Should I Worry About Podcast Directory Episode Limits?

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Should you worry about podcast directory episode limits? Let's explore how to make the most of how your podcast shows up in directories.

Podcasting is a long game. You may have to publish a lot of episodes before you cultivate a substantial audience. One of the questions we often hear concerns podcast directory episode limits. If you're concerned that you might “run out of space” before your podcast becomes easy to find, don't worry. It's not pie.

What do I mean? It's the number of podcast episodes that a directory shows as available to listeners. Apple Podcasts, for example, displays ten episodes at a time, with the option to “show more” at the bottom of the list.

Eric Banda of Spotify for Podcasters explained this to me. He said, “Our system ingests raw data directly from the RSS feed, and whenever some information is published, it also affects how their podcast will show in Spotify.”

If you remember our article explaining, “What is an RSS feed,” then you know a bit about how they work. You can think about it this way:

Let's say that your podcast is a train. The episodes are the individual train cars, packed with cool people and ideas. The RSS feed is the railroad track route, on which the train travels. The station, where people meet the train, is the directory or podcast app.

a podcast train travels to the audience via RSS
The RSS feed brings the podcast episodes to the station.

So, imagine that you walk into a train station, and walk toward the train platform, where the train is waiting. A particular train could have a lot of cars, but you'll only see some of them at a time, right? Unless you're using a drone with a camera to travel high over the train or you have a periscope to see around curves or something, you'll only see some of the cars at once.

The Podcast Host has been making PodCraft for over seven years and twelve seasons. Every time you click, “Show More,” the directory asks the RSS feed to show more episodes and pulls them from the RSS feed. You could sit there clicking “Show More” for a really long time and not run out of episodes. It would be like standing outside the doorway of the train platform, saying, “show me more of the train,” and having the train pull forward to show you more cars. But, they'd be framed in the doorway, so you'd only see some cars at a time.

How to Make Sure Your Best Podcast Episodes Are Easy to Find

Some podcast directories, such as RadioPublic, help podcasters to highlight “Featured Episodes.” if you have a particular episode that you know is a good introduction for new listeners, you can select that for display at the very top of your Radio Public page. On the podcasters' side, these are called “gateway” episodes, and you can pick one to three.

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RadioPublic says, “episodes that are a “can’t miss” story, conversation, or interview, are free of back-references and inside jokes, and most importantly, leaves a listener hungry for more like it are ideal.” This is a good place to put your podcast trailer. So, the RSS feed brings your latest episodes to the directory layout, and, those selected episodes have links embedded up top.

All podcast directories want to be the ultimate destination for a wide variety of fresh and interesting content. So, it's in their best interests to allow podcasters to display as many episodes as possible. But, only so much information fits on a screen.

How Can I Control My Podcast Directory Episode Limits?

Some producers want to have a few episodes available at a time and save their back catalog for a private podcast feed. You can limit the number of episodes of your own podcast using your media host. This way, your RSS feed will only send a certain number of episodes to directories at a time.

As an example, let's look at how this works in Buzzsprout:

  • Go to your podcast settings.
  • Scroll down to More Podcast Settings.
  • Then, click on Episode Limit.
  • In the drop-down menu, you can select the number of episodes to display.

Different media hosts show their settings screens in different ways, but the idea is the same. You control how many of your episodes are available.

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How Many Podcast Episodes Can I Upload?

This depends on your media host and what kind of plan you purchase. In our recommended podcast hosting services article, you can see that some hosts charge by how much data you upload, and some by how many times your podcast is downloaded. So there may be podcast episode limits, but the directory isn't causing them.

For example, Castos puts no limits on how many episodes you can upload. But, in the interest of keeping the bandwidth affordable, they limit each file to 250MB. Before you start to worry, most podcast episodes have nowhere near as much data as that. The first episode of the second season of Jarnsaxa Rising, an immersive audio drama using spatial audio, is less than 165MB.

Buzzsprout, as another example, limits users to upload a certain amount of hours of audio. If you exceed the amount of uploaded time on your plan, they give you the option to upgrade.

Media hosts want your show to grow. They can always adjust to help you.

So, How Do I Make The Most of Podcast Directory Episode Displays?

Look at how different directories display your episodes. Most media hosting services can tell you what devices and directories your audience tends to use. Some might show the title and first three lines of your show notes, others might show a little more or less. Don't stuff these with keywords. Make sure they're meaningful. Give yourself extra time to craft your show notes and episode titles.

And, make sure you're using all the resources available when you submit to directories. Each one is different. Media hosts and podcast directories want there to be more good content, and for people to be able to find it.