Podcasts are a consumer’s delight and a content producer’s dream: cheap to create, free to download, and easily shareable.
Similar to on-demand talk radio, podcasts boast some big numbers. In 2019, there were over 800,000 active podcasts in circulation, with 62 million Americans tuning in each week.
Podcasts are now so popular that each hosting platform, or “podcatcher,” features a list of the top-rated shows. We were curious: do most top-rated podcasts have male or female hosts? Also, which gender do audiences prefer? To answer that question, it’s helpful to see just how podcasts came to dominate entertainment.
Click here for survey findings and details.
Hitting Rewind: A Brief History of Podcasting
Podcasting was first developed in 2004 by Dave Winer and Adam Curry. The duo created a program that converted radio feed into downloadable content for the iPod. While reporter Ben Hammersly suggested the term “podcast” in a 2004 article, Steve Jobs later claimed the term was a mix of “broadcast” and “iPod.”
Podcasts were made free to download, which meant that radio-lovers now had the ability to tune in to their favorite podcasts any time they wanted. Content creators had an easy time as well, since producing audio content is inexpensive and relatively easy.
But how did podcasts get to the 62 million weekly listeners they have today? We can thank Sarah Koenig. Koenig collaborated with WBEZ Chicago to produce and host Serial, a serialized true-crime podcast that, unlike other podcasts at the time, told ongoing stories over multiple episodes. Released in October of 2014, the podcast had over five million downloads by the end of the year.
From there, advertisers began jumping on board, motivating more and more production companies to get into the game. Now, you’re all caught up.