Why It’s Important to Add a Content Rating to Your Podcast
No matter how you choose to express yourself through your podcast, it’s important to stay mindful of content or language that some listeners may find inappropriate—and let them know if they can expect anything explicit.
Regardless of the podcasting host or creation tools you use to build your show, it’s important to give listeners advance notice about what to expect. If you’re creating a podcast episode on Anchor.fm, you have the ability to select a rating: ‘Clean or ‘Explicit.’ Maybe you’ve used a couple swear words on your episodes or touched on topics that might not be great for kids to overhear in the car. There are a number of different scenarios, of course: Perhaps your whole episode was clean until the guest you invited on the show accidentally—or intentionally!—dropped any number of four-letter words. It’s also possible that there’s no bad language at all, but you’re posting a true-crime episode that recounts something graphic, sensitive, or potentially triggering.
What’s ‘Clean’ vs. ‘Explicit’
You probably don’t need to be reminded that all of the above episode types could easily be labeled explicit. It’s a courtesy to your listeners—a simple heads-up before they start an episode so they’re not caught off-guard (or they know not to listen in the presence of others who may be offended) and they’re able to skip the episode before it’s too late.
It’s also valuable for your show and listeners’ trust: Whether a listener proceeds, skips an episode, or saves it for later, they’ll no doubt appreciate the context and gentle warning about explicit content—and they might not appreciate a failure to let them know! If you don’t mark an episode ‘Explicit,’ you’re sending a signal to listeners that they can confidently hit play without encountering sensitive subject matter or objectionable language. There’s no definitive guideline or threshold for what makes an episode ‘Clean,’ but a good rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution and apply similar criteria to that of a PG-rated (or even G-rated) movie: If there’s neither foul language nor adult themes, you can safely mark it ‘Clean.’ Some creators, meanwhile, might deem an episode clean if it includes the occasional use of foul language that can be manually bleeped out—or might appear in a nonfiction, educational, or historical context.
Ultimately, we encourage you to put as much thought into your episode’s rating as you do its concept and overall quality. It’s an important component: You have the control to help listeners or just give them a casual reminder. That’s a win for all involved: you, your show, and your listeners.