BBC Click carried a report on the current appeal of podcasts.
The article headline Podcasts: Who still listens to them? was probably designed to be a little provocative, to hint at the decline of this new wave of citizen broadcasters.
In fact it’s a nice piece, looking at the rise into mainstream consciousness of a new democratising broadcast medium, which enabled the likes of you and me to broadcast radio-style programming on anything which takes your fancy. I for one, am a fully paid up member of the Pod Squad.
Podcasts have opened up new horizons and opportunities. People don’t need to rely on traditional broadcasters to get their ideas on the airwaves. There’s no commissioning process, no pitch meeting to go through.
I think podcasts are some of the best illustrations there are of what creativity actually is – taking an idea, believing in it, shaping it and putting it out there.
Former TV Tech journalist Leo Laporte felt that technology was being given the coverage it deserved in the mainstream media, and formed TWiT. He’s built a global audience, created a network of tech themed shows and today is opening a new purpose-built studio to house his growing network.
“Answer Me This” was one of the podcasts quoted in the BBC article and it’s a great example of what happens if you have a great idea, and some recording kit.
Listening to Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann – they’ll be the first to acknowledge that it hasn’t made them millionaires. It has created new opportunities for them – a book deal, slots on traditional broadcast media – even a writing gig on the new superblog Dale and Co.
They’re not alone, The Football Ramble, Robot podcast, WTF, AIOTM, The Perfect Ten, have allowed people passionate about an idea to go it alone.
Yes, there is a lot of underwhelming content out there, but there the cream at least has a chance to rise to the top. These programmes can build an audience over time – not a luxury afforded some facets of traditional broadcast media.
It would appear that a lot of people feel the same way. According to the BBC 8 million adults in the UK have listened to podcasts, with around 4 million listening at least once a week.
I’m one of those 4 million UK adults, I subscribe to around 90 of them, download them every day and listen to podcasts almost exclusively on my commute to work, or when out and about. I’ll also try new podcasts whenever they flitter across my twitter timeline, web feeds or reader.
If you love radio, any type of radio, then I would urge you to give podcasts a try.
There’s some brilliant content out there. My subscriptions break down as a third of ‘amateur content’ – which I would define as content not produced by any media organisation, a third by non-broadcast media and a third by the pro’s – content repackaged, topped and tailed and distributed on another platform.
There’s a world of audio delight out there. Go treat yourself.