Podcasts have had a real popularity surge during the last year – why is this? I myself have been a podcast fiend for a few years now but have definitely listened to more of them during 2020. Podcasts actually began in the 1980s and were called ‘audio blogging’, however due to the lack of means to distribute these recordings, they didn’t take off. In the 2000s, with the rise of portable audio devices (think early iPods!) podcasts started to increase in use. Fast forward to today, there are around 900,000 podcasts to choose from and in the UK around 12.5% of people (over 7 milllion) listen to a podcast weekly.
So what are some of the reasons we are loving podcasts so much…
Time – alot of us have more time on our hands, with the regional tier system and going into our third lockdown in January 2021 in the UK, we need to keep ourselves occupied whilst at home, on walks or whilst doing other things. It can also feel like you are listening to a conversation that you are a part of, and there are usually ways to contact podcast producers, such as via social media, email or offering comments on the podcast app.
No screens – I like podcasts as it can give your eyes a break from staring at a screen. Whilst watching films and working from home, we often need to be looking at laptops and television screens. However, podcasts free up your eyes to give them a rest, get on with another task or just to enjoy your surroundings.
Choice – there are so many podcasts to choose from, lots of comedians, documentary makers, sports stars and museums, amongst others, have started up podcasts in the last year whilst they have not been able to work in their usual ways (thanks a lot, COVID-19!). There are so many different genres of podcasts such as news, health and fitness and comedy – you are bound to find something you enjoy.
Technology – lots of people are listening to things whilst driving, using aux cables or bluetooth speakers, wireless headphones sales are booming (I actually treated myself to some Airpods recently) and many people have home AI systems, such as a Google Nest or Amazon Alexa. It is easier than ever to listen to podcasts wherever you are, at the touch of a button or by the sound of your voice. A problem for podcasts in the past was there was no clear and easy way to get them out to people, but now you can listen on podcasts using several different apps, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify and BBC Sounds.
Low-cost – podcasts are by-in-large free. With many people being placed on the furlough scheme from work, amongst other financial challenges inflicted by the pandemic, some will have lower disposable income. Podcasts are mostly free of charge to listen to, some shows have sponsors that play adverts during the episodes or have Patreon-type support systems in which listeners can contribute financially to get more or specialist content that listeners for free don’t have access to. Maybe consider supporting a small, independent podcast by buying them ‘a cup of coffee’ (contributing a small amount of money such as the price of a coffee) if you are able to in order that they can keep producing the content you love!
Here are a few suggestions to get you started or to expand your podcast library with…
Best to laugh along to…
Help I Sexted My Boss
Katherine Ryan: Telling Everybody Everything
Sh**ged Married Annoyed
Best for in-depth interviews…
Grounded with Louis Theroux
The Joe Marler Show
Best for historical buffs…
Dan Snow’s History Hit
For the Love of History
The History Hotline
House21 also have their own fabulous monthly podcast and book club podcast – check them out if you haven’t already!!
www.brandastic.com/blog/why-are-podcasts-so-popular/ (accessed 14/01/2021).
www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/may/03/its-boom-time-for-podcasts-but-will-going-mainstream-kill-the-magic (accessed 14/01/2021).