Podcasts: What They Are and How to Start One

what is a podcast

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A podcast is an online series of audio or video files that are released one at a time. They can be anything from interviews and lectures to comedy sketches and music podcasts.

Podcasting has been around since 2004, but it has really taken off in recent years. There are more than one billion podcasts available today, and the medium has become so popular that it’s now a top advertising platform for businesses looking to promote their services.

 If you’re not already familiar with this media form, podcasting is essentially digital audio content that users can subscribe to, download, and listen to at their leisure. This article will give you an overview of what podcasts are and how they can be a useful tools for businesses looking to advertise their products or services.

What Is a Podcast?

A podcast is a digital audio file that listeners can subscribe to and/or download. It’s like a radio show that you can listen to on-demand, and you can usually listen to podcasts on your phone or computer.

Podcasts are usually hosted on websites or servers, and listeners can access them using special podcasting software or apps like Adobe Audition or GarageBand. They can also be streamed directly from a website, or embedded in a blog or social media post.

What sets podcasts apart from other audio files is that they are usually part of a series. This means that new episodes are released regularly, often weekly. This is one of the things that makes podcasts so addictive! Once you find a show that you love, you can’t wait to see what happens next.

Podcasts are usually between 20 and 60 minutes long, although some shows can be much shorter or much longer. They are typically recorded in advance and edited for quality before release.

Podcasts can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of age or experience with technology. In fact, a recent study found that 66% of podcast listeners are under the age of 55. And while podcasting is growing in popularity all over the world, it’s especially popular in the United States, where more than one-third of the population has listened to a podcast.

The great thing about podcasts is that they can be enjoyed anywhere, whether you’re doing the dishes, going for a run, or driving to work. All you need is a device that can connect to the internet and play audio files (like a smartphone, tablet, or computer) and a set of headphones.

Listening to podcasts is usually free, although some shows do offer paid subscriptions that give you access to bonus content like behind-the-scenes footage or exclusive interviews.

History of Podcasts

Podcasting has been around since the early 2000s, but it didn’t take off until 2005 when Apple added a podcasting section to its iTunes store. This made it easy for people to find and subscribe to podcasts, and it helped to popularize the medium.

Since then, podcasting has continued to grow in popularity. In fact, there are now more than 250,000 active podcasts, and millions of people listen to them every month.

Millions of listeners tune in every day to hear the newest news, professional advice, and entertainment, making it one of the most well-liked forms of media today. The development of podcasting has taken many unexpected turns throughout its history, from its infancy when the technology was still being tested to the present day when it has become a common form of communication.

The history of podcasts is a tale of innovation, creativity, and the transformative power of technology, from the earliest days of radio-style shows to the present era of highly interactive and personalized audio experiences. Through this journey, podcasting has gone from a niche interest to a powerful cultural force that has changed how we engage with media.

Trends in Podcasting

Podcasting has come a long way since its early days in the early 2000s. What started as a way for radio shows to be distributed online has evolved into a vast and varied medium, with shows of all genres and lengths being produced by amateurs and professionals alike.

Podcasting Impact on the Media Landscape

Despite its relatively short history, podcasting has already had a major impact on the media landscape. It has given rise to new stars, opened up new avenues of creative expression, and allowed listeners to connect with their favorite shows in a deeper way than ever before.

Looking to the future, it is clear that podcasting is here to stay. As the medium continues to grow and evolve, it will doubtlessly have an even bigger impact on the world of media.

What’s next for podcasting? While no one knows for sure, there are a few things that we can expect.

The use of podcasts is expanding in popularity. In the US, 75% of people are familiar with the term “podcasting”—up from 70% in 2019—and companies have begun using them as promotional tools.

Rise in Niche Podcasts

The number of specialized podcasts is increasing. These podcasts tend to have a devoted audience because they concentrate on a particular subject or genre. Building a community around your interests and meeting like-minded people can be accomplished through niche podcasts.

Integration of Podcasting with Other Media

The integration of podcasting with other media will probably increase in the future. For instance, in order to produce cross-platform content collaborations, podcasters and YouTubers are starting to collaborate. Additionally, there is a rise in audio advertisements and branded content.

Podcast vs Live Radio

Oftentimes, podcasting is compared to live radio. Both forms of audio media are extremely popular and offer unique benefits. BElow are the key differences.

On-demand vs Schedule

There are a few key differences between live radio and podcasting. The first, and most obvious, is that podcasting is on-demand. Listeners can choose to download or stream episodes whenever they want, which means they can listen to them at their convenience.

