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Is podcasting dead?

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When I was growing up as a teenager, I always dreamed about becoming a radio talkshow host.

My dream became reality when I discovered podcasting.

You’d think podcasting would be wildly popular.

Since Apple included podcasting as a part of their iTunes store back in 2005, iPods, iPhones and iPads are equipped to listen in on audios in just a few clicks.

And this CNET article predicts “huge growth” in podcast audiences … from hundreds of thousands of users in 2005 to tens of millions by 2010.

Podcasting is awesome in so many ways: you choose a podcast by popularity, subject or even personality. You can listen to broadcasts live or as a recording. And best of all is podcasting is free.

But the reality is as content producers (like me) look to attract bigger audiences, podcasting continues to disappoint.

Just two days ago, I launched a new podcast – answering questions on the fly, live. I invested a ton of time on the lunch. And now that I have a big email alert list, I thought I’d easily get 500 people to listen in.

Instead, just 22 people showed up. And just 72 listened to the replay so far.

Needless to say, I killed my podcast after just one broadcast, and I’m taking the same time to focus on other proven ways to attract new (and repeat) visitors to this website.

This is been an issue ever since I discovered live podcasting back in 2007. Getting people to listen to a podcast is tough as nails. I can literally shout out of my second-floor window and reach more people in my townhouse development than broadcasting over the Internet.

I’m not alone in struggling to get listeners to hear my audio chats …

… Alex Jones is BY FAR the biggest name in alternative talk. His websites attract millions of unique visitors each and every day.

Yet during any day’s peak, Alex Jones fails to attract significant listeners to his podcasts:

Yes it’s true. Alex Jones has just a few thousand people listening to him at a time. That’s shocking considering tens of millions visit his website monthly.

To put that low number in perspective, Rush Limbaugh gets about the same amount of listeners every second during his live broadcast compared to a day’s worth of people listening to Alex Jones.

The father of podcasting (Adam Curry) single handedly attracted Apple to include podcasting in their iTunes software… yet his podcast (The No Agenda Show) barely peeks at 500 live listeners a day:

Popular alternative talkshow radio host Art Bell struggles to attract even a few hundred podcast listeners at a time:

Even the”King of all media” Howard Stern can’t attract even a few hundred listeners during the peak of the day:

This up-to-date chart shows the number of people podcasting on BlogTalkRadio is plummeting:

So what’s going on here?

If everyone has the ability to listen to podcasting through their desktop computers and smart phone mobile devices – now even in their cars, why isn’t podcasting taking off like a rocket?

I really don’t have the answer. It is what it is. And trying to force a square peg into a round hole is a surefire path to frustration.

Is podcasting dead? As a listener, I love podcasting and most of my education about life comes from it. But as a content producer, podcasting is (sadly) a dying broadcast vehicle.


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