The Bugle of

I received an email from a frustrated fellow Christmas podcaster trying to understand why his December stats for a recent episode were so weak.

It’s December. It’s a Christmas podcast. What’s the problem?

I understand this entirely. It took me many, many years to understand what the Christmas community online does in December.

What makes this difficult for me to honestly discuss this right now is the fact that my own podcast has never seen a December like this one. It’s just crazy.

BUT. There’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye.

First of all, there’s this thing called 2020 going on – and it is an absolutely off-the-charts anomaly in time. Nothing should count in 2020. Not your credit rating. Not your taxes. And not your podcasts stats.

Christmas has been a hot thing all year.

When the word “covid” first roll off everyone’s lips for the first time last winter the Christmas lights went back on, the trees went back up and the Bing Crosby tunes crooned again.

Christmas is love, peace and comfort and I can tell you, after years of serving the Christmas audience online, we have never seen a year like this one.

So consider that when you look at how well your Christmas podcast is being received — both good and bad.

But more importantly, there’s another thing going on right now (mid-December) that happens every year.

It’s called Christmas. Ya ever heard of it?

Yeah, it’s a thing.

You see, here’s what we’ve learned: there are really two different kinds of Christmas folks out there.

There are the year round Christmas folks — and this is everyone who loves Christmas for some reason: the music guys, the cookie gals, the light freaks, the collectors, the village people, and all the other little sub-sets of Christmas niches out there.

These guys are your people. They love Christmas. And chances are they listen to your Christmas stuff year round.

Well, I shouldn’t say “year round”. They listen 11-months of the year…and bookmark the 12th month, December.

That means they’ll get to you – because they are year round Christmas folks. They love Christmas and they love you. It’s just that they are busy right now doing all the Christmas stuff they love to do.

The other kind of Christmas folks are seasonal only.

These are the ones who sip their Pumpkin Lattes in August while searching those old movies, TV shows or songs they want to consume. They do love you too. But only when they want to. Fickle bunch.

The seasonal Christmas folks are by far the larger group. They come storming in come fall and then they ditch us to the curb by mid-January. They fall into post-Christmas funks easily and they won’t come back until Starbucks shows their new cups.

I’m not knocking either group, by the way. We love them all. But you gotta understand how they work.

Now, I know what you’re saying — “But Jeff – you put out Christmas podcasts in December!”

And yeah, you’re right. I do.

I just don’t expect anyone to listen to them. Honestly. My December episodes, as timely as I try to make them, just never do well – at first.

I put them out as tradition — cause I’ve always done them. I put them out because they are a part of my Christmas. I love the storytelling, the history and the joy that comes from just talking Christmas. And I put them out to create a record. Believe it or not, there’s great value in old episodes — even it if it just for the sake of history.

2020 is a historic year. Your podcasts, whether you mean them to or not, will reflect that and years down the line you will look at them and say, “remember when?”

But, more than that — your old episodes, and even those done in the dog days of December, hold great value.

After years of doing this and with a great many episodes in the archives I can tell you this: there’s no sweeter connection with a listener you can have than one who sends you an email in response to an episode you did five years ago.

I don’t remember what I said five years ago!

When I get those emails I have to go back and listen to what I said.

And guess what? You learn a lot by listening to your younger self.

You walk away with observations that make you sometimes cringe. “Boy, was I a jerk!” or “Wow, I got that one wrong” or, my fav, “Who WAS that?”

Right now, for no other reason than it’s 2020 that I can see, my older episodes are doing better than the stuff I’ve just released. I can’t explain it. But a lot of people are listening and tuning in to my Christmas past.

That is the reason why you cannot give up on your December episodes. Just let go of your December expectations. There are just too many other things out there to compete with in mid-December that have nothing to do with you and your podcast.

It’s been an unprecedented year. In some twisted ways, it has been a fun year, especially in Christmas podcasting. But don’t get your Christmas knickers in a twist if your December pods don’t explode. They never do.

This project of has been a fun one but we’re only getting started. Sean is doing an exceptional job. YOU are doing an exceptional job.

In this year, Christmas podcasts finally became “a thing”.

We are officially another sub-set of Christmas crazies.

I love that. I think it is the coolest thing ever that so many are taking up podcasting as a means of extending their Christmas joy. Everyone brings something new, fresh and great to the Christmas table. Christmas podcasts are Christmas passions on parade. How fun is that?

I didn’t think it would ever happen. And I do fear that some podcasts are going to go away after this Christmas of 2020.

I sure hope that doesn’t happen.

I hope folks hang in their with their podcasts and continue to look at ever creative ways of bringing Christmas to folks online.

The Christmas folks out there of all types do want and need what you’re offering.

Even if they can’t get to it in December.

Merry Christmas.

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