I’ve always been pretty lucky in that I generally get lots of feedback. Only upwards of 5% of any audience ever responds or tries to participate in radio shows. I think likely translates over to podcasts, though podcast listeners do tend to be a bit more participatory.
As a Rush Limbaugh listener I’ve never tried to call in or have even felt motivated to, especially since with his show in particular you would likely have to set aside a couple of hours or more to get through to him while waiting on all the advertising breaks.
I don’t view the thousands of other podcasters out there as competition to my podcast, and here’s why. My podcast is about what I’m thinking about, talking about and reacting to today when I’m recording the podcast, and that’s something that’s uniquely mine that no one else has a window into.
If I were trying to do a music podcast, I’d be in big trouble since I’m not really that obsessed with music. The music I’d like to share with my audience is 95% off-limits RIAA music, so rather than trying to concentrate on finding podsafe music to share, I occasionally share podsafe music that I’ve found that I really like.
The podcasts I’m listening to are based around the personality of the podcaster. How many friends do you have? Do people have to compete to be your friend? Conversely do you have to compete to be friends with other people? Again, these are areas where competition isn’t an issue.
Would it work if I had someone “fill in” for me on my podcast? Not at all. What it really comes down to is how one approaches podcasting. If it’s based around personality, then competition doesn’t enter into it. If it’s based around doing a certain “type” of show that’s more about production that any good producer could string together, that anyone could “fill in” for as a guest host, then competition suddenly becomes something to worry about.
The only way I could have a “guest host” on my podcast would be maybe if I developed schizophrenia or multiple personalities!
There are likely people who “sample” my podcast and find they don’t care for it and move on, just as there are many people I meet that I don’t become friends with.
The other thing revolves around motivation. Is a podcaster motivated to make new friends and communicate with old ones? That’s really what keeps me motivated to podcast. If I was trying to “create” something with my podcast other than making new friends and communicating with old ones, I’d have lost my motivation after the first month or two. Despite the fact that I’m politically conservative and do believe in God, I’ve got a way of approaching most people that doesn’t scare them away that I don’t really understand all that well myself.
Podcasters that are coming into it just to create slick “content” quickly lose their motivation and fade out. It happens all the time.
Regardless of how many podcasts come on board, commercial or not, I’m still going to be out there finding new friends and communicating with old ones. When it really comes down to brass tacks that’s why I do it and that’s what keeps supplying my motivation.