Weekly Podcasting roundup: No, Podcasts aren’t growing – Issue 6

Hello folks, it was a bit of a slow week but we still had some interesting developments. Here’s issue 6. 

Time to be depressed

Jacobs Media last week published the results of the Public Radio Techsurvey 2018. As you’d expect the survey was chock full of podcasting insights. 

Percentage of people who listen to Podcasts/on-demand audio weekly or more


As the numbers indicate podcasting isn’t growing at all, contrary to popular opinion. 

Who’s listening to podcasts?


Why aren’t people listening to podcasts?

The survey involved over 22,000 listeners across 53 radio stations. 55% of them said they are not interested in podcasts. Ouch! It’s important that we pause here and think about this for a second. Why don’t these people listen to podcasts? This slide reminds of me of what Tom Webster wrote in his manifesto for growth. “We need more high-quality crap”.

I think the most plausible reason is that there is a serious dearth of shows that appeal to these people. Before you say “there are over 550,000 shows on iTunes”, let me remind you that according to data shared by Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry, 75% of the shows created in the past 12 months are no longer active. So no, we are not hitting “peak audio”.

If you are a wannabe podcaster, think carefully before launching a show. Would your show appeal to a person who has never heard a show in his life? Maybe even record a pilot and get random strangers to listen to it? If it’s just you and 2 of your friends just shooting the breeze, I think you are better off not starting a show. 

So yeah, we need a diverse array of programming that can attract the common folk. 

Even the second reason deserves attention. Tom Webster in the same post said that unlike other people, he doesn’t think that the industry needs a “Got milk” campaign. 

I once believed that podcasting required its own “Got Milk” campaign — a concerted effort by the industry to explain exactly what a podcast is, how you would listen to it, and where you could find them. I don’t believe that anymore — or at least, I don’t think it solves the real underlying problem. 

But, it does seem like this 27% which said “I just don’t know how to” could use some instructions. This also leads me to another thought, instead of just asking people to rate and subscribe to their shows at the ending each episode,  maybe hosts should ask their listeners to talk to 5 new people about their podcast. I don’t mean just a robotic message imploring them. I mean a concerted effort across shows and networks. The combined social reach of individual podcasters and networks can surely matter, right? Will this move the needle? I don’t know.

But I do know this much. Podcast hosts can no longer stick to just promoting their shows, they need to promote the medium of podcasting as well. They need to constantly sell it like there’s no tomorrow. 

Talking shop

Zach Zhan, podcast marketing lead over at Vox Media, home of popular podcasts such as Today, Explained and Weeds, spoke to Elizabeth Raben of Atlantic Media about their advertising strategy and podcasting in general.

The Journey

Andy Mills, the co-creator of hit podcasts The Daily and Caliphate talks about his podcasting journey

Crooked Broads

An interesting piece by Cosmopolitan on the amazing women over at Crooked media. This passage in the article rather struck me.

It’s a stupidly simple premise, especially now, as the country is in the midst of a long-needed push to diversify its leaders: Hire women, hire people of color, let them be their full selves, and trust them to do great work.

Crooked Media with 14 female contributors can be considered an outlier in media. These amazing woman run 5 shows in various capacities. Ladies, if you are reading this and if you have something to say, time to pick up the microphone. We need your voices!

TV Porn

My Dad Wrote a Porno is one of the biggest shows to come out of the UK. The show helmed by  Jamie Morton and his friends, Alice Levine and James Cooper has been downloaded more than 100 million times.

In each episode, Jamie Morton reads a chapter from Belinda Blinked, an erotic novel written by his father with his friends Alice and James adding comic spice.

Things are set to get even funnier for fans of the show. HBO announced a deal to bring the hit show to TV in the form of a comedy special which is to air sometime in 2019.

TV adaptations of podcasts have picked up pace since the last year. Lore, the thriller by Aaron Mahnke was picked up Amazon. HBO had earlier this year adapted another hit podcast, 2 Dope queens in a 4 part special. The show is also set to return with four hour-long specials. 

The TV Adaptation of Gimlet’s psychological thriller Homecoming, starring Julia Roberts is set to air in November on Amazon Prime. “Man of the People”, an episode from Gimlet’s Reply All, is being adapted into a movie starring Robert Downey Jr and will be directed by 
Richard Linklater. Alex, Inc, starring Zack Braff is set to hit ABC. The show is based on Startup, another Gimlet show. Bravo, the cable network has ordered 2 seasons of a series based on Dirty John, a podcast created by LA Times. The show will be starring Eric Bana and Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights and Nashville fame in the lead roles.  

