On this week’s episode of the Webmonkey podcast, I am joined once again by WIRED Executive Editor Joe Brown. This time around, we’re sitting down in the podcasting studio to talk about our love of podcasts. Yes, we’re going meta.
Podcasting has followed an interesting path over the last few years. The format originally catapulted into popular parlance around 2005 or so with the surging popularity of iPods (hence the name), along with convenient publishing tools from Apple and others. The last few years have seen a rebirth of the medium as seemingly everyone seeks to stake a claim to what appears to be a truly new broadcasting medium.
Part of the popularity of podcasting is the breadth of subject matter. You can find everything from the broad appeal of NPR’s classic radio shows from NPR to super-niche podcasts for every interest imaginable. (If you are into table-top wargaming like yours truly, there are also many options to choose from.)
In the midst of this publishing euphoria, we have seen, among other thins, a rise in longform podcasts. These carry a narrative over several shows instead of just one, resulting in something that more resembles a book than a blog post.
The crown jewel of this new approach—and the emblem of the podcasting renaissance—was of course Serial, which painstakingly reinvestigated the murder of a Baltimore teenager and the conviction of a classmate over the course of 12 episodes.
But whodunits are hardly the only way to creatively use the serial podcast concept. Another of my favorites has been the Year of Polygamy podcast from host Lindsay Hansen Park. After researching the history of polygamy among her ancestors, she was compelled to learn more about the practice and how it spread across the western US. She turned her research into a 100-episode podcast series that traces the history of polygamy from Brigham Young to Warren Jeffs.
Much like blogging, part of the appeal of podcasting is the ease of publishing. With as little as a smartphone at your disposal—though a full-blown recording studio is also nice—you can be off the ground and on the air, sharing insights on whatever you’re passionate about.
What podcasts are you into? Let Joe (@joemfbrown) or me (@whyisjake) know. I’m always looking for a good story.