Dave Jackson
4 min readJan 14, 2022

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The invisible hits of podcasting and how I got fished in, again

There is an article on Bloomberg that states that podcasting has not had any hits in years. To me this is soothing. Why? Because about every 3–5 years different media outlets start explaining what is wrong with podcasting. We used to call these “podcasting is dead” stories. It’s not and they are wrong. Apparently, it still works, as I just linked to their article (you’re welcome).

SIMPLE MATH

They say things like, “The most popular shows have been around longer.” That is just a simple math equation. If you’re doing a good show, your number should grow around 3% a year (if not more), and then it snowballs. Eventually, your target audience will find you, but yes, the longer you podcast the larger your audience should be. This is why the Rolling Stones have more fans than the band playing The Tangled Spur bar this weekend.

DEFINING WHAT A HIT IS

When someone hires me to help them launch a successful podcast the very first thing we need to do is define what success is. Is it downloads? Sponsorship? Being seen as an expert? Fun?

Bloomberg needs to define what a “hit” is. I do remember when Serial came on the scene. I had five different people ask me, “have you heard Serial yet?” Serial was also very good.

PODCASTING IS NOT RADIO — IT’S CABLE TV

Logos of Cable TV Stations
Logos of Cable TV Stations

So many people think of podcasting like radio. It’s not. It’s much closer to cable TV. Cable television has niche channels like the Smithsonian Channel, Animal Planet, and the Dove Channel.

Saying podcasting has not had a hit is like saying The Hallmark Channel hasn’t had a hit. However, if you ask someone like my sister-in-law who watches the Hallmark Channel (all the time) she can tell you about the new Christmas movies they published this year because she watched them alltwice.

When she talks to other people who LOVE the Hallmark channel, they can have a discussion that is DEEP into the programming that only other Hallmark fans would even remotely understand.

This isn’t a global hit, but it is to the audience of the Hallmark Channel.

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