The Rise of Podcasts
By Regina Sanchez
Ask anyone what their main source of media is and they may reply with either radio, television or the internet. However, a response that you may not expect, but should start to get used to hearing is podcasts.
Within the last decade, podcasts have gone from a small, contained community of specialized recordings to a much larger and star-studded form of broadcast media. According to the website Convince and Convert, in 2017,12 million Americans had listened to a podcast.
This large podcast community is full of diversity, as it is extremely simple for anyone who enjoys talking to record a podcast from the comfort of their home. There are podcasts for every subject of interest, ranging from art to business, and from health to sports.
So why exactly have podcasts gained so much popularity? Here are 4 reasons why.
1. Podcasts are a holy grail for people who have a talent at multitasking.
The greatest thing about listening to a podcast is its accessibility. Podcasts can be listened to anywhere at any time. Podcasts have the potential to be 100% wireless, as they’re not often listened to on a desktop computer or a home TV set. They have become car friendly through the use of bluetooth, which can be found on almost all mobile devices. Anyone can be walking their dog, doing chores, or literally anything else, while also having the voice of a total stranger accompany you.
2. Podcasts are extremely easy to create.
If you have anything you’re passionate about and want to share it with the rest of the world, you may want to think about creating a podcast of your own.
In order to create one, all you need is a recording device, such as a cheap USB microphone that plugs into your computer, an audio editing software, most of a which are free and easy to download, and a platform like SoundCloud or iTunes to upload your podcast to for hosting.
The fact that podcasts are so simple to create have inspired many celebrities to create their own, contributing to its newfound popularity.
Some recommended listens are Ross Mathews’ “Straight Talk,” Dax Shepard's “Armchair Expert,” “Anna Faris is Unqualified,” and Marc Maron’s “WTF”.
3. People are getting tired of screens.
Another reason as to why podcasts are have been gaining such a buzz within the last few years is because people are simply getting tired of having to look at screens all the time.
The thing with podcasts is that they allow a new freedom of not having to be completely focused on your screen to enjoy the content that you are receiving.
“It’s nice because if I’m doing work and I don’t want to listen to music because it’ll distract me or if I want some sort of inspiration to write about something, I can listen to their stories,” said sophomore Ashleigh Lopez.
Allowing our eyes to take a break and let our ears do the driving. This is in contrast to watching YouTubers, who might deliver solid content yet still require eyes to be on a screen.
However, in a recent trend, various well-known YouTubers have also started podcasts. These names include Meghan Rienks’ “Don’t Blame Me!”, “Views” with David Dobrik and Jason Nash, Shane Dawson’s “Shane & Friends”, and Grace Helbig’s “Not Too Deep.”
“I listen to David Dobrik’s ‘Views’,” said Lopez. “It’s one of those podcasts that I can listen to anywhere, anytime of day, just to get a good laugh or to relate to it in a way.”
As an avid podcast listener, I have to admit that there is something oddly satisfying about being able to plug in a pair of headphones and just listen to someone talk about whatever it is they’re passionate about.
4. There is so much variety when it comes to podcasts.
As mentioned before, podcasts for any subject imaginable are available. According to Variety.com, there are currently over 500,000 active podcasts available on the Apple Podcasts app.
There is something that will appeal to everyone out there and that is part of the mass appeal. If someone is looking for a certain type of podcast, they will most likely find it and then be recommended to more and more podcasts.
“I listen to a lot of podcasts about musical theatre, so I find that listening that podcasts can be a nice alternative to listening to music. Getting other people’s opinions, and other insights on things and topics that I enjoy,” said Novato High junior Luke Preute.
Podcasts are also extremely diverse, with multiple shows created and hosted by women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community.
Shows like “My Favorite Murder” with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, “The NoSleep Podcast” with David Cummings, and “Lore” by Aaron Mahnke are podcasts dedicated to storytelling, which is an attractive format for all ages.
“WTF” with Marc Maron, “2 Dope Queens,” with Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, and Pete Holmes’, “You Made It Weird” are comedy-based, long form interview-styled podcasts.
Slowly, but surely, podcasts have begun to take over mainstream media. There’s no doubt that in a couple years, there will be more podcast listeners and that the question, “Do you listen to podcasts?” will be replaced by, “What podcasts are you listening to?”
Sanchez, who wrote this article, created her own podcast called "Let's Talk About" with fellow Swarm reporter Ava Francis-Hall. Give it a listen!