Different Types of Podcast Formats

different types of podcast - Podbean

One of the crucial parts of your podcast planning stage is choosing the format. Knowing what you want to say is important, but how will you say it? 

Think about your favorite TV show. Whether it’s a game show, a talk show or a crime drama, the show is anchored by the format. The same thing goes for various types of podcast shows; give your show a format that suits the content – one that your audience will come to recognize. 

Whether you’re choosing a format for your new show or looking for a different format for your existing podcast, we’re here to help. Read on to discover more about the different types of podcast shows and some pros and cons of each format. 

Podcast format vs. podcast structure: What’s the difference? 

These terms are often conflated, but they don’t mean the same thing.

A podcast’s format is the style of presentation. There are several types of podcast formats, but it’s best to stick to one. Sticking to one format makes it easier for your audience to follow and also makes it easier to plan future episodes

The structure is the arrangement of each individual episode. There aren’t as many different types of podcast structures, and most shows have an intro, a main middle section and an outro to thank listeners for tuning in. 

A podcast should have a consistent format and structure so your audience can listen without being distracted. Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s get into podcast show formats! 

1. Flying solo 

Solo podcasts are common and typically involve a host reading a script or talking points directly to the audience. 

Pros and cons 

When you’re alone, you can decide everything from topic to episode length. It’s also much easier to edit out mistakes from one vocal track. Listener-wise, your audience will get to know you a lot more intimately as you share details from your life – it will be like hearing from a friend. 

The downside is it’s only you! There’s no one to help you fill in awkward pauses, so despite the freedom, the host has more pressure to remain engaging. 

2. A conversation with a co-host 

In contrast with the solo format, this format is a conversation with one or more co-hosts. The discussion will hover around popular topics related to the podcast. 

Pros and cons 

A co-hosted podcast takes pressure off as you’ll only need to talk 50% of the time (even less if there are more than two of you!). A conversational flow is engaging for listeners, and if you keep your content user-centric your audience will feel like part of the conversation.

The only drawback is that the co-hosting team has to agree on content, topics and your overall podcasting goals. 

3. Interview format 

This is one of the popular types of podcast formats. Each episode features a new guest speaker who is often an expert in the topic being covered. The host asks questions and the guest answers based on their experience. If you run ads on your show, podcast sponsors make great guests as this can give a face to the brand advertising on your podcast

Pros and cons 

Your podcast is exposed to various audiences every time you bring a new host. Your audience can receive many different expert perspectives on topics and issues. Also, as the host, the majority of your talking is asking questions.

Finding guests and researching your guests can be time-consuming, so consider how much time you have for each episode before settling on this format.  

4. Discussion panel 

This is an expanded version of the interview where instead of one guest, you have several. 

Pros and cons 

Like the interview format, most of the talking will be left to your panel, so you just have to guide the conversation. Read the room and lean into the strong points that will propel the conversation forward. 

While it’s a great way to get a conversation going, again, the challenge is finding new people each time. Also, the more people you have, the more chances there are of veering off-topic and running over time. 

5. Educational

Think National Geographic. These types of podcast episodes focus on real stories, events or topics. These can be told like the news or like non-fiction documentaries.   

Pros and cons

While you will be able to go in-depth on topics or current events, it will require a lot of research and preparation for each episode. It’s best for podcast shows with a team of writers. If you’re looking at crime stories, historical events, or people, you must make sure all the facts are correct. 

Also, some topics may be limited due to the audio-only format. 

6. Storytelling (fiction or theater)

Do you like telling stories? Do you have a knack for acting and theater? A theater podcast allows you to explore your creative side to keep your listeners hooked – no one wants to be left on a cliffhanger! You can do a high-production show with multiple voice actors, sound effects and music, or you can simply read a story yourself. 

Pros and cons

This format allows you to develop stories and characters that your listeners will love. If you want a continuous narrative, it’s essential to have great story writers as bad storytelling will quickly fall flat. Also, this style of podcast may not suit your specific niche, so be mindful of that. 

7. Video podcasts 

Video podcasts bring another dimension to the podcasting medium. Instead of just listening, your viewers can see your facial expressions, which often speak louder than words alone. It’s versatile – many different types of podcast shows can integrate video. 

Pros and cons

Video can be easily repurposed and posted as clips for YouTube, Instagram or other social media channels. This way, it’s harder to run out of content. 

The drawback is that video can be a lot of work to record and edit each episode, so having a team is recommended. Also, video equipment and the aesthetics of your studio setup will have to be included in your total budget. 

8. Combo

While you may want to opt for one format, there is always the possibility to mix and match to create your own. You can combine several types of podcast formats – add a dash of this, a pinch of that and develop a hybrid format that works best for your show. 

Pros and cons

The issue is that since you are creating the format from scratch, there’s no proof that it works well. The only way to know that is by testing it out. Worst case scenario, you’ll need to find a new format; best case scenario – you may just become a leader in your niche. 


When choosing a podcast format, match it with your niche and central theme. Some topics will pair well with specific formats, while others will clash. If you’re planning a podcast, consider the formats we listed above and see which one will suit your show the best. Remember, you can always change later if you need to. 

Starting a podcast? Try Podbean. Start your free trial today to see why over 600,000 podcasters trust Podbean to guide their podcasting journey. 

2 comments on “Different Types of Podcast Formats

  1. Pingback: Different Types of Podcast Formats – Podcast

  2. Pingback: How Long Should an Enterprise Podcast Episode Last

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.