Oh, and radio too.
Initially, this post was going to be more along the lines of “the importance of audio media”, but that would be too much like me standing on a podium and telling the internet why this thing that I believe is right, and that’s not me. Instead, I’m just going to want to talk about why podcasting (yes, and radio too, what with volunteering/internships and all) is important to me. If you agree that’s awesome, and if you disagree, that’s awesome too, and I really would love to hear why in the comments.
Podcasting is a medium with no limits.. I’ve interviewed podcasters who talk about subjects as disparate as video games and nutrition. I don’t know if the medium is young enough that we haven’t really settled into comfortable genres that, if the people who set out to do a podcast tend to be the type who want to do something different from what everyone else is doing, but it’s an absolute delight. There are podcasts out there that, with no exaggeration, represent something you cannot get in any other genre, and I’m sure there are more being brainstormed, researched, and recorded as I write these words.
Podcasting is a medium that works for people who are really, really busy. You can listen in the car, while doing household chores, while writing a draft for a blog post (imagine that). You can hit pause on a podcast and just pick it back up again. This is especially important in light of how many podcasts are putting out great, smart content. All of this seems obvious, but it matters in that podcasting provides listeners the opportunity to engage with something meaningful even on a very tight schedule.
Podcasting is important because I think, more so than any other medium, it can feel like a personal conversation between the creator and the audience. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that most podcasts are labors of love. Furthermore, the dialogue medium of a podcast creates a definite rapport between creator and listeners. I definitely feel like I “know” the hosts of some of a few of my favorite podcasts. There’s no media glitz between creator and audience here. I feel like it’s the same with public radio. I’ve volunteered at a public radio station, and one of the things that stuck with me most about working there, that made me want to go into radio and, a few years down the road, into podcasting, was the fact that the hosts were totally focused on sharing music they loved with the listeners. I see much of the same spirit in podcasting, and I think it’s a big part of why I love the medium so much.
Finally, as I’ve discussed before, podcasting is, at least in spirit, an open forum. Back in 2005, Jack Herrington, Richard Giles, and Kirk McElhearn said this without qualifications in Podcasting Pocket Guide. This might not reflect actual reality. Certain kinds of podcasts might be much harder to produce than others—School of Podcasting (“Trying to Understand Fair Use and Using Music in Podcasts”, n.d.) and the Creative Commons Wiki (“Podcasting Legal Guide””, n.d.). both illustrate that creating a music podcast is much harder than it looks. Furthermore, just because everyone can podcast doesn’t mean that the medium hasn’t skewed white, male, and wealthy, as articles by Jonah Geil-Neufeld (2015), Charley Locke (2015), and Josh Morgan (2016) attest. However, the landscape is changing: I highly recommend you check out Yohana Desta’s “11 Diverse Podcasts to Give You a Fresh Perspective On Life” (2015) and Manoush Zomorodi’s “A Magnificent List of 111 Female-Hosted Podcasts (And Counting) (2016). Podcasting is a medium I believe in, and I also believe that it can change for the better (and, as the lists above show, it’s already on its’ way).
So what are your thoughts? Why do you love podcasting? What do you get from podcasting that you can’t get anwhere else? I’d love to hear your thoughts!)
Desta, Y. (2015, April 14). 11 diverse podcasts to give you a fresh perspective on life. Mashable. Retrieved from: http://mashable.com/2015/04/14/diverse-podcasts/#.YVrGTSQE8qV.
Geil-Neufeld, J. (2015, November 2). Who’s Listening to Podcasts in 2015? Retrieved from: http://maximizesocialbusiness.com/whos-listening-podcasts-2015-18213/.
Herrington, J., Giles, R., McElhearn, K. (2005). Podcasting Pocket Guide. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Press’
Locke, C. (2015, August 31). Podcasts’ Biggest Problem Isn’t Discovery, It’s Diversity. Wired. Retrieved from: http://www.wired.com/2015/08/podcast-discovery-vs-diversity/.
Morgan, J. (2016, January 12). Data confirm that podcasting in the US is a white male thing. Quartz. Retrieved from: http://qz.com/591440/data-confirm-that-podcasting-in-the-us-is-a-white-male-thing/.
Podcasting Legal Guide. (n.d.). In Creative Commons Wiki. Retrieved from: https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Podcasting_Legal_Guide#You_Are_Making_A_.E2.80.9CFair_Use..E2.80.9D.
SOP. (n.d.). Trying to Understand Fair Use and Using Music in Podcasts. School of PodCasting. Retrieved from: http://schoolofpodcasting.com/fair-use/.
Zomodi, M. (2016, April 20). A Magnificent List of 111 Female-Hosted Podcasts (And Counting). WNYC. Retrieved from: http://www.wnyc.org/story/female-hosted-podcasts/.