Technology conspires to reinvent the podcast: Learn more, listen longer


This past year has seen the great renaissance of the podcast. The root of this word comes from Steve Job’s iconic iPod. Jobs introduced his tiny but revolutionary device, promising it would allow users’ carry their entire music collections in their back pockets. In spite of the iPod’s simplicity, the technology of the day could not facilitate the boon in podcasting that we now see. Remember, the iPod required users to download MP3 digital audio files to their desktop PCs, before plugging in their devices and syncing them to iTunes. There is still that unpleasant but receding memory of syncing the device and somehow – I’m still not quite sure how – losing everything in the process. The iPod has now left the market and that whole process seems antiquated in a world of smartphones, apps, on demand streaming, Wi-Fi and 4G technology.

Podcasts allow speakers and listeners delve deeper into specifics and niche topics.

Cars are an obvious space in which podcasting has taken hold. USB ports and Bluetooth connections to the on board sound system now come as standard. Car makers are also including more outlandish internet connections and wireless media options on their models, which often come coupled with Google Android Auto and Apple Car Play. Car interiors had been the sanctuary that protected radio from the disruptive technology changes affecting TV and print media. Radio stations now offer podcasts in the same on demand streaming format that has challenged their televisual cousins.

Podcasts are great for long-form content. Oftentimes they’re a welcome alternative to broadcast media. Nowadays, news stories are summarized and simplified, then quickly peddled around the world on various media and social media platforms – in short bursts before fading away. Podcasts allow speakers and listeners delve deeper into specifics and niche topics. Whether listening in the car or through headphones, the spoken word generally facilitates a very direct communication with an audience. Innovative productions such as NPR podcasts, TED Radio Hour, This American Life, Serial and Radiolab have spawned the term ‘binge-listening,’ but generally news, politics, sport, tech, business and comedy content leads the way.

According to data collected by Edison Research in 2014, 39 million Americans had listened to a podcast at some time in the previous month. This figure was up 25% on the previous year. On average, these listeners consumed six podcasts in the month prior to being surveyed. Strikingly, Edison found that the percentage of podcast listeners who most often use a smartphone, tablet or portable audio player jumped by 50% between 2013 and 2014. Apple has now surpassed 1 billion subscriptions for podcasts via iTunes. In June of this year podcasts went indisputably mainstream as U.S. President Barack Obama was interviewed on comedian Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. This garnered significant media attention as it gave President Obama an opportunity to speak openly, at length, about family life in the White House and difficult issues such as guns and racism.

Partnering with a podcast provider allows a business to develop and share its message at a deeper level than soundbites allow. Businesses may choose to fund content that is relevant to their customers or chimes with the aims of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. It’s important to select a provider that understands your sector, knows the challenges you face, and serves to protect your brand.

At Inc60™, we believe that location should not be a barrier to getting the best business advice. In business the best advice comes from other entrepreneurs. For us, podcasts serve as an ideal platform to help solve real world problems with solid, noteworthy and practical business advice. Whether driving to work, making dinner, in the great outdoors, or rattling through tasks, our intimate and meaty podcasts will grab your attention and won’t let go.

Recent podcasts include:

Robert Haniver of Mason, Hayes & Curran gives an introduction to the legal responsibilities of businesses when holding customer data.

Mr. Harry Hughes, CEO of PortWest shares some of his insights after years of experience sourcing directly from China

How to stay relevant, transform and succeed from a rural base in a global high tech field. In conversation with Paul McBride, GM & VP of Lionbridge

Download Inc60™ podcast app on Google Play & Apple store.

Martin is a researcher at Inc60. He is kept busy researching potential future topics, sourcing speakers for live casts, and proposal writing for upcoming projects. He studied international relations at DCU and strategy at NTU in Singapore. Past employers include the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, Dublin Airport Authority, Mayo County Council, Revenue Commissioners, Nanyang Technological University, VERTIC, Supreme Court of NSW, GrainCorp Australia and the NSW Barristers Association. He has pulled pints in Germany and studied French at the Sorbonne.