Happy Monday to you! Here's what I've been thinking about lately...
1. A new show for NPR. Have you heard about NPR's new podcast Embedded? I hadn't until I read this great article about it a few days ago. The show is set to debut on March 31st, and it sounds like it's going to be really good. Kelly McEvers, its host (and co-host of All Things Considered), will go deep into a story in the news, like last year's shootout between Texas biker gangs, or the HIV outbreak that overtook a rural Indiana town last spring. Instead of hearing a carefully constructed five minute clip like you might on a typical news show, McEvers will take listeners behind the scenes and she'll narrate the process. In an interview with Washingtonian, she said, "You don't always hear NPR reporters talking about how they feel, just because we have to be a little more authoritative ... On All Things Considered, you're not going to hear any of the getting there, the making of. The podcast, you will." I'm really excited to hear this show's first episode later this month. You can hear a short preview of it here if you're curious.
2. Podcasts and community. This piece on community-building via podcasting was another great read. It was published in the Columbia Journalism Review almost a month ago, but I just came across it over the weekend. Writer Chava Gourarie takes a look at the podcasts that are creating real communities for those that are underrepresented in traditional forms of media, like Another Round, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim, and Unorthodox. She chats with the hosts of these conversational shows about their target audiences, the listeners who don't fit into those demographics, how they set boundaries, and the ways they think about their listeners (mostly as friends). Gourarie writes, "Podcasts aren't a silver bullet to the lack of diversity in mainstream media, but it is a medium in which for the duration of the show, at least -- everyone but the hosts can shut up and listen." This was such a fantastic piece. If you haven't read it yet, I'd highly recommend checking it out.
3. The rise of podcasting. Did you happen to see this infographic about the growth in podcasting over the past decade? A couple of things about it really surprised me. First, Jon Nastor, the graphic's creator, says the average podcast has twenty-two minute episodes and uploads once per week. I'm not exactly sure what I expected -- definitely something longer and less frequent based on what I see in my subscription box. But what really blew my mind was the "Most Popular Podcast Categories" chart. At the top lies "Christian" with 39,000 podcasts, and "Music" is right behind it with 33,600. A couple of readers pointed out that churches often publish their sermons as podcasts, and I'm sure many musicians do the same with their albums. But still, those are two categories I never expected to see at the top of a podcast popularity chart. Have you seen the infographic yet? Any big surprises for you?