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Comments 8

Podcasts: reinventing the radio for creatives on a budget

Do you podcast? Either listen to and/or create. I think podcasts are great. I’m an internet nerd, and like most internet nerds I know you don’t talk about interneting in the real world, even in this day and age of social media, but I thought podcasts had gone mainstream by now. I was wrong. Not a single person I’ve mentioned podcasts to knows about them, and most even scoff at the idea that they would spend time listening to people talk on the internet. Oh well, their loss.

I’m a huge audiobook fan so podcasts seem like a normal extension to me. It’s like radio, but you are in control. You choose the topic and the people to listen to. If you enjoy any personality that has any presence online, chances are that they have been on a podcast or two. Podcasts aren’t really interviews – they are more like conversations between professionals and friends – and you get to listen in. It’s intimate. Especially not-really-famous artists and alternative media and lifestyle people thrive on podcasts so if you want to hear from aΒ  different societal point of view podcasts and YouTube are your best bets.

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Joe Rogan Podcast is the gateway drug of many into the world of podcasting. His three hours conversations with people from all arenas of entertainment are interesting and funny, and you really feel like you get to know people well. You can listen on the go and it’s like having hundreds of friends in your pocket. It’s pretty neat. He releases several of these each week so you never run out of material.

I thought after the runaway success of Serial that podcasting was definitely going mainstream. Not so, it still firmly lives on the internet in the corners of Reddit and on Twitter, but it unleashed a flurry of true crime interest and spawned dozens of copycat styled podcasts. For this, I am glad. It led me into the world of fictional podcasts.

Let’s take a closer look at the medium of podcast. After the written word, it is one of the oldest forms of recorded entertainment. Just think of Orson Welles and his The War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938 that launched America into a panic that a real life alien invasion was happening. With the advent of TV and VHS tapes, radio kind of lost its luster. It was boring to have stories with no pictures. But only people in the industry could tell those stories on screen. It wasn’t until the internet it was possible for ordinary creators to broadcast their own stories to millions of people at little cost. And low budget style was fine, for a while. Now audiences are much more sophisticated and they demand high quality. And making high quality videos is still very expensive. Books are hard to write and even harder to advertise to find a decent amount of readers. So maybe it’s only natural that the radio came back in style, or better yet, was reinvented into the podcast.

Perks. Podcasts don’t require reading. A huge part of the population don’t like to read, and even those who do don’t have time for it. Podcasts are usually free of charge to the listeners, like radio. Podcasts can be made in a fairly short time on a small budget, unlike films. They can be consumed anywhere, directly from your phone, which is always in your pocket anyway. They make commuting and exercising more fun. In short, they are the perfect medium for today.

It takes a few tries to find stories you truly click with but when you do, oh boy, prepare to become a little obsessed. I’ll release a post about my favorites soon, and the wonders of having your imagination stirred so completely. In the mean time, do you listening to podcasts? Do you care to share the name of a particular favorite of yours?

8 Comments

  1. Keen says

    All of the podcasts by Paul Rex, and the shows under the New Books Network are my go-tos.

  2. My favorite podcast is Comedy Bang Bang. There are a lot of alt-comedy podcasts that I dig. Hollywood Handbook. Dead Authors Podcast. How Did This Get Made. Harmontown was great but I haven’t listened in awhile. Go Bayside (in which two people watch an episode of Saved by the Bell and talk about how insane it was). Hound Tall is often fun. If you dig philosophy/psychology, Very Bad Wizards is amazing and informal enough to be entertaining.
    Well that was probably way too many. My bad!

  3. I’m a regular listener to the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, which has long since run out of things by that author to examine and now spends its time handling horror fiction written (mostly) prior to 1940. More in the radio-drama mold are The Drabblecast, Cabinet of Wonders, and Welcome to Nightvale; the former two wander between “old-time radio” and modern audiobook.

    I’d rather listen than speak, myself.

  4. There’s an Irish historian who has produced a series of podcasts about Irish history. As someone who used to produce talking newspapers and talking books I don’t no why I have not embraced this technology. It’s time I did. I shall re-blog this.

  5. Mary says

    My DH and I really like “I Was There Too” which is a series of interviews with people who had minor roles in famous movies, like the guy who’s played the older brother in E.T. He also likes “How Did This Get Made” which is about movies that were huge flops and how they got a green light.

  6. Juana says

    I like the whyshamanismnow podcast. Also, do you know of Willamette Radio Workshop? Not a podcast, but a radio production that does free stage performances. They are amazing.

  7. Really interesting post – I have never done too much with podcasts, either listening or producing… the internet has so much out there, it’s like drinking from a fire hose. But you entry has me thinking – have to carve out some precious time and look more into this.

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