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.