Podcasting 101: What Is A Podcast?

What Is A Podcast?

Podcasting is one of the most emerging forms of media today because it can immerse listeners in an intimate content experience while on public transport or in the restroom.

This form of digital media is without a doubt one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide, and it’s not just because it helps listeners unwind after stressful days – podcasts are actually monetized in several different ways, making them profitable for podcasters as well as advertisers.

For example, 51% of monthly active podcast listeners state that they have an annual household income greater than $75,000 compared to 38% of the general population, which creates a clearly identifiable market for companies seeking to advertise their products and services.

More people are listening to podcasts than ever before. According to Edison Research, the number of Americans listening to a podcast each week has grown 120% over the past four years, and 90 million Americans listen to a podcast every month.

This medium of entertainment is here to stay, as 80% of listeners say they’re more likely to try a service or product suggested by a podcast that interests them.

As this type of entertainment continues to grow in popularity and reach new audiences, there’s never been a better time for you to start recording your own original show – whether for your business, brand, or just as a creative project capable of showcasing another facet of who you are (like if you’re an actor getting into voiceover work or poet wanting a way to share your work with the world).

Podcasts are an excellent way to engage in a long-lasting relationship with your audience and have conversations with them on topics of interest.

Instead of fragmented and fleeting interactions through social media, podcasts allow you to build up a more genuine rapport with your listenership by delivering complete information given over a particular period of time.

Podcasts are a convenient alternative since people can listen to them while doing chores around the house or even during workouts such as walking or running.

It may not seem like it, but at the moment, there’s an abundance of opportunities in the podcasting industry.

There are a minimum of 23 million YouTube channels, 600 million blogs, and only 800,000 podcasts in Apple Podcasts. This total means that there are 750 blogs and 29 YouTube channels for every podcast.

History of Podcasts

Once called “audio blogs,” podcasts are rooted in structures dating back to the 1980s.

As broadband Internet access and portable digital audio playback devices such as the iPod have gotten readily available over time, podcasting has gained immense popularity.

Today more than 115,000 English-language podcasts are available there that are readily available for download on the internet, with dozens of options for distributing your own show through various channels, including your personal website.

Radio

Radio

The Illusion of Independent Radio (Illyuziya Nezavisimogo Radio; idiomatically “Radio without a hook”) was a samizdat − or underground unofficial − radio program, created in 1989 in Rostov-on-Don (USSR) and distributed on magnetic tape and cassettes.

The first Soviet Russian model of the media venture was widely developed in the 2000s as podcasting that was later expanded with such widespread use of the internet.

Before 2004, MP3 digital files existed on CDs before online music distribution became a thing, and distributors like RCS used their CDNow service to create an online catalog for CDNow customers.

Albums were loaded onto OnCD servers with metadata records that instructed CD players called auto runners to open web browsers at preassigned addresses.

These were known as autostart CDs. The optical discs reduced bandwidth since they didn’t have to stream audio content over a network, giving birth to streaming radio stations like iHeartRadio.

Streaming audio took off in 1995. You could stream music from Shoutcast, the jukebox site that was started by radio disk jockeys Nullsoft and Joshua Jackson.

There were plenty of ways to listen to streaming audio files before Real Audio.

This script didn’t consider the fact that it allowed people to have a whole new way of experiencing digital media formats and talk programs that they broadcasted on the Mbone (Multicast Network).

But what made streaming services so revolutionary was their real-time nature, which enabled users to chat with one another in real-time as well.

With internet talk radio becoming more popular, Carl Malamud launched Internet Talk Radio, which created conversations about computers, allowing others in the community to speak about their expertise online under Carl’s watchful eye.

These two examples really opened up how people now could share with one another about such specific interests online by listening to others speak about it in real-time!

Some websites like AOL let you download audio shows from their websites. Additionally, by 1998, some radiostations started exploring the possibility of broadcasting online and on-demand streaming talk shows.

In 2003 a portable player was developed at Compaq Research as a successor to the Personal Jukebox that had been out since 2000. Called PocketDJ, it would have launched as a service for the Personal jukebox or a successor.

Since 2001, Applian Technologies, based out of San Francisco, California, has introduced Replay Radio. This was a TiVo-like recorder for Internet Radio Shows.

One of the most popular features available to users was a Direct Download link. Whenever the program set up a new file, it would scan the radio publisher’s site for new files and directly copy them to a PC’s hard disk.

The first show to publish using this system was WebTalkGuys World Radio Show, which was produced by Rob Greenlee and his wife, Dana Greenlee.

First Podcast

A long time ago, Jeff Stibel, the CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., launched an experiment by releasing an audio show to his website. This show was called IT Conversations.

However, it wasn’t the first podcast to ever be released because a few years later, Adam Curry hosted and produced his show at Daily Source Code named Daily Source Code.

