Meet the People Who Listen to Podcasts at Super-Fast Speeds:

Rachel Kenny started listening to podcasts in 2015 — and quickly fell behind. “As I started subscribing to more and more podcasts, they started stacking up, and I couldn’t keep up at normal speed,” the 26-year-old data scientist in Indianapolis told BuzzFeed News. “I also had to listen to the backlist of all the podcasts when I subscribed to them.” So Kenny began listening faster: first at 2x, then she worked her way up to 3x. She stopped only because “that’s just as fast as the Downcast app allows.” She estimates that she listens to five to seven hours of podcasts a day (which equals 15 to 21 hours at normal speed), “so maybe 20 to 40 episodes a day or 100 to 250 a week,” she said. She tracks her listening habits on a spreadsheet.

Ok, that’s a shitload of podcasts.

The article says a lot of these speed listeners are “completetists” who have to listen to the entire backlog of podcast once they’re committed. It strikes me as a form of obsessive-compulsive disease.

I’m definitely not a completetist. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m forty and with each passing year I grow more aware of my mortality. I don’t want to waste my remaining time listening to shitty podcast episodes just so I can mark them as “completed” in my head.

I’m a regular listener to The Joe Rogan Experience, but I find episodes all the time I have no interest in finishing and I when I make this realization, I delete that epsiode immediately.

With regard to speed, I do listen to podcasts from 1X to 1.5X, depending the the general cadence of the show. For audiobooks, I’ve gone up to 2X if it’s a slow narrator.

“My head makes the pictures.”

The New Bedtime Story Is a Podcast:

“What I love about this space is that it feels much more similar to reading to a child than it does sticking them in front of a screen,” said Emily Shapiro, Panoply’s director of children’s programming (and a co-founder of the New York International Children’s Film Festival). “With visual media, you can get these brain-dead kids who are just plugged in and being fed all of their entertainment.” But with podcasts, “they’re creating the world.”

We all descended from people who huddled around fires and told stories.

It should be no surprise people love (good) podcasts.

Why Podcasts Don’t Use VBR MP3s

Marco Arment, creator of the podcasting app I use on my iPhone, Overcast, explains why podcasts don’t use VBR MP3s, even though they’re more space-efficient and sound better:

AVFoundation, the low-level audio/video framework in iOS and macOS, does not accurately seek within VBR MP3s, making VBR impractical to use for long files such as podcasts. Jumping to a timestamp in an hour-long VBR podcast can result in an error of over a minute, without the listener even knowing because the displayed timecode shows the expected time.

I’ve been using time-jumping links on YouTube videos for years. It’s really handy.

Like this clip of George Carlin naming the seven words you can’t say on television (circa the mid ’70s). Here is a link starting from the beginning, and here is a link jumping right to him saying the words.

It’s too bad podcasts don’t support this. I splice in sound effects and little easter eggs throughout my podcasts all the time. It would be great to have direct links to them instead of having to remember the timestamps.

Ways to Remove “Um” From Your Speech

The Subreddit ‘LifeProTips’ has a great thread on ways to remove “um,” and words like it from your conversational vocabulary:

Replace your “ums” with spaces. You begin your thought with something as simple as “I’m…” space space space… then just finish your thought as it comes to you: “not really in the mood for spaghetti tonight.”

Eventually, the spaces will get shorter. “Um” and “uh” and “er” are crutches. Keep using them, and you’ll always need them.

I like mrwizard420’s response to this:

This is… absolutely correct. If you were to look at… certain famous people like… President Obama, you… would see this technique… used quite often.

(Bonus points if you read this in… the Obamavoice.)

Adding spacings and pauses in your speech is the most common piece of advice in this threaad.

As someone who’s continually trying to get better at talking on his podcast, this thread handy.

Podcasting is Process

Over at AIGA’s Eye on Design blog, Jude Stewart solicited advice from podcasters on everything you need to know before starting a podcast:

Perhaps the most pungent advice comes from The Poster Boys’ Schaefer: “Fail. Screw up. Fall on your face, and embarrass yourself… Only you can figure out what you want your thing to be.” Podcasting is process. At its best, it should resemble every creative act: messy, iterative, dogged. For game talkers, mistakes-enthusiasts, learning-junkies, media-pioneers or some combination of the above, podcasting may be the ideal pursuit.

This rings true to me.

When I started my Weekly Exhaust podcast last year I didn’t know what I was doing. Technically, sure, I knew how to get it up and running, but the actually talking-and-making-it-interesting-to-listeners part? No clue. When I go back and listen to the first handful of episodes I hear how rookie I was.

Editing episodes at the beginning was tough too because I couldn’t stand the sound of my own voice (most people can’t), but with time I’ve grown more tolerant of my voice. I attribute this to repetition and getting better at talking, although I still have to work on my “ums” and “you knows”.

At the end of the day I do it because I enjoy doing it and I’ve discovered how to make it a great compliment to this blog. Posts from this site, combined with talking points I capture throughout the week in my Simplenote app, give me fuel for each week’s episode.