By Jonathan Howe
If 2014 was the breakout year for podcasts, 2015 was the year they became mainstream.
As we are now well into 2016, there are indications that the interest in podcasting will continue forth unabated. This rise in the popularity of podcasts is significant for many reasons, but specifically significant because it shows a change in the way in which we consume media. In fact, there are five specific benefits we can gain by consuming podcasts:
- Deeper Personal Connections — Podcasts offer much more than written media because they put a voice with words. You may have a favorite author or blogger that you love to read, but hearing their voice and hearing them express their thoughts literally adds a new dimension to their content. The audio component promotes a deeper connection between the speaker and listener and builds a greater affinity to the author’s work.
- More Personal & Informative Advertising — Not only are podcasts valuable for consumers, but for advertisers as well. Instead of running canned ads (which can be effective in podcasts, but can also be skipped), many advertisers are opting to have hosts read a short statement about their product or service but then talk more casually about the advertiser. This typically benefits the listener by allowing them to receive more details about a specific product or service without a major interruption to the experience of listening to an episode.
- Introduction to New Ideas — As a subscriber to a podcast, you are along for the ride. Much like watching a news program, you trust the provider (in this case the podcaster) to take you on a journey through different topics. These often prove to be new and unfamiliar topics and ideas that the host thinks are important. The listener is then informed or made aware of important topics and ideas he/she might never have known about.
- Redeemed Time and Continued Personal Growth — Related to the topic above, podcasts allow listeners to grow more in their knowledge or expertise about a topic or situation while at the same time redeeming time that would be wasted on an inane task. Commutes are turned into classrooms through podcasts. Dog walking becomes discipleship time. Exercising not only builds the body but the mind as well.
- Cultural Awareness — As podcasts sit on the leading edge of technology and information, those who are consumers of podcasts will often be more aware of the changes in culture. Season one of Serial spawned many debates online and at the office. Those who weren’t listening to Serial soon found themselves out of the loop on a major point of discussion in our culture. Popular podcasts of any genre can be a point of discussion for the Christian and non-Christian alike. Like music or sports, these conversations can be used as bridges to gospel conversations.
Podcasting will only continue to grow. I suggest you find a few podcasts on topics that interest you and subscribe. You will likely benefit from the content, learn new things, and you might even have an opportunity to share the gospel as a result.
Thank you for a great reminder of another untapped resource. It is an area of technology I’m afraid I haven’t embraced to the fullest. What are your recommendations for a starting point?
Rainer on Leadership would be an obvious choice. 😉
I wrote this last year at another site, and it lists several recommendations.
So true sir. Rainer was my first podcast subscription ever. Such a wealth of information and insight in podcasts.
I have listened to Rainer on Leadership for about a year. I started to listen as a result of a very unhealthy church in which I was on staff. I listened as I would run and you guys have helped me grow as well as heal. For that I am thankful. I was also surprised that MBTS was/is a sponsor as I am a student in the MTS program. Thank you so much for your podcast.
Maybe, but I’d rather read a podcast’s transcript then take the time to listen to it. I’m a visual person. And I can read a transcript anywhere and almost anytime. But to do that with a podcast, I’d have to remember to take earbuds with me everywhere.
Plus, I think to have an effective podcast, you need a “radio voice.” If you don’t have a radio voice you might as well be dragging fingernails across a chalkboard (that saying probably dates me. LOL!). But seriously, some of the most popular preachers out there, I can’t stand to listen to them. But I will read their stuff, and love it!
By the way, I’ll be honest, people might say that about my own voice! LOL!
1) In the time it takes to watch one podcast, I can read the transcript of between fve and ten podcasts;
2) All too often, the migration from blog to podcast is accompanied by an increase in pretty pictures qua noise, that is proportional to the decrease in content qua signal;
Do you have some podcasts you would recommend? Are there some with a variety of people you would recommend?
It sounds like I should try listening to some podcasts. I love the fact that they can help me learn a lot of new things and topics. Learning is something I never get tired of, so I’ll look for some interesting podcasts to get into.