Do podcasts help you get through the day? As the world of radio declines, podcasts are stepping in to take over. This listening trend is booming, and more people than ever are putting on their headphones or tuning into their home’s smart speaker to get their podcast fix. When surveyed, 7.1 million Britons said that they’d listened to a podcast within the last month. This may seem like a lot, but we had nothing on the respondents from South Korea, who had the highest listening rate of 58%, or the United States, who were fifth with 33%.
When discussing the power of podcasts, Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s Director of Market Intelligence said: “Podcasts are transforming the ways people listen to audio content, just as on-demand video is changing how people watch television. It’s fantastic to see how UK radio broadcasters as well as newspapers and other media companies are embracing podcasting and offering more choice about what we listen to than we’ve ever had before.”
The BBC for one, has embraced the power of the podcast — out of all the podcast producers it has been found to have the highest reach. Organisations like the BBC, as well as small independent producers, are constantly pushing out interesting shows covering a wide variety of genres. Whether you’re a big corporation or you’re just starting out, as long as you have ambition, branding, or square business cards, you can get your name out there. What’s more, there are many genres you can choose from! In a recent survey, Ofcom found that the genre most listened to was ‘entertainment’ (57%), followed by ‘comedy’ (54 percent), ‘discussion’ (53%), ‘current affairs’ (49%), ‘sport’ (41%), ‘science and culture’ (39%), ‘politics’ (39%), ‘hobbies’ (35%), ‘TV and film’ (35%), and science and technology (33%).
Each of these categories has seen trailblazers, leading the way into 2020. In May of last year, the British Podcast Awards were held to honour those shows that were racing ahead in listenership and interesting content. Paving the way in each genre, here are the podcasts that we were most interested in over the last year:
Best Arts & Culture Podcast:
“Have You Heard George’s Podcast?” — George the Poet
Not only did George the Poet’s epic podcast take home the award for ‘Best Arts & Culture Podcast’, but it also took home four gold awards, two silver awards, and the podcast of the year award. Maybe the success of this podcast is that it has something for everyone. Made up from news, poetry, storytelling, and cultural observations, this podcast keeps it fresh and intriguing.
Best Comedy Podcast:
“Dear Joan & Jericha” — Julia Davis and Vicki Pepperdine
Successfully taking the gold for best comedy podcast, Dear Joan and Jericha will have you in stitches. The agony aunt parody is almost two convincing, and the cringe-inducing line that it walks will have you wince one second and laugh out loud the next. Absurd, deranged, and always funny, this podcast has set the comedy standard for 2020.
Best family podcast:
“Surrogacy: A Family Frontier” — BBC Radio 5 Live
If you’re looking for a moving podcast that will challenge your perceptions, go and give ‘Surrogacy: A Family Frontier’ a listen. Made up of a collage of personal stories, interviews, and anecdotes, this podcast is thought provoking and artfully executed.
Best true crime Podcast:
“Case Notes” — Classic FM
A true crime podcast with a twist, Classic FM’s Case Notes sets out to investigate historic crimes that have some relation to the world of music. Taking a look back through the most infamous and blood thirsty musicians of all time, this podcast shows that we are now looking for a new and unusual angle when it comes to true crime podcasts.
It’s official — the standard has been set. As we strive forward int 2020, our ears will demand only the most intriguing, hilarious, or informative podcasts. With more budding producers and presenters every year, we are likely to see many more innovative shows competing for this year’s prestigious awards.