Since 2004, This Small Team Has Been Crushing The Podcasting Competition

from Fast Company

One afternoon in 2004, Mikel Ellcessor walked into his boss’s office with a big idea.

At the time, he was the head of local content for New York public radio station WNYC. It was making all sorts of interesting shows, but connecting them with the right audience could be difficult. Distributing them outside of New York was complicated and time-consuming, and involved convincing a big group of people working at local public radio stations around the country that a new show was worth their time (and money). It was as if the people behind Parks and Recreation had to meet individually with someone at every TV station from Akron to Miami to Seattle just to get on your TV.

Ellcessor thought he’d found a solution: a crazy, fringe, Internet phenomenon called podcasting.

Today, podcasting has put public radio—usually one of the sleepier corners of media—at the white-hot epicenter of pop culture. This is mostly thanks to one thing: Serial. The real-life murder mystery podcast produced by This American Life became a national obsession last year, amassing well above 20 million downloads in just a few months and along the way making podcasts one of the most exciting areas of emerging media. According to figures from the media analysts at Edison Research, more than 15% of Americans are now regular podcast listeners, a total of 40 million people, and interest in podcasts—and the potential money there—is growing fast.

More here.

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One Comment

  1. I was extremely ecstatic to find this article on ShannonWeb Blog because Serial is one of my favorite podcasts, hands down. It has certainly changed the way I commute, the way I learn, and the way I listen to podcasts. I personally, regard myself as someone who is an extensive podcast listener and have been for a few years now. The continual growth of this media continues to excite me as a student and person. Personally, I find it to be the first “entertainment media” that has genuinely enhanced my knowledge and my understanding of the world rather than bog me down. It is truly its own form of media. Just the sheer fact that it ranges from True Crime to Politics to Music Interviews shows the establishment of itself as its own form of media. I don’t even think it is fair to call it the “New Radio” because it is so much more. The fact that more and more companies are recognizing it as a new form of media is something I can fully back. “WNYC is betting big that this trend will only continue. Since 2008, it’s launched every new show as a podcast first, with its presence on the radio secondary.”
    I don’t know if I would go as far as to say that Radio has lost its place because traditional media, I think, will always have its place. There will always be people who would rather use a DVR than Netflix or listen to the radio rather than a podcast. However, the world as I know it is one where everyone wants control. Gone are the days where people must sit in the car and switch the dials around every other song because they have heard it three times that morning. The power is now in the consumers hands. Not only that, but as podcasting continues to grow the market to make money grows. Therefore, consumers have more and more people creating content and therefore more and more variety for them to choose from. Companies like NPR that realize this are certainly going to continue to be successful.
    My only concern as the podcasting industry grows is if it will it lose its simplicity and accessibility. Most podcasts, if I am not mistaken, make most of their money by reading ads. This is something I completely understand, they must make money somehow. Right now, the consumerism part of the production doesn’t inconvenience me in anyway. I get to listen to them for free and I can also skip right through their ad readings! I can only hope they continue to stay on this track and don’t begin to charge annual fees for listening to certain shows or using certain podcast apps. The fact that podcasts are “free” is what makes them so great along with the different choices and the easiness of accessing these choices. However, I do not think it will be long before they “Spotify” podcasts and begin to market them as the music industry markets its goods. In the mean time I will continue to listen for free, trying to enjoy it while it lasts.
    P.S. Serial has come out with a new season about the judicial system in America! You can listen to it at

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