The popularity of podcasts has significantly increased in recent years. The popular podcast form means that there is a clear end in sight for traditional radio. According to statista.com, there were 8.9 million podcast listeners in the UK in 2017 compared to 19.1 million in 2021.
Podcasts are an updated, distinctive, and more accessible form of radio. Post-pandemic Spotify has recorded a 24% growth in podcast listeners and subscribers. Students have access to Spotify’s 2.2million, circa 2020, podcasts for £4.99 per month, up from 700,000 in 2019 and counting. The audio-streaming service has 155 million paying subscribers and 345 million subscribers altogether. (Sweney, 2021)
Listeners can actively choose any episode on demand whilst listening to a podcast; this is just not possible with commercial radio. People actively skip through traditional radio stations in the hopes that they will find audio that they like, if at all. The variety of choices with a podcast is why they are preferred by the majority of the younger generation who have grown up with streaming services.
Podcasts focus on a variety of themes and can be downloaded for offline listening. They simply need to plug in their earphones and listen anywhere. Most podcasts are accessible to anybody with access to the internet as they are free. However, certain podcasts come with premium episodes.
There is a podcast for anyone and everyone, from psychology and politics to relationship advice. The length of a podcast episode can also vary, with some even lasting for a few hours. The format is usually a storyteller, an interview, or a discussion.
For the politics fanatics, ‘The Political Party’ podcast features monthly meetings with members of parliament for enjoyable anecdotes from Westminster. Whereas, overactive imaginations will love the ‘After the Ending’ culture podcast where the movie characters live on. The artists in 2022 are listening to the ‘ArtCurious’ podcast where art history’s questions are answered.
Radio has a breakfast show to help the listener wake up and get started with the day. Most of the time people will listen when they are driving on their commute to school or work, especially for updates on live weather and traffic or up-to-date news events.
The younger generation opts for podcasts, while the older generation prefers to stick to the radio. It just would not be possible for a radio show host to talk for hours like they do in podcasts. People like variety, and they cater to many diﬀerent tastes all at once.
It is hard to find a radio station that only speaks about one topic, if one even exists, there certainly are not topics for every kind of niche known.
Also, as more cars are introducing the auxiliary slot when produced, it means people will then be listening to their music playlists and podcasts on the topic that they want to be educated on. Podcasts by far win when it comes to variety. When the current generation who listen to podcasts eventually grows older, will radio slowly die out?
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