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     Home »  Doctor Who: Podshock »  Podcast duration
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     Friday, August 11 2006 @ 02:16 PM EDT
    [Quote  by:  tarashnat]I feel that for many people the issue is not the actual length in minutes/hours of the show, but the amount of time spent off topic or just meandering around a subject after the sailent points have been sufficiently covered. One needs to not be afraid to chop out material that doesn't add value to the podcast. A two hour podcast can be interesting if much of it is covering new ground. But it takes a lot of disipline and preparation to make a two hour show work.

    As a listener this very much covers how I feel. It's not that Podshock should be 30 minutes or 60 minutes of 120 minutes but that the ength of each show should be a appropriate for the material being covered.

    Back when Doctor Who wasn't on our television screens you could probably have done an hour a week about Doctor Who without it ever getting boring. With the new series it's not surprise that there's so much more to talk about. With new episodes airing at different times in the UK, Canada, Australia, US, etc there are going to be times where it will be tough to do a show in less than two hours. At other times doing quicker shows will be a lot easier because there is less happening in a given week.

    I would hate to see the show not cover something vital just because the objective is 90 minutes rather than 120 minutes. Equally I would never want to see show shows passed out just to meet a goal either. This doesn't seem to be a problem but if there are times when something is being covered that is not of interest it's no difficulty to skip over it.

    As long as the podcasts don't get boring and the presenters work reasonably well to keep on topic I think they will find their natural length. Now that there is no new Doctor Who on tv in the UK I think we're seeing the length gradually drop down again. Things will pick up a bit when new episodes are being showing in Canada and the US and then drop down again while we wait for series three. I don't think we're going to see the show go back to 2+ hours every single week for a very long time.


    "There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything we believe in. They must be fought."
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     Friday, August 11 2006 @ 02:29 PM EDT
    I've said it before, I also agree with those who enjoy the longer podcasts. I also worry about Louis, but I am totally in favor of a roundtable discussion with no edits. I listen to several podcasts that are recorded totally live, with no postproduction, that include every cough and "ummm..." and those minor pauses are a fair tradeoff for lack of the postproduction work of those behind the editing desk. It allows for more time to be spent on the actual content of the episode, plus the number of episodes that can be put out in a given time. I'll reference a podcast that atomic99 got me into called Comic Geek Speak. they release 3 epsiodes a week, each at about 90 minutes. They just sit around and talk, occaisionally do interviews which are just recorded earlier and played into a microphone, and all the sound effects are live, such as the theme tune. It doesn't always come out 100 polished, but they put out almost 5 hours of podcasts a week and never have to do any editing.
    Louis, I know you are a perfectionist on this, but you may want to just consider it. Not 5 hours a week, just less editing. Goodness knows you are doing the show out of the kindness of your heart, you shouldn't have to work so hard at it.

    Heath Holland
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     Friday, August 11 2006 @ 03:15 PM EDT
    As far as i'm concerned the longer the better! BTW, great idea Colin Exclaimation

    "Now Brigadeer, have I ever led you astray?" "On many ocassions!" "Ah.. well... this will be the exception!"
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     Friday, August 11 2006 @ 04:50 PM EDT
    I will say that after my old 2g iPod was stolen, and I got a 4g one, the long podshocks are much easier to deal with (as I can use the enhanced podcast things to skip around, and even if I go off and listen to my workout mix, or my deep thought mix, or celtic music podcasts) I can come back to the same spot I left.

    I will second Taras's comment about focus though. It does get old to hear the same points rehashed over and over.

    As I've said before, I like the nice post-production, so I'd prefer to keep it 'enhanced'.

    My $0.02 - I think Ken is used to having to fill 2 hours on Hair Hut, and I think Louis loses focus during the show trying to produce it. Smile

    Again, had I all the time in the world, I'd listen to as much as Podshock could produce, but I've lots of other podcasts and such to cover as well. Tiki Bar TV and Ask a Ninja really slurp up the time... Wink


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     Friday, August 11 2006 @ 05:35 PM EDT
    As a listener of both this podcast and Comic Geek Speak from episode 1, I can say that the two do have a lot in common. However, there are some dissimilarities, as well. A comparison of the two might therefore be useful.
    Screw manners and get a fourth (or even) fifth host
    The biggest single difference is that the group is larger at CGS, and each person has a different area of expertise. So the conversations are both bigger in scope, and yet more self-limiting. On most topics, once they've made a "trip around the table", they move on. They often have to just move on because, really, one person will make a point, and the others have so little experience with that point that's just been made, that they can't rebut it. Hence, they get more points made, but they're naturally self-limiting.

