I first discovered podcasts and podcasting somewhere around 2006, and my mind was blown. The first podcast I came upon was all about production, technology, communications- in short, everything that was of interest to me. It blew my mind because of the obvious potential to narrowcast and reach large audiences which were not quite large enough for traditional radio or TV. One million podcast listeners is huge. One million TV viewers gets you cancelled before the second episode airs.
In the years that followed, it seemed like everyone with a mic and a laptop started releasing podcasts during this chaos period, but now it is clear that podcasting has reached a new and exciting level of maturity.
My enthusiasm for them has not waned one iota. In fact, I receive the vast majority of my news, information and entertainment from podcasts. Because it is such a personal medium, it feels very “one-to-one” and that appeals to me.
One area that has experienced a huge boom, and resultant ripple effect, is comedy. A few years back I happened upon Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, which led me to Greg Fitzsimmons’ Fitzdog Radio and on and on. Both of these shows are essentially interview shows, not comics doing their acts. Maron’s self-revelatory style over 300+ episodes has won him a huge following and a TV deal for an upcoming show on IFC. To hear him tell it, it has also resurrected what was, by his own admission, a dormant stand-up career.
Fitzsimmons’ career seems to be on the upswing, too, as a result of his podcast, although he often riffs on how hard he has worked to arrive comfortably “in the middle.” He says he gets recognized on the street occasionally, but mostly he works steadily in Hollywood, which is the dream of any creative type.
Two back to back articles in the NY Times this past week about the comics Chris Hardwick and Rob Delaney, and the “direct-to-audience” model pioneered so expertly by Louis CK are further evidence of the power of podcasting to speak to your audience directly, and find new audiences in the process.
I made a blog post back in 2007 (Good God, have I been blogging that long?) about the huge potential I saw in podcasting. While NPR and other mainstream content providers have used podcasts to great mutual benefit for themselves and their audiences, there is still plenty of room for growth.
I think it’s time for me to get back to my podcast. I’ve been too lazy.
So, do you listen to podcasts? If so, got any good recommendations?