If a podcaster can convince the president of the United States to sit down and have a long-winded interview in his garage, maybe it’s time to take note that the future of journalism could be in podcasting.
It may have taken a year of planning to get Barack Obama to sit in front of Marc Maron’s mic but when it finally happened, many people were of the opinion that Maron had done the impossible. The most intriguing part is that Maron did not do much to make the interview happen. As a matter of fact, the president’s staff suggested it.
Maron’s WTF bi-weekly independent podcast averages about 450,000 listeners per episode, an audience big enough even for the president to take notice. That interview with the president has been downloaded 1.6 million times and counting. This, in essence, means that Maron could give the New York Times Sunday edition that averages a circulation of 1.3 million a run for their money and audience.
It is estimated that Maron’s WTF rakes in more than $1.6 million annually on advertising. A blogger at Midroll, a company that specializes in advertisement spots on podcasts terms Obama’s interview as “the Super Bowl of podcasting.”
The mainstream media has realized the potential that lies in podcasting as far as the business side of journalism is concerned. A panel at the Public Media Marketing conference held in Washington discussed avenues that could be used to blend journalism and podcasting. While the panel agreed that incorporating podcasting into journalism will still be an uphill task in an industry where ethics is valued, the need to device mechanism of merging the two cannot be over emphasized.
Unlike before, the journalism industry has not been scoring a lot of points. It is therefore not difficult to figure out how Maron was able to get the president to sit for an interview with him. What may come across as a sudden boom in podcasting was bound to happen in the near future. Just like all the changes in Journalism, the boom is attributed to the advancement of technology.
We are living in the era of smartphone apps and increased internet connectivity and getting a podcast has never been easier. If the trend continues, it is only a matter of time before podcasting takes center stage and change journalism as we know it. In the meantime, more and more cities are embracing public Wi-Fi even in their transit systems, and that should tell you where the future of podcasting is headed.