2020 has undoubtedly been a year that’s challenged everything we know about our world and how we live in it, including how podcasts fit into our everyday experiences.
Health and safety recommendations related to COVID-19 have led to more people staying home than ever before and a near-total halt on attendance at public events of all types and sizes. The result? A massive increase in the demand for podcasts that cover events of interest allows listeners to experience the event from the comfort of their own home.
From national conventions to sports games, event coverage has undoubtedly become one of the hottest trends in podcasting for 2021.
Podcast Predictions for 2021
Even before the unprecedented circumstances that 2020 brought with it, podcasting was growing at a breakneck speed. According to a June 2020 article from Medium, podcasting grew nearly 30 percent in 2019 alone – so you can imagine the steep rate of growth it sees now.
By the middle of 2020, there were almost 30 million podcast episodes in existence, with about 700,000 podcast channels. Perhaps the most impressive statistic was the number of Americans that tune in to podcasts every week, surpassing the 80 million mark.
With a significant number of people working (and schooling) from home, the opportunities to listen to podcasts have grown. Here’s what industry titan iHeartMedia had to say about the impact of COVID-19 on the podcasting industry:
In addition to seeing increased podcast listenership, especially in markets with stay-at-home orders, Americans are specifically turning to podcasts covering business, finance, education, and entertainment… Across its more than 350 podcasts, listenership for the iHeartPodcast Network is up six percent month-over-month (month to date) as more Americans began staying at home… During a time of economic uncertainty, Americans are listening to more business and finance podcasts – for which downloads and streams are up 78 percent week-over-week among the iHeartRadio Original podcasts. Listeners are also turning to music, entertainment, and comedy during this time, [and] listeners are staying connected with the personalities and shows they know and trust, finding human connection and conversation in the on-demand podcasts from [iHeartMedia’s] leading radio personalities.
For anyone currently involved in podcasting or interested in becoming a professional podcaster, this is a definite silver lining to current events. Demand for podcasts, new content, and creative coverage is at an all-time high, serving up a unique variety of opportunities. If there’s ever been a time to jump on the podcasting train and ride it to career success, it’s now.
Podcasting Events: The Newest Trend of 2021
There are plenty of podcast predictions making the rounds for the upcoming year, but perhaps one of the most notable ones is the growth of podcasting from events.
In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually every major event was canceled: sports games, championship tournaments, entertainment award shows, conventions, etc. Now, as much of the world begins to adapt to what appears to be the “new normal” for the time being, some events are back on the calendar – albeit looking significantly different.
Because large gatherings are still off the table in most cases, events are opening up virtual attendance options. While you might not be able to go to an event in person, you can still experience it differently. Some events are hosting limited sessions via online meeting platforms or creating webcasts and other digital content to connect with interested “guests.” Others are streaming their event, with only the actual hosts or entertainment on-site at the venue.
One of the most significant event trends is one that intersects with the world of podcasting, bringing podcasters into the event space to share the event experience with their audience at home. Podcasters in all niches, from pop culture and entertainment to sports and business, are joining the ranks of media professionals covering events. Whether it’s a comic book convention, sporting event, or business conference that attracts a given podcaster, the concept of podcasting on-site is quickly taking off.
The reasoning behind this is fairly obvious, though it doesn’t make this new podcasting trend any less exciting. Because people are doing much less traveling, and large-scale events are significantly limiting attendance for health and safety reasons, there are few opportunities to get that event experience in-person.
But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on something you’ve been looking forward to since pre-COVID. Instead, what better way to stick to health guidelines and enjoy an extraordinary event with your favorite podcaster as a sort of guest by proxy? You’ll get to attend the event without ever leaving your home and benefit from a talented podcaster commentary. We wouldn’t be surprised if this form of podcasting outlives the COVID-19 pandemic and becomes a permanent fixture in the world of podcasting content.
How to Become an Event Podcaster
Podcasting events is still in its early forms, with the potential to take off in several different directions. If you think that becoming a podcaster, precisely one that does event work is something you’d be interested in, now is the time to start working towards that career goal. By getting into the niche reasonably early on, you can be a part of the exciting journey that lies ahead – and have the advantage of being there from the beginning.
Before you can start event podcasting, you’ll need to have the skills and experience necessary to be a successful podcaster. While it’s true that there aren’t technically any professional requirements for working as a podcaster, having a media-focused education is going to give you a significant competitive edge. Not only can the right degree program help you learn more about how to podcast, but you can also master the nuances of the industry as a whole.
While you’re attending a program that covers broadcasting, audio production, or your specific interest, seeks opportunities to build your resume and experience. Whether it’s interning at a local podcast network or assisting a professional podcaster, there are many ways to gain entry into the field while pursuing your education.
Make 2021 Your Year of Podcasting with an Education from the Media Schools
The future of podcasting is bright, especially if event podcasting is something you’d like to try. With the podcasting industry’s growth continuing at a fast and furious pace, new graduates have opportunities waiting for them.
But first, you’ll need to have a good education under your belt – and that means finding an excellent media school in your area. The Media Schools, located in Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, and Miami have created a series of program options to choose from to follow your best-fit path into a career in media. Whether you want to know how to start a podcast, are focused on being part of the behind-the-scenes team of a hit podcast, or are interested in marketing podcasts and building networks, our schools are a significant first step.
Begin your journey as a future podcaster by enrolling at the Media Schools, located in Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, and Miami today!
Featured Image: Shutterstock / Pavel L Photo and Video