I am for the most part a solo podcaster.  For better or for worse, when you’re listening to my show, you are hearing only my voice. A lot of podcasts follow the lone person behind a microphone formula.

I would like to talk to you about a different type of podcast that is a lot more popular, the Bantercast.  A Bantercast is podcast where a group of friends or associates get together, chat, make a recording of that chat, and release that chat as a show.

Some of these podcasts are open ended, while others are tightly moderated and well-researched.  All of them tend to lean into improvisation as part of their charm.  Fans of these shows often describe them as something akin to “listening to a group of friends .”

While the subject and quality of shows may vary, I have noticed that they tend to also have a few things in common.  So if you need help in identifying one,  look for the following:

The Cast

Generally a Bantercast has a minimum of two people who will be on mic.  Three is also common. Other times if is four.  Very rarely is it five.  Let’s start by looking at  the 3 Person.

The 3 Person Bantercast

The 3 Person Bantercast has 3 archetypes.

  1. The Host – Also does the moderation.  They will typically organize, introduce the show, and attempt to keep it moving along.  Hosts also tend to have the best or most interesting voice for recording.
  2. The Young Person – Typically will self describe as a millennial.  The Young Person is there to represent youth or inexperience.  They will often compare things to new things you have never heard of.
  3. The Old Person – Often a curmudgeon who has “seen it all.”  The Old Person will often compare things to old things you have never heard of. 

The 4 Person Bantercast

The 4 Person Bantercast has the same people in the 3 person with the addition of one of two types of extras.

  1. The Expert – Need a person to list off facts?  To do Research?  Welcome The Expert.   These podcasters often take some of the burden off The Host.
  2. 4th Chair – Need to spice things up?  Why not have a rotating guest who sits in a virtual 4th chair?  These people are often there to promote something, but can also take the role of The Expert, or in a pinch, can be The Old Person or The Young Person

The 2 Person Bantercast

Maybe the most common setup.  Usually the non-interview 2 Person Bantercast involves some sort of couple.  That couple could be spouses, good friends, or siblings.  The archetypes can be a mix/match of any I have stated above. 

The ones that I have enjoyed the most tend to have a Host and an Expert. Interview shows will fall into this paradigm with The Host bringing on a rotating Expert.

Commonality

Banter Podcasts tend to have two other things in common, which are related, length of show and lack of editing.

  • Bantercasts tend to be longer than non-Bantercasts.  Length is subjective, but a lot of these shows are 45 minutes or longer.
  • This length is sometimes from a lack of editing.  Since you are trying to be conversational and friendly, lack of editing makes a Bantercast somehow seem more authentic.  Also, editing is hard, and most people hate editing.  This makes this type of show easy for people to deal with an release.

Exclusivity

You can mix and match the different archetypes in your podcast.  Although I would suggest a 4 person limit.  Also keep in mind:

  • The Host != 4th Chair
  • The OId Person != The Young Person

Conclusion

Hopefully this post will help you identify what kind of podcast you are listening to.  Perhaps it can also be a guide to your own future podcast. 

Sure you could try and be original, but remember formulas happen for a reason.  Be prepared for criticism if you decide to 5+ Person bantercast or when you try to inject some banter into your non-Bantercast.  

If you want to take your Bantercast up a notch.  Try some editing.  It will reduce your run time and will up the professionalism, even if your podcast is attempting to be informal.  

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Photo of Garry Vander Voort Garry Vander Voort

Garry has a versatile skill set including web development, team management, project management and social media marketing. He is a problem solver praised for having a calming influence on demanding clients. He is a skilled communicator able to explain technical concepts in straightforward terms, and adept at strategic staffing, resource management and cost control.