When I asked my friends what they thought of podcasts, I heard “podcasts are for dweebs,”  and “Podcasts are single-handedly getting me through college,” and just about every opinion in between.  Turns out this medium, and people’s opinions of it are far more complicated than I thought.

 

What’s a podcast?

A podcast is a kind of on demand radio show where creators release episodes on a weekly or daily basis, and listeners decide what they want to hear and when.  But podcasts have gone far beyond radio shows in the breadth of topics they cover and the variety of formats they use.  There’s a podcast out there for everyone.

 

Who listens to podcasts?

About ⅓ of Americans have listened to a podcast, yet the medium is not viewed as a part of mainstream culture.  The strange thing about podcasts is that they haven’t experienced any volatile surges in usership common in digital media, but rather have been on a steady climb for a decade.

http://www.journalism.org/chart/5561/iframe/

While they’ve never exploded in popularity, podcasts have developed a significant yet often unnoticed listenership.

 

Why listen to podcasts?

Podcasting is the multi-tasker’s media.  With a pair of earbuds and a smartphone, any monotonous chore from doing laundry, to the morning commute, can be turned into an opportunity to learn something new, hear perspectives on the news, or just laugh.  A podcast doesn’t need your full attention to start, but the best ones will have grabbed it by the end.

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