The Podcast Era

Podcasts, also called ‘netcasts,’ are audio or video files that are easily available on digital platforms to be streamed or downloaded. The term ‘podcast’ was coined by Ben Hammersley in the year 2004, and has been in use since then, with its popularity increasing manifold every year. One may argue that a podcast is no different from a radio program, but when it comes to ease of access, podcasts win hands down. A podcast can be listened to or watched anywhere, as many times as you like. Further, if you missed a line in a podcast program, you can always rewind to get back to that particular point. However, in the case of the radio, what is gone is gone.

With the development of technology and the ease of access to information, courtesy the internet revolution, content availability and quality of online audio and video content have improved. One has the luxury of choosing content according to one’s taste and their current mood. For example, if you are in a cheery mood, you can choose a program dealing with light, entertaining content, or if you are looking to gain some knowledge, you can tune into educational podcasts. Unlike radio where you are supposed to align your mood according to the RJ, with podcasts, you have the liberty to regulate what you watch/listen according to your mood.

We live in an era where things are served on a platter to us and we just consume them easily without much effort. However, with a little research on the kinds of podcasts out there, we can gain much knowledge and make our minds enlightened. A simple YouTube video might be good enough to help you get knowledge or entertainment easily, but what about the effort you put in, what about the creativity of words, what about being an active listener?

A podcast has the power of words; it has the power to move you. Words have the power to change the world, to transform a criminal into a monk; but these words are even more potent when they directly enter your ears. Just music, sound effects, and words can make one feel what the creator of a podcast wants them to feel. With videos, one can only see what is shown on the screen, but with audio podcasts, the words you listen to can make you see things that others can’t. Indeed, apart from a good book, there is nothing like a podcast program to let your imagination roam wild and free.

“Tired of reading a book? The phone screen does not seem to catch your eyes anymore? Are both your eyes too heavy to be opened while your mind is still awake and looking for stuff to consume and keep your thought process going? What to do at such times when the soul is craving for more, something specific, something relatable? How to find it? Where to look for it? The answer to these queries could be podcasts.”

A podcast discussing the life of a person residing near a beach, with the right foley effects and ambience—the gushing sound of waves, the blowing wind, and the leaves dancing around—can really make us feel that we are right on that beach. The appropriate use of ambience and music can also make the narrator’s words sound livelier.

Though it has only been around 15 years since their arrival, podcasts have really established their place in the industry. People are making space in their hearts not only for radio, but also for podcasts. Especially, the youth is more inclined towards podcasts since they are easily accessible to them, thanks to the internet. Podcast programs deal with a variety of topics, such as music, literature, comedy, art and culture, history, life stories, etc. These programs have been attracting more and more listeners.

In particular, arts and culture and literature podcasts are taking people back to their roots and even introducing different cultures to them. Those who crave for literature are on the lookout for new works, recalling old ones, and trying to have a peek into the lives of their favourite writers via talks and interviews. For example, TED Radio Hour on NPR is a podcast that is just like those TED Talk videos on YouTube. But if we have only one sense involved, we can concentrate better, right?

Shruti Samwaad on Tune In is an attraction for Indian classical music lovers, and for Western music lovers, there’s always Tiny Desk Concerts on NPR. Similarly, a podcast named Slice of Life Stories on Tune In is a wonderful program to listen to, containing small stories with the perfect ambience and words narrated in a soothing voice. It really touches the souls of its listeners. Platforms like Spotify, Podcast Addict, Google Podcast, Tune In, iHeartRadio, NPR and many more are waiting for their subscribers and listeners to discover new programs/artists/podcasters and fall in love with them.

The digital era has contently taken podcasts into its embrace and let it grow into its own space. It has even helped listeners produce content, giving a boost to the rising industry. It is just the start of the podcast era, but it already feels like something that will stand the test of time. So go find your favorite podcast, fall in love with the amazing narration and beautiful music, and unearth the art of sound.

Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on literature and lifestyle, guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversations among fellow professionals.

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