Where nearly a century ago, families huddled by the radio to listen to news and entertainment, and a couple of generations ago they sat around the TV, another big shift is in the making as millions discover podcasts.
If you’re not sure what a podcast is, it’s just like talk radio, with episodes streamed over the internet to your smartphone or computer, but unlike radio you can listen to it anytime. You can even think of it like a cross between Netflix and talk radio. Listeners usually subscribe to the podcasts they love through Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or other providers, and they’re usually free.
According to a recent survey, by last year, 37% of us were listening to at least one podcast each month, up from 32% the year before, and these numbers are only expected to rise. In fact, with young people especially, listeners aged 12 to 34, podcast listening has almost doubled from 2017 to 2020.
With so many new listeners, it’s not surprising that there are also a lot more podcasts to listen to. In February 2021, there were 1.75 million podcasts with 43 million episodes available, up from 18.5 million just three years ago.
You might think, with podcasts’ newfound popularity, starting your own might be a bad idea right now but you’d probably be wrong. During the pandemic, with millions of us at home and looking for stuff to do, the number of new podcasts skyrocketed.
So why would you start a podcast? There are lots of reasons – you’re a storyteller looking for a new way to reach more people, you’re passionate about a particular topic and want to share what you know, or you’re interested in a million things and have the gift of gab.
Whatever your reasons, while there a few hurdles and some planning involved, creating your own podcast doesn’t require much of an investment beyond your own time. Among the questions you’ll want to consider as you get started:
1. Is your podcast about a particular topic, like home finance or football or cooking vs. a bunch of things?
2. Are you going to host the podcast yourself or do you want a co-host who you can spar with?
3. What are you going to call the podcast? The possibilities are endless, but you’ll need to decide if you want something clever and memorable or more descriptive of what the podcast is about.
4. How long do you want each episode? There’s no right answer, a lot depends on how interesting you make each episode, but most podcasts run from five to 30 minutes.
5. Who are you going to invite on? Some podcasts work great with one or two people chatting but inviting guests, usually experts in a topic you’re covering, can make things more interesting for listeners.
6. Where are you going to record it? Choose a relatively quiet room with no background noise or disturbances.
And that’s just the start. You’ll also want to learn how to record your podcast, decide what microphones, recording and editing software you’ll need, and how to publish it online so your fans can discover and listen to it.
If you don’t already listen to some podcasts, we recommend checking out a few on your favorite topics, or get recommendations from friends or online.
Have you or someone you know started a podcast? We’d love to hear how it’s going (or went!). Please share your tips and suggestions with the Shop Talk blog community.
Did you know: Top podcasts
The number of podcasts is vast, and the most popular ones change from week to week but among the most listened to are: The Daily from The New York Times, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, the Joe Rogan Experience, Radiolab, Serial, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. (Source)