Podcasts in 2014


2014 seemed like a breakthrough year for podcasting, for me personally it was the first time I had to make a decision to unsubscribe to some podcasts because I had to admit that I was never going to have the time to listen to them. I spend three hours a day commuting to and from work so in a good week I can consume about fifteen hours of podcasts.
The quality of the audio and content in the shows available today is now every bit as good as the professional media and the topics are a lot more niche. One of my favourite tech podcasts is hosted by three software developers, Marco Arment, John Siracusa and Casey Liss. They put out a weekly show where they discuss current events in tech. They are very interested in the Apple ecosystem but cover anything that catches their attention. I think the reason I like their show (Accidental Tech Podcast) is that they usually have different points of view but are very respectful of each other, this leads to some fascinating discussions. I’m a developer so naturally I find the things they discuss interesting.
A podcast that I have recently subscribed to is the London Fintech Podcast, hosted by Mike Baliman as the show’s name suggests this is focused on the financial services sector. Mike interviews people who work in the industry and are doing innovative things. I met Mike Briefly at a NewFinance meetup on digital currencies and he is a very intelligent and nice guy.
If you are completely new to podcasts and just want to try out a few then you could do a lot worse than subscribe to some of the NPR shows. My favourites are This American Life, Planet Money, Radiolab, Serial and Invisibilia. These shows really set the bar high in terms of their production quality and content.
The last thing I wanted to mention was the sponsors, most but not all of the shows I subscribe to read a 2 minute sponsor message every half hour. I don’t have a problem with this because it costs money to distribute a podcast and the hosts dedicate a lot of time to putting out their show. I have no way of knowing if any of the shows I subscribe to make a profit but my sense is that if they do it is a small one and the motivation for creating a show is not money. My only gripe is that there is currently a lack of diversity in the sponsors so you end up hearing the same message a lot, I think this will naturally go away as more and more advertisers become aware of podcasts as a way to reach new customers.
Finally I’m very excited about 2015 as I’m sure there will be some great discussion and stories from the shows I subscribe to and also some new and interesting shows created.