How podcasting breaks and frequency affect subscribers

Sometimes, you need a break from podcasting, whether planned or unexpected. Here are some tips for handling this with the least negative affect on your viewers or listeners.

Planned holidays

Podcasts generally attract an American audience, but that's not exclusive. When a major holiday is approaching, consider announcing that you'll take a week off.

  • Subscribers will often take trips and won't be able to download your episode, let alone listen while they're vacationing.
  • When subscribers return, they are often behind in their podcast consumption and may skip old episodes.
  • Some podcast programs will only download the latest episode, so subscribers may not receive anything but your latest episode when they return.
  • Even if your audience doesn't take a break, too. They may need the time to catch up on your podcast or someone else's.

Also don't assume that your audience knows the holiday you're talking about. Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving are very American holidays. Other counties may have similar holidays, but probably not on the same dates. So explain the holiday so your international listeners will understand.

Unforeseen break

Life sometimes prevents us from podcasting. (Side note: life is always more important than your podcast.) If you usually publish on a consistent schedule (at least a particular day of the week), then you have four choices.

Podcast a previously-recorded, timeless fallback

Record an episode that you can have on hand to publish at any time. This kind of episode is best to be “timeless” and not tie to any specific event. But it will sound like fresh content to your audience.

Podcast an announcement

Release a short announcement to let your subscribers know that there won't be an episode that week (or however long the break is). Once you come back from your break, you can delete this old episode.

  • This could be a standard and reusable message. For example, “We're unable to release an episode this week. Please check back next week.”
  • Record something specific for that week. For example, “My cat vomited on my podcast gear, so we can't release an episode until we get this replaced. We hope this will be only a week or two.”

The most important thing is to let your audience know that there won't be an episode until whenever you return.

Rehash old content

If you have a lot of episodes, it's likely that your audience has forgotten the old content or not heard it at all. You could repost an entire old episode (we hope it's timeless), or post a “best of” selection of excerpts.

Do nothing and leave your subscribers wondering

Doesn't it bother you when you invite someone and they say they'll be there, but they never show up? It's even worse when they don't tell you that they won't be there.

Your podcast audience won't be quite so attached. But leaving them wondering where your episode is can cause unnecessary confusion and inconvenience (I've heard subscribers tell me they tried all kinds of things to “fix” their iTunes, but it wouldn't download the episode that I didn't release).

Temporary hiatus

Many podcasts will take (usually) planned hiatuses.

  • A TV-show podcast may not have episodes to talk about.
  • Your podcast may be a miniseries and takes breaks between each season.
  • The podcast could even be tied to a particular season due to whether or current events. For example, a gardening podcast or a podcast leading up to an annual event (though off-season content would still be great).

When you plan to have these breaks, make sure your audience knows ahead of time. You may even want to post something on your website to say, “Returning on [date].”


Sometimes, life really gets in the way and we can get in the habit of not podcasting. This is considered “podfading.” It's different from a limited release because podfading is never planned. It's like a pet you never feed that eventually dies from starvation.

You will not lose your entire audience if you podfade, but you may lose a portion if you don't let your audience know what's going on.

Even if you've decided to stop podcasting, give your listeners the courtesy of telling them with a short episode. Don't leave them hanging and wondering.

Over-frequent publishing

On the opposite side of this is when you post episode too frequently. Publishing episodes more often has great benefits to growing your audience by creating more great content.

But there's also a downside if you don't do it well or your audience doesn't expect a lot of episodes.

The default setting in many podcast programs (including iTunes) is to download only the latest episode from a single podcast. If you post your episodes too close to each other, then your subscribers may get only the latest one and not other recent episode before that. So your audience may not hear the full message unless you tell them to go back and get the previous episode. This inconveniences your audience.

The most common reason for doing this is to keep episodes shorter. But this hurts listenability because your message is split, and your shownotes will be, too. I've made this mistake and it was a pain to point people to two places to hear the full conversation.

If the content is good, your audience will probably be fine with a longer episode.

But there are good cases for splitting content:

  • when you have want to give your audience the opportunity to comment or respond before your next episode,
  • when your content is best segmented for better relevance (like my previous “podcasting and the law” series), or
  • when you have a lot of content to spread across a lot of time.

Upcoming: relevant, out-of-the-box podcast ideas

I would like a future podcast episode to share out-of-the-box thinking for the kinds of podcasts that could go along with your passions and expertise, but may not be so obvious. For example:

  • a divorce lawyer podcasts about how to protect your marriage from divorce, or
  • a web designer (me) podcasts about how to podcast and have a great website.

Send your suggestions (even if they're fictional!), podcasts you know of, or your own experience!

Need personalized podcasting help?

I no longer offer one-on-one consulting outside of Podcasters' Society, but request a consultant here and I'll connect you with someone I trust to help you launch or improve your podcast.

Ask your questions or share your feedback

  • Comment on the shownotes
  • Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221
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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.
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11 years ago

This is an awesome topic, because I was wondering about it. One of the reasons I did two episodes a week on my podcast is that on your episode about the Podcast Awards you said that shows that did 2 episodes a week had good growth.

I have an idea for your question. An example using me. I was a book blogger and I was going to have a podcast all about book blogging! Now marketing is my job but it’s not a passion like book blogging was, so I hope that example works. 🙂 I’ve changed my mind on that podcast for the time being.


Matthew Lowell
11 years ago

Haha! The same thing happened to my parakeet growing up lol! Thanks for diving into this subject more!!!

Carl Valeri
11 years ago

Episode 107 was timely and very helpful. I was struggling with how to schedule my shows during the holiday season. You relate some great ideas and most importantly helped me and I’m sure others execute a plan for the holiday recording season.

Another important topic in episode 107 is your suggestions as to what a podcaster should do during a break in a regular podcasting schedule. If anyone is thinking of taking a planned or unplanned break from their podcast they should listen to this episode.

Great episode. I’m saving this one to replay before every holiday season.


[…] How Podcasting Breaks and Frequency Affect Subscribers By Daniel J. Lewis (@TheRamenNoodle) […]


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