The Disadvantages of BlogTalkRadio

I haven't spoken or written much about BlogTalkRadio (BTR), but you've probably heard me tell people how I can't stand telephone-quality podcasts. BlogTalkRadio is known for producing such podcasts.

Although BlogTalkRadio does present Skype options, the majority of podcasters turn to BlogTalkRadio as a great method to record a podcast with just a phone call. My fellow podcaster Jeremy Sarber disagrees and shared it in his Orange Coffee Cup podcast.

Disadvantages of BlogTalkRadio

  • Obnoxious technical difficulties
    • Cannot connect to your own show or open chat
    • Switchboard won’t answer a call or play an audio file
    • Pop-up and audio ads (affects listeners more than hosts)
    • Unreliable statistics
    • Seamless transfer away from BTR is impossible
  • Horrible sound quality
    • People will forsake good content if audio is bad enough
    • Can’t speak over intro, exit, or bumper music
    • VoIP sounds best but often cuts out

Jeremy shared more detail on these thoughts in his episode, which attracted the attention of Brian Benitez, vice president of product at BlogTalkRadio. Make sure you read Mr. Benitez's full comment on Jeremy's post.

Full post at The Disadvantages of BlogTalkRadio | 003 Orange Coffee Cup the Podcast.

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.

17 comments on “The Disadvantages of BlogTalkRadio

  1. Debbie says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I responded to another post about BlogTalkRadio in another post you wrote, but wanted to include my comment here too.  I agree BTR has its flaws, but your post isn’t completely accurate.

    I host a bi-weekly show on BTR.  Because the platform is interactive, each show attracts at least 30-40 live participants via chat and telephone…a very popular listener feature.

    And of course, I get several more listeners via the playback feature–I embed each episode on my website 

    As a show host, I CAN cue audio files via the switchboard.

    Because I record each show locally, using my mic and software, I have the ability to upload/replace/edit the default BTR recording with better quality audio (without ads, if I choose) for each show.  

    So, yes, you’re right,  it’s not perfect, but there ARE workarounds. 

    1. Hi, Debbie! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I think you are among the few who use BlogTalkRadio wisely. Too many see it as their one-stop solution for podcasting and use BTR’s poor-quality audio to republish as a podcast.

      Still, I think there are far better audio-streaming options, like Mixlr, and BTR could be used for just call-ins.

      1. JJ says:

        How would you use the two platforms (Mixlr and BTR) together?

        1. I would use Mixlr to embed a high-quality, live-streaming player on my own site and send my audience there, but use BlogTalkRadio for live callers.

          Sent from Mailbox for iPad

          1. nola darling says:

            Hi! Details please. If I’m broadcasting live with Mixlr, how is it possible to take live calls with BTR at the same time?

          2. That’s where you could use BTR or Call-In Studio to handle just your live calls, but not the live-streaming. Treat whatever service in the same way you would with a mix-minus, and you’ll be good to go.

  2. scandalousbeauty says:

    I have to agree. The quality of BTR is sub-par IMO, and it really turns me off as a listener. I applaud anyone who uses it, but I’d rather do a traditional podcast. Can’t wait to start in a couple of weeks!

    1. What will your podcast be about?

  3. frustrated says:

    No ever posts alternatives

  4. dis satisfied BTR user says:

    So yeah, a lot of blah, blah, blah, but no alternative option mentioned. So there is nothing else other than BTR if you want to do a live show, have callers and a chatroom option…. other than setting up about 1000 bucks of hardware in your spare bedroom. got it. great.

    1. I believe you misunderstood my post. BTR is a terrible platform for podcasting. It records and distributes files in terrible telephone quality, which no podcast should be.

      But as a live call-in platform, it does work great. If live call-ins are important, then use BTR but record locally through high-quality equipment (the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB produces great results and is about $35).

      The problem is that podcasters rely on BTR to handle the whole process. This means they’re putting out terrible quality, forfeiting ownership of their podcast, and often paying a very high price.

      Suitable alternatives to BlogTalkRadio would be Talkshoe, GotoMeeting, Google Hangouts, and just about any other conference-call service. Live-stream the audio from this and your own mic through a service of your choice and you’ll get much higher quality.

    2. James Curtis Royster says:

      That’s somewhat misleading, IMHO. The HUGE PROBLEM with BTR is the fact that your followers MUST HAVE A FAKEBOOK OR TWITTER ACCOUNT – something that MANY of my followers do NOT and WILL NOT EVER do (have a Fakebook or Twitter account). So, what is the alternative to that? What platform has a call-in feature BESIDES BTR? Also, BTR’s audio quality leaves MUCH to be desired.

  5. Calvin Jiang says:

    Hi Daniel!

    I work for Castbox, and we recently launched a new feature called Livecast. It’s very similar to BTR, but the best part about it? It’s completely free! I was wondering if you could give it a try and give us some feedback about it?

    I think we definitely want to make sure this tool is useful for any broadcasters out there. I am hosting a show myself on it, and so far I’ve had a lot of fun using it. I can engage with my audience directly through call in functionality. They can also type text, if they are too shy to call in and speak. I’m also able to earn virtual hearts and gifts from listeners, which can eventually be exchanged for cash. And it’s available on both web and our app.

    Anyway, wanted to share with you and if you get a chance to try it, please let us know what you think.


    1. Thanks, Calvin! I’ve been in touch with someone else from your team, and they’re answering my questions. The biggest thing I want to see with any live-streaming tool is the ability to embed it elsewhere some a broadcaster can have their own live page on their own site.

      1. Calvin Jiang says:

        That’s great! Embedding does seem to be a common request among the podcaster / host crowd, since a lot of them have their own websites. We are primarily a mobile company, though we are improving our web functionality. It’s just something we will have to prioritize since our resources are limited. Either way, thanks for the response. Hope you have a nice day.

  6. Doug says:

    Blog Talk has always had horrible sound issues among other things like the chat room not working well. The worst thing though is their obnoxious greedy move to make people pay that put up with their **** quality and help them build their business. If you want free now at BTR you basically get little to nothing. $40/m now only gets you an hour of a live show. Can’t do this, can’t do that, UNLESS you pay and pay them well.

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