Podcast proliferation drives greater need for audio skills
Nearly a quarter of Americans are listening to at least one podcast a month—that’s more than use Twitter.
That’s one of the findings from Edison Research’s 2017 Infinite Dial report, which charts digital media consumption in the U.S. The study shows podcast listenership is continuing its steady growth: The percentage of Americans who have ever listened to a podcast is now 40 percent, up 11 percent from last year. And for the first time, the highest rate of listenership is not among the youngest group of Americans, but among those ages 25 to 54.
Those numbers indicate a larger and wider group of people are developing consumption habits around on-demand audio. They’re finding an expanding universe of content and technology to feed those habits. The last year has seen big news outlets like The New York Times and NPR embrace the medium in new ways, with short morning new magazines—a quick 15-minute hit ready and waiting when subscribers roll out of bed and reach for their smartphones. There are new players in the mix, like Audible, which branched out into short-form original audio content last year. And money is flowing into the industry: Podcast production company Gimlet Media made headlines when it raised $15 million in venture capital earlier this summer.
On-demand audio is relatively inexpensive to make, and the tools and training are easier to acquire than those needed for digital video, animation or VR. That accessibility is partly responsible for the podcast boom, and it also helps explain why there’s such a wide range in the quality of content.
The Berkeley Advanced Media Institute, a digital media professional development program at UC Berkeley, has developed an intensive workshop designed to help media professionals break into the audio world—and do it right. The Institute’s Podcast Bootcamp is a nine-week graduate-level certificate course focused on developing a podcast series, from ideation through production and promotion, with several sessions on the business side of things. The hands-on course is taught by podcast and radio professionals, who focus on narrative and storytelling techniques and practical software and gear skills, plus monetization to marketing. Over the course of two months, attendees map out their own podcast series, produce a pilot episode and develop a go to market strategy.
To learn more about Berkeley AMI’s podcasting courses, visit our workshop page.
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