Personal Connection vs Intimacy

Podcasting also allows for a more personal connection between the host and listener. Because podcast listeners often choose to subscribe to shows that interest them, they feel like they know the hosts in a way that viewers of live radio don’t. This intimacy can create a stronger bond between the show and the listener, and encourage loyalty.

Download vs Live

Podcasting is a digital audio file that can be subscribed to and downloaded by listeners, while live radio is a broadcast that airs over the airwaves.

Podcasting gives hosts more freedom when it comes to content. They can include longer segments, interviews with guests, and even whole episodes devoted to a single topic. This variety makes podcasting an attractive option for listeners who are looking for something new to listen to each week.

Live Broadcast vs Digital Medium

Live Radio is a live broadcast where the audience can interact with the host and Podcasting is a digital medium that allows people to subscribe and download audio or video files

Podcasting usually refers to episodic content, while live radio can be anything from talk shows to music stations. Podcasts are often released on a regular schedule, while live radio can air at any time. 

Short Shelter Life vs Long Shelter Life 

Live Radio has shorter shelf life  and podcasting has a longer shelf life

Live Radio is broadcast over the airwaves, while podcasting is available on demand through podcast platforms or websites

Availability

The primary difference between podcasts and live radio is that podcasts can be accessed at any time, while live radio must be heard as it airs.

Essential Podcast Equipment

If you want to make a podcast, you will need some special equipment. You will need a microphone to record your voice and software to edit and publish your podcast. You can find more information about what you need at the website of the company that makes your podcasting equipment.

Read more on the essential equipment needed for podcasting Essential Equipment needed for Podcasting.

One of the great things about podcasts is that they can be recorded using just about any audio recording device, from a simple smartphone to a professional-grade microphone and digital recorder.

Getting Started

If you’re just getting started, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on podcasting equipment. A simple microphone that plugs into your smartphone will be good enough to get started.

As you become more experienced, you may want to invest in some higher-quality equipment. But even then, you don’t need to break the bank. A mid-range microphone and digital recorder will be more than adequate for most shows.

Best Sound Quality

The bottom line is that you don’t need expensive equipment to start a podcast. Just focus on getting the best sound quality that you can with the resources that you have.

Read more about the equipment you need to start a podcast here: What Equipment is Needed for Podcast

Different Types of Podcasts

Podcasts come in all shapes and sizes, which is one of the things that makes them so great. There’s a podcast out there for just about every topic imaginable, from politics to pop culture, true crime to comedy.

Here are just a few of the most popular types of podcasts:

Interview Podcasts

This is a popular type of podcast in which the host interviews a guest (or guests) about a particular topic. This style of podcast can be very informative, as the guest often has a lot of expertise or experience in the topic at hand.

Some popular interview podcasts include:

  • The Joe Rogan Experience: Comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan interview a myriad of guests on his podcast about politics, sports, comedy, and more.
  • The Tim Ferriss Show: On Tim Ferriss’ podcast, he interviews entrepreneurs and other interesting guests about a variety of topics such as business growth and self-improvement.
  • WTF with Marc Maron: A podcast hosted by comedian Marc Maron, where he interviews celebrities and other notable figures about their lives and careers.

Narrative Podcast

These shows often tell a story over multiple episodes, with each episode typically lasting around 30-60 minutes. This type of podcast can be a great way to escape from the real world and immerse yourself in another world for a little while.

Some narrative popular podcasts include:

  • Serial: A podcast about a murder trial, hosted by Sarah Koenig.
  • S-Town: A podcast from the producers of Serial, about a small town in Alabama and the strange goings-on therein.
  • The Black Tapes: A horror/mystery podcast about a journalist who investigates paranormal activity.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: A surrealist podcast about life in a small town that is home to all sorts of supernatural creatures.

Educational Podcast

Teach listeners about a particular subject, usually through a series of lectures or discussions.

examples of educational shows- are TED Talks, The History Channel, How Stuff Works, National Geographic

Solo Podcast

As the name suggests, these shows are just one person talking about whatever they want to talk about.

Some popular solo shows include:

  • The Adam Carolla Show: A podcast hosted by comedian and TV personality Adam Carolla, where he talks about whatever is on his mind.
  • The Nerdist: A podcast hosted by comedian and actor Chris Hardwick, where he interviews celebrities and other interesting guests about their lives and careers.
  • Radiolab: A radio show/podcast hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, which features hour-long discussions on a variety of topics from science to history to philosophy.

Fiction Podcast 

These shows are like audio dramas, with actors performing a story that is either entirely fictional or based on real events.

Some popular fiction podcasts include:

  • The Thrilling Adventure Hour: A podcast featuring a variety of different stories, all performed by actors.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: surrealist podcast about life in a small town that is home to all sorts of supernatural creatures.
  • Limetown: A podcast about a small town that is home to a sinister secret.

