It's interesting how after TV has killed radio, and online video streaming has killed TV, radio is making a comeback and even giving streaming a run for its money in terms of quality and quantity.
But it's not exactly radio, it's its online offspring, the podcast.
Media Always Changes
People used to tune in to their radio sets for different things: news, radio plays, music, conversations, and many other aural forms of media. But when TV came along, it became the primary source of information and entertainment. Rod Serling, who used to be a famous radio personality before eventually creating the 60's TV show "The Twilight Zone," once said that instead of competing with television, radio aimed downward. Nowadays, whenever we listen to the radio it's more often a sequence of either pop songs and news reports interrupted by ads.
The same is increasingly becoming true for television. TV programs also offered news and entertainment, but the latter had many forms: sitcoms, soap operas, game shows, sports, among many others. Cable channels even introduced prestige television, TV shows with movie-level budgets and production values. But like radio, TV eventually stopped trying with the advent of streaming. Increasingly, those who are looking for quality programming and for something new to watch are turning to Netflix, Amazon, and other similar platforms. Meanwhile, free TV is just stuck with the news, reboots and re-runs, interrupted by ads.
Podcasts Stay the Same
But as streaming becomes more and more popular, so too does podcasting. While podcasting has been around since the early days of dial-up internet, it is experiencing a renaissance today as many celebrities, influencers, content creators, even politicians and CEOs are embracing the medium and either guesting on or starting their own podcast.
Much like radio, podcasts are primarily, if not exclusively, made for audio consumption. But unlike radio, podcasts are not bound by traditional time limits except those the hosts and producers set themselves. Unlike radio or TV stations, podcast channels are not concerned with squeezing in what gets more listeners and viewers to entice advertisers. Rather, podcast companies prioritize enabling more and more creators to make their programs: the more kinds of programs they offer, the more kinds of people will tune in.
Rarely do podcasts get cancelled. In fact, it is more up to the host whether or not a podcast goes on. It is this kind of freedom in creation and content that entices many storytellers, documentarians, interviewers, and other media practitioners to switch to podcasting. This freedom is also why many podcasts have stayed on for many years now and have gathered a growing community of listeners throughout those years.
But Why Start A Podcast?
Changes in the media landscape may give one an idea that it is new technology that kills old media. But really, it is when the older platforms stop trying that it becomes obsolete.
There are always people who would want to watch or listen to anything interesting and thought-provoking. Whether it's a sketch comedy show or a conversation or a celebrity or influencer building their personal brand, everyone has something to say. And because people long for connections, there will always be people who will listen.
Anyone can make a podcast because it is a medium that encourages everyone who has something to share to make one. And if you need help on the production side, there are podcast production companies who specialize in the technical side of things so you can focus on your content and message.
Podcasting services help you record quality audio, lay down background tracks, and even edit out portions you want to delete. More importantly, these podcast platforms help you find your audience and build a community of listeners who value your creations and your voice.
We are living in an age where creating content and creating connections are more possible than ever. If you have something to say, even just to find out if it is worth saying, there is no reason for you not to try podcasting.
More people may be listening than you thought.