Your listeners are used to what you are doing, and oftentimes change is not accepted well, even if it is for the better. You are far better off to change your show slowly over a period of time than to one day go from doing a 15-minute show with tips from guests and product reviews to a 30-minute show with two interview segments, a news segment, and stories from listeners. Although the new format may bring you more listeners in the long run, your current listeners might object to such a sudden and drastic change to the show. You are best to spread out such changes and, most importantly, communicate those changes to your listeners. Let them know what you are planning to do and see what their response is. Change is not a bad thing, but sudden and abrupt change is likely to shock your listeners, and a certain percentage will unsubscribe.
Another aspect in keeping a consistent format involves the content of your show. If you are doing a music podcast and your focus is on death metal, switching over to a format of religious rock is not going to leave you with many or any of your old listeners. Although this example is extreme, the results will not be much different if you switch from one genre of music to any other. And it is not all about music; if you have a podcast about Star Wars and then you switch to talking just about Harry Potter, a certain percentage of your listeners will move on. You would be better off to start a second podcast focusing on the new subject matter than trying to fit both in one show if you already have an established listener base. If you feel adding a new subject is an evolutionary change, such as having a podcast about Star Trek but now you also want to talk about Battlestar Galactica, you would be best advised to ask your listeners what they think of adding discussions on the new subject.
We are not saying not to change your show. We definitely do not recommend letting your show become stale, and we always recommend you podcast about something you have a passion for. If you are the type of person who has many passions, you just need to think through the changes you want to make. If they are drastic changes, oftentimes it is best to start up a new show, as discussed earlier.
When Rob was thinking about expanding the people he interviews from just podcasters to also those providing podcasting services, he asked his listeners for their opinions. Overall he received a collective thumbs-up on the idea from his audience. Then, after doing an interview with a service provider, he once again solicited feedback from the listeners. Overall he found the feedback to be positive; however, quite a few listeners said to make sure that the majority of the interviews were still with podcastersadvice Rob took to heart.
Overall, whenever possible, try to keep the format of your podcast consistent from show to show. Whenever you do decide some change is needed, make sure you solicit feedback from your listeners. Sometimes you will want to ask them beforehand for their opinion; other times you will want to ask them within that show what they think about the change. But no matter what, if you are going to make a change, ensure you somehow involve your listeners in that change and let them know they have some say in the podcast.