Narration of a story is becoming a very popular style of podcasting, at least for the podcasts that are becoming very popular. When it comes to digital audio, I would say there’s a demand for content that doesn’t sound like traditional radio talk shows. NPR is dominating that field. In fact, Perry Simon from AllAccess.com / Nerdest said it best –there’s two types of podcasts… NPR Style and everyone else.
I was first drawn to the podcast Reply All from Gimlet Media through The StartUp, a podcast that documented the rise of Gimlet media through it’s founder, along with the struggles of starting the business. Reply All is a great addition to their roster. The good — the stories they tell are amazing. The bad — I’ve skipped a few episodes that sounded really good because they warn of bad language at the start of the podcast, which is a deal breaker if I’m traveling in the car with my wife and kiddo.
Two great examples from Reply All:
** @ISIS — Covering the war on terrorism, and tracking / communicating ISIS as a journalist
** The Man In The FBI Hat — story of Robert Hoquim, who through fraud stole a lot of money from a lot of people. But it turns out he made a lot of friends too living this secret identity
They have a certain NPR style to them… which makes sense since they come from an NPR background. So in the spirit of the two types of podcasts, they would be in a class categorized as not your traditional radio.
Maybe commercial radio will catch on. But it almost takes a full time job to make great content like this. I’m not sure you could be expected to do a 3 hour talk show a day, and still be able to produce the same level of content like they do here. I think the most successful commercial radio hosts are able to reach their audience on an emotional level. I’m not sure Reply All does that… it’s more of an admiration level. I simply admire the work, the style, the information, the storytelling and the ability to bring me something I didn’t expect… but it doesn’t make me connect with the hosts. It makes me connect with the content (as someone that loves great content.)
Overall this is a gem of a podcast. It’s one worth adding to your favorites and checking out on a weekly basis. It’s one you’ll share with your friends, and it’s one that you’ll eventually stealing an idea or two. Great work all around from the crew on this project — I hope it lasts a long time.