I know podcasting is experiencing a resurgence because the Internet says so.
The number of blog posts and online articles proclaiming an explosion in the popularity or quality or financial success of podcasts since the fall of 2014 has been really astonishing.
Here’s what you need to know about the podcasting resurgence.
1. There really is no podcasting resurgence.
There is no sudden rebound in podcasting. For the past 10 years, the number, quality and audiences for podcasts has been steadily growing in a self-reinforcing cycle. The better they get, the more audiences there are. Bigger audiences inspire more people to get into podcasting. The more people who podcast means there’s more competition, so the best get better.
The reason we’re hearing about a podcasting resurgence is that the media is self-serving. The mainstream media’s impulse is to belittle and minimize alternative media until it gets so big that they start doing it. And when the mainstream media start doing it, they’ll tell you it’s real now.
In the case of podcasting, they covered it 10 years ago when it was novel and stopped covering it when it became old hat. Now that mainstream journalists are increasingly podcasting, they’re covering it again. Ergo, it’s “back.”
2. Podcasting is exactly like blogging.
It’s hard to remember now, but blogging started out as an extremely amateurish medium. Emo teens and wanna-be writers poured their hearts out in personal “Web logs.” Over time, the phenomenon grew; some blogs got really good, and nowadays it seems that everyone’s got a blog. Some blogs feature some of the best writing anywhere.
The same thing is happening with podcasting. As with blogs, the quality of podcasts now ranges from the most amateurish to the most professional. And the professionals have taken over.
Some of the most popular podcasts come from public radio professionals and, in fact, are just big-budget radio shows distributed as podcasts. The most-talked-about current podcast, “Serial,” is a spinoff to a popular public radio series, “This American Life.”
In addition to working as a columnist, I’m also a podcaster. I host a daily show called Tech News Today for the TWiT network. The show is one of 30 or show podcasts broadcast by TWiT, which was founded by longtime radio and TV personality Leo Laporte. In fact, when Laporte launched TWiT some 10 years ago, he was the first mainstream media star to build a profitable company around high-quality video and audio podcasts.
Since the launch of TWiT, a large number of podcasting startups have emerged, and many mainstream broadcasting organizations (and print media organizations, for that matter) have launched serious podcasting efforts.
5 Reasons Why Podcasting Is Back in the Media Spotlight
The trajectory is exactly like blogging, though about five years behind what happened with blogs.
3. Podcasting will transform what people do with their phones, TVs and car sound systems.
Podcasting is one of those media that will grow and grow and grow until it devours most alternatives. The reason is that it’s simply better than anything radio or TV could provide.
The quality of the best podcasts is far higher than the highest-quality non-fiction broadcast media, like radio or TV. The selection is several orders of magnitude higher. The user control is infinitely better (just subscribe and listen whenever or wherever you like).
Radio and TV will have no chance of competing with podcasts in the future. Podcasts will take over the usage of learning and spoken-word entertainment on phones. It will become the most important non-fiction medium for TVs when TV is mostly served on demand over the Internet. And it will live side-by-side with streaming and downloaded music inside cars. Radio has no future in cars.
4. Podcasting is the secret to hardcore professional development.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a successful professional who is constantly engaging in career development. You probably read all you can, both professionally enlightening articles like the ones you’ll find on this site and also books.
But what about all those times you can’t read? For example, when you’re driving, taking a walk, working out at the gym, cooking, doing chores around the house, hiking, jogging and waiting in line? Podcasting is perfect for those situations.
And no matter what your professional specialty is, you’ll find podcasts to enhance your reading and help you learn more, faster.
5. You need to launch your own podcast
And just as it was a great idea to launch your own blog 10 years ago, it’s a great idea to launch your own podcast today. A podcast is a great way to explore your professional and personal interests in a fun way that will lead to an audience of other people who share your interests.
You don’t even need special equipment to get started. You can start a podcast using your smartphone. Later, you can choose to upgrade with special-purpose microphones, cameras and other equipment.
Podcasting is the single most valuable broadcast medium ever created. It’s not undergoing a resurgence. It has simply never stopped growing—nor will it any time soon.
If you’re not into podcasting as either a “consumer” or a “producer,” it’s time to get busy. The world of podcasting opens doors.
No, it’s not “back.” But it’s definitely here. And everything about podcasting is growing. Now is the time to get into it.