Podcasts and Contemporary Audiences

Podcasts and Contemporary Audiences


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Podcasts and Contemporary Audiences

People changed their listening habits during the coronavirus pandemic. While there was an increase in video streaming, a surprising number of people moved back to audio content. There is a form of podcasting revolution taking place with the younger generation looking for new ways to remain informed and entertained while indoors. Podcasts provide the confined youth with such an option. Through broadcasting, the listener has control over the broad genres of discussions and commentaries and when and where to listen to a podcast. More and more listeners are shifting to podcasts and podcasting because the communication format offers increased control over content and gives the listener a voice in their year, which results in a more intimate listening experience.  

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the audio world by increasing the adoption of remote working. According to a Media Nations 2020 report, an estimated 14% of online adults stopped listening to radio in the first few months of the lockdown due to reduced time spent in cars and workplaces (Adgate, 2021). The decline in radio did not result in a decline in audio time among the youth as more time was allocated to music/video streaming channels, podcasts and audiobooks. The same report highlights listeners prefer podcasts because they are readily available, easy to create, versatile, intimate and adaptable (Adgate, 2021). The younger population prefer on-demand content, which podcasts provide due to their simple format that lacks commercials or unnecessary commentary.

Podcasts are changing how people consume education content and approach content creation. Teachers and media houses are two stakeholders feeling the effects of podcasts. The proliferation of remote learning has encouraged teachers to create and upload digital lessons for their students (Hendricks, 2020). Web-based lessons and other online education content provide students with constant access to learning materials, positively improving academic performance. Media houses have had to rethink their approach to content creation. When it comes to news delivery, podcasting encourages creators to not include commercials to lessen the size of the audio files (Bonini, 2015). The objective of podcasting by media houses is to offer listeners downloadable podcasts for their popular shows instead of replacing traditional radio.

Since the coronavirus crisis, the world has experienced a shift towards instant impact content. Traditionally, content creation involved long-form pieces that were 1000 words or longer (Gasher et al. 2020; Bottomley, 2015). There is a micro-content trend with podcasts where large pieces are fragmented into smaller ones for quick and easy reads. For instance, educators divide an entire course into smaller 15-minute audio files covering a distinct topic. Teachers leverage the innovative communication platform to create interesting, interactive and impactful lessons (Hendricks, 2020). Students and teachers can interact via podcast channels, while the audio files provide a richer learning experience compared to lecture halls. All factors indicate that education and content creation will continue experiencing high and steady podcast listenership.

Change is inevitable, and history teaches that society changes alongside technological innovations. In a world excessively filled with information, podcasts offer a more relaxed and direct way for information consumption. In the same way as an educator, I would promote podcasting in the classroom to ensure learning instructions are clear and concise and that the learning environment is interactive. Content creation is a constantly changing field, hence the need for creators to be prepared. Podcasts offer a means to adapt to the changes because of the high level of independence they give to the content creator and listener. The simplicity of the communication platform can prove beneficial during the early life stages of a business, providing a cheaper way to reach and engage target consumers. As the global society remains isolative, podcasts will remain a preferred form of escape to many people.


Adgate, B. (2021, February 11). As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, Ad dollars follow. Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/bradadgate/2021/02/11/podcasting-has-become-a-big-business/?sh=341584672cfb

Bonini, T. (2015). The “second age” of podcasting: Reframing podcasting as a new digital mass medium. Quaderns del CAC, 41(18), 21–30.

Bottomley, A. J. (2015). Podcasting: A decade in the life of a “new” audio medium—Introduction. Journal of Radio & Audio Media, 22, 164–169. doi:10.1080/19376529.2015.1082880

Gasher, M., Skinner, D. & Coulter, N. (2020). Media and communication in Canada [9th Ed]. Oxford University Press.

Hendricks, J. (2020). Radio’s second century: past, present and future perspectives. Rutgers University Press.

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