Published 26th of October 2017
Author Lisa Hartwell
Why Do People Love Podcasts?
In my previous blog post, What Are Podcasts? I explained what podcasts are and tried to convey the many different subjects and styles of podcasts that exist. But you may still be asking yourself: “Okay, I understand the concept but, what I still don’t understand, is why people love podcasts so much.”
Not for Everybody
The truth is that podcasts will not appeal to everybody. I asked friends and colleagues on social media what they loved about podcasts and a couple came back and told me they didn’t like them at all. Just as not everybody likes reading a lot of printed text, or they dislike watching online videos, there are those who don’t like receiving information via audio only.
But, before you dismiss podcasts, ask yourself if you’re against trying them because you fit into that category or whether it’s because they are new or different, or you tried them once, but the topic didn’t appeal to you or you found the speaker boring? In many ways, podcasts are like radio shows. You might love listening to Radio 4 but hate music radio; you may not be a fan of talk radio but enjoy radio drama or comedy.
Why Do People Love Podcasts?
There are a number of reasons that people love podcasts, some of which we touched on in the previous blog post:
Diversity in Niches
Mainstream radio may be broken down into different categories, such as talk, news, sport, rock music, pop or even a mixture of these, but it’s limited as to how niche it can be due to the financial constraints of running a radio station – they need to attract a broad enough audience to make them financially viable. Podcasts don’t have the same restraints, plus they can be accessed worldwide, so they can cater to small niche subjects. Podcast creators/hosts tend to be enthusiasts on their topic and keen to share as much information as possible with their listeners.
“Inform, Educate & Entertain”
This was an exact quote we received when asking about podcasts. Due to the diverse nature of podcasts, you can find one or more that interest you and learn more while being entertained. For example, if you run a small business you can find podcasts that will offer affordable marketing ideas and advice. If you love Doctor Who, you can get the latest news and gossip from around the world, find out when and where stars will be appearing at fan events, hear interviews with the writers, actors and production team, and listen to fan conspiracy theory debates. Podcasts tackle topics in the kind of depth that you can’t get from a one-off TV programme, news story or magazine article.
Intimacy & Familiarity of Radio
The reason radio has been a popular medium for decades is because people like the feeling that the presenter is speaking directly to them. They become familiar with that person and their personality and many say it’s like “welcoming a friend” into their home or car or wherever they’re listening. Good podcasts create that same one-to-one atmosphere and the host becomes someone the listener trusts and whose opinion they value.
One of the major benefits of podcasts is that you can listen to them whenever you want, at your convenience. You can save episodes up for a long journey or listen to them the moment they’re released. If you have to stop a podcast halfway through, you can simply pick it up again where you left off or go back to the beginning and start again. If, for some reason, the topic of the podcast doesn’t interest you, you can skip one and move on to the next. Even mainstream radio doesn’t offer that level of convenience (unless they have their own “listen again” podcast).
Great Entertainment on the Move
Podcasts are not only available whenever you want but also wherever you want and whatever you’re doing. Podcasts can be downloaded to smartphones, computers, TVs, personal mp3 players, and even some newer model cars, which means you can listen to them while commuting to work, doing the house cleaning, at the gym, walking the dog, in bed or at the office. This is what makes them stand apart from video or the written word as, like radio, they can be playing while you do other tasks.
Has this convinced you to give podcasts a try? Take a journey through iTunes and see if you can find one on a topic that interests you. Podcasts may not have listening figures to rival mainstream television and radio shows (although some of the most popular hit hundreds of thousands of downloads), but they offer diverse, on-demand entertainment that other media cannot achieve.
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