    That's not always the case with Podshock. Maybe it's because there are only three people, on most occasions, but some discussions do seem to go round and round the three principles until it's talked to death.

    A related point is that you are all way too polite to each other. You're friends. We know this. You're all good men who were raised well. But you don't have to keep tip-toeing around each other's feelings, because all those apologies, and "sorry, mate, go ahead"s, and "I can see where you're coming from, but"s—they all waste time. Seriously, check out any kind of discussion show. You never, ever see such extreme politeness.

    My big recommendation, specially on listening to Podshock 49, is that you get a permanent fourth host, preferably someone whom you don't know at all, so that feelings don't come into it. Or someone you know very well to be of a different temperament than you, but who can take frank confrontation in stride.

    The real secret of Comic Geek Speak is that each of the main speakers comes across as having a fully unique personality and set of core values. And they're not afraid to respond when those viewpoints are directly challenged. There are subjects which are known to rankle each host—"buttons" the audience has become accustomed to seeing pushed—and they all just kinda go for each other's jugulars when the mood strikes. Until maybe the last couple of months, it's been really hard for me to discern the philosophical difference between you guys, because you're all so incredibly on the same page.
    Get a format; the timing will come
    With the exception of interview shows, CGS is always around 1:30±10mins. That's a good length. They get there because they have a format and they stick to it. Now, they don't stick to it religiously (if they, or a guest, has something to say, they'll go over), but they do have a framework that's there. You do, too, but it does seem to be something you remember more at the top of the show than at the bottom. Youl'll start out with news and announcements, but often after that the show goes down a list of topics more than show "segments" per se. There should be listener feedback in every episode. There should probably be a "classic series moment" segment in every episode. There might even be some sort of game, like CGS "Stump the Rios", in every episode.

    Louis, one of your complaints of the CBS Letterman is that they took away all those fun segments at the top of the NBC show. Same thing applies here. You don't have a recognizable and vigorously applied format, yet. You need to find your inner "Stupid Pet Trick".

    Say "I don't know" when you don't know
    Aside from redundant politeness, one of the biggest things that bogs the show down is you guys trying to remember some point from the classic series, when, really, you don't know. If you don't know, it's really okay. Now there haven't been a lot of cases of this lately, because we've been in full-on new series mode, but in a lot of the earlier episodes, you'd stumble around for some bit of classic series trivia, and it really wasn't that important. If you don't have the facts on the tip of your tongue, don't even bother. It's just wasting time.
    Edit out the crap
    This has been said by another poster, but there really are a lot of extraneous ramblings, especially at the top of shows. The "news" section is often particularly cluttered. In your first few months, that news section hummed along beautifully, for the most part. But lately, you seem to be getting "news" and "editorial" confused. Keep focussed on what's actually news and consider inserting a little "late-breaking" clip at the end of whatever you guys record jointly. If it's the night before the episode gets released, and some news breaks, you really shouldn't let that episode go out without inserting a newsflash of some kind, especially if the "new news" contradicts what you've pre-recorded. You guys have gotten caught flat-footed on that a couple of times, and there's no reason for it.

    Those instances are comparatively rare, though, in the slow-moving world of DW news. Where you go wrong more often, I feel, is in turning the news segment into a soap box. Save that Stargate, SCIFI-hating bile for an editorial segment later. Get in and get out with the news. Then organize your thoughts into a single editorial (or maybe even editorial discussion), and then let it go. The running commentary on your pet peeves has got to go. The first time, it's interesting. As a subsequent "zinger", it's a fun joke. But week in and week out with fairly detailed SciFi-bashing? That just took away from substantive discussions about Doctor Who itself.
    Get rid of the clips
    Seriously, they're a) spoilers; b) illegal; and c) time-consuming in post-production.

