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I keep reading a lot about podcasting these days… but what’s curious is that I’m hearing it on Vox, The Observer, The Guardian, Neiman Lab… these are big publications. This isn’t the same as Darren Rowse having a guest blogger on Problogger.net talking about why you should podcast… it’s beyond that, it’s become a trend piece that’s caught the attention of the mainstream press.

So whenever this happens, I try to figure out what’s going on… if you’re familiar with the podcast Serial, you might know they just released a new series, so that’s gotten everyone really excited. But there’s something else. Podcasting has been around forever, but whether it’s the Serial phenomena or otherwise what I’ve been seeing is that people love the format. More and more people are downloading podcasts to their phones. It’s more portable and consistently on-the-topic-of-interest then radio and you don’t have tune in at a certain time. In the last 15 or so years, quietly, behind the scenes, enabled by the growth of smart phones to near universal adoption, podcasts have come out as the dark horse in the online format race. It might be even more popular than blogging.

So should you do it?

Maybe! It’s almost 2016, so if you’re thinking… how do I do things differently? This might be a smart move. How do you find out? Start listening to some. See what’s out there and how you could fit in (or disrupt the status quo!). While there are technical things to figure out, try to start with the story and concept… find an idea that gets you excited and figure out the rest from there.

Here are some of the articles that popped up on my feed… I especially like the last one:

Podcasting is getting huge. Here’s why.

Serial, one of the most popular podcasts of all time, returned last week with an episode chronicling the capture of Bowe Bergdahl, a US service member imprisoned for five years by the Taliban.

The show’s first season — a deeply researched reinvestigation of the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a Baltimore teenager, and the subsequent trial and conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed — put podcasting on the map. Host Sarah Koenig, long of This American Life, narrated lengthy, penetrating interviews with Syed himself, speaking from prison, as well as painstaking recapitulations of every detail of evidence and testimony.

It made for gripping storytelling, and listeners ate it up. As of March of this year, the show’s first season’s 12 episodes had been downloaded a total of 75 million times. And that was part of a broader trend: Podcasting is becoming a mainstream phenomenon.” Read more…

Podcasting’s Search Problem Could be Solved by This Spanish Startup

“Podcasting is special. It’s an intimate medium for communicating thoughts and ideas directly into the brain of a carefully grown community, one that feels a personal connection with the show’s hosts.

And all that.

Yet, podcasts are also a trove of useful, actionable information and perspectives; it’s just not a particularly well indexed trove. There are lots of people in this world who aren’t especially comfortable writing down their expertise, but podcasters are shoving microphones in their faces while these experts talk out what they know. Yet, anyone that isn’t a regular listener of a particular podcast is unlikely to surface that information, even if he or she goes searching for it.” Read more..

Why are Americans so much better at making podcasts than the British?

“As Smash Hits used to say: it’s back back BACK! On Thursday, at 11am, the first episode of Serial season two dropped. No fanfare, no warning, Serialdid a Beyoncé on its 70 million-plus fans; it just came out with new content and waited for us to find it. Which we did, in our millions, again.

Of course, Serial is not representative of most podcasts – it is much more successful than most. It does, however, represent a type of podcast: a crafted, edited, easy-on-the-ear-yet-unexpected listening experience that packs a lot of information and emotion into one episode. Anyone who likes Serial should also try This American Life, 99% Invisible, Love + Radio, StartUp, Invisibilia,Freakonomics. All well produced and extremely popular. Podcasts, it seems, that the UK can’t make.

The British contribution to podcasting comes in two forms: A downloadable BBC programme, or a cosy, unedited discussion.” Read more…

Podcasting in 2015 feels a lot like blogging circa 2004: exciting, evolving, and trouble for incumbents

“Podcasting is giving me a case of déjà vu.

The state of podcasting in 2015 feels a lot like the state of blogging circa 2004. The variety and quality of work being done is thrilling; outside attention is growing; new formats are evolving. We’re seeing the same unlocking of creative potential we saw with blogging, and there’s far more good work being produced than anyone has time to take in.

The question now is whether podcasting’s future will play out as the last decade of blogging has. There may be some lessons to be drawn — positive and negative — from how the beautifully fractured world of blogging evolved into what we have today.” Read more…