fun Fact: According to a CNBC story 60% of restaurants fail in their first year. This is a company that is serving FOOD. That is something every single person on the planet NEEDS (not wants).

Now we have podcasting that only roughly 30% of the planet even knows we exist, and people think they are going to make six figures talking about their love of Barbarella and other fun movies. I hate to be skeptical, but that might be a tough road. This is what is bothering me.

Just because you can’t make a living with your podcast shouldn’t stop you from starting it. If you would have fun with it, then start it and have fun.

When you look at the people making big bucks in podcasting, and you stress our about it you take the fun out of, well, FUN.

That my friends is a crime

My Favorite Podcast Is (2016 Version)

22:52 It's that time where I ask you to answer a very hard question. What is your favorite podcast? You can only pick ONE (no ties). Then (more importantly) WHY IS IT YOUR FAVORITE? You can CLICK HERE, and let me know (and be included in the last episode of the year, and in the 2016 version of the book).

Podcast Glossary “B”


Bit Depth, Sample Rate, Export or Encoding Rate
I want to use the analogy of a camera here. Let's say you are taking pictures at a Nascar Race, and there is a wreck. One person has a camera that takes 10 pictures per second, and the other person takes 5 pictures per second. Who has the better representation of the wreck? The sample rate is how many times your recording device (computer or portable recorder) “takes a picture” of your voice. The standard is 44.1 which means it takes a picture 44,000 times per second. Can you go higher? Sure, but there is a minor problem. Most everything is created at 44.1, and when you mix with other sample rates, those will need to be re-sampled. Not the end of the world, but in the end remember most people are going to listen to this in their car or ear buds. The details you gain are not really worth the hassle (in my opinion).

So what is Bit Depth? If we stick with the analogy of the camera, the Sample Rate is how many times per second the recording device “takes a picture” of your voice, the Bit Depth is the megapixels on the camera. Most people record in 16 bit. Can you record in 24? Sure. Is it needed? Not in my opinion, but if you ask engineers who do music they will disagree.  In photography bit rate it is how many colors are used to make up a picture, so more bits would be a better reproduction of your audio (but again, we are getting into overkill).

You want to record in a “lossless” format. Lossless means the sound you record is what you hear back. It does not lose any quality. That's the good news. The bad news is these files are HUGE. So when you record you want to record in WAV on a PC or AAC on a Mac. This keeps the best quality. But you don't want to force your audience to use these big giant files that destroy data plans. So we encode them as MP3 files which are much smaller and still sound good.

So I want to use the analogy of painting a house now to explain encoding. The sample rate is how much pain it on your brush. The encoding rate is how fast you move the brush across the house. If you go too fast no paint gets on the house. If you go to slow, you get too much paint, and it may run. There are three formats that are used frequently.

128 Kbps Stereo. This is sometimes referred to as “CD” quality. That is debatable, but it is the highest acceptable rate (IMHO). Meaning anything above this is too much, and you are just wasting storage space, bandwidth, and the difference in audio is almost unnoticeable. (So anything above 128 is too much paint on the brush)

64 Kbps mono. This file is half the size of the 128 kbps but has no stereo separation (which if your show is mainly talk, is not a big deal).

96 kbps mono. This is used for people who feel the extra bits make the files sound better.

You could also say that 64 mono / 128 stereo “Cover with one coat” of paint. Anything below 64 (32 kbps ) you don't have enough paint on the brush (and you get hiss, and bad audio).

Podcast Rewind

Ham Radio 360 had a listener download his back catalog and listened to him for two weeks.

Mike Murphy Unplugged – Has the Adobe Audition listening to his show (last week we mentioned that you never know who is listening)

Glenn Hebert from Horse Radio Network

Podcaster's Roundtable -Listeners to Subscribers

Join the School of Podcasting Worry Free

Click here to join

Daily Podcast Tips

Daily Podcast Tips! Put Your Inbox to Work

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.
1 comment on “Is It Time for You To Zag?
  1. Thanks for Bernie’s hits. I laughed all the way through. And a great point about excuses NOT to start podcasting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *