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Op-Ed: Podcasts are prolific part of the changing world of digital media (Includes interview and first-hand account)

“Over six million people in America listen to podcasts daily,” says podcast consultant, Adam Weiss. New Yorker Magazine, Forbes, CNBC all report on how podcasts are making an impact on media and mass communication.

This is no surprise to someone like Weiss who has been ahead of the curve for some time and describes his work title as “Digital Media Strategist.”

Podcasts are used to communicate on any variety of topics. According to Zehnder Insights, Serials are now the latest craze with over “40 million downloads estimated to date.” Podcasts are audio files you can download via the web at anytime, anywhere.

Listening to anything recorded isn’t new. Before the CD there was the cassette tape and before that there was vinyl disc records. Yet the ability to access a recording anytime anywhere with such small and or convenient devices is a technical marvel. Still, what is even more marvelous is the ease and relatively inexpensive way just about anyone can make and send out a podcast.

Despite the disruption it has caused, changing traditional media platforms and outlets drastically, the digital revolution has been a godsend to many.

Among those who consider podcasts as beneficial is comedian and performer Paco Romane. As reported by Digital Journal last month, Romane and his small crew of fellow comedians produce a show called ‘Sup Doc.’ With fewer affordable venues to perform use of this new media reaches a wider audience, the podcast, like a web site is essential.

Use of the digital platform is a dynamic tool and video clips, podcasts, along with social media are now common. Digital media like podcasts are becoming a standard. According to Zehnder, in 2014, “Podcast subscriptions surpassed one billion. Roughly 15 percent of all U.S. residents listen to at least one podcast per month, and more than 225,000 podcasts exist.”

“We’ve only been doing our podcast for less than two years,” said Romane. “But the technology overall has made podcasting much easier than what it used to be. Now you can get a decent microphone easily and a handheld recorder plus you can use SoundCloud or Art19 as hosts and they automatically help you to get posted in iTunes.”

Weiss notes that audio equipment like handheld microphones or linear digital recorders and headphones are a fraction of the cost of what traditional major studio equipment is. What in traditional audio studio equipment terms would be in the thousands and thousands of dollars, now only costs a few hundred dollars.

This financial fact alone in itself is revolutionary. And, that is perhaps why so many are taking advantage of this opportunity. Many of the podcasters are authors and lecturers, like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. His radio and podcast ‘StarTalk’ is now in its seventh season — like the universe he discusses, his audience continues to expand. Serving as the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the scientist works to bring attention to important subjects in science and astronomy. deGrasse Tyson’s podcasts do just that, by helping to bring people from different fields of science together to showcase science topics to the public. The podcasts have helped promote the sciences to larger audiences in ways previously not possible. People can access ‘StarTalk’ on their smartphones as the podcast has its own app. Sirius XM, iTunes and SoundCloud, among others also carry the StarTalk shows.

No product, idea or service is too small or ordinary for podcasting. Entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuck consider digital media a powerful and necessary tool in today’s business world, as he told this reporter four years ago.
What he initially did to help promote his father’s wine merchant business has now established him as a leader through his VaynerMedia enterprise.

In using today’s digital media tools he has become a celebrity and all thru self-promotion. As reported by Fortune, Vaynerchuck has established his own fame- so much so that ABC invited him to be a judge for the 88th annual Miss America pageant back in 2013.

As current Wi-Fi technology coincides with broadcasting technology, there is no doubt that podcasting will become even more streamlined and easier to use.

“Really the only hard part about podcasting,” said Romane, “is getting noticed in the giant ocean of podcasts.”

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