We all have pet peeves.
We all have these things that irk us deeply.
This is one of mine.
Rule 9 in podcasting:
Don’t talk about the weather!
And if you do this in your podcast, it’s just wrong.
No apologies. None. Talking about the weather in your podcast when your podcast is not about the weather is an irksome way to start your show.
And that’s when you usually hear it. It’s like an ice breaker.
It’s what you say to strangers when you’re in an elevator.
“Sure is cold, ain’t it?”
They reply, “For sure for sure. Hope it warms up.”
Elevator arrives at your floor and off you go.
That’s fine for an elevator speech.
In a podcast?
Not fine. Not fine at all.
Typically, weather talk in a podcast goes like this.
Host: My guest today is so-and-so. Welcome to the show.
Guest: Great to be here.
Host: I saw in the news you just had a heat wave.
Guest: It was so so hot here.
Host: Highest temperatures on record right?
Guest: We broke all sorts of records this week.
Host: How hot did it get?
Guest: It was 105 yesterday. They say it will get up to 107 today.
Host: Wow. How hot did it feel? The heat index?
Guest: Yesterday around 11 am the heat index was 116 degrees.
Host: 116 degrees? Oh man that’s hot!
Guest: You better believe it. We’re all staying inside any place with air conditioning.
Host: I should hope so!
Guest: But some relief is coming soon.
Guest: Weather report for Friday shows highs only about 99 degrees.
Host: I bet it’ll feel like autumn has finally arrived!
Guest: I’m sure it will. We might venture outside in a couple of days.
Host: Haha. Wow. So amazing to hear what you’ve been through.
Guest: Oh yeah. Lots of sweating.
Host: We should probably tell folks why you’re on the podcast today.
Host: So-and-so is here today to talk about his new book on making your own podcast.
Guest: It will be published in about 6 weeks from today.
Host: Of course, we record these shows ahead of time, so by the time this show airs the book will be available.
So what’s wrong with weather talk?
This fake podcaster talked about something that means nothing to 95% of the listening audience. The listeners came to learn how to make their own podcasts. The listeners came to hear a talk about the book.
Instead, the first several minutes of the show is filled with something they don’t care about.
But what about building a rapport with the guest and with the audience? Lots of people like listening to that kind of small talk.
Which brings us to another problem.
It’s old news
Many podcasters record multiple interviews ahead of time. It’s a good strategy. Helps them stay consistent with their podcast, publishing new episodes on time.
But by the time this episode was released, the heatwave was over, and the book was already available!
Even if a listener lived in the same city as the guest, that heatwave was no longer an issue. And for the 95% of listeners who were not in that region of the world, it was not news for them at the time—certainly not six weeks after the fact.
More than six weeks later!
Did everyone listen to that episode the day it was published?
No, they didn’t.
Think about this.
Someone’s looking to start a podcast. They find this podcast. They see an episode with the writer of a book on how to start a podcast. They get excited, subscribe to the show, and play the episode.
But it’s February 5, 2018. The weather lately has been about snow storms! And here are these two talking about a heat wave six months ago!
It’s a waste of time
I know that sounds harsh. But for practically everyone who listens to a recording made several weeks before it’s released or even a half year later, sitting through all that wastes their time.
Three to five minutes might not sound like much to you, but it is to your listener.
That listener chose to listen to you. Respect that. Give them what you promised them in your episode title.
Don’t waste their time with weather talk—or anything that is old and irrelevant.
My Rules for Podcasting