How Long Should A Podcast Be? [Deciding Podcast Duration]

by | Start

How long should a podcast be? It’s a universal question, one I get asked all the time. The short answer: it depends. The long answer: that’s why we’re here. We’re going to dissect the many factors that go into determining the perfect length for your podcast, and guess what? It’s not just a random number you pluck out of the air!

You see, podcasting isn’t a one-size-fits-all venture. Like a jigsaw puzzle, multiple pieces contribute to the perfect podcast picture, with the length of your podcast being one vital piece. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll dive into the labyrinth of podcast lengths, why it’s so darn crucial, and how you can determine the ideal length for your podcast.

Related: Start a Podcast People Will Listen To

The Importance of Podcast Length

How long should your podcast episodes be? That’s the million-dollar question. One could argue it should be as long as it takes to deliver valuable, engaging content to your audience and not a minute more. There’s more to it, though. Let’s delve into why podcast length is so crucial.

Initial Impression

First impressions count, and the average podcast episode length is often the initial impression listeners get. They glance at the duration before deciding if it’s worth their time. So, a short podcast might appear digestible, while a long podcast may convey depth and substance. But be careful! If it’s too long, you risk intimidating potential podcast listeners.

Listener Expectations

How long should a podcast be? Listener expectations are a crucial factor to consider.

Listener expectations also play a role in the importance of podcast length. If a listener expects a 15-minute daily news roundup, they may be put off by an hour-long episode. Remember, meeting listener expectations is key to winning their loyalty and keeping them coming back for more.

Attracting New Listeners

Your podcast length also affects how well you attract new listeners. Shorter episodes can serve as “gateway content,” allowing potential listeners to get a quick taste of your show without a significant time commitment. In contrast, longer episodes may appeal more to podcast aficionados who crave in-depth content.

Listener Retention

Listener retention is another critical aspect where podcast length plays a pivotal role. Do your listeners stay till the end or drop off midway? Audience retention can be influenced by your podcast’s duration.

Role of Content

The content itself plays a vital role in listener retention. High-quality content can keep your listeners glued, regardless of length. But remember, even the most gripping content can lose steam if dragged out unnecessarily.

Influence of Podcast Duration

Longer podcasts offer more content but can also result in listener fatigue, which may lead to a drop in retention rates. A sensible balance between content value and podcast format can be the key to keeping listeners engaged till the very end.

Impact On Subscription Rates

Subscribers are your most loyal listeners. The length of your podcast could influence whether a listener chooses to hit that subscribe button or not. Ensuring your podcast length aligns with your target audience’s lifestyle and preferences could be the game-changer in securing that subscription.

Role In Ad Revenue Generation

Let’s not forget ad revenues. If monetization is your goal, the length of your podcast directly impacts your ad revenue. Podcasts that are longer have more space for ads, but this must be balanced against the risk of losing listeners if there are too many interruptions.

Factors Determining The Ideal Podcast Length

Selecting the ideal podcast episode length for your podcast isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. The “perfect” length can vary widely depending on several factors, ranging from your audience’s preferences to your content genre. Let’s unpack the factors you need to consider.

1. Target Audience

Who’s your target audience? Their preferences significantly determine your ideal podcast length.

  • Demographics: Demographics, including age, occupation, and lifestyle, play a crucial role. For example, busy professionals may prefer short, punchy podcasts they can consume during a commute, while retirees may have more time for longer, in-depth content.
  • Interests: The interests of your audience matter too. Are they looking for quick tips or an extensive deep dive into topics? Catering to their interests will help you strike the right balance in length.
  • Listening Habits: Take a moment to understand the listening habits of your audience. Are they listening while cooking, running, or during a long drive? The context of when and where your podcast is consumed can help you tailor it to the perfect length.

2. Content Type and Genre

The type and genre of your podcast can also influence its ideal length. Let’s delve deeper.

  • Educational Podcasts: Educational podcasts often require more time to fully explore topics and provide valuable insights. However, it’s important to avoid information overload. Break down complex concepts and aim for clarity, not just length.
  • Entertainment Podcasts: Entertainment podcasts such as comedy or storytelling have more flexibility in length. The entertainment value and engagement are more important than the actual duration.
  • Interview Podcasts: Interview podcasts often vary based on the conversation flow and guests. Some conversations may naturally run longer, while others can be concise and impactful.
  • News and Updates: News and updates podcasts are typically shorter, providing the latest information in a concise format that listeners can quickly consume.

3. Release Frequency

The frequency of your podcast release impacts its length. Daily podcasts tend to be shorter, while weekly or bi-weekly releases might run longer, offering more comprehensive content.

4. Quality vs. Quantity

Quality always trumps quantity. A shorter, high-quality podcast will always perform better than a long, drawn-out podcast with little value. Keeping content quality high and providing value to the listener should be the ultimate goal, regardless of length.

Related: Planning a Podcast

Popular Podcast Lengths And Their Success

As you navigate the podcasting world, it’s beneficial to take note of popular podcast lengths and understand what makes them successful. Podcasts come in all shapes and sizes, from bite-sized 10-minute quick tips to marathon 3-hour deep dives. Each length has its unique advantages and audience, but the key to success lies in delivering value consistently, irrespective of duration. Let’s unpack these different lengths and explore their unique benefits.

