The Future of Podcasting – The Life of a Wannabe Pirate
For anyone who isn’t aware what a course in miracles is, be advised that you are missing out on one of the biggest technology trends since this little thing we like to call “The Internet” first got started! Yes, despite all the nay-sayers the popularity of Podcasting is increasing at an astronomical rate. The question is no longer whether Podcasting is a fad, but on how large an audience this new media can sustain! If you peek back in time, it was around 1994/1995 when the National Science Foundation opened its main backbone to the Internet, giving way to the flood of popularity that followed.
Similar to Podcasting now, people in the mid 90’s claimed the Internet was just a fad and would never amount to more than a fancy means of research. Of course, with advances in software and technology, we began seeing pictures, graphics and yes, even streaming video crop up and it was only a matter of time before it was adopted by tens of millions, and eventually hundreds of millions of people.
No, you’re right. Podcasting is NOT the Internet… technology-wise. They’re like apples and oranges. However, they’re cut from the same mold and if you were to draw comparisons between their lifecycles, you will see that Podcasting has already surpassed the Internet in its meteoric rise in popularity.
The technology that makes Podcast deliverability possible was first developed back around 2000, but the first real Podcasters didn’t surface until the fall of 2004. Yes, 2004! The format was developed and pushed by two notable Podcasters, Adam Curry and David Wiener before it was quickly picked up by hundreds of others and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, barely a year after Podcasting exploded onto the scene and was embraced by Podcasters, Bloggers, and Marketers alike, you can find over 10,000 Podcasts and over 100,000 episodes at popular online Podcast Directories like PodcastEmpire.com.
In Fact, the adoption of Podcasting has been overwhelming. The allure of the People’s Radio becomes quickly obvious when you listen to Podcasts such as ‘Dawn and Drew’ or ‘5 Minutes with Witchita’ – a real entertainer! Listeners around the world are speaking out and clearly DO prefer the frank conversations, great information and raw emotions that are delivered via Podcast MP3’s!
Maybe it has something to do with a generation who is still longing to have their own pirate radio station, like Christian Slater in “Pump Up The Volume”… Perhaps it’s just that more people have something to say, desperate to climb above the masses and make their voices heard. Either way the ‘Waters of the Podverse’ are filling up with self-proclaimed pirates, and why not? There is no policing of the Podcast airwaves, it costs very little to get started and anyone with something to say can find an audience!
The reason so many of these Podcasting rebels succeed is the same reason why so many traditional radio stations are beginning to fail. With no FCC regulators knocking at their doors, Podcasters don’t need to hold anything back. You can say anything you want, whenever you want, as loudly as you want. And listeners are flocking to the raw, honest format. After a solid year (Podcasting was even named Word Of The Year in 2005!) and a drastic increase in popularity, advertisers are slowly beginning to come out of the woodworks, enabling some Podcasters to see a return on their efforts.
Unfortunately though, Podcasting is not yet a medium where you should expect to become rich overnight and this may be one area where terrestrial radio stations have an advantage over the Podcast Upstarts. With gold in the coffers already and more advertisers lining up each day, it doesn’t really matter what they do in the medium, traditional radio stations have all the money they need to keep their Podcasts in the game indefinitely!
Also, the entire concept of commercializing Podcasting has become a heated debate, splitting the Podverse in two ever since advertisers began trickling in last year. The same issues that we saw in the ’90’s around commercialization Online are starting to crop up. Podcasters and Podcast listeners alike are refusing to conform, and many are refusing advertisers outright.
We are slowly starting to see changes in this mentality though as more and more Podcast Creators are adding commercials and name drops to their shows to help keep costs down and keep their content online. And the pervasive fear, that listeners will go so far as to stop listening if they hear any advertisements, have so far, proved unfounded.