As someone who works for a podcasting company, it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that I LOVE podcasts. Not only do I work with the Podraffi team to produce them but I'm also an avid listener of podcasts too. I’m not alone in this listening habit: every week, 12% of the UK adult population (6.4 million adults) listen to podcasts in the UK (Rajar/Ipsos, 2018). Clearly, we're on to a good thing because listenership continues to steadily increase every quarter. Hoorah!! 🙌📈
The most popular times to listen to podcasts in the U.K. are 8:15am – 8:30am and 6:15pm – 6:30pm (Rajar/Ipsos, 2018). As far as I see it, this is clearly commuter time. This blog post is the story of how commuter time became podcast time (for me). Maybe you can relate, or this might give you the inspiration to listen to podcasts during your commute too.
Boredom with in-car entertainment
It all started with a daily 110-mile round trip from London to Milton Keynes in the car. My choice of in-car entertainment was either radio, my personal music collection or speaking on the phone (hands-free of course!). However, after a few months I was sick of listening to the same handful of national radio stations and the heavy rotation of music, and even getting through my extensive collection. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy listening to many, many genres of music; anything from ABBA to Lenny Kravitz to Ed Sheeran. But this wears thin after a year. And, let's face it, there's a limit to how much time you want to spend on the phone. I needed something else to do with my time. But when you're behind the wheel, your options are limited.
The YouTube Audio Solution
I felt that I could be using the three-hour round trip more effectively - learn something new or just be entertained by something else. As a solution, I decided to create a playlist of YouTube videos for the sole purpose of listening to the audio while driving. It was a terrible idea! It was clear that sound was the second class citizen. Whenever you hear the vlogger say, “Click here” or “Look at this”, it was frustrating and impossible to fully engage with the content because clearly, I was missing out on something [visually] important; of course, I can’t manage screen time while I’m driving. There are laws against that you know – and for many good reasons too! The vloggers hadn’t catered for my hands-on-wheel and eyes-on-the-road situation.
In the beginning, I would listen to the video, then go back to watch the elements I had missed. But after a while, once I had listened to the video, I wasn't inclined to watch the video later because I had already heard the audio. This "YouTube audio solution" wasn't sustainable.
I went back to radio, but the frustrations soon crept back in. I had just caught the tail end of the show I enjoyed, or I wasn't always in the mood to listen to the topics that the radio shows would present.
I even tried improving my French or learning Spanish and Italian. Let's cut that side-story short by concluding that commuter time just wasn't the right time or way for me to learn a language.
Podcasts: a whole new world
One day, I decided it was time to organise (or delete) the apps on my mobile phone. I had been putting it off, but now it was getting out of hand. As I put them in folders and deleted the ones I didn't use, I came across the purple app with the little white icon that resembled a Ludo game piece. Underneath the app, the word "Podcasts". Yes, you've guessed correctly, I have an iPhone (other mobile phone models are available). I tapped it, and it opened up. I was presented with a lot of images (podcast artwork). I didn't know what to search for, so I typed in anything. "Marketing", "Knitting", "Weddings", "Beer", "Finance". Each time, relevant podcasts would appear. I was impressed!
Audio: the first class citizen
I pressed play and listened to a few shows. Straight away, it was clear that audio was the first class citizen. I decided to test it out as my new in-car entertainment solution. It worked! I didn’t feel like I was missing parts of the experience. And, if needed to check out something later, they provided show notes – a place with all the links that were mentioned in the podcast that I can go and check out afterwards – how thoughtful!😊
Hands-free and convenient
I listened to podcasts during my commutes. I loved the fact that it was hands-free. Sometimes, I streamed the podcast episodes, and other times I downloaded episodes from a variety of podcasts and compiled them into a playlist. Downloading a podcast is particularly helpful when you are in a location with patchy, weak or no internet connection – London Underground is a prime example of this. I'd press play. After that, I didn’t need to touch a thing. I could listen to anything I was interested in while I drive. I could be entertained (and giggle along) or learn something new.
Discovering podcast shows
My favourite thing to do is binge-listen to the back catalogue of a newly discovered podcast shows. In the last year, I stumbled upon fantastic shows. I now have a regular schedule of shows that I listen to and have days when I search new podcast too.
So, that's the story of how I became hooked on podcasts during the commuter time - and now beyond. I probably listen to four hours of audio podcasts a day; when I'm cooking, cleaning my house or doing mundane tasks. Why wouldn't I? There is so much choice. Over 1,000 podcasts are launched every day, and that number only comes from Apple podcasts, let alone the other podcast platforms and apps.
P.S. Podraffi is excited to help companies create original podcasts to connect with their audiences. Just as I described in the blog post, podcasts are particularly helpful when your audience isn't able to engage with a blog or watch a video. If you’re keen to explore how podcasting could work for your business, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.