Starting a podcast revolution

Starting a podcast revolution

Over the years, podcasts have emerged as a popular storytelling device all over the world. They span multiple genres, ranging from comedy, true crime, inspirational talks to news updates and so on. After a rather slow start, Indian podcasts have also started to make a mark on the medium. Multiple apps and online platforms allow listeners to listen to the podcast of their choice, from across the world.

What is it?

Podcasts are a series of digital audio files, with occasional video podcasts also available. Episodes can be downloaded via a web service to the user’s phone or computer. Multiple platforms such as Castbox, Spotify, the Google and Apple native podcast apps allow users to listen to podcasts, merely at the flick of a screen.

The generator of a podcast usually maintains a central list of the files on a server. The listener can use various mobile applications to accesses this web feed, check for updates, and downloads any new files in the series.

There are many different mobile applications available for people to use to subscribe and to listen to podcasts. Many of these applications allow users to download podcasts or to stream them on demand as an alternative to downloading. Many podcast players allow listeners to skip around the podcast and control the playback speed.

Why is it popular?

In India, which does not boast of a strong public radio culture that drew users to podcasts in the west, the recent smartphone revolution and cheaply available data is spurring interest in listening to and even creation of podcasts. Podcasts such as The Seen and the Unseen, Musafir Stories, The Intersection, and Simblified are some of the popular podcasts that cover multiple topics and genres every week.

Moreover, what makes podcasts click with an audience that is perpetually glued to screens is the fact that it is non-intrusive. You can catch the latest true crime episode on your daily jog or your commute to work, get a chance to learn more about the world of politics, public policy and more, without having to spend hours hunched over a screen.

Another factor that makes podcasts click is the narrative style. For instance, popular podcast series such as Serial and Teachers Pet, an investigation into the disappearance of an Australian housewife in the early 1980s is equipped with a brilliant background score and an engaging narrative that keeps the listeners on the edge for more. In cases of discussions on myriad issues, the best podcasts are the ones that make it appear like the listener is also part of the discussion, reflecting on the issue at hand in his/her mind.