Why Is Podcasting So Popular?

Podcasts are easily accessible for anyone with an internet connection and typically offered for free, which makes them particularly popular for mobilizing knowledge. While most listeners use a smartphone, they can also be accessed via desktop computer or downloaded to a media player. They’re also relatively easy to make with only a very small investment in equipment (if a large investment in time). This makes them a low-barrier medium for both creators and consumers.

There are now an estimated 660,000 podcasts in production (that’s a real number, not some comically inflated figure I invented to communicate “a lot”), offering up roughly 28 million individual episodes for your listening enjoyment (again, a real number; yes, someone counted).


Podcasts also provide on-demand entertainment and information in niche areas of interest. I listen to podcasts about Canadian politics, feminism in academia, health policy, historical crime, old Hollywood, and a seemingly endless range of other topics. Podcasting is a medium that particularly fits the interest-driven, highly portable way we like to enjoy media now.

Podcasts are essentially radio on the installment plan, a return to the intimacy, wombed shadows, and pregnant implications of words, sounds, and silences in the theater of the mind.

Vanity Fair