I have recently been offended by PodShow, the podcasting network. They have a promotional audio clip which they are tacking onto the beginning of some of their podcasts (I am not sure why all of their shows don’t have this).
The promotion is a campaign to “help” them become a better company. They have a survey you can fill out which provides them basic demographics and not really much information on what they can do better as a company. But, their wording in the promotional audio, and the name of the campaign uses a word which I was taught was a curse word. I will not mention the word because I try to write in such a way that I am not embarrassed when my 9 year old son reads my posts.
The campaign says “Help us ‘stink’ less.” Aside from the wording they use, whose bright idea was it to market their company by saying, “We stink. We will stink when this is over. But, at least we will stink less.”? That has got to be one of the silliest ways to promote your company. Whether you agree as to the offensive/inoffensive nature of the word, it is still an odd campaign.
But, back to the main issue. I was listening to a religious podcast when I first heard this promo. I was shocked to hear it in the first place, but especially on a religious show. My family often listens to the podcasts that I download. I know which ones might be inappropriate for young ears. But when I am listening to a religious show, I don’t expect something like this to come up. Fortunately I was in the car by myself and listening alone.
I have written PodShow to give them my input. Though it has been a week, I have not heard from them other than the confirmation that they have received my email. I then wrote all the podcasts that I listen to which have had this audio tacked onto their show. I simply told them that I would not be listening to their shows until this promo is over. The responses I got back were interesting.
Two of them wrote me back within a few minutes saying that they greatly regretted that this offended me and that they would voice my concerns to their contacts within PodShow. They also offered to provide me with personal links to their shows without this promotional audio tacked on. At least until this promo is over. One of these podcasters I had never contacted before and the other I have sent an email telling him that I appreciate his show. Essentially little to no relationship with these hosts.
The third podcaster was the surprise. It is a podcaster with whom I communicate at least monthly on a personal level and almost daily through a mailing list to which we both subscribe. His response was kind, but hardly apologetic of PodShow’s tactics. He told me that he would let me know when the promotion was over and that I could listen again.
I have to admit, when I first read his response I read it in an offensive manner. However, he was not unkind. I want to say that. While he respected my opinion, he did not agree with me and did not indicate that he would be sending my concerns further up the food chain. Nor did he offer to provide me with an alternative to the show, which is something that I had requested.
This third podcaster I consider a friend. We come from two different worlds in many ways. But because of our personal relationship, I will not name who he is.
The first two podcasters are Lifespring! HymnStories with Steve Webb and Matt’s Today in History with Matt Dattillo. I give a hearty thank you to them as they seem to be more interested in their listeners than in the benefits they get from PodShow. This will in no way harm their PodShow relationship, but they have expressed sympathy to one lone listener. That will keep me listening and I hope you do too.