Hear Me Out: Here is Why You Should Give Podcasts a Try

Tyler Kim, News Editor

The most important thing in communication is hearing what is not said, according to Peter Drucker, the preeminent voice on 20th-century social science. This is ever so true in journalism — a field built upon communication itself — for a story’s most notable moments may be lost in translation when put to paper. These crucial auditory experiences could be the energetic bustle of a foreign produce market, the slight hesitancy in a disgraced politician’s interview or the Daily host Michael Barbaro’s signature syncopated “hmms.”

Podcasts succeed where written words often fail: immersion. The auditory medium places listeners directly into the story via diegetic sound and direct quotations that transform interviews into conversational exchanges.

“You can listen to the actual voices of whoever they’re interviewing, which is a lot more powerful,” English teacher Maithy Do said. “You actually get to hear the emotion and you hear the sound effects, so you really get the most firsthand experience of it.”

Furthermore, the intimacy and open-source nature of podcasts have resulted in the rapid proliferation of all sorts of podcasts tending to nearly all niches found online, according to the New York Times. The U.S. podcast listener base has grown by 40% over the past three years with over half of all listeners trying podcasts for the first time in the past two years, according to Nielsen Media Research

Podcasting’s low barrier of entry is also present from the perspective of the listener as playing a podcast is inherently lower commitment than reading an article because podcasts can be thoroughly enjoyed while doing other activities.

Those who listened to podcasts while completing tedious tasks resulted in greater productivity during an overall more enriching session with the added benefit of learning something new, according to a qualitative study by Lisa Glebatis Perks Ph.D. and Jacob Turner Ph.D. 

Do, who listens to podcasts each day as she commutes to school and when at the gym, noted that podcasts help her zone out and be more productive, especially when compared to the alternative.

“For me personally, I would rather listen to like 30 minutes of podcasts to hear a really interesting story, versus ‘Am I really realistically going to sit and read 30 minutes worth of article?’ No,” Do said. “So for me, I get a lot more in-depth information about a singular story through podcasts, which I don’t necessarily know I would get if I was reading.”

Still unconvinced? If you find yourself dissatisfied, simply try out new podcasts until you find one that you like. With over 4.7 million podcast titles on Spotify alone, there is bound to be one on a subject matter that interests you.