This morning I started thinking about what I think makes a good podcast. I figured it wouldn't hurt to type it up and get some opinions, so here we go.
Personally, I don't listen to podcasts too much for gaming news. I think it's good that shows use a news story as a jumping off point for a topic, but for the most part, I think podcasts should try to be more informative and thought provoking than just straight news.
I've unsubscribed to a bunch of gaming podcasts over the years because I got tired of the same news on every show. I have a RSS reader. I can get the latest news. Put your spin on it or use it to talk about a broader topic.
If you're going to hone in on a specific game, make sure you say what you like and dislike about it, but give good examples. For instance, don't just say it sucked. Say why. It gets kind of old when people just constantly say the latest game sucks. It's ok to like a game that everyone else likes. It's also ok to like a game that everyone else hates.
My favorite shows are ones that are funny, witty, and generally have less focus. They talk topics, but they don't let the topic run the conversation. If they start off talking about Halo Wars they might take a left turn somewhere funny and end up back at Halo Wars at some point. More like a real conversation.
As far as length goes, I would say 60 to 90 minutes tops. When you start encroaching on the two hour mark and beyond, I begin to start losing interest. Partly because it's not easy to find 2+ consecutive hours to listen to something, and also because I'm trying to fit in some other shows into my day.
I listen at work most of the time, and there are a lot of interruptions. A lot of starting and stopping. A two hour show could stretch into three or four by the time I've had to stop it and start it again. I know it's fun to sit there and bullshit on the mic, but put a limit on it and when that time comes, wrap it up.
So, in short, keep it to an hour, keep it entertaining, and keep it real.