While podcasting has been around for 15 years now, it’s only in the last few that the format has exploded. According to a new study by the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and Futuri Media, nearly three-quarters of podcast users have been listening to podcasts for less than three years, but they’re sold on the format—on average, they listen to four shows per week for either 30 or 60 minutes. Some pundits point to the investigative journalism podcast Serial, whose first two seasons have been downloaded more than 340 million times, as the “killer app” that finally brought podcasting into the limelight, but regardless of what made the format take off over the last few years, all those new mainstream listeners have high expectations for podcasts, not only in terms of content but audio quality.
With that in mind, Pro Sound News has been increasingly covering podcasting-related audio stories in recent times, and this month, we expand on that further as we kick off a new podcasting column and also for the first time, review audio gear specifically intended for podcasting. While it’s no secret that many podcasters are amateur enthusiasts when it comes to audio engineering, the writers sharing their podcasting insights in our pages are not—Chris Curran and Frank Verderosa are longtime audio professionals who also have solid credentials in the podcast world.
Inside Podcasting: Who Are Podcasters, by Chris Curran, May 29, 2019
Curran will expound monthly on podcasting in his new column, drawing on his experience as a podcast producer for numerous corporations, time spent as the host of The Podcast Engineering Show and as the founder of Podcast Engineering School. While today he creates podcasts for the likes of Forbes, Dun & Bradstreet, Johnson & Johnson and others, Curran started his career in New York as a staffer at studios such as The Hit Factory, Quad Recording and Soundtrack, where he worked on projects with dozens of artists, including Foreigner, Sarah McLachlan, Jeff Buckley, Puffy, Notorious B.I.G., Itzhak Perlman and many others.
Meanwhile, over in our reviews section, Frank Verderosa has penned the first of what will be occasional reviews of podcast audio gear. Verderosa got his start as a music engineer/producer in the early Nineties, working with acts like Run-DMC and Bill Evans, before moving into audio post-production a few years later, mixing and sound designing spots for numerous ad agencies and putting out his own Planet V shingle for eight years. Later, he teamed up with Nutmeg Post, working on campaigns for Volkswagen, Burger King, Budweiser and others when he wasn’t recording cartoons for Disney and Nickelodeon. These days, he plies his trade at Digital Arts in NYC, but you can also hear his podcast engineering work weekly on Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, which he’s handled since 2014.
Review: Røde PodMic Podcasting Microphone, by Frank Verderosa, May 28, 2019
The recent emergence of podcast-specific audio gear is an interesting phenomenon, as it takes pro audio manufacturers’ prosumer/MI lines in a new direction, aiming to meet the needs of a specialized customer base with wildly varying audio abilities and knowledge. “The podcast production world is an interesting intersection of people that come from very different backgrounds and disciplines,” says Verderosa. “A medium once populated largely by non-engineers creating interesting content that resonated with like-minded individuals, it is now a rapidly expanding and diverse industry. In its early days, home-spun production was often limited to cheap headset mics, built-in laptop mics and low-res Skype audio—but that was part of the charm. At the same time, radio stations and other companies began delivering their content on podcast platforms, giving rise to shows with higher production values, and a growing demand for those working from home to increase theirs. Needless to say, affordable gear targeting podcasters is a growing market.”
We’ll be keeping an eye on that growing market, as well as what it means for audio professionals like you, whether you’re part of the burgeoning podcast production industry or merely someone who enjoys listening to the format. Stay tuned!