My name is Bhuvan and I am an addict. I’m addicted to podcasts. Up until a couple of years ago, podcasts were an unknown drug to me. When I got my first fix, I wasn’t really looking for it but rather happened upon it. A year later, I’ve given into my addiction and I’m hooked, I can’t get enough of them!
The first podcast I ever head was a six-part series called A Beginner’s Guide to Neoliberalism by the Weekly Economics Podcast. This later led me to discover one of my favourite podcasts – Freakonomics, and so began my descent down the rabbit hole.
Hundreds of subscriptions, and a couple of years later, it dawned on me that apart from getting a couple of friends to listen to these shows, I’ve done nothing to support the creators of these amazing podcasts. I realized I was a moocher!
I needed to know the lay of the land before I could do anything. I started reading as much as I could about podcasts. The more I read, the more I kept coming across a recurring set of issues. Lack of awareness, poor discoverability and questions about the quality of programming were chief among them.
But as I heard creators talk about podcasts, I also wondered if the lack of awareness about podcasts was the most pressing issue of all? Podcasting has never been in the limelight up until these past few years. I know this has been said and written a billion times, but the massive success of Serial gave the whole medium a big boost.
But the real trigger for me to do something was when I was listening to Todd Cochrane and Rob Greenlee, two early settlers of the podcasting frontier on their podcast “The New Media Show”.
The episode was titled “Time Machine” and Todd and Rob were contrasting the current state of the industry. Halfway through the show, Rob posed a rather interesting question: is the audience growth keeping pace with the explosion in programming? This question coupled with the overarching theme of the episode about challenging listeners to educate others about podcasts got me thinking.
I live in India and to describe the podcasting scene here as being in its infancy would be a massive overstatement. There are a few amazing podcasters. The folks at IVM Podcasts, Audiomatic, Newslaundry (paywall) and a few indie creators are amazing shows but the list gets thin fast. This is the case across countries such as Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea etc.
As I was thinking about what I could do to spread the word about podcasts, I weirdly, remembered a line from a post on the Listen notes blog. It read “Podcasting is really about freedom”.
It also reminded me of an evocative scene from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. Jack and Elizabeth are marooned on an island. They find a rum cache, get really drunk, and start talking and the Pearl and, Jack says to Elizabeth:
Wherever we want to go, we go. That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and a hull and sails; that’s what a ship needs. Not hat a ship is. What the Black Pearl really is, is freedom.
The freedom as a listener to listen to podcasts, whenever and wherever you want. The choice lies with the listeners, but the problem is the lack of awareness.
It became clear that the this was the biggest and the most pernicious problem of all. Podcasts need their own loud and vocal fanboys. People who can preach the gospel of podcast awesomeness far and wide. There are a few, but not nearly enough!
Presenting Podhead – our goal is to help people find good shows that people can fall in love with. What better way to spread the word about podcasts than helping people find good shows. A listener who is hooked to your show will be the greatest advertisement you’ll ever have. In other words, turn as many listeners as possible into podheads!
Two things: a discovery platform to help users share and discover podcasts. A blog to educate audiences, both listeners, and wannabe podcasters about how awesome podcasts are.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu
And so begins out humble little journey. Damn, that was a long ramble. If you stuck around till the end, thank you! Ideas, brickbats, suggestion or just a simple hello, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.