If you’d told me a year ago that one of the main forms of entertainment I’d be enjoying today would be podcasts, I’d have laughed at you.
Podcasts were, until recently, the butt of jokes amongst my friends, being that we were pretentious university students. We saw them as a kind of low art, the music hall tradition of a modern age. Our basis for this was the fact that it seemed like everyone and their mother had a podcast at university, and most of them seemed wildly self-indulgent: uninformed or unfunny opinions on unrelated topics with long swathes of silence in-between.
These views were premature, to say the least.
Now that I work full-time in public relations, I find myself listening to podcasts more than I consume any other form of media, whether it be on the train, doing chores, or even going to sleep at night. As a result of my newfound hobby, therefore, it seems appropriate to eat some humble pie and consider the appeal of podcasts.
The first draw is their accessibility. Unlike a film, or TV series, a podcast can be listened to much more easily while doing other things. This may sound like a backhanded compliment, but I sincerely feel that working full time means that podcasts are the most convenient form media can take.
They aren’t just convenient for the listener though; podcasts are also cheap and easy to produce. I’ve heard it advertised online that “if you have something to say, and a microphone, then you’re already a podcaster”, and that really is true. There’s no need to have fancy camera equipment, or even to take time editing, as part of the appeal of podcasts is how organic the flow of conversation is. This is good because podcasts can be on all manner of topics, and often unscripted moments are among the best.
Perhaps the strongest appeal of podcasts is that they can be about literally anything. Among my favourites is a fictionalised sitcom about a ghost and a ghoul living as housemates, and five comedians watching and discussing the same awful movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” every Thanksgiving season until the day that they die. These are just a couple of examples of the near-infinite options available.
Of course, business comes into it as well. Just six months ago, I likely wouldn’t have believed it, but a well-liked and popular sub-genre of content I now monitor in my job is that of insurance podcasts. This has become surprisingly useful – part of my job is listening to people I otherwise would only see as a name on a screen, and it allows me to get a better understanding of who they are. This is convenient timing, as many of our clients at Haggie Partners are beginning to produce their own podcasts, so it’s very good that I actively want to listen!
What’s particularly surprising about these podcasts is not how different they are to those I listen to in my spare time, but actually how similar they are. Insurance podcasts do, often, contain a lot of jargon that’s impenetrable to an outsider, but the participants are just as inclined to talk about hobbies, holidays, charitable support or all manner of other topics that make members of the insurance industry seem so much more human than they would otherwise.
In short, I would seriously recommend podcasts. Despite my misgivings before I joined Haggie Partners, I now find the sheer variety of podcasts available will mean you’re almost guaranteed to eventually find one for you. So, don’t do what I did. Give podcasts a shot, who knows, you might be listening to one of mine someday.