Cat's out of the bag. If you walk past my office most any time of day, chances are you will hear a podcast of some sort coming from my speakers. I can't really pinpoint when my strange addiction to audio podcasts started but I believe it was about the time I got rid of all the radios in my apartment but still needed something to listen to while getting ready for work in the morning. Cuz that shit is mad important when trying to drown out the sounds of quiet desperation and get pumped for another day at the office. Kidding! That was before I started working at i.d.e.a.!
"For most of my working career, I woke up to the sounds of the King of Media himself, Howard Stern."
You see I've always been a morning radio type person. For most of my working career, I woke up to the sounds of the King of Media himself, Howard Stern. I loved his show - I sprung out of bed laughing most of the time and frankly that's the third best way to wake up, followed by alive and I'll leave the second up to your imagination. When Howard moved to Sirius most of the stations that still aired his show (even after all the shit he pulled) picked up Adam Carolla, former co-host of Love Line with Dr. Drew Pinski and The Man Show with Jimmy Kimmel. So I listened to Adam's show until he himself pulled out of terrestrial radio and started his own podcast around 5-ish years ago. That was about the time I got rid of all the radios and started to walk around with my iPhone blaring the morning funny.
"People I enjoyed listening to, or watching on TV, started to build their own pirate ships and eventually spawned a multi-million dollar industry."
Up until guys like Adam Carolla and Marc Maron (who was on terrestrial for a few years at the fabled failed Air America network) decided to build pirate ships and use the terrestrial radio model to keep them afloat, podcasts were frankly as boring as awkward chats with your neighbor at 8 am. A lot of edu stuff (and don't get me wrong, iTunes U is freaking awesome), some tech stuff and a lot of mom and pop, NPR stuff that was like listening to paint dry. But then podcasting started to draw some real talent -- of which there is no shortage now—and I started to see this thing really getting legs. People I enjoyed listening to, or watching on TV, started to build their own pirate ships and eventually spawned a multi-million dollar industry. So much so that now when you listen to, what I think are the better podcasts in terms of both content and range of experience, comedy/entertainment podcasts, you will notice some very lucrative network marketing deals have taken place. A few of my favorite podcasts like The Adam Carolla Show, Mohr Stories (with Jay Mohr) and WTF with Marc Maron not only feature top talent from film, music, television, politics, etc., they also feature top supporters like Amazon.com, Stamps.com, 1-800-Flowers, GoToMeeting, LegalZoom and Pepsi Max.
I've taken note of these podcasts because they have really innovated the space and created a viable avenue for brands to get exposure to that audience every brand wants exposure to: a highly engaged, very loyal and somewhat captive one. Brands like GoToMeeting offer you 30 days free when you enter a code from the podcast on their site. In particular Amazon has put real guns on these pirate ships with its click through link that asks that listeners to go to the podcaster's website and click through to Amazon before they make a purchase - a win/win for both parties.
"...take a ride on a few of these pirate ships yourself..."
I am not going to rattle off a bunch of statistics about how much the industry is worth (no one really knows for sure yet). No, I'll do you one better, I am going to give you my list of podcasts that I listen to all the time. I think it would be great for you—a marketer— to take a ride on a few of these pirate ships yourself, understand how they are structured and understand why they are starting to dominate our attention when we are away from our televisions.
In no particular order:
The Adam Carolla Show. One of the originals and IMHO the very best. Adam hosts his show daily with a wide variety of A, B and C list entertainers who mainly listen to Adam rant most of the show. I don't always agree with everything he says, but I usually agree with the way he says it: loud and funny. One of his longest supporters has been Man Grate, a grilling accessory, which virtually took off in part because Adam's supporters have purchased so much of the product.
Mohr Stories with Jay Mohr. Jay is one of my all-time favorite comics. He's probably most known for his supporting role as Bob Sugar in Jerry Maguire or host of Last Comic Standing, but he's been a touring comic for over 20 years. Jay's show drops Mondays and Fridays and tends to host more comics than most shows, which has introduced his audience to many they may not ever have heard of. He also has hosted some really good human interest shows with guests you've probably never heard of like Father Willy Raymond, a local L.A. priest who has helped at-risk youth turn their lives around, relief pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and marginally known screen-writers or directors like Christopher Columbus (Harry Potter). All of which give you a slice of life you wouldn't generally get otherwise, a slice worth ingesting. Amazon is one of Mohr Stories key partnerships.
The B.S. Report with the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. Bill is an ESPN veteran who was the first sports reporter turned podcaster. And though he's the Sports Guy, he has always featured entertainers, other genre journalists and his gambling/fantasy sports buddies. Simmons recently started his own website called Grantland which has a sports tilt but also features a lot on entertainment and both audio and video podcasts. Subway has been the B.S. Report's key sponsor through their partnership with ESPN.
I'm tired of writing so here are the others...
WTF with Marc Maron. Always cynical. Always entertaining guests. Always delivers the WTF moment.
The Dana Gould Hour. Though it runs infrequently (generally once a month) it is definitely one of the more witty and well produced shows.
The Champs with Neal Brennan (Chappell Show), Moshe Kasher and DJ Douggpound. The only podcast that features all black comics and entertainers as guests. It's a bit more low budget in terms of production quality but more than made up for by the hilarious banter.
Enjoy! Let me know what you ended up liking and what not. And I really do love my job. They let me blog about this stuff.