Do you remember Dungeons & Dragons, bell bottom jeans, pet rocks, sideburns, and the internet. We all thought these would be fads, much like Elvis Presley. We have described in an early blog how fads come and go…those mentioned above have lasted the test of time and are full-fledged things. The same can be said about podcasts.

We all immediately think of the lonely guy sitting in his spare bedroom or converted garage speaking into his headset about wide range of ramblings, probably mostly about conspiracy theories regarding Area 51 or covert military operations to a non-existent audience…well, it seems we were all wrong. Really wrong and this podcast thing has become a “thang”.

Podcasts are no longer the equivalent of playing Dungeons & Dragons in the basement (full-disclosure, in the early 2000’s I worked at Wizards of the Coast manufacturer and producer of the Dungeons & Dragons products). According to the research think tank, Edison Research, “there are currently, an estimated 35 million people 12 and over in the U.S. listen to podcasts weekly, representing 13 percent of the total population, according to data from, which closely monitors the industry”. Truth be told, I actively listen to daily podcasts from The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.

But I thought you said podcasts were growing in popularity and audience? Trust me, this is a big deal. “That [analytics in above quote] may seem unimpressive but the podcasting space is double what it was five years ago, and it’s still growing,” said Tom Webster, vice president of strategy and marketing at Edison Research. Here’s a link to the full story in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

It is also important to note that celebrities have jumped on the podcast train and are reinventing themselves or introducing themselves to new audiences. For example, comedian/writer Marc Maron has been podcasting since 2009 and has a Netflix series built around his podcast and special celebrity friend guests that join him in his home studio. Pick a celebrity, politician, or even subject matter and chances are you’ll find a podcast geared toward your tastes.

Here’s why podcast are gaining in popularity:

  1. It gives ordinary people a voice. We are experiencing a generation that has a lot to say and the mechanisms (technology) to get the word out.
  1. The ease in which someone can set them up. Have microphone and a laptop. So easy.
  1. Hearing a story is different than reading about. A voice lends credence to a story.
  1. It’s not “mainstream”, there’s still an edgy underground feel to it.
  1. There is a podcast subject for nearly everyone out there.
  1. Podcasts are hands-free. You can carry on with your work or your day’s activities and listen.

So, that’s why podcasts are finding a place in your ear buds on your morning walks with your dogs before work. Now go to the app store and download a podcast or two – you won’t be disappointed.