Podcasts are great. I only discovered them via iTunes a few years ago. Of course, being very curious, I downloaded a few and subscribed to some. Unfortunately, I didn’t take to them then because they seemed to me to be useless and full of drivel. I am a reader not a listener. But, podcasts unsurprisingly has changed. People have found new uses and ways to innovate them. It has become wonderful. People now tell stories on them and edify others on prevalent issues in the society. It has become a legitimate medium.
In a recent article by Scott Pham titled Discovery Problem: Why It’s So Hard to Find New Podcasts, an emphasis on the discovery of podcasts is made. Scott Pham is the digital content editor for NPR member station KBIA. He’s also the director of the Missouri Drone Journalism Program, a collaborative effort involving KBIA, the University of Missouri IT Program, and Reynolds Journalism Institute. Pham asks, “Why are podcasts so hard to discover?”. This is a legitimate question. Podcasts are becoming very popular. Radio shows are now uploading podcasts of their spiel in order to get more coverage and advertisers are capitalizing on the medium. Pham emphasizes the unavailability of discovery modes for podcasts. Most people just know of iTunes i.e. moi. He notes that a lot of people just pick whatever is prevalent as the top 10 podcast. He cites Welcome to Night Vale hosted Cecil Baldwin as a show that rose to popularity and was not on the top 10 list. He does this to emphasize the need for discovery because there are good shows out there. We just have to find it.
Andrew Walsh article; How to Evaluate Podcasts: Tips for Finding the Best Podcasts is an article that gives tips for finding podcasts. Walsh is the founder of Social Web Q and A and its parent entity SocialWebEnterprises.com. He is also a college instructor and reference librarian as well as the author of Savvy for the Social Web: The New Skills You Need to Survive and Thrive in the Digital Age. Walsh unlike Pham focuses on ways to find good podcasts. In addition to emphasizing the need for discovery, Pham tackles the issue of discovery by putting forward websites that can assist people in finding new podcasts that are not part of the top 10. Such as;
- Podcast Thing
- The AV Club, which regularly writes podcast reviews
- Stitcher, which is a Spotify-like solution
- Player. FM, a new app pushing the discovery angle
- Swell, a digital audio app
- AGOGO, another pusher of digital discovery
Walsh advises that when looking for podcasts that cater to our needs, we should;
- Determine whether the podcast’s style is a good match for you
‡He advises this because nowadays there are several genres of podcasts. It’s just like TV. We have the new adults, young adults, adult genres.
- Verify that the speakers are qualified to discuss the topic
‡You want to make sure that if the speakers are speaking to educate you they know what they are talking about. If it is for entertainment, then they can go for it.
- Confirm that podcast is active and frequently updated
‡Anybody can post a podcast. It is easy to make. You want to make sure that whatever podcast you choose is being updated frequently unless it is for entertainment and you don’t mind listening to old episodes for entertainment.
- Watch for excessive advertising
‡You can’t really find any podcasts without advertisements. It is almost a most that you will find it for podcasts sponsored by big names. Podcasts operated by smaller, independent companies will have them because it means that they would need some profit for the unpaid work they put in.
Walsh’s tips are good and I used it to find a podcast to listen to. I decided to listen to Welcome to Night Vale hosted Cecil Baldwin. It was almost like reading a book. I was able to find a transcript to go with it. It was awesome and bizarre. It was epiphany-cal. Great stuff. It starts with the main character; Cecil Hawkins (Yes, he’s named after the host of the show) who proceeds to read the news. The news is paradoxical and bizarre. Strange things happen. A dog park opens where no dogs or humans are allowed but that hooded figures might be seen there so don’t go there. Yeah. Bizarre. But awesome! A plane appears in a gymnasium where practice was going on and then disappears afterwards. Celie falls in love with Carlos whom he thinks is beautiful. Carlos is a scientist who has come to investigate the strange going ons in the town. Celie is clearly paranoid with reason. He is also funny. When he speaks of the waterfront with no water located in the desert, he says he’ll just wait for a flash flood before he visits to get the full water front experience. Aweeesooome. Hilarious craziness. Scients were able to hypothesize that a hous does not actually exist but is actually there? What? Apparently Angel and aliens exist. Oh and Angels like salts. Ridiculous. Apparently, thre are ghostly cars speeding unimaginable speeds going from unknown destinations to even more unknown destinations and of course if you match their speed you will not be considered as going with the flow of traffic but guess what? you can match speeds with the mysterious lights in the sky, as whatever entities or organizations are responsible appear to be cautious and reasonable drivers. Hellllloooo. It really doesn’t have a set plot but if you wanna howl out loud in laughter. You should totally listen to it