How Podcasts Became a Bit of an Addiction (and Led Me to Create My Own!)
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How Podcasts Became a Bit of an Addiction (and Led Me to Create My Own!)

#GrowthGoals: One content creator’s forage into the podcasting space. A blog series exploring the well-intentioned attempt of a content creative to learn about a new trade.

I have often fancied myself a salon woman.

No, not a woman of western-saloons-bang-bang-shoot-‘em-up, but the salons of Europe’s 18th Century Enlightenment Era.

Then, bourgeois women gathered in parlors or in dining halls, maybe 20 to 30 of them, debating various subjects from science, philosophy, politics, literature, art and morality.

This space allowed a woman to cultivate her rational, intellectual and aesthetic ideas amid a community firmly principled in a sensitivity and thoughtfulness towards one another, while also challenging her views through rigorous discourse.

These weekly gatherings were seen to expand one’s humanistic understanding beyond formal education.

Conversations about liberty, progress, tolerance and separation of church and state also took place in Masonic lodges and coffeehouses among the men. They had so impressed America’s founding fathers that ideals associated to the Enlightenment era found their way into the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

How Europe's 18th century salons evolved into modern-day podcasts

From salons to podcasts

Salons, and conversations they stimulated, are not unlike how modern podcasts function today in an era where a 24-hour-media-cycle drives news to be factoids and soundbites sans the discourse and discussion around the bigger meaning behind events.

As a former journalist, podcasts have become a fascinating form that melds long-form journalism with sound and storytelling. This nouveau media sounds as old as radio, but can be played on-demand on any device.

When I heard my first podcast, Radiolab, hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, back in the early 2000s, my latent Enlightenment sensibilities were triggered and titillated.

Podcasting created a space where people discussed theories and social issues intelligently with an openness to being rational, fact-based and playful.

Though, I wasn’t in an intimate room with Jad and Robert, it felt like I was eavesdropping on a conversation where they were rehearsing their ideas about modern citizenry, about America’s value systems, about meaning in a society trying to re-define itself.

Podcasts addicts of the world, unite!

Podcast addicts of the world unite

At first, I had neatly set aside time in my hourlong train commute to listen to a podcast. Episodes of The Moth and This American Life fit nicely into the time slot I had to go from work to home.

But podcast time slowly crept into other times, allotted for vacuuming, exercise, driving and taking baths. Podcast kept getting better, more intriguing serials about humanistic and socially relevant stories that made me re-think my views and biases: CaliphateThis LandCode Switch.

Slowly and steadily, I became a podcast addict, and everyone I had talked to, had become one too.

According to a recent survey done by Edison Research and Triton Digital, compared with 2018 figures, podcast listeners increased by 20 million, and an additional 14 million people are weekly listeners.

Podcast listeners have often been identified as Gen Zers and Millenials in studies done back in 2017. Their numbers jumped by 10 percent in 2019. Yet listeners over age 55, are catching up with 17 percent of that demographic taking up the habit.

More and more podcast platforms and networks like Spotify, Luminary, Crooked Media are creating and curating more podcasts.

Some in the industry would say, these days, there’s a podcast for just about everyone: news-oriented, fictional serials, true crime, celebrity talk-show, you name it.

The Podcast Movement has momentum. A content creator like me could put skin in the game, and even listen to podcasts to be a better writer.

I took to creating my own growth goal, and, yes, I wanted in. I wanted to take a forage into the podcasting space, and this is the blog series about that attempt.

Podcasting created a space where people discussed theories and social issues intelligently with an openness to being rational, fact-based and playful. #podcasts #podcasting Click To Tweet
Elizabeth Chey

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Chey consults international, community-based, and small nonprofits on communications, advocacy, strategic planning and capacity building. Her passion for arts, peace building and development compels her to tell complex, intimate stories about people working for social justice. She earned her MFA from New York University and a Journalism degree from Northwestern.

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