UNDER CONSTRUCTION come back 10pm Est
Here a decade into the podcast phenomenon and the vast majority of people still don’t seem to get them or understand them or even know why they should be bothered.
As someone who has been on the podcast bandwagon since its inception, I’ll tell you why it matters. It matters because it is a realization and reimagining of that mythical Golden Age of Radio that exploded on the American airwaves in the 1920s and thrived into the 1950s with the broad adoption of television.
Much of what we still understand as how mass entertainment works, how talk shows work, how documentaries work, how drama shows work, how horror shows work, how fantasy and scifi shows work, how variety shows work, how comedy and music and empathy and humanism works for a mass audience, a 20th century audience… was defined by that golden age of radio.
It has left a long and endearing shadow, that we still are inspired by, Whether it be THE FALL OF THE CITY or COLUMBIA WORKSHOP or THE SHADOW, that early medium of Radio changed and shaped the contours of a new century.
Podcasts I feel are doing the same here in the 21st century, it is creating a delivery medium between artists and fan, between product, process maker, and audience, that creates a dialog, that because it is moderated and crafted by people who care, you get a conversation and appreciation, that you don’t get on youtube, or twitter, or facebook which often are examples of the lowest common denominator of communication and interaction.
Podcasts on the whole are by fans for fans and as such you lose the inane, uninformed and tired questioning that highlights so much of talk radio or talk television, that exists largely to use the guest to sell pharmaceuticals or cars or soda. I’m not coming down on advertizing, because that plays a role in podcasts too, but even there the advertisers are fans, so it becomes from host to hearer, about people with common loves coming together to celebrate those loves.
Freed of having to cowtow to corporate interests with no real respect for the content beyond its ability to turn a profit, Podcasts are that rarest and most noble, and fragile of things… art for art’s sake.