[Opinion] Podcasting to the Masses

A product has reached its peak in the early adopter stage on the classic distribution curve, and is ready to slide into the masses attention, when three phenomenon happen:

The product catches the attention of regulators, lawyers, and policy makers (Uber).

The product catches the attention of the mass industrialists who remain powerful at the top of the economic ladder (Tesla).

The product catches the attention of the mass of creators and they begin to give interviews and hold conferences about “What is to be done about this new thing we underestimated/ignored” (podcasting).

The lawyers haven’t shown up at the door of the “big” independent podcasters (read “the 65% or so of podcasts not produced, spun – off, or derivatives of NPR radio shows”) but the legalistic thinking employed by the corporate regulators and policy makers is already appearing in conferences and conversations–and the hand wringing has begun.

We haven’t yet hit peak podcasting. That won’t happen for about another decade, based on how quickly electric cars and integrated mobile phone devices have an impact on the market overall. But the signs are on the horizon that podcasting is about to reach its peak of the early adopter stage and begin the long-slow ride into public acceptance, and into the mass consciousness.

Will every niche podcast do well as this gradual swell of acceptance begins? No. If a podcaster (or podcast network) began two (or even five) years ago, the chances that the show will gain mass acceptance are still under 50%. But, if a large podcast content creator (such as a personality like Marc Maron or Adam Carolla) and distributor (such as NPR) can “port over” their audience from other channels (i.e. live comedy acts, other content on a network, etc.) there’s a better than 50% chance that those creators and distributors will survive and become dominant in the coming years.

Podcasting is riding the slow wave toward mass acceptance. For those creators who have waited for this moment, now is the time to begin sharing your digital voice.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
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