Podcasts: A new trend or the future of broadcasting?


Joe Rogan, Sarah Koenig, Ira Glass. These individuals have worked extremely hard to produce, write, and star in their own shows in an industry that is up-and-coming and not an easy walk to fame that people may believe it is. This is the podcast industry in a nutshell; people who have something to say and want to share it with the world.
To some, podcasting may seem like just a trend or a hobby, but studies have shown that the industry is continuously growing and the number of downloads per podcast episodes has reached the millions, even hundreds of millions.
Over the years the medium has shifted from listening to radio to listening to podcasts due to certain apps adding a podcast feature. Podcasts became mainstream on iPhones after Apple updated its iOS systems to include a stock Podcast app. This app has contributed to the booming market. Due to this feature, people can now do the thing they could not do before with radio; they can star and produce their own shows without anyone to stop them. More than a billion podcast subscriptions were logged through the Podcast app since its introduction in 2012, according to Apple.
Take, for example, the podcast Serial hosted by Sarah Koenig, an investigative journalist. She has a whopping 175 million episode downloads and her show is only on its third season. Joe Rogan of the Joe Rogan experience, receives 95 million episode downloads each month.
What is it that drives people to want to put their content out there on a streaming platform? Why has it slowly become ingrained in modern society? Sidney Pierucci, an investigative journalist has his own theory about why this medium is so popular.
“There are three reasons people listen to a podcast: an unusual sense of intimacy, the ability to productively multitask while driving or working out and great stories–the power of narrative,” Pierucci said in an interview with the digital media website Mashable.
In the Bay Area, more and more local podcasts continuously emerge as well; one such podcast is called Carpool lane podcast hosted by a man named Alex Gallegos. Gallegos has hosted his podcast for five years and has gained his own small following. His show talks about everyday life, personal situations , work life, and whatever is on his mind. During the interview he spoke of his passion about his podcast and what it takes to make it in the industry as a whole.
“I think it’s going well because it’s free, or cheap to do a podcast,” Gallegos said in an interview. “And there’s so much creative freedom you can do with your show. It’s your show, there’s no rules to how you run it. Yes, on Soundcloud I pay a $15 dollar fee a month for all my content to be saved, but other than that, everything else I do is free. I turn on my microphone and my co-host and I just start talking about the weekly stuff.”
It’s shocking how easy it really is to start a podcast. It is up to you to make it successful, however just having a podcast is something almost anyone can do.
So much so that even on-campus podcasts have slowly begun to emerge and become more relevant and prominent within the campus life and culture.
One such show is called “The Silent War” starring David Dube, which explores the current state of our government and its conspiracies. He believes that podcasting will be a new platform for people to get their news and learn new things about the world at all times.
“I think the reason podcasts are doing well has to do with the multiple platforms the info can be streamed from,” Dube said. “Also, it seems with today’s tech, more people know how to stream audio from a podcast compared to using the radio or making videos.”
The real question, however, is while the podcast industry continues to flourish, will the radio industry continue to flounder, and where is the future of audio heading? Gallegos believes that the two can coexist and help each other by doing so.
“I believe due to the influence of podcasts radio shows will still exist, people still love music. However, there may be a day when radio shows might have more freedom to talk about mature content and any other subjects they like without managers being on their asses about anything they say.”
Dube was also very much in agreement with Gallegos that these two platforms can coexist, but he suggested it’s up to the listeners to decide what they want.
“I think radio will always have a place in western society. People are searching for valid information more than ever. People for years trusted the radio and news. We know now that some are full of it so the chance to hear a normal person cast information seems more likely truthful to me personally.”
While it may seem like people just do podcasts in order to achieve their overnight 15 seconds of fame, there is more to it than that. The hosts’ passion is evident in their voices and you can practically feel their faces light up as they perform their show. Gallegos uses the platform to blow off steam and to get whatever is bothering him off his mind.
“It’s a stress reliever. After a long 9 to 5 work week my co hosts and I release all our stress and vent on this podcast. It’s actually fun. Sometimes we have a glass of wine and eat pizza as were talking. It’s like any group of friends who like to hang out once a week and talk only we record our sessions,” Gallegos said.
Dube also agreed that this is so much more than a class or just some trend.
“My favorite part about the podcast platform is the mass amount of options. From fiction to news, there is something for everyone. I think podcasts are awesome because it offers people a chance to tell their story or share their interest,” Dube said.