That is until 2005 when Doug Kaye started a show known as IT Conversations, too, but this time did so with streams as well.

Nevertheless, today, Dun & Bradstreet’s IT Conversations are still alive and posted on all major podcast directories like Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, SoundCloud, and iTunes.

So, it seems that the first-ever podcast was IT Conversations by Doug Kaye, which launched on 1 June 2003. The first-ever podcast was offered in September 2003 titled Radio Open Source.

Another one that’s actually known as PFW in Progress (also called 100% Patriots) launched on 16 August 2000 at Patriots.com.

Modern Podcasts

Modern Podcasts

Podcasting was invented in 2004 during an episode of the Evil Genius Chronicles. The episode was broadcast essentially by accident, as its creator was trying to test his new microphone with Skype.

He forgot to turn off his microphone after testing, and the podcast was live for all of his listeners to hear. The episode has become known as the “Podcasting Incident.”

The name ‘podcasting’ even came from this particular occasion because Dave Slusher mentioned, “The digital audio you’re listening to is being podcasted” multiple times on that specific episode.

Forever after, digital audio could be described as “being podcasted,” or parts of it can be likened to a radio show: In technical terms, podcasts are an episodic series of audio files that can be downloaded and subscribed to automatically using RSS.

In February 2004, a listener agreed to co-host a show that Ben Hammersley wrote about in his column at The Guardian.

After writing this blog post and describing the process through which they met the listener who would become the first person to host a podcast publicly, he referred to their brief recording as “the world’s first-ever podcast.”

Seven months later, Ben registered various domain names relating to synchronizing audio (including pod.net and podcast.net) after discovering an additional use for RSS that didn’t involve having to subscribe manually to available feed content to keep tabs on a website or blog.

He shared this discovery with people online via a mailing list dedicated to thinking about the potential uses of RSS 2.0.

This is considered by some people nowadays as one of several milestones leading up to the emergence of podcasting.

The popularization of the term “podcast” and its use by technology evangelists was reflected in an article in The Register.

Blogger and technology columnist Doc Searls kept track of how many “hits” Google found for the word “podcasts.” His first query reportedly returned 24 results.

On 28 September 2004, there were 526 hits for the word “podcast” on Google’s search engine, and this number continued to double after every few days.

By 2007 people realized the importance of podcasting. They enjoyed information on different topics but were limited to sites where they could listen to podcasts.

They were also concerned about managing podcasts and putting them in playlists so as not to miss any episodes of blogs or radio shows that they would like to hear eventually.

Moreover, at this time, it was still hard for publishers to create podcasts and reach their listeners because there were too many podcast hosting services that were not able to provide good quality audio.

Examples of Popular Podcasts

Examples of Popular Podcasts

This American Life

Podcast host: Ira Glass

The American Life is an hour-long radio show that’s turned into a podcast. The stories are usually incredibly real, but sometimes they’re invented, and the theme of the story changes each week.

Millions of listeners tune in weekly to hear what life has to teach them next.

Political Gabfest

The “Political Gabfest” podcast employs a colloquial form of narration that mimics a casual conversation one might have with their friends.

The benefit to listeners is that it feels as though they are listening in on a group of people who share political views debating various topics, which makes the format engaging for many listeners with similar interests.

The Writer’s Voice

Podcast host: Deborah Treisman

The Writer’s Voice allows famous writers as well as up-and-coming writers to read one of their pieces on the air.

According to analytics from Stitcher, the top 10 most-downloaded podcasts of all time are:

  • Serial
  • This American Life
  • Dr. Death
  • Radiolab
  • The Daily.
  • Stuff you should know
  • S-Town
  • Planet Monkey
  • TED Talks Daily
  • Pod Save America

Podcasts are truly a medium for everyone. From curious people to those who want to learn something new to true crime enthusiasts, there’s a podcast out there that will be suited to their taste.

Apple Podcasts has been dedicating an entire page of its website just for this information since September 2016, and the most popular ones update in real-time.

To view the top 100 podcasts in the United States at the moment, you can check out their regularly updated listings.

Are Podcasts Moving More and More to Video?

Are Podcasts Moving More and More to Video?

More and more people get their news and entertainment on the go. With this in mind, podcast media is shifting towards video.

It’s no longer simply audio; podcast listeners are looking for a visual experience as well. Video storytelling through video podcasts and vodcasts is becoming increasingly popular.

Podcast videos are fantastic ways of engaging your listeners. But what better way to create a visual representation that also enhances the listening experience?

The best kind of video could be whiteboard animations with visuals or even graphics. These are perfect examples when you’re talking about processes and things like CPA marketing tactics, for instance, that a listener may never have witnessed in the flesh.

