Young medium needs reliable consideration, objective feedback
Podcasts arose after the dawn of citizen reviewing. So unlike books, film, visual art and recorded music, there’s not an authoritative repository of thoughtful, journalistic reviews of the form. Fans must rely completely on listener reviews, which are aggressively hounded at the end of every podcast with the cloying, “If you like what you hear, leave us a review.” Obviously, that is no way to create reliable reviews, especially since my personal research has revealed a tremendous number of these reviews to be either fake or insincere or both.
The Media Globe is going to address this cultural deficit. You’re welcome.
Last year we named Meltdown the best podcast of the year on our sister site, Book and Film Globe. From time to time in these pages, we are going to comment on podcasts worth your while, and review those you already know about. This newish form of communication is an important source of journalism, and occasionally even art. According to Edison Research, 38% of adults surveyed had listened to a podcast in 2022. That’s down from “peak podcast” of 41% in pandemic-aided 2021, but still more than three times as many as in 2014.
Sea of Reeds Media, of which I am the principal shareholder, has produced several podcasts of our own, and has other interests in the narrated media space. Our flagship podcast, Book and Film Globe, has made it onto the entertainment charts in multiple countries, including the United States (that’s hard to do). It’s even made it onto the general interest charts a couple times.
We also produce and publish The Dark Word, a podcast for writers and fans of the horror genre, which is finishing a second season now and has also made the charts a few times. We used to publish a weekly news program called Reading the Globe, which spotlighted under-covered journalism about under-covered topics. I loved that podcast, but it struggled to find a listenership and after 24 episodes succumbed to the realities of the marketplace.
Finally, our podcast production company, AudioHopper, created an app that narrated new stories from our publications and others. It worked well and looked beautiful, but never really caught on. Our thesis was that Audm, which did the same thing, and already had deals in place with giants like the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker, would have benefited from a wider perspective of viewpoints. Every single one of their articles has a progressive, woke point of view. But it’s executed so well and along with its 2020 acquisition by the media giant New York Times, we found there was no room for a competitor. Or maybe we just executed badly, which is a definite possibility.
Anyway, anyone serious about podcasts should come here to read about which ones we’re recommending, and anyone with an interest in producing an original, thoughtful, reported podcast — in other words, not two guys at a table bullshitting about sports or politics—please get in touch.