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Podcasting isn’t Dead

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In his post titled The Resurrection of Podcasting, Mitch Joel asks the question “Does anyone listen to podcasts anymore? Does anyone even care?”

Yes Joel, I’m listening, I care. So do nearly twice the number of people who have Twitter accounts. According to Edison Research, 17% of the U.S. population has listened/viewed a podcast in the last month and 29% have listened to a podcast at some point in the past. For comparison, only 10% of the U.S. population have Twitter accounts. Is Twitter dead?  The “Resurrection of Podcasting” title makes it sound as if podcasting was dead. Podcasting was never dead! Awkward teenage phase, maybe. But never dead.

Since 2005 the podcast audience has had a steady growth from 11% in 2006 up to 29% in 2012. The number and quality of podcasts has also grown. In 2005 I had a hard time finding enough podcasts to fill up my iRiver MP3 player. Now my iTunes account has 14 days worth of podcasts waiting for my ears.

It’s true that for a while in podcasting’s earlier days some “gurus” put podcasting in a pretty dress and tiara and sent her out on stage calling her “The Next Big Thing.” I blame the gurus for that one. Quite frankly those folks soured many in the podcasting community against conferences such as NMX. A lot of podcasters felt that if making money and replacing established radio was going to be the primary focus of a conference then that conference wasn’t for them. I am on a mission to change this.

Many podcasters were and are quite happy just talking into their mic and having an audience that appreciates their work. There is no plan to take over the broadcasting world (say it like Pinky and the Brain) among most podcasters. That was just the “gurus” talking.

Today podcasting is stronger than ever and getting stronger each day. There is room for the entire range of podcasters. From the full time pros and networks like TWIT and Nerdist to the hobbyist that just wants to talk about blue widgets. Not green ones, not purple ones and not about selling them. Just wants to enjoy the awesomeness that is blue widgets and share his blue widget love with his audience of other blue widget aficionados. There is room for everyone along this spectrum.

Tom Merrit (of TWIT network fame) stated on a recent panel that he knew podcasting was hitting the mainstream when he saw it used as an insult on HBO’s Newsroom. It was being used much in the same way that the term “blog” had been used in the years before blogging became so popular. Imagine boss to the fired journalist…”good luck with your ‘blog’.” We are on the road to mainstream. It’s the same road blogging took, podcasting just got a later start.

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