Therefore it can be beneficial to see them so as to empathize with them better. Popular podcasts that upload video versions of their podcast to Spotify and YouTube include The Joe Rogan Experience, Impact Theory, and The Moth.

Video podcasts are popular, but the video isn’t essential: some podcasts provide audio-only content. People like to listen to podcasts as they do their chores or when doing mundane tasks.

Listeners can follow your podcast when driving, walking, or doing any number of things that don’t involve staring at a screen.

It is not a showstopper to only provide audio podcasts because there are ways to include videos later on if your podcast gains popularity.

Starting out with audio podcasts might be the best decision for those who want listeners to connect with the voices behind the message since one can become more “real” through the use of an auditory medium than through a visual medium alone which often leads people to lose interest quickly through being perceived as too “perfect.”

Types of Podcasts

Types of Podcasts

Interview podcast

An interview podcast involves one or two hosts who speak with one or more guests each episode.

The podcast usually focuses on one or a few topics in which the guest provides unique expertise or special insight on that given topic, industry, or theme.

Monologue Podcast

In a monologue-style podcast, one host takes the stage as the main attraction and is responsible for guiding each episode to make sure that it stays clear and organized.

Podcasts hosted by someone who specializes in their field are often an informative way to learn about various topics that may seem complex or difficult to understand on your own.

Conversational Podcast

Podcasts with co-hosts are similar to the ones that radio shows do. In this format, two podcast hosts are having a conversation on the air on any topic they want to discuss.

News stories are also common topics of discussion and provide insightful or funny commentary in regards to them.

Storytelling Podcast

Podcast listeners appreciate story-based podcasts that are highly researched. In this format, one or more hosts take podcast listeners through an entire story or a chapter of an ongoing story during a single podcast episode.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, which produces long-form series, is one example of this.

Platforms Hosting Podcasts

Platforms Hosting Podcasts

A podcast host is like a website host – a company that provides storage space for your site’s media files.

Hosting sites or service providers store large media files like audio and video in central server locations worldwide so that all users on the internet can quickly access them.

According to several pieces of research, the top 5 podcast hosting platforms are as follows:

Other than that, you can always put your podcasts on Apple iTunes, Spotify, and of course, YouTube.

How Often Do Podcasts Publish New Episodes or Content?

How Often Do Podcasts Publish New Episodes or Content?

Podcasts usually publish new episodes no more than once a week. But everybody is different. Some people post new episodes every single day for their podcast.

They are called daily or weekly podcasts. Some podcasts publish new episodes once or twice a month. To publish a new episode, you most likely need to have an already established audience.

It is a numbers game. The more people are willing to subscribe to episodes, the more episodes you will have, just like any other content. If you publish enough content, you will have a decent audience. It takes time. But it works.

What Equipments Do You Need for Podcasting?

What Equipments Do You Need for Podcasting?

Many free tools will help you start a podcast (e.g., Anchor, Audacity, ccMixter, Canva, Zoom, etc.).

All of these free tools come with their unique disadvantages when compared to paid, premium competitors like Adobe Audition or Waves; however, they can still be used if you wish to spend your time and effort learning how to get the most out of them.

They’ll work fine for getting your show up on the air as long as expectations aren’t set too high regarding the sound quality or an intricate process to edit audio in podcast episodes.

We know how expensive microphones and audio interfaces can be – and don’t even get us started on studio monitors!

The good news is that while it may seem challenging to get everything you need from the very beginning, you don’t have to break the bank with the initial expenditure.

Some really great sound devices won’t cost you more than $200 altogether, and we think it’s wise not to spend too much on anything other than what’s necessary for your home studio.

For example, if you’re starting out in music production but haven’t had any formal training or education, then it would be best to invest in a few pieces of equipment rather than going overboard at first.

You’ll probably find that when we look at everything together, there are many free options like the recording software and audio loops which will help you try things out and see if this venture is worth sticking with before spending money on something more serious.

How to Design Your Podcast

How to Design Your Podcast

A compelling podcast involves a three-act structure. This three-act structure is a proven narrative format that is found in many popular movies and TV shows, and it’s also one of the most common structures used in business presentations.

The three-act structure is made up of three essential parts:

Act 1: The setup

In this section of your podcast, you want to tell your audience what they will learn in the podcast. State your main point(s), give some background information, and set the tone for the rest of the podcast.

Act 2: The body

In mid-act two, you expand on the setup and reveal a few hints about the main point of the podcast.

Act 3: The resolution

In this act, you tie up all your loose ends and present your key point(s) again in a memorable way.

The basic idea is to create three acts in your story to create dramatic tension. Every story needs a beginning, middle, and end, so the three-act structure of a podcast is just a way to make a podcast flow.

If a podcast doesn’t have a three-act form, then it can get confusing and hard to follow.

Now that you know everything about podcasting from beginning to end go podcasting!

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