Failed podcasts

The Grisly Truth Behind Failed Podcasts

Podcasts fail. The question is, why? Learn a lesson from the grisly truth about failed podcasts and 8 common podcasting mistakes.


By: Laurissa Cebryk

Spotify has over 5 million podcast titles — and counting! — available right now. With numbers like that, you’re probably wondering, “How do I compete?” The answer is that a lot of people don’t. While over half a million podcasts are sent to the airwave gods for judgment, only about 20% of those actually survive. Around 90% of shows only launch three episodes before calling it quits. 

Alright, enough of the numbers. You’re here for the nitty-gritty stuff. Why do so many shows get axed? 

Failed podcasts

Here’s the grisly truth about your failed podcast: 

It was probably your fault and most definitely avoidable. 


That’s right, we said it. Creating a successful podcast isn’t just a lucky formula for “going viral.” It takes a lot of work, strategy, and time to get it right. 

Take an award-winning podcast like Nice Genes!, for example. 

We have created two seasons, 16 episodes, and have won five awards with the third season underway. What listeners don’t see is that we spent about 56 hours in meetings, 64 hours in interviews, production listened to those 64 hours of tape more than a few times, and our audio wizards spent about 280 hours working and editing to make the show what it is. 


While we recognize we’re an entire production team of talented and well-trained individuals, sometimes bringing in pros is what it takes to ensure you survive past that three-episode benchmark. 

failed podcasts are the worst

However, there are also plenty of individually produced shows that find their mark in the podcasting world. If your show got axed or you’re afraid of making the same mistakes as a show that did meet the Grim Reaper too soon, here are eight of the most common mistakes that will put your podcast six feet under: 

1. You Didn’t Define Your Values

What does your brand believe in? What conversations can you establish yourself as a thought leader in? A lot of shows fail because they are directionless. What gives them direction? Knowing your value as a brand and how that comes through in your show. 

2. You Didn’t Find Your Niche

Once you know your values and how to create a show that exemplifies them, did you ask yourself: Who cares about this? Too often, failed shows go broad with their audience and try to make a podcast for everyone. This leads to a spattering of one-off listens and no loyal following — certain podcast death. Know your niche, find your audience, and ensure the podcast reaches them. 

3. You Loved The Sound of Your Voice Too Much

Are you making a podcast for your audience or you? Be honest. When a show has zero value-add for its target audience, they won’t stick around. It’s important to remember that you’re making the show for them, not for you and not for your brand. Your listeners might not love the sound of your voice as much as you do.

4. You Forgot Your Values

A cornerstone of any excellent podcast is consistency. If you forget your values, you deliver inconsistent and sometimes irrelevant content that doesn’t speak to your audience. Content that strays from your values also won’t give you the ROI you’re looking for in terms of brand lift, thought leadership, and brand recognition. Your values are what let you discover and reach for your ideal audience.

5. You Didn’t Listen to Feedback

Speaking of target audiences, ROI, and KPIs, many podcasts fail when they forget to listen (ironic, we know). Listen to what your audience says about the show and make adjustments. Look at the numbers. Determine if you’re hitting the goals you’ve set for the show. When you take time to listen, analyze, and improve, you’ll be able to identify what works for your branded podcast and live to record another day. 

6. You Didn’t Invest in Proper Equipment and Editing

Not everyone can afford to hire a full team for their production. Not everyone wants to. Regardless, producing episodes with excellent sound quality and design is crucial. If you notice numbers dropping off partway through episodes, look for the audio quality — especially if you know the content is valuable. You could be losing them in the soundwaves. 

7. You Don’t Know How to Market Your Show

If they can’t see your show, they can’t listen to your show. With such an influx of new podcasts daily, it’s hard to stand out! That means you need to understand the best ways to market your show and get ahead — like how we added YouTube videos to our strategies to ensure your branded show has reach across formats. 

8. You Were Inconsistent

Back to that consistency trope — You really need to be consistent in three areas: Content, values, and timing. If you aren’t adding episodes regularly or when you say you will, your audience will stop returning, even if they love what you do. Consistency is key. 


Don’t Make Your Branded Podcast the Next Victim 

If you’re serious about creating an excellent branded podcast, heed those eight mistakes so your show doesn’t become the next victim. The truth is, when a podcast doesn’t make it past three episodes, it’s likely an issue on the creator’s side.

Looking for help? JAR Audio has a proven track record of creating award-winning podcasts! We’ve been honing our skills for years and have a fantastic team of producers, sound engineers, project leads, and audience growth specialists who can bring any show to life. Let’s chat. 

Looking to Solve Your Business Problems with a Podcast?

JAR Audio is a full-service agency that solves brand problems with Original Podcasts.