Sunday, January 17, 2016

Are You Listening?

Ellen O'Leary, a staff writer at, wrote a piece in December 2014 about the increasing number of new cars that are hitting the showroom floor with wi-fi capabilities. The "Big 3" U.S. car manufacturers -- Ford, Chrysler and GM -- have 67 models, combined, that turn into mobile hot-spots.

Increased tragedy due to smartphone stupidity while driving notwithstanding, I think this trend has huge implications for something we hold very near and dear to our hearts: podcasts.

According to work done by the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans (12 and older) that have listened to a podcast within the last month nearly doubled to 17% in 2015, from a paltry 8% in 2008. Let's break the numbers down: 8% of 300 million is 24 million people. 17% of 300 million is 51 million people. That's a big meatball.

One of the main drivers of this rapid growth is how easy it has become to plug your smartphone into your car. I haven't listened to the radio since 2013 and, in all honesty, I'm not sure why anyone would.

As cars become increasingly internet-ready and on-board entertainment suites begin incorporating podcast interfaces, I believe that traditional radio will be almost completely replaced. Why subject your ears to whatever is on the radio when you can play on-demand content of your choosing? It's a no-brainer.

One thing is for sure: if you're not currently listening to podcasts (and you're under the age of 60), you will be in the near-future.

With that in mind, we want to produce more shows. The BBP is great, and we love doing it. However, I believe there is a lot of room left to grow for shorter-length shows that have clearly defined purposes and audiences.

If I were a bettin' man, I might even throw $20 bucks on the chance of one of those new shows being available next weekend. But I gave up betting a long time ago.

Just kidding. Where's my wallet?

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