Several weeks ago, I recorded a podcast episode after doing a Google Hangout session. I had to use one audio interface for the hangout and different one for the podcast. The problem was that I had them both connected to the computer, and after switching from one to the other, the second one didn’t want to sync correctly (that’s what it sounded like to me). When your sync is off, it produces artifacts, and these manifested as clicks and pops. It was ugly.
Instead of ignoring the problem, we sent out messages on Twitter and Facebook addressing what happened. We posted a twenty second outtake from the show to let the audience hear for themselves. The funny thing was, as bad as it sounded to us, the audience didn’t seem to mind, and wanted the full episode. I wound up recording a little explanation to the start of the show and published the entire episode.
Everyone has a bad show. It might be a bad interview, the audio may be garbled, the file is screwed up, or you were just plain off that day. Whatever the reason, bad shows happen. It will happen to you. If it hasn’t yet, it’s because you have just started podcasting or you are deluding yourself.
So what can you do when you get in a similar situation?
Acknowledge the problem.
If the issue is of a technical nature, you don’t have to get into every little detail about why the problem happened, just that you know what it is. Also, you can mention that you are working on it. Most listeners want to know that the next episode won’t have the same issues.
Followed closely by…
This is a personal choice, and kind of depends on the severity of the problem. If it was a technical issue severe enough that the audio is useless, then the decision may have been made for you. If it’s just a bad interview, it doesn’t hurt so much to look human.
As our issue proved, what may or may not be acceptable to you could be different from what the audience thinks. Hedge your bets on the side of publishing.
Have a backup show ready.
If you have a more evergreen show, then it doesn’t hurt to have a segment or a show in your back pocket for such occasions. I haven’t found it very common to just have an episode laying around. If you make something, generally you want to publish it. Having something ready is nice but rare. If you have the time, it doesn’t hurt.
Do not deny the power of a super cut. Take the best parts of your shows, or some outtakes, and combine them into a clip show. If you don’t know what I mean by this, the very fun Ask Roulette has put out a few. You can find one of them here. Besides, it’s just kind of fun to say “Supercut.”
With our problematic podcast, all of the feedback we received was positive. Most people said they didn’t notice the problem, although I couldn’t see how. Something I thought made the podcast unlistenable was tolerable to our audience who is there for the content. By acknowledging the issue and talking about it, we headed off all of the potential negative comments about it.
Have you had a monumentally bad show? What did you do with it?