August 31, 2021

How to choose the right rating for your podcast—and why it’s important

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. That’s why we’ve made it easy to mark your episodes ‘Explicit’ or ‘Clean.’

As you start creating a podcast episode on Anchor.fm, you’ll notice 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. 

‘Clean’ vs. ‘Explicit’


You probably don’t need to be reminded that all of the above episode types could easily be considered explicit, and should be marked as such on Anchor. 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. 


What makes an episode ‘Clean’? There’s no definitive guideline or threshold, 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. 


How to label your episode


Labeling your episode can be done on Anchor web with a simple toggle—and you can go back to any of your already-published episodes to change your rating from ‘Clean’ to ‘Explicit’ or vice versa. With the ability to rate each episode individually, you have more control at the episode level instead of an all-or-nothing option. It also means increased accuracy.


For example, you may have an entire season of hour-long episodes, only one of which contains explicit content; you can label that lone episode ‘Explicit’ while the rest are labeled ‘Clean.’


Step 1: Create or edit your episode, and save changes


Step 2: On the “Episode options” screen, scroll down to “Customize this episode”


Step 3: Scroll down to mark your episode ‘Clean’ or ‘Explicit,’ then save as draft or publish


Similarly, if you’d like to choose a rating on the Anchor app, scroll to the bottom of the “Podcast settings” screen when creating your show, and you’ll be able to toggle “Explicit content” on or off.


We ultimately 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.


Learn more: Updates