The Appeal of Podcasts- Everyones New BFF

Did the comeback of podcasts ever strike you as strange? You’re not alone.

Podcasts started around the 1980’s, and they were referred to as audioblogs. Makes sense. They were relatively popular amongst scattered techies, but started to really catch fire in the early 2000’s with the release of the iPod and other similar devices.

At that point, conventional media outlets started to use podcasts in a variety of ways, such as an alternative medium for their programs; an audio supplement to printed material; and simply a new way to ‘get out there’ without spending big money. It took some time for innovators to take advantage of the sound-file synchronization of the iPod and iTunes software, but when Apple officially launched the podcast-subscription feature with the release of iTunes 4.9, it started with 3,000 podcasts. Two days after launch in 2005, Apple boasted one million subscriptions.

People started to incorporate podcasts into their daily routine. For many, the gateway podcast was Serial due to the viral aspect. They would listen to podcasts to kill time while waiting for the bus, while sitting in the train, while tending to household chores, while working out, and even while on the computer (which must be really complicated, cognitively speaking.) Podcasts slowly, but surely, became everyone’s new BFF.

Podcasts vary between length and content. They can range between 20 mins to a couple of hours. They can be funny and casual, or informative and dramatic. They can also be hosted solo, or with groups. Listeners form a special relationship with each podcast, because of the variety between each of them. The podcasts become like people- each with different personalities. Each which they can turn to for different purposes.

Despite the popularity of video broadcasts, listeners are still holding onto podcasts dearly. Why? It may be because there is an intimate element to listening to the content without watching it. It’s a stolen moment. It’s like a secret exchange between the broadcasters and listeners. Unlike reading a book, the consumer has the voice of the narrator resonating within. It may even take one back to their childhood, when stories were read to them to bring them comfort.

So it’s not for nothing that we all love podcasts. History repeats itself, and we are all excited about the experience enjoyed by our great grandparents near their giant radios. And with the latest innovations in mobile podcasting technology, we too can become a star.