    The clips you have at the top of your show, and frequently in the middle, are a waste of time and they're illegal to boot. Really, the only time you can maybe squeak by on legal grounds is if you're including them as part of a review, in which you're referencing that particular part. Check out Absersoch's SJS reviews. That's an appropriate use of clips. They're short, to the point, and at least arguably legal.

    On Podshock 45, for instance, it was almost three whole minutes before the show actually started. You're averaging, lately, around 2 minutes of pure clips before the name of the show is even mentioned. People that listen to your show have either a) already seen what you're sampling or b) don't care to know anything about it until it comes to their part of the world. What Podshock, and only Podshock, can give them is the content you bring. Thus, make that the first thing they hear. Have a list of all the things you're going to cover in that week's show within the first minute or so, and let that draw them in.

    All these little added soundbursts from the show are just eating up not only the listener's time, but your time as well. Think how much easier your life would be if you didn't have to go sample that stuff, then convert it to the right format, then place it into the mix, then bring the levels into harmony with the rest of the show, etc. etc. And then, at the end of the day, some poor sucker listens to the Podshock, not expecting to be spoiled right at the very top of the show and *boom* it hits 'em like a ton of bricks. So they switch off and think, "Well, I'm not comin' back here again, until I see the new series."
    Have special editions
    Something is different this year to last in the way you've handled the new series. And that is you're doing the show while Doctor Who is in first run in Britain. So while the show was largely spoiler free until April 2006, it has since then become a show you really couldn't fully enjoy unless you wanted to be spoiled. This was, I think, an error on your part. It could have been solved by adopting something the CGS crew do. They totally avoid spoilers in their main Podshock, but still keep current with big comic events by doing reviews in separately released installments. This would give your listeners the freedom to "shop" through your episodes to take only the amount of spoiling they wanted.

    It's kind of funny actually. The entire reason I switched to your podcast over Tom Dilahunt's (now defunct?) one was that you guys were initially very careful about spoiling things. Since April, though, it became impossible to really enjoy the show without knowledge of the second series. And it's not just in the reviews sections anymore. It's full-on assumed throughout the length of the podcast that you've seen the second series.

    I don't know, maybe there's not really a way around this. The temptation might just be too great. On the other hand, I can't help but think that it's such a long-running franchise that there must be something you can talk about for an hour a week that didn't verge on spoiling things. Maybe if the main show became thematic and the "SpoilerShock" was left with current episodes, you might have something that could fill up two whole episodes a week.
    Use listener contributions in a way that reduces your workload
    From the sound of things, you're sitting on a ton of user contributions that you've not systematically catalogued and scheduled for use in upcoming shows. I have a feeling that if you were to get people to use key phrases in their topic lines when they submitted stuff, and you build filters on your e-mail inbox, you'd be able to see this stuff a lot more easily. Then you'd be able to start "programming" this stuff. When you did, I bet you'd find that you only had to record about an hour of your own discussions each week, which might well leave enough time to record a separate "AfterShock", "SpoilerShock" or whatever during the same sitting.

    Put another way, let us help you take some of the recording burden, and you'll probably find that you can release completed episodes more quickly. I would think, too, that the forum could be used more powerfully as a way to determine show topics. I know that many shows at CGS are born on their very active forums. Maybe if something catches your fancy there, instead of responding on the forum, you could use it as a jumping-off point for the show.

    Okay enough with the rambling. Agree, disagree, do as you will—but do please take all this is the constructive spirit in which it was offered.

    "I think of myself as ambitious in casting terms, and I know that Bonnie [Langford] has the potential to make the part totally unirritating . . ." — JNT, 1986
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     Friday, August 11 2006 @ 05:51 PM EDT
    Darth, good stuff, man. I just don't want Louis to feel like we're hijacking the show. We're only suggesting these things to improve a show that we really love. I'm really with you on the sound clips. I usually fast forward through them. I think a strict format is a good idea too. As for multiple hosts, you've got Ken, Louis, James, Canadian correspondants (like Russell), Australian correspondants, and ME. no, just kidding about me. There's enough people in the mix already, to me.
    I also like what you said about everyone being so polite, even though I'm too polite to bring it up myself. How about Louis saying "stick to the format, Ken, or screw you!" Just kidding, guys.
    Really, as far as format goes, there's enough there already, if it was never wavered from. You've got news, reviews or editorials, listener feedback, there could be a retro segment, like you say, that's your 90 minutes, right there.
    But Louis, Ken and James, no matter what you do or don't do with the show, I love it and will continue to listen, and vote on podcast alley for it as well. It's still the best Doctor Who related podcast out there.

