New York Magazine just wrote a piece on why podcasts are getting more popular: “What’s Behind the Great Podcast Renaissance?” Through the various podcasts I listen to, I’ve heard hosts and guests say similar things “it seems like everyone has/needs a podcast now.” It doesn’t surprise me at all that podcasts are getting more popular. I’m surprised it took so long to happen in the first place! They are easy to produce, people have time to listen to them, and there is a sort of safety in podcasts.
I think its because podcasts are free and easy to produce. They’re also excellent for talkers (vs. writers or readers). A lot of show business people are in the talking business. Their ability to deliver a punch line or riff or deadpan remark is their livelihood.
Of course, as the listener, a podcast can be a wonderful distraction from traffic, the other people on the subway, or to finally get all of your housework done. I’ve also heard that people exercise listening to podcasts but that’s not something I think I will ever do- I’m strictly a music person. I also listen to them while travelling when the sounds around me won’t enhance my experience.
Podcasts give you the same kind of platform as blogs or Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr except there’s a key difference with podcasts: they’re in audio format. The audio format makes it harder for your words to be held against you. If I disagree with something someone says on a podcast and I want to quote them, it takes a lot more effort on my part to find the exact spot and type up the quote vs. finding the quote in something written and then copy & paste it. It’s also important to note that very few people would have the know-how to capture the audio clip to replay for someone else to judge too. With this key difference, podcasts feel a little more private, a little more safe. For performers, it can be scary to try out new material or to accidentally say something that will get them in trouble later which is why podcasts are a great option for them. Performers can try out new material to a captive audience without the same threat of backlash from written audience.
I wrote a blog post about the podcasts I’ve been listening to recently, not-so-creatively named Podcasts, Podcasts, Podcasts.