Why I Prefer Audio Podcasts

July 29, 2010  |  miscellaneous

As long time listener to audio podcasts such as Leo Laporte’s TWiT network (Windows Weekly is among my favorites) and Creative Screenwriting Magazine, I can say I love listening to podcasts. There are many great shows that I have sampled, and I’ve found that I much prefer listened to audio podcasts instead of video.

The first reason is obvious: audio shows do not require your full attention. One can listen to a show while driving in the car, doing menial chores or eating lunch and allowing you to stimulate your brain while doing routine or mundane tasks.

Given its nature, video shows generally work best in shorter format. You have to be at a screen and it requires one’s full attention. That’s not to say that long-format shows cannot work. I have enjoyed Kevin Pollack’s Chat Show, Jason Calacanis’ This Week in Startups and Stupid for Movies from time-to-time, but I find it difficult to stick with them because of the screen requirement and, given their hour plus length and without an audio-only alternatives (which some of them have), they are more difficult to fit into one’s schedule of content consumption.

Also, because video requires much more production time and expense, they are consequently more limiting in terms of who has the resources to produce them. This leaves the door open for some smart entrepreneurs to bootstrap a good idea and get it off the ground with little investment in the audio realm. It also means that content producers must focus more on that what of the content instead of the how and, in the end, that generally compels podcasters to make sure they’re creating intellectually stimulating content.

This is certainly not always the case, nor does it rule out the possibility of a video show accomplishing the task of stimulating the mind. However, in general, audio shows tend to be more about ideas as such and allow for more in-depth analysis of a subject as they can be more liberal in their production length.

Such low overhead in producing audio podcasts has its negative side. While the door is open for successful shows to exist on extremely niche topics, this also means there is a lot of bad content out there one has to sift through. But generally, when you find a good one, they are extremely rewarding and enjoyable.

I do not want to say that video shows are unworthy of attention. They can be more lucrative for content producers as they command much higher advertising rates. That’s not to be discounted. The potentiality for higher profits nets bigger investment in such content, and people will make take time to watch a show if it’s good enough (see my article: Eight Reasons to Quit Cable TV as a first point of instruction for how to clear some room for any video podcasts you might be inclined to watch).

But, for the reasons discussed here, I think people tend to be more loyal to the audio shows they do consume. They’re easier to fit into one’s busy schedule and audiences therefore have more time to get to know a show’s personality and style. As a result—and content permitting—there is higher potential to become more invested in these types of shows.