Balancing Quality and "Realism"
Some podcasts are the result of a great deal of time and effort spent in post-production. Others are clearly the result of someone hitting the "Record" button on their software, talking for some amount of time, hitting the "Stop" button, then posting the raw file on the Web.
Podcasters in the first category want to provide a flawless program with high-quality production values. WGBH Morning Stories is an example of this type of podcast. Listening to that particular podcast, it’s reasonable to estimate that post-production takes four or five times as much time as the actual recording. The final product is pristine.
Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code, on the other hand, is usually recorded in real-time and includes every hiccup and misstep he makes during the process. He’ll experiment with new equipment and his listeners will hear the results—good, bad, or disastrous.
Which approach is correct? Well, both of those shows are among the most popular around so it’s clear that there’s an audience for either approach. What’s important is that, once you’ve settled on a general approach, you remain relatively consistent. If you’ve opted to emphasize production values then your audience may find even a small glitch to be distracting. On the other hand, if your audience thinks it’s getting a raw, unedited show and then hears an edit, you’ll have a the beginnings of a credibility problem.