Image: headphones placed over four books. From Pexels.

Enough With The Chitchat

Or, how your podcast is driving me batty…

Michelle Prak
3 min readJul 11, 2020

When I begin listening to a new podcast episode, my thumb hovers over the fast-forward arrow.

It’s not that my time is so precious. It’s not to avoid any intro music.

I’m skipping ahead because I can’t tolerate the podcast hosts’ chitchat!

[I’m talking about hosted podcasts of course — the type with conversations and guests. Fictional or serialised podcasts usually delve right into the story, which is awesome.]

If you’re hosting a podcast where you delve into your favourite topics or want to share your knowledge — please, get on with it. I don’t want to hear three minutes of pleasantries or observations on how crazy your morning has been.

Image: woman wearing headphones.

Who does this?

This article is difficult to write without naming names.

Yet I don’t want to shame any podcast creators. By and large, they come from a good place — they’re putting love and effort into their show.

So let me try to give you some descriptive examples instead:

  • The pair of middle aged authors who begin every episode by discussing the weather. EVERY EPISODE.
  • The myriad podcasts which begin by asking each guest how they’ve coping with the COVID-19 era. All guests make the same observations and have the same weary attitude. ENOUGH.
  • The co-hosting actors who make observations about each other’s hair and outfit for the day. And re-use the same compliments for each other.

Do you think I’m being too harsh?

Do you need your podcast host to warm things up with chitchat? Perhaps for some listeners, it seems more relatable and personable. Maybe, to do anything else would ‘rude’ or too blunt.

Is it my heritage’s fault?

Perhaps it’s my own natural communication style which is influencing me. I’d rather get to the nub of a conversation immediately rather than chat. I don’t want to be reductionist or racist, but could my attitude be connected to my Dutch and Finnish heritage?

If you read about Dutch communication styles, the terms ‘blunt’ and ‘direct’ and ‘straightforward’ appear again and again. I know my Finnish family to be quite reserved. In this article, it’s said: “The Finns don’t do small talk, as this is often seen as useless and unnecessary.”

That perfectly describes how I feel about podcast chitchat!

And I’m not the first to debate this.

The School of Podcasting ponders “ is it just me or do podcasters tend to spend too much time on ‘Chit chat’ at the beginning of their podcasts?” There’s also forum threads on Reddit and Quora, like this one. [Of course there are forums…]

Am I impatient?

Or is it reasonable to expect that podcasters spend less of their minutes catching up with each other, or the weather, and get on with the show?

What do you think?

p.s. I took great pains to ‘get to the point’ in this article. Did it work?