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A look into the who, what, and why of audio’s most compelling format.
Want to catch the day’s headlines? Immerse yourself in a murder mystery? Nerd out on the neuroscience of happiness? All on your commute? Whatever your curiosity, there’s a podcast for it. And with the podcasting boom, audio has maintained solid footing in the world of content––telling great stories and growing a loyal audience along the way.
48% – Comedy … 2 Dope Queens, The Joe Rogan Experience, WTF with Marc Maron
40% – Educational … TED Radio Hour, Freakanomics Radio, Radiolab
38% – News … The Daily, Up First NPR, Serial
27% – Sports … Pardon My Take, Fantasy Focus Football, 30 for 30 ESPN
22% – Politics … Pod Save America, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, NPR Politics
18% – Gaming … Game Scoop, Giant Bombcast, Fireteam Chat
16% – Tech … 99% Invisible, TechStuff, Vergecast
16% – SciFi … Girl In Space, LifeAfter, Tanis
A whopping 68 million, or nearly 1 in 4 Americans, tune in monthly. These regular listeners tend to be educated, Millennial, and male––and the genre is growing fast.
A Growing Active Listenership:3 (defined as listening on a monthly basis)
|Age of monthly listeners:
● 44%: Millennials (Age 18–34)
● 33%: Gen X (Age 35–54)
● 16%: Baby Boomers (Age 55+)
● 7%: Gen Z (Age 12–17)*
|Gender of monthly listeners:
● 56%: male
● 44%: female
|Education level of monthly listeners:
● 30%: Graduate degree
● 27%: Bachelor’s degree
● 27%: Some college
● 15%: High school or less
This burgeoning audience [read: market] isn’t lost on advertisers. In the past 2 years, podcasting ad revenue has grown by double digits.
Journalists have linked the podcast boom to the ubiquity of smartphones, time spent in transit, and online music services. Others attribute it to the brain-stimulating and addictive effect of audio learning, or the multitasking potential of listening. The beauty is in the overlap.
“Audio is one of the most intimate forms of media because you are constantly building your own images of the story in your mind.” – Emma Rodera, communications professor, via The Atlantic
“In a sense, I’m painting something but I’m not holding the paintbrush. You are. So it’s this deep act of co-authorship, and in that is some potential for empathy.” – Jad Abumrad, host of Radiolab, via Slate
Perhaps podcasting’s secret ingredient is that it multitasks better than any other medium, bringing a dose of productivity to any part of your daily routine.
Where do people listen?
 Top Podcasts page, 2017, iTunes