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What Is Podcast?

What Is Podcast?

Podcasting doesn’t have a long history. In fact, the word podcast was introduced in 2004. While podcasts are a relatively recent invention, they’ve had a major impact on audiences across the world.

But what is a podcast, and why are so many people drawn to them? Podcasts are similar to radio shows but offer unique advantages that make them appealing to audiences and content creators.

There are many types of podcasts, and no 2 podcasts are exactly alike. No matter how you define podcasting, it’s clear that this media format deserves a closer look.

The purpose of podcasts

Not all podcasts have the same goal, but as a general rule, podcasts are a form of entertainment. People might listen to a podcast to learn more about a topic, keep up with current events, or because they want to laugh.

A podcast can also be a powerful marketing tool. Podcasting can be an opportunity to promote your business, broaden your reach, or market to your existing audience. If you’re able to build a community around a podcast, it can also be a way to build trust.

There are more than 100 million active podcast listeners in the United States, and they’re becoming more popular each year. A podcast has the potential to inform, inspire, or engage its audience. Ultimately, a podcast is a way to share content. While some enjoy reading articles, others prefer something they can listen to. Podcasting is flexible, and podcasters can use the medium in many ways.

Conversational

A conversational podcast is essentially a discussion. A podcast host may casually discuss a topic or interview guests. This format is similar to a traditional radio show.

Monologue

While conversation podcasts usually feature co-hosts or a roundtable discussion, monologue podcasts have a solo host. It’s an unscripted format that can cover a range of topics. Since you don’t have to coordinate with other hosts, this podcast style can be an easy way to grow your audience.

Non-fiction storytelling

These podcasts present a real-life event in an engaging way. What’s an example of a podcast that uses this format? “This American Life” is a popular radio show and podcast that tells journalistic human interest stories.

Theatrical

Many podcasts are non-fiction, but podcasts can also be a format for a fictional story. Some scripted podcasts tell a story over a few episodes, while others present standalone tales.

Podcasts vs Radio

As we covered in the History of Podcasts section, radio was crucial in creating podcasts. However, while the two entertainment mediums may share a history, there are many differences today.

These differences include:

  • Curation: Podcasts are generally more curated than radio, as producers can edit them before publishing
  • Production quality: Many podcasts include background music and sound effects that producers edit in during post-production
  • Visuals: Podcasts may include visual elements (more on that in the “Audio and Video” section)
  • Focus: Podcasts often dive deep into the nuances of a topic over multiple episodes, while many radio programs (especially morning and evening show programs) use an “easy listening” style that people can tune into and understand at any point
  • Broadcast medium: Podcasts are distributed over the internet

But while podcasts and radio are different, they also share similar elements. These elements include the reliance on narrators, ad breaks that separate segments, and a strong focus on audio to tell a story.

Summary

If you like curated radio shows, documentaries, or Youtube videos, you’ll love podcasts. Listening to podcasts is a great way to expand your mind, entertain yourself, learn about the world, and gain new skills, all while having fun.

And best of all, podcasts are flexible. You can listen to them both online and offline, on your computer or phone, and wherever you want. All you need is a podcast app and a podcast to listen to.

Of course, that begs an interesting question: did you agree with our favorite podcast list, and if not, what podcasts would you recommend for new podcast consumers?

 


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