What's your opinion of the length of Armchair Arcade Radio?

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Lorfarius
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Probably a bit late to

Probably a bit late to comment as I've been a bit behind listening to the show of late mainly because of its length. I have quite a lot of podcasts on the go each tending to update every other week. I find the ones around an hour are best to listen to as they don't require much commitment of time whereas several hours of AA can be a pain if you drop behind.

AA isn't updated every week so I think breaking the show down into say hourly segments and releasing them over a few weeks would be a great idea.

Matt Barton
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Torn
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Well, that's what TwiT does, but I just honestly don't know if that's what's best for us. It would be a pretty radical change and there's no real sign that that would improve things much. The danger is becoming too fragmented. There are pros and cons to both approaches, individual segments versus one cohesive monthly show. I'm personally quite torn.

Yeah, me too. Rob, Carl, Clok, and Hammer have all made great points that have made me think a lot about all this. Why don't we do this month's episode as normal, and then try tweaking it next time? In any case, I do think we should try to keep our segments limited to 15 mins, splitting them up into series if necessary. Assuming everyone comes through, that's still 60-90 minutes worth of content. I think keeping it under 90 minutes is a good compromise for the time being.

If someone really needs a lot more time for a segment, he or she could always just put it up a separate podcast with a teaser in the main one.

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Bill Loguidice
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Different model
Matt Barton wrote:

I'm starting to warm up more to the idea of individual podcasts all under the "Armchair Arcade Radio" banner. It'd be like a mini-network with lots of great podcasts coming out regularly. The only thing this might preclude is guest segments, but I guess those could be plugged in wherever we have gaps in regularly scheduled programming. I assume all of our segments would be somewhere between 10-30 minutes long, with most of us somewhere around 10-15.

Well, that's what TwiT does, but I just honestly don't know if that's what's best for us. It would be a pretty radical change and there's no real sign that that would improve things much. The danger is becoming too fragmented. There are pros and cons to both approaches, individual segments versus one cohesive monthly show. I'm personally quite torn.

n/a
Matt Barton
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I'm starting to warm up more

I'm starting to warm up more to the idea of individual podcasts all under the "Armchair Arcade Radio" banner. It'd be like a mini-network with lots of great podcasts coming out regularly. The only thing this might preclude is guest segments, but I guess those could be plugged in wherever we have gaps in regularly scheduled programming. I assume all of our segments would be somewhere between 10-30 minutes long, with most of us somewhere around 10-15.

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Bill Loguidice
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If you don't listen to podcasts, it's hard to have...
Hammer wrote:

I must admit I've only tried to listen once, but mainly just because it's too long and I can't even imagine listening to the whole thing. If it had video, maybe, but audio only makes it even tougher.

Really the ideal length for something like this is 10 minutes. Break it up into bite sized pieces.

Well, that's just not practical. I can appreciate your perspective, certainly, but there are very few podcasts as short as 10 minutes (and certainly not ones with more than person doing it) and many that are actually an hour or longer (many of which are weekly, and some even daily). If you don't really listen to podcasts, though, I can understand being overwhelmed by the length. Thanks for the feedback, though, it's appreciated.

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Hammer
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Joined: 03/23/2008
3 hours is just too long

I must admit I've only tried to listen once, but mainly just because it's too long and I can't even imagine listening to the whole thing. If it had video, maybe, but audio only makes it even tougher.

Really the ideal length for something like this is 10 minutes. Break it up into bite sized pieces.

Rowdy Rob
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Weekly segments?

Not a bad idea, I suppose, to break the show up into shorter segments, although that might mean more work in some cases.

If it were a shorter "weekly" show, I would think that you'd probably want to have an opening monologue per episode, rather than the just the first part, then "file dumping" the rest of the parts over the rest of the month. It would keep the weekly shows sounding more like "radio," I think.

Here's a possible idea. One way to keep people's interest up every week is to maybe have "cliffhanger" questions every episode: "what game does this music come from?" or "Who wrote such-and-such for the Amiga?" or whatever. "Tune in next time for the answer(s)!!!"

Of course, if these ideas are implemented for a "weekly" show, it would negate the option of downloading the full month's episode, because you're unlikely to have monologues and "cliffhanger" trivia in-between each segment on a "full" show.

I dunno, just some thoughts.

Carl Williams
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Joined: 08/01/2010
I like the idea of spacing

I like the idea of spacing out the podcast in sections each week. This definitely would make for more content on a regular basis (I have found through working with other shows that going weekly in some form has only improved stats across the board, people are impatient, instant gratification and all of that). Great idea and one that I fully back up, whole heatedly.

I am not sure how you are thinking of doing it but there could be "assigned" weeks for each host. A deadline of sorts and any special guest host shots could simply be tacked onto whatever week's episode their content fits best. This really opens up the options available for bringing in more fans, additional opportunities in working with others and generally should improve the show all around.

While I don't mind longer podcast releases (I listen at work and work anywhere from 8 to 12 hour days on a daily basis each week), I can see the problem for those that are less fortunate in their time available to listen to shows. I hit this wall whenever I am done for the day and a great episode like AAR has another hour or two to go before it ends (I live about 5 minutes from work so just listening during my commute would take months to finish one episode).

