The whole podcasting thing has always been somewhat funny to me. When I first started listening to podcasts in early 2006 or maybe late 2005 (Anyone have any idea when Jane Pinckard started "This Week AT 1UP"?), mostly video game-based podcasts like 1UPYours, GFW Radio (or CGW as it was first known) and Retronauts (a podcast I still listen to every week). People would ask me at work what I was listening to and I would say a podcast and then spend about ten minutes trying to explain to them what a podcast was, how the word is a portmanteau of iPod and Broadcast, you listen to it online.
I first came across your podcast David when I was searching for film-related podcasts and I found The Watchers, and the first review I listened to was The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and have continued to listen ever since.
But in the last five years, podcasting has exploded and everyone and their mother either listens to one or even has one. I think the podcasting market is just over-flooded by mediocre podcasts. Even a decent podcast with the potential to be great can get lost in the flood and never reach an audience it deserves.
I think most people see podcasting as a platform to make themselves famous, a digital stepping stone, and for some reason, podcasting is seen as an easy way to do it. Until they start to do it and realise how much work actually goes into making a podcast. They don’t need to be well-read or be articulate about any topic, it’s all personality-driven, just turn on the mics and they're on their way to fame and they’ll be rich beyond the dreams of avarice in a matter of weeks.
I have friends who have started podcasts and within six weeks they’ve stopped because they weren’t willing to put in the work. I have one who even went on local and national radio to promote her podcast, which was just her chatting with different one of her friends in each episode, and it was dead after two episodes because she didn’t realise how much work there was involved.
I think the whole podcasting bubble will burst soon, like the dot com bubble burst in 1999. Those who have nurtured an audience over years of hard work will survive, but thankfully a lot of the filler podcasts will just vanish into the digital ether.
Well thought-out analysis and conclusion. Thanks David.
You are an inspiration. Your many many podcasts illustrate why besides just sheer passion and persistence you are not only still here, your podcasts are easily among the most beloved shows for the many fans (AND ENEMIES!!) of the franchises you cover.
The thing I love about every show you co host is an expectation that you will serve as not just a generous host but an impeccable moderator. You have good instincts tempered by years of hard-won experience for when to let conversation wander, when to target a tangent for surprising potential, and when to let Jeff's jokes fade away into awkward silence...
I swear, there wae at least one moment in the recent Filmcast for D&D where it got so quiet that I checked the sound and then realized you and Devindra were just taking extremely long breaths before replying 😂😂😂😂
Podcasting requires little more than showing up and hitting record, and indeed, that's the most a lot of podcasts do and that's why most podcasts suck for most people. They're not bad, per se, but you need a deep emotional (tho parasocial) connection to the hosts if you're going to endlessly shoot the shit and MAYBE hear them talk about what they put in the podcast headline.
But when I listen to a Dave Chen production, I have confidence that you are in control of the format, pacing, and quality of the production. I'm really not kidding when I say that even if you have not yet been recognized as such, you have helped set the standard and BEST practices for innovative and sustainable podcasting. Lists are often just a gimmick, but you would go viral if you did a top ten list of tips and occasional updates.
Aside from inspiring my own recent coverage brand for TRANSlating Everything, you inspired me to connect with other queer people for what is quickly turning into a recap and more series for The Power like I couldn't have imagined. I'm connecting with all sorts of people throughout publishing, the cast and crew for the show, and other extremely successful and powerful thought leaders for women and queer people who may have never heard of the show but will have valuable insights and reactions.
I have an excellent producer now, but I also feel confident in our upcoming product in large part because I've been listening to your stuff for so long. It's almost like I plugged into the Matrix and downloaded all the skills I need.
It just took about fifteen years. Gotta love that dialup Matrix.
‘A Very Good Year’ and ‘She’s Great In That’ are a couple of new podcasts that are part of my weekly rotation.
Loved this recap on the state of podcasts.