1. Short Podcasts (Under 20 minutes)

Short podcasts are bite-sized pieces of content perfect for quick consumption. With our busy lives, there’s a growing trend towards these shorter podcasts that can be consumed during a commute, on a coffee break, or while doing chores.


One of the primary advantages of short podcasts is their convenience. Listeners can consume an episode in one go, reducing the need to remember where they left off. This also makes them more likely to complete the episode, improving retention rates. Plus, shorter podcasts are more manageable for creators, who can focus on delivering high-quality content without needing to fill a long runtime.

2. Medium-Length Podcasts (20-45 minutes)

This is the Goldilocks zone of podcasting – not too short, not too long, just right. Medium-length podcasts provide enough time to delve into a topic in detail while still being reasonably consumable in a single sitting.


The beauty of medium-length podcasts lies in their versatility. They allow for a deeper exploration of topics without the risk of listener fatigue associated with longer formats. They’re also ideal for interviews, panel discussions, and serialized content.

3. Long Podcasts (Over 45 minutes)

While longer podcasts might seem daunting, they provide an avenue for deep dives into complex topics, detailed interviews, and engaging stories that require time to unfold.


Long podcasts can provide a rich, immersive experience for the listener. They allow for deep, meaningful conversations and exploration of topics in a way that shorter formats might not. However, they require significant investment from the listener and thus need to deliver high-quality, engaging content.

The Role Of Editing In Podcast Length

Editing is an often overlooked yet pivotal aspect of crafting an engaging podcast. It isn’t just about cutting out dead air or bloopers—it’s about shaping your content into a cohesive, compelling narrative. The role of editing in determining your podcast length is pivotal, as we’ll explore in the following sections.

Importance of Editing

Editing is the magic wand that can make or break your podcast. It’s not just about cutting out the “ums” and “ahs.” It’s about shaping your podcast into a cohesive, engaging piece of content that provides value to your listener.

Determining Content Worthiness

During editing, you’ll be deciding what makes the final cut. Is each section, story, or argument adding to the overall message of your episode? If not, it might be worth cutting to keep your podcast concise and to the point.

Keeping it Engaging

Effective editing keeps your podcast engaging. By eliminating unnecessary content, improving sound quality, and maintaining a steady pace, you can create a podcast that holds your listener’s attention from start to finish.

Tools and Techniques for Effective Editing

There are numerous tools available for podcast editing, such as Audacity, GarageBand, or Adobe Audition. They offer features like noise reduction, audio leveling, and cutting and pasting content. Mastering these tools and techniques can greatly enhance your podcast quality and optimize its length.

Related: How Long Does It Take To Edit a Podcast?

How Long Should A Podcast Be?

Choosing the right podcast length might seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. By understanding your audience, aligning with your content, considering your schedule, and being willing to experiment, you can find the perfect length for your podcast. Let’s dive into how to make this decision.

Understanding Your Audience

Knowing your audience is the first step to determining your podcast length. Who are they? When do they listen to podcasts? What are their preferences? Use tools like audience surveys or data from podcast platforms to get a better understanding.

Aligning With Your Content

Align your podcast length with your content. Longer podcasts may be suited for complex topics and interviews, while shorter formats might work best for news updates or daily tips.

Considering Your Schedule

Be realistic about your schedule. How much time can you dedicate to podcast creation and editing? Don’t commit to a longer format if you can’t consistently deliver quality content.

Experiment And Evaluate

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different podcast lengths and see what resonates with your audience. Use analytics to track listener engagement and adjust your podcast length accordingly.


How long should a podcast be? Interview podcasts can have different lengths based on how the conversation goes and who the guests are.

Image by Freepik

What Is The Average Length Of A Podcast?

While the length of podcasts can vary greatly, a 2019 survey by Pacific Content found the average length of a podcast is around 43 minutes. Of course, the actual duration of a podcast episode can be much shorter or longer depending on the format, topic, and the target audience’s preferences.

How Long Is A Short Podcast?

A short podcast typically refers to episodes that are under 20 minutes in length. These bite-sized episodes are popular for daily news briefings, quick tips, and shorter interviews. They provide listeners with quick, digestible pieces of content that can be consumed during short breaks or commutes.

How Many Words Is A 30-Minute Podcast?

The number of words in a 30-minute podcast can vary based on the speaker’s speed and the amount of dialogue versus silence. However, a general rule of thumb is that the average person speaks at a rate of about 125-150 words per minute. Therefore, a 30-minute podcast might include roughly 3,750 to 4,500 words.

How Many Episodes Is The Average Podcast?

The number of episodes in an average podcast depends on multiple factors, such as the podcast’s age, frequency of episode release, and content type. Some podcasts may have just a handful of episodes, while others may have hundreds. As per the data provided by Daniel J. Lewis’s My Podcast Reviews in 2020, the median number of episodes per podcast was around 14.

This number gives a good idea about what half of all podcasts achieve, but it doesn’t necessarily represent a “standard” to aim for. Consistency and providing value should be the key objectives, regardless of the total number of episodes.


There’s no magic number when it comes to podcast length. It all comes down to your audience, content, and consistency. Remember, providing value to your listeners is the ultimate goal. Whether you achieve that in 10 minutes or an hour, the key is to keep them engaged and coming back for more.