News Podcast 

keeps listeners up-to-date on current affairs and often includes interviews with newsmakers.

Examples of news shows include: The Daily Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Comedy Podcast

 These shows range from light-hearted banter to irreverent humor, and everything in between.

Some popular comedy podcasts include:

  • The Ricky Gervais Show: hosted by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, where they discuss various topics and riff on each other’s ideas.
  • The Adam Carolla Show: A podcast hosted by comedian and TV personality Adam Carolla, where he talks about whatever is on his mind.

Cost of Starting a Podcast

Starting a podcast doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can get started for free.

All you need is a microphone and some recording software. If you have a smartphone, you probably already have everything that you need to get started. Of course, if you want to invest in some higher-quality equipment, that will cost you more money.

Once you’ve recorded your episodes, you’ll need to host them somewhere so people can download or stream them. This will usually cost you a monthly or annual fee, depending on the service that you use.

You may also want to hire someone to design your podcast logo and create artwork for your show. This is completely optional, but it can help your show stand out from the crowd.

So how much does it cost to start a podcast? It can be as little as $0, or as much as several thousand dollars. It all depends on how much you’re willing to invest in your show.

Read more: How Much Does It Cost to Start a Podcast? | Solevant

How to Record and Edit Your Podcasts

There are a lot of different ways to record and edit your podcasts. In general, there are two main ways to approach it: you can record everything in one go and then edit it all together later (this is often called ‘as live’), or you can record each segment separately and then piece them together in editing software like Adobe Audition or GarageBand.

Whichever way you choose, there are a few basics that will help make your podcast sound great:

  • Make sure you have a good recording environment – this means keeping background noise to a minimum and ensuring that your microphone is in a good spot
  • Use decent microphones – most smartphones will give decent results, but for better quality recordings invest in some good quality microphones
  • Edit your recordings – take out any umms and ahhs, make sure the levels are consistent, and make any necessary adjustments to improve the overall sound quality
  • Choose your music carefully – make sure it fits the tone and style of your podcast, and don’t overuse it!

How to Promote Your Podcasts

Podcasting is a great way to reach a large audience, build authority and credibility in your field, and connect with other podcasters. But how do you promote your podcast? Here are some tips:

  • Submit your show to Spotify and other podcast directories
  • Make sure your website has a link to your podcast page
  • Create social media profiles for your podcast and post updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Write blog posts about your show and share them on social media
  • Participate in online and offline podcasts communities
  • Interview other podcasters on your show
  • Guest blog on popular blogs in your niche

Frequently Asked Questions for What is a Podcast

What Is an RSS Feed?

An RSS feed is a format for delivering regularly updated web content, such as blog entries, news headlines, or podcasts. 

Subscribers can access RSS feeds through special readers or aggregators, which collect and present all the latest content from subscribed feeds in one location. 

This makes it easy for people to keep up with their favorite websites in one place, without having to check each one individually for new updates. The podcast creator also submits their podcast’s RSS feed to a directory.

Can Anyone Start a Podcast?

Yes, anyone can start a podcast. All you need is something to say and some recording equipment.
 
The most important part is finding a topic that people are interested in and that you’re passionate about. Once you have those things, the rest will come easy. 

There are plenty of resources available to help new podcasters get started, including online courses, podcasts themselves, and blogs like this one. 
So don’t be afraid to give it a try – you might just find that podcasting is your new favorite hobby.

What Are the Common Podcast Formats?

There are three main types of podcast formats: interviews, monologues, and panel discussions. In an interview-style podcast. There can be variations of these formats, but those are the most common ones.

Can I Make Money With Podcast?

Yes, podcasters can make money through a variety of methods, including advertising, sponsorships, donations, and product placement. However, it’s important to remember that not all podcasts are successful in generating revenue.

What Is a Podcast Host?

A podcast host is a company or individual that provides the technology and tools for people to create and distribute their podcasts. 

They usually offer a range of services, such as hosting podcasts on their servers, providing RSS feeds, offering podcasting software and tools, and more. 
Podcasters can use the services of a podcast host to make it easier to get their show started and launched. There are many different hosts to choose from, so be sure to do your research before deciding which one is right for you.

Final Thoughts

Podcasting is a great way to share your voice and knowledge with the world, and it has been gaining in popularity in recent years, starting a podcast can be a great way to reach a large audience, build authority and credibility in your field, and connect with other like-minded individuals. However, it’s important to remember that it takes time, effort, and dedication to create a successful show.

If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, take the time to plan out your show, invest in some good-quality equipment, and promote your podcast using the tips above. Most importantly, have fun!

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