September 30 is International Podcast Day. Podcasts have seen a huge rise in popularity in the last few years, so it's no wonder there is a day to celebrate them. People like podcasts because they are a great way to get information and entertainment while you are commuting to work, doing chores, cooking, or anything that requires most of your attention. The best part of all, there are currently so many podcasts available in podcasting platforms that there is something for absolutely everyone out there, from the generalized news to the most niche interests.
This unofficial holiday was created by Steve Lee of Modern Life Network, in 2014. Originally, the day was known as National Podcast Day and its first observance was commemorated with a 6-hour-long broadcast. After this, the people at Modern Life Network realized this day's potential on an international level and changed it to International Podcast Day, which has stayed like that since 2015. They have broadcasted hundreds of hours since the beginning of this commemoration and had the participation of podcasters from around 70 countries around the globe.
What are Podcasts?
The word podcast was born from merging the words "iPod" and "broadcast" in 2004. However, people can now listen to podcasts on just about every electronic device available.
Podcasts are spoken-word audio files, released in episodes, that users can download or stream to listen to anywhere. People like them because they are so convenient. There is usually one or more recurring hosts who discuss topics and inform their audience, and sometimes they have guests on as well, oftentimes experts on the topic that is being discussed, or, if it's a comedic podcast, they have guests to have casual, funny conversations with.
Podcasts can be scripted or improvised. The most popular podcast genre in the United States tends to be comedy, with people also enjoying news podcasts and podcasts that talk about society and culture. Investigative journalism podcasts are also extremely popular and follow a similar structure to TV documentaries. Users are also very drawn to true crime podcasts. Many celebrities have adhered to the podcast trend and have their own podcasts, which tend to be very popular with their fans.
The most downloaded podcasts in the United States are:
- This American Life with around 1 million downloads per episode.
- Serial, non-fictional storytelling through investigative journalism.
- Dr. Death, a true-crime series about a criminal doctor.
- The New York Times: The Daily, where journalists from around the world discuss the news.
- Stuff You Should Know, where hosts discuss and explore a huge range of topics.
Whilst in Canada the top five are:
- NBC News: The Seduction
- NBC News: Dateline NBC
- The New York Times: The Daily
- Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, Will Arnett: SmartLess
- Wondery & Pineapple Street Studios: Persona: The French Deception
What to do on International Podcast Day
If you have yet to get into podcasts, take a look at the never-ending list of podcasts available right now, as you are sure to find something that you'll love, and discover a world of hours upon hours of entertainment.
If you have a very specific interest and there is nothing like that in the podcast world, why not create your own podcast? There are many resources online to help beginners start their own shows.