In The World Of Podcasts, NPR Host Lauren Ober Knows Best

Mar 20, 2018

Lauren Ober has listened to thousands and thousands of podcasts in the last couple years – it’s pretty much in her job description. She’s the host of “The Big Listen,” an NPR show about podcasts. Ober says the booming medium shows no sign of slowing down.

"We haven't seen a time like this where the velocity of a medium [grew] like it [did] in podcasts," says Ober. "So it feels overwhelming. The numbers are something like 400,000+ active podcasts."

Ober says we should think about the medium like we think about movies, paintings or books. She says the number of podcasts out there doesn't matter as much as the quality of what's being produced.

"The medium does feel very democratized at the moment, in a way that blogs did in the early 2000s. Where everybody had the ability to be a writer because you had this technology at your fingertips, which I think is a great thing," she says. "And how many people have blogs now? Very few people."

As far as what's in store for podcasting in 2018 and beyond, Ober says the medium should do more to hold up the voices of people of color and women.

"When you look at the iTunes charts they're pretty much dominated not by women and not by people of color. So my great hope is that's where the medium goes and it's a platform for the great breadth of voices that are out there waiting to have their turn to say something."

Ober will share more about the ever-changing podcast industry at a free talk in collaboration with Storyfort and Treefort Music Fest. The free talk is Thursday, March 22 at 11:00 a.m. at The Owyhee in downtown Boise. Click here for directions and more information.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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