That follows is my opinion and doesn’t represent any effort to describe the one-correct-way to podcast.
I’ve been thinking that there are more-and-more episodes where the community feedback on a topic was better than the original show. My evidence is the increasing number of shows where the main topic is either shorter-than, or replaces entirely, the planned main topic. A number of times, this has lead to even more comments two-shows-later.
IMNSHO, this feels very awkward an inefficient, and I have a specific suggestion:
Ask (was ‘Poll’) the community before recording - get the good (and even controversial) stuff from us BEFORE you record on the topic.
And start the discussion (was ‘poll’) for “next week” at the end of the current episode, reliably! No more “We’ll figure out what we want to talk about on the next show just before we record” - and then be woefully underprepared. If you want to talk about Boss Monster Fights? ASK US A WEEK OR MORE BEFORE. We can help you prepare and frame the discussion.
Bring in our contributions as part of the main topic, not only as after-a-week-and-you-had-to-listen-to-last-weeks-episode-for-context. The podcast, as it is now, is acting as a message board with a one-week-posting-delay.
The “Audio” episode, in particular, might have better leveraged this format change - given all the contributions already there.