Podcasts are the Future of Radio

If you are not podcasting, what are you doing when you get stuck in traffic? This educational, entertaining and content diverse platform is exactly what you need when you are bored. You may just fall in love.

They are becoming popular again

After the initial excitement of Apple bringing podcasting to the masses, interest has been on a slow decline. But that has suddenly changed.

Serial, a podcast exploring a nonfiction story of an investigation into a 1999 Baltimore murder, is the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads ever. In the age of cultural mania, it our latest obsession. Should we all be jumping on board with podcasting again?

Radio is shit and broken

Radio stations keep listeners engaged by touching on diverse points of interest. They follow trends, regurgitate easily digestible information and play chart music. They are an inch deep but a mile wide. They appeal to everyone. Advertising is long winded and poorly targeted making them an unsuitable platform in which to spend marketing budget — this is not sustainable. Podcasts can offer a lot more.

Why you’ll love Podcasts

There is a lot of time we spend unable to read or watch content. When you spend up to 2 hours a day commuting, and another large portion at the gym or doing chores, it seems this time could be optimised. Whilst I am not advocating that every moment should be filled with the sounds of podcasts, I do believe it is a great opportunity to gain interesting knowledge.

Podcasts can bring life and learning to mundane tasks like driving.

Podcasts are the opposite of radios. They can afford to focus in on a specific niche and dive as deep as possible, because their audience wants to listen.

Podcasts are about storytelling. This is what makes them so engaging. There are well produced shows be found on any topic. Podcasts feel like a very healthy and productive addiction.

“People that podcast, podcast hard”

There is a great video on The Verge which looks into why podcasts are the radio of the future.

Here are some of my favourites

RadioLab is my most listened to podcast. It’s funny, informative, and sometimes bizarre, all created with incredibly high production quality. Someone kindly put together a list of some of their best.

Some other great podcasts I’ve enjoyed are: 99% Invisible, Science Times, On Being and Philosophy Bites. Locally (Cape Town, South Africa), the best show is without a doubt o42t, The Uber of Podcasts.

If you are feeling like a easy start, go mainstream and download Serial. I’m yet to follow the crowd, but it is said to be a compelling story with a “maze of contradictions, half-remembered stories and fascinating details”. Sounds appealing.

The future

Podcasts have many advantages over radio. Audiences are more niche, focussed and eager to listen. They also trust their hosts and remain engaged during ads for what is to come after the insert. This means better targeting and potential for higher conversions.

Secondly, with the possibility of creating a network of audio discovery comes opportunity for greater profitability, all without impact on listenability. Podcasts are like having your favourite TV series without the restriction of sitting down and finding a screen (and the time) to watch a show. Once we have internet in our cars we’ll surely see the death of radio. Fortunately for now, new episodes automatically sync to your device for offline listening.

Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of not giving podcasts a try. There is something special about them.

I am interested in starting my own podcast. What sort of topics would you be interested in listening to? I imagine it would follow along the lines of my blog, so I would find guests to chat to about modern culture, minimalism, productivity, creativity and probably some religion and health to poke some coals.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d appreciate it if you recommended it so others may stumble upon it. Thank you.