After almost three years of hosting a podcast one of the most frustrating things I have encountered is the fact that a large majority of people are not even aware that podcasts exist. I’ve encountered my fair share of puzzled looks and questions when I mention I have a podcast. “Is that on the internet?” many of the people will ask when I tell them about the show. I can’t believe that almost ten years after the format was invented that most people are oblivious to the podcast world. This is even after the success of many high profile podcasts. It just goes to show you how little of pop culture the average person is aware of. I mean, I’m not volunteering at the local senior center and telling the folks about my show while we catch a breather after doing the fox trot. I’m telling young and what I assume to be connected people who seem to be into being entertained. People are so involved in their own internet lives that they are seemingly oblivious to the things that are not directly connected to them. Sure a person could be tweeting 350 tweets a day, but that doesn’t mean they will listen to your podcast or even give it a second thought. It is one of the biggest obstacles when promoting a show.
Trying to get the attention of your target audience is increasingly difficult with the thousands of podcasts out there, not to mention the other million things people spend their time with like music, movies, TV, gossip and porn. This is especially difficult if you are a general topic comedy podcast like we are. We don’t really fit into any individual topic so it’s hard to convince strangers that we are worth listening to. The other obstacle that I have seen when telling people about the show is that people are not really sure how they can listen. Even with the majority of people constantly staring at their smartphones, they don’t seem to know that there is a world of entertainment at their fingertips. I have had to give people detailed instructions on how to setup a podcatcher with our RSS feed, subscribe to itunes or even download the stitcher app. There is not enough hours in the day to show everyone I meet how to find our RSS feed and then explain to them what an RSS feed is after that.
After a while I learned it is not even worth it to tell most people about the show. As my co-host Mark mentions on our show this week, there are lots of people who don’t even know who Adam Carolla is and he is arguably the most successful of us all. In fact that same person Mark was talking to didn’t even know who Jimmy Kimmel is and he is on a network show, not to mention the fact that he hosted the Emmys last year. Our best bet is to tell as many people about the our podcasts but don’t expect too much. Maybe every once in a while someone will actually figure out how to listen or actually become a regular listener. Instead we need to focus on people who actually listen to podcasts. We are probably still a few years away from the word Podcast and the most popular shows being something that is in the national lexicon and who knows if it will ever be something that young people are attracted to. The attention span of the average high school student or person in their early twenties is considerably shorter than us in the the generation or two before. I’ve seen statistics that said that most podcast listeners are in their late twenties to early thirties so we should probably market our shows accordingly. Unfortunately, if this demographic trend does keep up we may have to visit the senior center to promote the show afterall.