Podcasts, what exactly are they? Well if you’re like me, then you probably have no idea. If you’re not like me and are enjoying the benefits and entertainment of podcasts already. According to Wikipedia, the definition of a podcast is “a type of Digital media consisting of an episodic series of Digital audio, video, PDF, or ePub files”. The fact that I’d never heard of podcasts before this semester in college is one thing, but it’s another that I’ve attempted to search for some to understand exactly what they are and have only come across the most popular podcast This American Life. I hadn’t settled on it yet and wanted to go through a variety of podcasts on different subjects but I didn’t know where to look. Surely there was somewhere you could look besides Apples iTunes right? I came across an article that covered my problem and provided a solution. In reading the article Discovery Problem: Why it’s So Hard to Find New Podcasts I found that finding different podcasts was a known issue people had been experiencing. Nevertheless the article provided me with information about podcasts that I hadn’t known before.
Scott Pham, the author of the article is a digital content editor for NPR member station KBIA. He describes that podcasts are a big thing right now and are building communities of followers on their series. Despite the success of podcasts, there is no Spotify for podcasts. Pham references the success of Welcome to Night Vale and how this unknown podcast series was able to bump the more famous This American Life podcast out from the No. 1 spot rankings in iTunes. ITunes, the way Pham admits he and the majority of other podcast listeners discovered podcasts. However, a designer by the name of Max Temkin has created a website called Podcast Thing which contains vast amount of podcasts, the well-known series as well as those that are not as known. Surprisingly, podcasts have been around since 2011, but it became more famous in 2005 with the release of iTunes. And here I am, barely discovering this medium at the end of 2013.
Pham talks about how iTunes helped the success of podcasts, and how recently Apple celebrated the fact that they had 1 billion podcast downloads. Also, iTunes ranks the most popular podcasts but no one knows the formula in which that rank is decided. Advertisers too are noticing the success of podcasts and different websites, apps, and players are making an effort to help discovery, are an audio app, or even write reviews. The list of these are below:
With this article in mind, I went to Podcast Thing to search for one podcast that would be of interest to me and found The Memory Palace. The author Nate Dimeo is the creator of The Memory Palace and co-creator of Pawnee: the Greatest Town in America and a finalist in the 2012 Thurber Prize for American Humor. He was in public radio for 10 years and lives in Los Angeles. The Memory Palace tells of true stories in history, the one I listened to just now was one titled I’m Still Alive. This episode is about a few selected true stories of people being buried alive. Yes, this podcast was quite intriguing.
So if the question that follows is “Will I follow this podcast?” The answer is yes. It’s not only because this is the very first and only podcast I’d ever heard, but because I am a big fan of history and I enjoy reading and learning about it. I know that there are different genres of podcasts available and that’s what makes some more or less successful and popular, but with this in mind I know that I can search for different topics and know that I will find one. For now, I will be keeping up with The Memory Palace and will follow it on Facebook and Twitter. It currently has 57 podcasts therefore I have 56 to listen to in order to catch up and I cannot wait to get started!