    Heath Holland
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     Friday, August 11 2006 @ 06:23 PM EDT
    Oh, absolutely. We're just looking for ways to make it even better.

    "I think of myself as ambitious in casting terms, and I know that Bonnie [Langford] has the potential to make the part totally unirritating . . ." — JNT, 1986
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     Saturday, August 12 2006 @ 05:44 AM EDT
    Wow Darth - you've really thought this through!

    I've got to say I'm finding it harder and harder to find the time to listen to the show. I don't have an iPod (I have a Zen) and although it has a bookmark feature it's not easy to 'stop and start'. Anyway, I'd also prefer to listen to the show in 'one session'.

    On the subject of hosts, If you're looking to add another I vote for Abersoch!!! I loved Colin's Big Finish reviews and the Podshocks he sat in as a host were some of my favs!

    I agree totally with Darth's comments on the politeness, if the show was shorter it probably wouldn't bother me but as much but on a show of this length it can get frustrating to listen to.

    Maybe an idea would be, if you don't already, is to have a loose 'script'. I don't mean the lines you're going to say but more a list of bullet points on what to discuss, who's going to discuss it and in which order. You should then nominate somebody to be 'lead host' who acts as a chairman making sure the script is followed and to keeps things 'on topic'. This lead can be permanent or you can rotate it.

    I truly love the show and do look forward to listening to it. However, like others I do listen to other podcasts as well so I don't want Podshock to take up all of my week to listen to. The other show I listen to religiously is Adam Curry's Daily Source Code and I think it's the very high production of this show that shows the 'rough edges' on Podshock (I appreciate Adam Curry is an ex MTV VJ and has a long history as a DJ so this is an unfair comparison). I'm not saying PodShock should be as tight as the DSC, it shouldn't, but I would dearly like to see some tighter production. I have felt that the length of some shows could have been shorter without losing any content just by keeping on topic. Also, have you considered looking to see if there is an alternative or backup you can use for Skype? It can also get very difficult to listen to when James' link starts to break up. Perhaps you could investigate other services that aren't as flooded with users?

    Anyway, these are just my thoughts please don't take mine or anybody else's comments out of context. We love Podshock but as with most things everybody has ideas that will make things 'better' and for every five people that don't like some aspect of your show there will be another five who love that aspect!

    Please keep up the good work and thank you for having an open enough forum on your site to allow this discussion!

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     Saturday, August 12 2006 @ 08:51 AM EDT
    I agree 100% with Darth's giant posting on the 4th page. I love this forum, I like the host's passion and knowledge of the subject, but I find the podcasts very difficult to listen to because they are not succinct.

    If Worzel Gummidge and the Third Doctor had a fist fight - who would win?
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     Tuesday, August 29 2006 @ 06:49 AM EDT
    Well, I must admit I do find it difficult to listen to a two hour podshock episode in one session. I would appreciate a duration of 90 minutes, but as long as the show is as good as it is, I will always find a way to listen to it Big Grin

    I agree on some points mentioned in this thread:
    - the clips tend to be a bit too long lately
    - sometimes you keep rambling on about a topic, even though you all agree about a point, that can be a bit boring
    - sometimes you do mix up news and editorial

    but, so what!

    This is a fan-made show, I like it because it's not perfect. James doing these typical "umm" sounds and Louis always trying to get back to the news when Ken is once again annoyed by Stargate/Sci-Fi channel ... Those are like running gags and I wouldn't want to miss it.
    Perfection is boring.

    I would just recommend one thing: Don't apologize for not playing or reading out feedback. It's your decision to do it or not. We all understand that you receive far too much feedback to include it in the show.


