The Goodbye Gang

I cancelled by podcast subscription to The Gillmor Gang today.

If you haven’t heard of it The Gillmor Gang is hosted by Steve Gillmor. Steve has been around the industry for a long time and is closely associated with ZDNet. In fact, I bought a DOS TSR program from Steve back in the dark ages of computing (aka 1980’s).

The Gillmor Gang is Steve, a group of his buddies, and some occasional distinguished visitor getting together on the phone and talking for several hours. Steve has had some really great guests like Dan Bricklin and Adam Bosworth. After recording a show Steve gives it a catchy name like Reboot Gang or Trust Gang and then breaks the show into about 20 minute segments for distribution.

One of the problems I’ve always had with The Gillmor Gang is that Steve tacks about 10 minutes of commercials for EarthLink and GoDaddy on to the beginning of each segment. I don’t know why Steve feels that 33% of his content needs to be commercials, but he does. To make matters worse, each segment is preceded by the exact same rambling sales pitch by none other than Steve himself. I know it by heart.

So now we have a show segment that consists of 10 minutes of Steve pushing his sponsors and 20 minutes of Gang Chatter. During that 20 minutes invariably Steve will go on a rant about someone’s phone making clicking noises or background noise at one of the caller locations. This usually lasts for about 5 minutes. When you first hear Steve go off on his friends about this you might jump to the conclusion that he is an extremely rude person. That would be a good jump! But, hey, they’re his friends and they don’t seem to mind.

Ok, so all of the above has been going on for quite a while so why have decided now to terminate my subscription after being a longtime faithful subscriber? Well recently Steve has added a new wrinkle – at the end of each segment he now asks each person on the call to rate the segment on a scale from 1 to 10. This takes about 5 minutes and, while it might make Steve feel good, is a complete waste of my time.

Let’s recap what each 30 minute podcast segment contains:

  • 10 minutes of commercial messages
  • 5 minutes of Steve abusing callers about noise on the line
  • 5 minutes of Steve polling for ratings
  • 10 minutes of Gang Chatter (some of which is interesting)

Anyway the Gang Segment Rating System was pretty much the last straw for me so I’m going to spend my time listening to podcasts that manage to both entertain and educate me. Shows like TWit and The Java Posse.

Steve, maybe you should put the Gang Ratings at the beginning of the segment and give people a chance to bail out before the commercials.


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