More than six years ago, I answered a query in a chat room. A woman in LA was looking for radio interviewers. As a long-time news anchor, reporter and author-interviewer, I symbolically raised my hand.
I lowered it.
She was looking for podcasters. I’d never done a podcast.
She asked, “Have you hosted and produced radio shows?”
“Probably hundreds of radio shows, all lengths,” I quickly answered.
“Then,” she said, “you’ve done hundreds of podcasts. You’re hired.”
Oh! So, that’s a podcast!
Since then, I’ve hosted and produced more than a hundred more podcasts for authors, high tech clients, MBA and Law School students, and others. Podcasts are real, dynamic conversations that you can listen to anytime, anyplace. The word stems from a blend of “broadcasting” and “iPods.” Or, as Wired described it in a March 2005 article, “the bastard offspring of the blog and the Apple MP3 player.”
Podcast popularity is rising rapidly. The respected Pew organization did a study in late 2008 on the habits of web users. The Pew Internet and American Life Project found 19-percent of Internet users downloaded podcasts, and this is up from twelve-percent two years prior to that.
Other stats – men more likely than women to download, and under-fifty more likely than over-fifty. But, again, that was two years ago.
The Pew 2008 study shows more than 43,000 podcasts were produced — more than double the 2006 figure, and that technology is the most popular sector. More than 4,000 podcasts were available then. Wonder how many now? I know I’ve pumped in a bunch.
Searching for ever more current stats, I find eMarketer projecting the growth will continue at least for the next three years, when there will be 37.6 million people downloading podcasts on a monthly basis. That’s double the 2008 figures. No question the trend is up.
Thankfully, podcasting is more than grabbing a mic and some software. Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the report, Podcasting Into the Mainstream says “Today, the vast majority of the top-rated podcasts come from recognizable media entities that are using podcasts to expand their existing radio, TV, cable, or satellite audiences.”
The thing about podcasts is that they’re so convenient. They’re especially effective for high technology. Entertaining. Informative. Like a conversation between business associates. And you can listen in anywhere.