I found a couple of interesting articles from the Pew Research center. The first was a July 2006 article about podcasting in which they asked what is podcasting? They gave the following definition:
“Podcasting is a way to distribute audio and video programming over the Web that differs from earlier online audio and video publishing because the material is automatically transferred to the user’s computer and can be consumed at any time, usually on an Apple iPod or another kind of portable digital music player commonly known as an MP3 player.”
In 2006 the amount of listeners was astounding. 9.2 million downloads for audio podcasts and 5.6 million downloads for video podcasts. In an Arbitron survey they reported that there were 27 million total people that listened to audio podcasts.
At the time the most popular podcasts were news or recap podcasts. NPR being the most popular for news. Recaps podcasts served the purpose of recapping TV shows from the night before.
“Most podcasts are created by amateurs with virtually no expectations for turning a profit and are simply a way to share one’s passions for a particular intellectual curiosity or hobby. Not surprisingly, most podcasts are commercial-free programming and free to download. But, as more commercial media properties add them to their web offerings, they may well be looked to as another way to generate revenue from the Internet.”
Looking back at this quote from a 2006 article things have changed a lot! Podcasts are created by people already in the business of radio and TV. Most podcasts also are either sponsored or feature ads.
Fast forward in an a 2015 article, again from the Pew Research Center podcast are becoming more and more popular and the subject matter of a lot of podcasts range from cooking, true crime, and comedy.
“The increased reach and upward trend line of podcast consumption is evident in every available measure – the percentage of Americans who are listening to podcasts, the level of public awareness, and how many podcasts are being hosted and downloaded. An additional indicator of the strong growth of podcasts in 2014 is reflected in the launch of three new podcast networks by public radio alone: Radiotopia by PRX (February), SoundWorks by PRI (May) and Infinite Guest by APM (August).”
Public radio notices what the people want in their podcasts and are getting in on the action. Also with the everyday usage of mobile phones the preferred method of listening to podcasts is the mobile phone.