Matt Barton
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I think we're all in

I think we're all in agreement that the segments shouldn't be artificially constrained. There's no practical expediency for doing so; it's not like we're dealing with a real-time broadcast or anything of the sort.

On the other hand, there seems to be general agreement that 3 hours is too long for anyone to sit through comfortably. That requires either listening to it in spurts or, sadly, only listening to the first segments and never getting around to the rest.

There's a few ways I could see proceeding here. One would be to simply roll out the individual segments during different times of the month. Maybe each week there would be new podcast content. Maybe Mark and Chris on Week 1, Matt and Bill on Week 2, etc. The advantage would be a steadier flow of content (instead of just once a month) and less to digest all at once.

Another option would be offer the podcast as one giant download, but also as chunks.

In either case, breaking it up would have one big disadvantage in that some people might only listen to segments they know they're interested in, and won't bother experimenting with ones they think they won't like. There's that possibility for discovery that is lost. Another disadvantage is that you lose some excitement because it may not seem like a big scale production.

I'm personally leaning towards the weekly podcast roll-outs with fewer segments. That would definitely make editing a helluva lot easier, since the editor would only have 2 or possibly 3 segments to work with at the time, plus they could be spaced out so that there would be fresh content available more often.

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Rowdy Rob
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Difficult to say

There's really nothing to complain about as far as content of the show, or the performances/segments of all the contributors. I have enjoyed it all. The show is entertaining, quality-driven, and enlightening. The format is sort of like a radio version of "60 Minutes," except with videogames! :-) And more fun! And, of course, it's longer than 60 minutes, which brings us to your question about the desired length of the show.

When it comes to length, though, the first segments out of the starting gate are much more quickly consumed by me. I don't multitask very well, so when I'm listening to the show, I'm most likely JUST listening to the show and doing nothing else.

Therefore, it is unlikely that I will sit and listen whole-hog to an entire episode in one sitting, especially when they're pushing 3 hours in length. I think the only episode I listened to in one sitting was the first one. I'll usually stop listening after the opening monologue and the first segment (or two), then come back and listen to the next segment or two on another night, repeating the process over the course of many nights. Sometimes, it has been over a week between listening sessions! I know that's bad, from your perspectives, but I promise that I do listen to the whole show, even if it is at a maddeningly slow and piecemeal pace. I usually start listening to the show later at night, so it gets to the point where it's too late to continue listening at bedtime, and I'll have to break it off.

I haven't been commenting on the shows as much as should because I don't want to comment before I listen to the whole show. I don't want to leave anyone's segment out in my comments, because it must suck to read all these "hey, I loved the first segments, I haven't listened to the rest yet" comments if your segment was one of the later ones in the show! Every contributor deserves to have feedback individually! By the time I've managed to complete the show, it seems the window of opportunity to post relevant commentary has passed. Therefore, my intention to give EVERYONE feedback ends up as an epic fail, because I end up giving NO ONE feedback. Yes, I feel guilty about this. :-( But surely, a lot more people are listening to the show than are commenting, so it's not all on me!

I have no idea if my listening style is typical of your AA radio audience, but if it is, then this long-episode format favors the first segments at the expense of the later segments. Not that the last segments are less enjoyable, it's just that it takes longer to get to them, which means it will take longer for those segments to receive feedback from listeners like me.

I don't know if that constitutes a problem on your end or not if a lot of your listeners follow my pattern. And if it is a problem, I don't know how you would fix it. Shorten the show? I dunno, the individual segments have an enjoyable length, and don't need to be shortened. If you were to shorten the show, that would mean cutting some of the hosts' segments altogether, which is surely not the way to go. I have yet to hear a segment that wasn't interesting (which is surprising, considering the number of hosts and subjects covered so far), so what a loss it would be to lose segments.

So... I don't know. I suppose the current format and length is the only way to do this type of show, but it makes it difficult to garner immediate feedback, which is of primary importance for your "reward" for doing the show.

I don't know if any of this helps you or is of interest to you. I'm not sure if my example can be extrapolated into whatever percentage of the audience you think I might represent.

I hate to say it, but the real problem isn't the show length, the hosts, the subjects; it's not anything about the show itself. The problem is US, the listeners. I, for one, have not been diligent about at least giving feedback about the show, and I should be, since I have been a faithful (if slow) listener and rabid "consumer."

I think this is symptomatic of our "drive-by" consumer culture. How many creations (articles, music, videos, games, etc.) have we consumed for free over the net, yet have never left feedback or thanks to the original creator(s)? I try to say something occasionally, but the sheer volume of free content I consume and enjoy would make commenting a full time job! That's not fair to the creators involved, especially smaller-time content creators that aren't already receiving overwhelming feedback and gratitude.

It is a neglect of mine, and I need to correct this, especially about AA content. As for the show, Bill's "as long as it needs to be" philosophy seems to be the best way to go, but I suspect that most listeners will have to listen to the show "piecemeal" like I do. If the "piecemeal" listening style is objectionable to you, then I have no advice on how to fix it without gutting the show into something less entertaining.

Sorry for the long rant...

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