Many have been closely following the fate of podcasts during this pandemic, and this week, those in the podcast business may finally have some good news: For the first week since March 2nd, podcast download and podcast audience growth is up, according to Podtrac. While this is certainly a positive sign, Hot Pod’s Nicholas Quah points to some questions for creators and advertisers that lie ahead, one being whether to launch coronavirus-related podcasts. “Information needs under the pandemic are ever-growing and ever-changing,” he writes, and for coronavirus podcasts, “there will always be something new we need to know about.” But, of course, information also comes from various media beyond audio, and some people are already feeling burnt out on COVID-19 material.
The key question for non-coronavirus podcasts is whether to take a chance on experimental forms or certain content types, given the uncertain audience and advertising landscape (he notes multiple instances of networks pushing back the launches of true-crime podcasts). “I’m firmly in the camp of this being a time where more people should be starting new podcasts of strange and capricious qualities,” says Quah. “The key, in my opinion, is to start out with as little risk as possible, with as little expectations as possible, and go from there.”