The State of LOTRO Podcasting

Friday, July 31, 2009

Today I ran across yet another LOTRO podcast, called That LOTRO Show. Doing so sparked some thoughts, or rather resparked some thoughts, on LOTRO podcasting and podcasting in general. In my limited observations (I'm only a podcast consumer, rather than producer) the most successful and engaging shows, for me, are ones with at least two hosts. Taking VirginWorlds for example, I find the most enjoyment out of shows such as Shut Up We're Talking and the VanHemlock Podcast because of the varied voices present. That is not to say solo hosted podcasts aren't well done, however there's something special about the hosts interacting with each other and perhaps guests that seems to elevate the production. Specific to the LOTRO podcasts, I find Moormur's guest segments (especially the dev interviews) the most interesting. Here there is more than one person talking.

Perhaps I'm pushing a bias of my own onto the LOTRO podcasting community. Certainly as a blogger I keep up with the news and patch notes so hearing it again in a podcast doesn't interest me. But that isn't necessarily true for other listeners.

Having a cohost on a show is both a blessing and a curse. The advantages are that you gain a bit of variety, and if the cohost is willing, you can split the work load of topic research, or even the production duty itself. The disadvantages are one of time constraints. Two people need to meet either face to face (impractical in this internet driven world) or arrange for a long distance recording session. There's not only the time commitments to work out, but also the tech behind getting both hosts recorded.

This post is the first mention of my thoughts - I have not talked to any of the producers of LOTRO podcasts, but I thought I'd voice my opinion to the general community. So, in a rare direct address to the readership, what do you think?

3 Responses to "The State of LOTRO Podcasting"

Shawn Says:

I completely agree with you that a 2-person podcast is generally better. It has better content usually (with 2 points of view) and can play that 'good cop bad cop' thing too. It's boring to listen to one person talk every single episode.

That said, I don't think you added enough to the 'cons' category of having more than 1 person. With 1 person, you only have to worry about your own mistakes, your own speaking style, your own schedule, your own enthusiasm for the topic. With more than 1 person, the potential for problems with any of these is multiplied. Scheduling is usually a HUGE issue (as you mentioned) and it's extremely difficult to get 2 people on at the same time. It is probably 98% of the reason why any of my own shows have ever been late or postponed. It's very frustrating and many people just don't want to deal with that.

Finding two or more people who can overcome these issues makes for a great show.

Yeebo Says:

I completely agree, mutli host podcasts are generally far more entertaining.

Sean Says:

I started off LOTROCast as a solo venture. The reason for soloing it is that I can control it from start to finish...there are no variables to contend with. I come up with the topic, I do the talking, I arrange the interviews, I do the recording, I do the post-production, etc. I dunno...maybe it's thhe control freak in me. I just prefer to guarentee that what is coming out of my podcast is quality material.

Then something happened. A listener emailed me wanting to do a segment called "The LOTRO Workbench." I agreed and for a few episodes, I featured him as a segment of the show. As I listened to his segment and how it fit into my show, I realized that my show was...missing something. It's fine enough to listen to someone pontificate on about their experience in Middle-Earth, but that's not what the game in general is about. It's about fellowship and having other people along on the journey.

And so I brought Alberos on as a co-host, and ever since then I have done episodes with him. I've found that it's more fun to record episodes when we are duoing, and I also find that post production is easier because I don't feel as obligated to go through and fix up every little miss-speak and gaff (there are some INTERESTING outtakes from the first 6 or so episodes)...instead, they now become part of the conversation. I have been converted to a co-host, and now, as I consider starting up a new podcast for ToR in conjunction with LOTROCast, my concern is less about what kind of content I will produce and more about what kind of relationships I will form with someone to convince them to come along on the podcasting journey.