PodSchool Podcast | How many people should you have on your podcast?


Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!


Is there a magic number?

When you’re thinking about how many people to have on your podcast your decision should always be based on what’s best for your audience and what’s best for your content.

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So, what’s a good number of podcast hosts?

This will depend on your content but usually, the ideal is anything from one to three.

One host is great if you’re presenting your expertise or teaching your audience something and you don’t need someone to bounce off.

Two is great because it allows you to inject some conversational chemistry into your show.

Three can take the content pressure off because there’ll always be someone ready to go with something to say.

It’s also not so many voices that things get confusing or people start talking over each other trying to get a word in.

Any more than three and things start to get complicated.

More people on your podcast means…

It’s more difficult to keep your podcast content on track

Wrangling more than three people as a host can be tough, especially if you’re recording remotely.

The more brains and mouths, the more potential for waffle and tangents.  And if you’re the one taking care of the business side of things it can be difficult to reign everyone in.

Ideally, if you’ve got a show with more than two people you’d have one person responsible for keeping the show on track.

In radio, they’re called an “anchor” and they’re in charge of things like moving onto the next piece of content or introducing/wrapping each segment of the show.

The more voices you have the more helpful it’ll be to have someone in this defined role so you know who’s responsible for keeping things moving.

How to record a podcast with people in different locations


There’s more chance of “over talk” between hosts

This is when everyone talks at once and it’s not only frustrating to listen to it’s infuriating to edit because you can’t get a clean edit point.

The more people you have on your podcast the more potential for over talk, especially if you and your co-hosts are recording in different locations.

Ideally, you want the conversational ball to be passed from one person to the next seamlessly without anyone jumping on top of anyone else.  That becomes more difficult the more people you have on the show.

How to be an awesome podcast co-host


It’s hard for everyone to contribute equally

If you’ve got more than three people it can get difficult for everyone to have their say.

This is a problem, not just for the listener but also for the hosts.  Because if you’re on a show, you want to be contributing and there’s nothing worse than feeling like there isn’t room for you to jump in.

Should you podcast with a co-host?


It’s confusing for your audience

Identifying voices can be almost impossible above a certain number and this is a problem because your audience needs to connect with everyone on the show individually.

To do this they need to be able to identify each voice.  But if you’ve got five, six, seven, or even eight voices it’s going to be a nightmare to work out who’s talking.

You don’t want your audience to have to expend a lot of mental energy listening to your podcast.   But if they spend the entire time thinking “Who the hell is talking?” it’s going to be hard for them to relax and enjoy the show.

Do you need to edit your podcast?


It takes longer to edit

The more voices you have on your podcast the messier things can get and the more complex your content edit can become.

Unless you’re all in perfect sync and manage to smash out an episode with no fluff, no filler, no tangents or trip-ups you’re going to have to spend a decent amount of time whipping your episode into shape.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the show. This week I got asked a very interesting question by somebody who wanted to link up a lot of people to create a podcast and I thought it would be useful to talk about the maximum number of people you should have on your show. Of course, as with anything, this is just a guideline. You might be able to find a way to create a show that's compelling and interesting and not crazy and confusing for the listener with 10 people on it. I'm constantly surprised by the amazing and creative ways people do things so I'm by no means saying it's impossible to do a show with a lot of people. But the conventional wisdom is less is going to be easier.

It's important the decision you make is dependent on your content and what's best for your audience. In radio, the magic number is about 3 or that's the maximum number of co-hosts you'd have on a show. Anything above that it becomes hard to get the rhythm right and it's hard for everybody to have an equal say. It's also hard for one person to steer the ship and then have three people jumping in.

When you've got three people, one person can be the anchor and then the other two people can jump in from time to time. Anything above four people, in radio and you'd be getting to a point where you're thinking "Jeez. This is almost impossible." If there are four people you'd often have to have the fourth just doing pithy one-liners because it was too difficult to get four people to have an equal say in all conversations. It's hard to wrangle more than three other people and to make sure that the conversation is clear, concise and that everybody gets a turn. It's also hard to prevent over talk, especially if you're doing a show with people in different locations. It can be quite difficult to make sure that the conversation runs seamlessly so when you're looking at numbers above that it can make things a real dog's breakfast. Not only because it can be hard to wrangle the people on your show but also because overtalk can be a real problem. Overtalk is when people are talking at the same time over the top of each other.

And the more people you have in a studio or the more people you have behind a microphone on a show the more chance of overtalk and that is so frustrating for a listener to listen to. You need to have as little of that in your show as possible. The ball needs to be passed around from person to person seamlessly without everybody jumping on top of each other verbally with more people. It's also really easy to get off track and then heaven forbid if you are the individual in charge of editing that show...forget about it. I would be passing it on to somebody else. If you've got more people you've got more potential for tangents, plus it can be hard for everybody to get a word in. You want everybody on a show to be there for a purpose and it is almost impossible if you've got six people on a show for everybody to be adding something good to the conversation. Not only from a listener perspective but also from a performer perspective. If you are on a show you want to be contributing. There is nothing worse than feeling like there just isn't the space for you there's no time or no spots for you to jump in. It can be really demoralizing and you want everybody on the show to feel heard and valued. That's quite tough to achieve when you have a lot of people on a show.

Identifying voices can also be almost impossible for your audience over a certain number and this is a problem because your audience needs to connect with you. To do this they need to identify your voice because they don't have any of the visual cues that we have in normal communication. If you're getting five, six, seven or even eight voices on a show it is going to be an absolute mind melt for people to work out who is talking. You don't want your audience to expend a lot of mental energy to listen to your show. People are busy, they're focused on other things they want to come to your show for a bit of escapism, for entertainment or to tune in and learn something. If they spend the entire time thinking "who is that talking?" it's going to be really confusing and hard for them to connect with the show. As human beings, we can only process so much information at once. And if you've got 10 voices going on in your head it's going to be hard if you don't have the visual cues to work out who's who and what's going on. If you're watching a TV show and there's a panel of five people that might be a lot easier to follow along with. You're also more likely to have one person who's hosting and interviewing rather than five people all trying to talk at once.

So again as I said I never say never. I am always surprised by what can be achieved with the right mind put to the right problem. So if you have a great idea and you know how to execute it in a way that is going to have none of the problems that I've just mentioned then fabulous that's fantastic. Please email me tell me about it. I want to hear it. But as a general rule above three people is going to be pretty difficult to make it an easy show to edit, to host and for your listeners to latch on to and avoid confusion. The more you can trim it down and get it to three key people. All three of which are able to throw in really great content and add to the conversation so they feel valued and the audience feels that they're valuable. That's where you're going to get the best show. But again if you work out a way to do it please let me know because I love being proved wrong.

If you're enjoying this show please leave a review wherever you listen to the episodes and if you want a bit more hand-holding with your podcast make sure you head to PodSchool.com.au and you can join the waitlist for my online podcasting course where I take you through all the steps in the podcasting process so you don't have to do it alone. I'll see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!