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     Monday, September 04 2006 @ 10:07 AM EDT
    I personally don't mind the marathon podcasts. As has been mentioned, that just means there's more to love. I do realize, though, that having cable Internet means large podcasts are no problem for me to download. I don't know how many of the listeners have dial-up, ISDN, or other slower connections. Large programs might be a problem for them. I wouldn't be in support of more hosts. Personally, I think if you have more than 3 or 4 people are more likely to talk over each other and interupt each other and that gets really hard to follow. There was a This Week in Tech podcast with a large group like that and I stopped listening in the middle of it. The sound effects and stuff added in post-production are nice touches, but I wouldn't miss them if it meant it would be easier to get the new programs up faster.

    I'm going "Full Circle" and putting my avatar back to what it was when I first joined. :)
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     Thursday, August 31 2006 @ 06:11 PM EDT
    Well I have to say that I'm firmly in the 2hrs is great camp, but I only listen to a few Podcasts a week so I can understand if people have more to listen to then it would be difficult. I think that the 80-90 minute format that Louis & James have mentioned are indeed a 'happy medium' that would please most people.

    One of the other Podcasts I listen to goes for about 30-40 minutes, but it just feels so rushed and straight to the point- almost as if they can't wait to get to the end of the podcast and go home. One of the things I like so much about Podshock is the relaxed and conversational nature of the show. It's great how you discuss the news items as you go, rather than just stating the news and moving on... If I wanted that, I'd read the news on OG. The casual nature of your show is one of it's positives- even if it means rants and off topic ramblings- I find them quite entertaining!

    Whatever happens (and I hope the show doesn't get too short!) perhaps if the show is too long for you, just skip over the bits you don't want to listen to. I don't see any reason for people to stop listening completely just because it is too long. You're missing out otherwise! Big Grin

    Keep up the great work guys and do what you think is best for the show- and for your sanity in Post-Production, Louis!


    PS- Ever thought of doing a live show with live listener contributions during the show, and interaction before and after the show?

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     Friday, September 01 2006 @ 05:15 AM EDT
    I have to add my voice to those hoping for a shorter Podshock. And I completely agree with all of Darth's comments above. That's all I wanted to say really! I do enjoy the show but, as Jon rightly pointed out at the top of this thread, the structure needs to be tighter.


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     Saturday, September 02 2006 @ 07:07 PM EDT
    Podshock is good, more podshock is better.

    Epecially for those of us who check iTunes every day in the hope more honey will have dropped into our virtual laps.

    London busses are famously frustrating, you can wait weeks for one and then three come along at once; or something like that. Remind you of anything?

    Why not break podshock up a bit? I think the news should be a seperate file. Right now it's nostalgia.

    Also all of those awkward spoiler/non-spoiler reviews (can I say this? just fast forward a bit) could be seperate files. You could listen to them when you'd actually seen the episode.

    Our thoughts should mainly be with Louis. We can always fast forward through reviews of big finish CDs we'll never buy, or just give up during feedback. Louis has to sacrifice hours of his young life so we can do that. I wonder if breaking it up a bit would help him?

    Just a thought, but I would definitely like to see the news seperated out.

    I wouldn't want to lose Ken's rambling rants, or his stunned silences when Louis thinks he's been a bit quiet and tries to bring him in.

    Cheers guys,


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     Sunday, September 03 2006 @ 01:10 AM EDT
    Interesting indeed are the ideas on "slimming down" Podshock. The one thing that really drew me to the show, was the "home made" feel to the show. Just a couple guys getting together talking about their passion...which is "Doctor Who". I have listened to just about every show recorded, and for the most part I like the show. But of course there are things that would make the show more streamlined.

    1) We get that Stargate and most shows on the SciFi network are crap. We do not need to be reminded every 5 minutes.
    2) Yes we know Ken worked/works in radio. No need to remind us.
    3) We don't need special intros to all the people leaving feedback on Skype....(Don't know if they put that in or it is done in post production)
    4) If possible, are there more people you could play feedback from? It gets kind of old hearing from the same people leaving voice feedback.....(There must be more folks doing that) Lets hear from new people.

    Now this all being said...I still like the show.

    Just little suggestions.....On our end, we can always Fast Forward or stop the playback.

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