With debates about what podcasting is and is not finally settling in the wake of the medium’s second great surge which began in late 2014, the moment is right to ask theoretical and practical questions about its future: What does podcasting’s exponential growth in recent years mean for programme discovery, serendipitous and methodical? Will audiences continue to relate differently (sympathetically) to podcast advertising? What might some of the pitfalls be for efforts to build paywalls in the podcast space? If intimacy and authenticity are the two key traits of the most successful podcasts (even with varying definitions of “success” in mind), what future roles might public broadcasting institutions have vis-à-vis podcasting? What are the creative and social implications for corporate encroachment (if that is what is happening) into the podcast space? While the hype around podcasting metrics and numbers seems unavoidable, to what extent are these figures real and genuinely valuable in helping us understand the audio media revolution that is podcasting—particularly in the ways listeners use and generate meaning from the programmes? What are the assumptions involved in seeking a podcast super-hit and how might they be flawed? Might there even be podcasts that no one is meant to listen to? Does the recent increase in podcast consumption per capita signal any changes in broader social and cultural attitudes? And to what extent might our increase in podcast listening be changing the way we actually hear other audio (radio, speeches, conversations, music, etc.)?
On this episode of For Your Ears Only, hosts Martin Spinelli and Lance Dann are joined by podcast columnist for the Financial Times Fiona Sturges, author of Sound Moves and editor of The Routledge Companion to Sound Studies Professor Michael Bull, and FYEO producer Ella Gray Thomas to discuss the future of podcasting.
Release Date: 18th March 2019
Written & presented by Martin Spinelli & Lance Dann
Contributions from Fiona Sturges, Michael Bull & Ella Gray Thomas
Produced by Jack F Jewers & Ella Gray Thomas
Sound by Andrew Duff
Executive produced by Martin Spinelli
For Your Ears Only was produced with the support of Arts Council England, Bloomsbury Academic, the University of Sussex, Brighton University, and the British Academy.