I really hope these adaptions do well on both the small and big screen. With stars such as Julia Roberts, Robert Downey, Eric Bana, and Zack Braff attached to these projects, their star power can draw millions of first-time listeners to the podcasting fold. Fingers crossed! 

New Show launches

The Punies

Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant and his Oscar-winning studio Granity Studios is launching a kids podcast titled The Punies in partnership with cadence 13. The show revolves around Puny Pete and his group of friends who learn from their activities and adventures in life. 

“Having spent my whole life playing basketball, there were many times I wasn’t on the winning team. However, those experiences ultimately proved the most valuable because they taught me perseverance, determination, and teamwork. As the father of athletes myself, I created ‘The Punies’ so that these stories will not only entertain the whole family but inspire young listeners to reach their full potential,”

Media Files

News site – The Conversation has launched a new show titled “Media Files“. The monthly show features discussions on various issues which affect and shape the media landscape. 


Podcast network Night Vale Presents is launching a new show called “Dreamboy” in October. 

More than Seven Dirty Words

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is got into podcasting.  The regulator launched its first show titled ‘“Seven Dirty Words”. With this show, the agency hopes to make “make telecom interesting”. That sounds like a tall order. The telecom regulator has been in the spotlight since the beginning of the Trump administration over its stance towards Net Neutrality.   

The podcast seems like an image management exercise. The show will feature FCC officials and staffers discussing important policy issues and sharing untold stories. The title of the show is a clear nod to the standup routine of legendary comedian, George Carlin. 

FOH with Kelly Sullivan and Lillian DeVane

In this podcast, Kelly Sullivan and  Lillian DeVane discuss various issues and life in the service industry. 


Author and award-winning podcaster Mark Pesce launched a new podcast titled Cryptonomics”. The show explores cryptocurrencies and blockchain 

Voices from India

New Indian Podcast Launches

Delicious sounds

Pastry Chef, Macaron queen of India, and the owner of the insanely popular Le 15 Patisserie is all set to come out with her own podcastNo sugar coat! Produced by Mae Thomas of ‘“Maed in India” fame, the podcast will feature a host of top names from the food industry in conversation with Pooja about their passion, trials, tribulations, and journeys. The first episode will be aired on September 10th. Stay tuned!

Building it up

VC firm Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) has launched a podcast. Building it features conversations with leading entrepreneurs about what it takes to solve some of the first-time growth challenges. The first tranche of episodes already feature some big names such as Deep Kalra of Make My Trip and Shernaz Daver of Google Ventures. The show is helmed by Ankur Warikoo (founder of nearbuy.com).

History of South India

Indian History is a genre that has been crying out for attention in the podcasting sphere. The History of South India podcast aims to fill some of the void. The show kicks off by laying out the geography and terrain of the region in its first episode. Looking forward to ‘looking back’ in time.

Madraswallah Podcast 

Although the name might suggest another podcast focusing on the land of Amma and Kalingar, this podcast is actually a look back at some of the greatest classics of Indian telly. Kicking off with the legendary Buniyaad and hilarious Dekh Bhai Dekh, this one is sure to make you nostalgic.

Best Wishes!

As reported in a previous issue, Biker Radio Rodcast, an exclusive Indian motorcycling podcast, has been nominated for the Whickers Radio & Audio Funding (RAFA 2018), perhaps a first for an Indian podcast. The winner, to be announced on September 7th, takes home a £7,000 award to make a feature-length audio documentary. Good luck guys!

Learn Podcasting

RecommendationsPodcasting 101 – podcast workshop by Chhavi Sachdev: More podcasting workshops coming your way. This time, podcasting is coming home to Bangalore and Delhi. Learn the tools you need to create your own podcast from start to finish. Have you got something to say? If you’d like to learn about what it takes to put out a podcast, this workshop is for you. Sign up now.


Thanks for reading. Please write to us at hello@podhead.co if you have any ideas, suggestions, or feedback for us. This roundup will also be sent as a newsletter. Do subscribe if you wish to get an email when we publish the weekly roundup. 

Posted by Bhuvanesh

A podcast junkie on a mission to make podcasts great.

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