At the moment, we are in a dilemma. By ‘we’, I mean people who use our phones too much. They’re with us all the time and it’s healthy to sometimes break off from this, often toxic, relationship.
So what if, then, I wanted to listen to a podcast and not bring along my phone for the ride?
According to research (albeit) conducted in 2016, most Londoners (64%) listen to podcasts around the house, while more than four in ten listen on their commute (42%). That means headphones. That means mobility.
Oh, that’s easy. Buy an iPod. Remember, those things people used to use to listen to music and podcasts?
Well, that’s all well and good but Apple isn’t the king of the proverbial podcast castle anymore. At least not as powerful as they once were.
Personally, I made the switch to an Android phone last year and I don’t regret it for a second. As a result, Pocket Casts is my app of choice and the thought of going back to the frankly antiquated Apple way of doing things makes me twitch a little.
And this is the crux of the issue. How do I listen to my favourite stable of podcasts if the options to listen aren’t there?
There has never been a more exciting time to be in the business of podcasting. Smart speakers and in-car listening have opened up more ways to access your favourite shows. But what about if I’m not at home, or in my car? What then?
The iPod aside, there’s the this “interesting” player from SanDisc which makes me feel like it’s 2001 all over again. And speaking of antiquated technology, the latest* Sony Walkman doesn’t even support podcasts.
Of course, there’s the mighty Fitbit for those active and constantly monitoring their heart rate. You can access podcasts via Deezer. But the choices are once again very, very limited.
In my opinion, there’s a real opportunity here for podcast app makers (and platform developers of all mediums) to make something really different in this space.
I mean, podcast makers produce their own apps occasionally, so why don’t platform developers make their own hardware?
Take Pocket Casts as an example. What if they decided to break the mould and make the ultimate podcasting listening device, using their in-depth knowledge of the industry and listener habits? It could be mind-blowing. It could cast off the shackles of a medium currently tied together so intrinsically with the mobile phone.
Innovation has been a consistent factor in pushing podcasting forward and it feels like the time is right for something like this to happen as we (again, I use the term “we” loosely) look to break free from the addictive nature of our smart phones.
Maybe this will change. Maybe not. And I apologies if a real alternative does exist out there (please do let me know, I am interested!) but if podcasting is to be truly on-demand, shows will need to be made available to as many people as possible.