What Makes Podcasts Interesting

One of the things that I think is most interesting to me about podcasts is that many podcast hosts are not professional podcasters — they do something else and happen to do a podcast as well.

I think that prior to podcasts with radio and television there was so much of a barrier to entry to record and distribute audio/video content that in order to produce one that had to be your full time job.

At a certain stage of maturity of the internet, along come podcasts and all of a sudden it’s virtually free and requires about an hour/week of your time in order to publish a podcast. Maybe a few hours/week if you want to factor in coordination, planning, editing, etc.

That in and of itself of course is interesting.

But I think the more interesting story is that the reduced barrier to entry to put out audio/video content made it possible for a whole new class of person to do it — the type of person who is busy doing other things and wants to spend a little bit of time doing it on the side.

Normally when you think about a broadcaster or radio person, that’s all they do. But just look at the type of people that do podcasts:

  • Joe Rogan — comedian, fighter, mixed martial arts expert.
  • Tim Ferriss — business person and investor
  • Reid Hoffman — founder/investor
  • Scott Adams — author, cartoonist
  • Malcom Gladwell — author

I guess comedians are the one category of profession that have a tradition of getting their own broadcast shows. But other than that, all of these other categories of professions are people who just never in a million years would have produced their own broadcast prior to podcasts.

Sure, there are a good number of podcasts produced by professional radio people like the NPR ones, Gimlet ones, This American Life, etc., but I think the trend of having non-professional “radio people” producing podcasts is here to stay.