Nowadays, it seems like you hear the words “check out my podcast!” at the same frequency we all heard “check out my mixtape” just a few years back. Podcasts have grown in popularity and it seems like everyone has them.
And that’s perfectly fine.
My earliest memories of the medium are vague at best. Before audio streaming services really took off, it seemed like podcasts were these things of random people talking about stuff, not unlike radio talk shows, but pre-recorded to be listened to whenever.
Recently, the medium has seen a boom in both consumption and development, which can be attributed to things like technology and the internet further evolving to create a more user-friendly environment for creators and consumers alike.
But we’re also looking at an increase as to who specifically is making and listening to these podcasts. Marginalized individuals, especially black people, are coming together to create these “spaces” for themselves and people like them, giving each other the opportunity to regularly consume media with their voices and opinions on the forefront of a previously white-dominated space.
Podcasts like The Read, Another Round, and The Friend Zone are soaring with popularity, and there are hundreds, maybe even thousands more podcasts by marginalized groups. People of color who identify as nerds have especially made use of the medium. Podcasts like Black Girl Nerds, 3BlackGeeks, Heroes and Coffee, Hard N.O.C Life, No, Totally!, and even our very own BLKBOARD are just a few entries in a sea of nonstop podcast production.
So inevitably, there are some individuals who don’t like the fact that podcasts are so easy for folks to create. It wasn’t too long ago I heard someone sarcastically say “everyone seems to have a podcast now.”
The funny thing is, they’re not the first people to express that sentiment. Hell, there are even other podcasters who make statements like this. Even I’m guilty of toying with the thought of expressing it from time to time. The BLKBOARD Podcast is only 18 episodes in, and our audience is growing at a decent rate, but frustrations are inevitable when your podcast is one of literal thousands out there. You envision more aggressive growth so your voice can be recognized with the big dogs, but it’s not easy when your audience is limited and people have options.
And here’s the thing: that’s never going to change. People will always have options, and your podcast may not be what they’re looking for, and that’s okay.
But we also have to do away with the notion that we can only commit to listening to a select few podcasts. It’s time to stop conning ourselves into thinking we “don’t have enough time.” By doing that, we’re selling a lot of great creators and their content short and potentially missing out on shows that speak to us on even more intense levels than we expected.
There’s a massive number of podcasts growing and being developed every day, and I encourage everyone to look into them. Of course I’m not asking folks to listen to every podcast episode produced by everyone in full, but I am asking that people at minimum take a look at their website, the people behind the podcast, and maybe even give it a listen for three to five minutes. If you end up enjoying it, you’ve found yourself another podcast to listen to for the week. If not, then maybe the next one will better suit your needs.
Podcasting has grown to be a powerful medium of expression for marginalized voices, and the large amounts of people actively engaging with it should be met with joy and support in an age of continuous bigotry and oppression. We are just a few members of one big cultural podcasting family.
Author: Mike Tré
Mike is the co-creator of BLKBOARD who’s a creative professional and writer with an interest in Superheroes, literature, gaming, politics, food, and anything else he can think of at the given moment.