Are we are tiring of our screens? We might not be abandoning swiping and scrolling entirely, but the resurgence of podcasts points to a slight shift in our content consumption. Whether your passion is technology, culture, science, politics or new ideas, you can download and listen on the move.
The BBC’s new audio Sounds platform is just the latest way to "listen up". What is behind this shift? Podcasts are hardly new, having taken hold in 2004. The trend has been helped by a handful of early influencers – Roman Mars’s 99% Invisible or The Guilty Feminist, created by Sofie Hagen and hosted by Deborah Frances-White – spring to mind. Rising internet mobility also means downloads can be done in moments.
Charities are also tuning in to embrace the medium, and for good reason. It’s a refreshing way to receive content and the production costs are modest – a high-quality microphone, good planning and enthusiasm for testing new things go a long way. It brings authentic human stories to life, capturing the experiences of supporters and beneficiaries in their own words and with unfiltered gravity.
Scott Roberts pioneered Haven House Children’s Hospice’s podcast to tell stories that might never have been heard. Podcasts allow him to explore people’s stories in detail and with sensitivity. Interviewees express their feelings and bereavement in ways a blog could not have achieved in quite the same way. For service users and the hospice team, this moment of connection was invaluable.
Listen up. The next time you’re walking to work or waiting for a train, tune in to the world in your ear and immerse yourself in great human stories.
Adeela Warley is chief executive of CharityComms