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  • Thoughts On Podcast Structure: Part 2 – Segments

    July 21, 2014 · 2 comments


    [Read Thoughts On Podcast Structure: Part 1]

    Every podcast is divided into segments. Even the hip shows that don’t do intros and just dive into the interview, dialog or conversation have them even if it’s just one or two. A lot of new podcasters fight segmenting their show. They are concerned that it will stifle their creativity or limit the scope of their potential topics. In the same way blinders limit a horses’ vision to help him focus on the road ahead, segments help you to instantly know what content you need created each week as determined by your topic.

    The Case for Segments

    Imagine that you are a logo designer and someone came to you requesting a logo. They’re only instructions are, “I trust you, just make it look good!” I’m a logo designer and this is the worst thing you can say. I need to know what you want, what style, fonts, colors, do you want a character? I need limits! If I know what you want I can deliver that exact thing quickly and easily… but when I’m told “anything goes” my creativity is wasted on missteps and stabs at the dark.

    Many first-time hobby podcasters want to just have a ‘fun’ show. Just them and their buddies talking about different topics. Even this very common podcast idea can be improved greatly by structuring with segments. In Part 1 we learned about taking your idea and working it into a Logline. Let’s apply the concepts in that post to our generic teen ‘just for fun’ talk podcast.

    Minor Geeks is a weekly Pop-Culture podcast where Comics Collector, Steven Teen and Movie Buff, Eric Tween talk about Games, Movies, TV and Comics, whether they’ve seen them or not! Hilarious observations and your media comments and suggestions every week on the Minor Geeks podcast.

    Listeners Prefer Predictability

    Now we take the information we were forced to commit to from the Logline and churn out some segments. I’m going to format a show the way I would do it in order to explain my point. It’s a suggestion, not a rule. It’s your show so have fun with it, but understand… people love predictability. Every show you watch religiously you do so because of the patterns. You don’t know specifics, but you know the characters and how they behave, respond, and react. When one of them starts operating outside of their character, it seems wrong and weird. I remember how LOST changed about half-way in. Heroes did the same thing. We like the new developments, the twists and the story archs, but it’s all within the boundaries of the world of the story, the characters, the situation they are in, and their goals. In a similar way your listeners will return to your show when they know that they’ll be getting more of the same. Most of that is the personality of your hosts (the unscripted part) but the foundation for that is the content (the scripted part).

    Sample Podcast Segments for Minor Geeks podcast:Introduction

    • Preview
    • Intro Music
    • Welcome/Greeting
    • Opening Chat

    Main Content

    • Topic(s) Intro
    • Recap/Descriptions
    • Interactions – Good/Bad? Why? Major or Minor?
    • Trivia Challenge
    • Listener Feedback / Q&A


    • Closing Statements
    • Next Week’s Topic
    • Outtro Music

    The Three Main Segments Every Podcast Needs

    In my opinion every podcast should contain a minimum of 3 segments: Introduction, Main Content, Closing.

    The Introduction should contain the show’s title, a brief description or tagline, introduction of hosts and the show’s topic. Introductions are important because every show is someone’s first show. The new listener needs to know what they’re listening to, and they need to hear each host identify themselves in their own voice. The listener needs to know who is speaking throughout the show. The introduction does this. The intro should be scripted, polished and quick.

    The Main Content segment is your playground… as long as every segment idea originates from the purpose of the show and contributes to the topic for the episode. A show reviewing movies might have a Scoring segment, Funniest One-Liner’s segment and so on. A show about technology in the homeschool environment might have a segment called Education App Review, or Internet Safety Info.

    The Closing is a quick segment that has a few elements of it’s own. It should let the listener know how to connect with the show and it’s hosts after the show is over. It should bait the listener to return to the next show with a preview of upcoming topics. The hoses should each be able to say goodbye with an optional bit of music to tie up the ending.

    Now let’s take all of that and plan out an episode of Minor Geeks. Notice how right from the get-go I have list of exactly what content I’m going to need on any given topic. I can even subdivide certain segments to other hosts and spread the work out a bit.

    Sample Show Notes For Minor Geeks PodcastTopic(s): Iron Man 2, Barbie Comics, LostPreview – Minor Geeks Podcast, Episode 4, recorded on May 9th 2015. Today’s topics? Iron Man 2, Barbie Comics & LOSTIntro MusicWelcome/Greeting – Welcome! Hosts introduce themselves (Same order weekly)Opening Chat – Brief updates from the week. Things we’ve seen and done.

    Topic Intro 1 – Iron Man 2

    • Recap/Descriptions
    • Interactions – Good/Bad? Why? Major or Minor?

    Topic Intro 2 – Barbie Comics

    • Recap/Descriptions
    • Interactions – Good/Bad? Why? Major or Minor?

    Topic Intro 3 – LOST

    • Recap/Descriptions
    • Interactions – Good/Bad? Why? Major or Minor?

    Trivia Challenge

    1. How many people did Iron Man kill?
    2. How many horses did Barbie ride, then kill?
    3. How many eyeballs were featured in the first season of LOST?

    Listener Feedback / Q&A

    Steve – Wants to know if we’ll ever review music too?
    Anne – Voicemail about Iron Man 2
    Bart – Hates LOST

    Closing Statements

    • Visit us online at www.minorgeeks.com
    • Follow us on Twitter @minorgeeks and Facebook!
    • Leave us an iTunes review!
    • Email your feedback to minorgeeks@gmail.com or use SpeakPipe on our main page.

    Next Week’s Topic(s) – Iron Man 3, Sandman Comic Series & American Dad

    Outtro Music

    With structured segments your show prep is simplified and the listener gets the diverse content they crave with the consistency they prefer. So the “generic fun teen geek talk show” has become a focused, entertaining podcast hitting on the host’s passions and with a virtually unlimited amount of movie, comic and tv topics.

    Already have a podcast? It’s not too late to add structured segments? Think about your best episode ever. What went right? It doesn’t matter the topic, how did you cover it? Look for the natural segments in your show and give each a title. Pick your topics in advance and fill in fresh content for each segment before every show. Your show will be tighter, more focused, more fun for you and more entertaining for your listeners.

    Starting a new show? I’d love to hear your logline, see your segments and offer any advice I can. Have an existing show? I’d love to see yours as well. Post it in the comments or email me directly: james@nlcast.com

    • ProlificBeing

      Such wonderful advice. I am awakening my old podcast, the prolific being podcast and I definitely took some notes off of here. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find podcast structure tutorials and examples.

      I had a similar structure in mind, this just confirms that it was alright. some differences.
      1. I usually have one topic so I have adopted your topic structure for that one topic.
      2. I have noteworthy in place of trivia challenge, here I just share anything that I saw, read or heard since the last podcast. Nothing related to the podcast just think it’s noteworthy.
      3. I added the “next week’s topic” after seeing it here. I think it will help me get more organized and commit a bit more.


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