Micaela explores how the world of podcasts is moving from in-home relaxation to nighttime entertainment.
Podcasts. Who doesn’t have a favourite? You might enjoy listening to conversations with your fave celebs while you work out or maybe you find yourself gravitating to the Apple Podcast app for your daily dose of news during your commute. Whatever your listening habits may be, you likely have a few shows that you keep downloaded in your phone’s library. Soon, you may find that your podcast listening habits are changing. As more podcasters make the decision to hold stage recordings—such as Off Menu Live by James Acaster and Ed Gamble, or Shagged, Married, Annoyed by Chris and Rosie Ramsey—your in-ear friends might transform into your new favourite night out on the town.
Traditionally, podcasts have been a solitary activity. I myself am a habitual laundry-folding-podcast-listener and I savour the moments when the kitchen is empty and I can do dishes and blast the voices of the McElroy brothers in peace. When I am doing a repetitive task, I pull podcasts out to provide background chatter that allows me to stay focused on my work. It’s like writing an essay in the library with friends… Except the friends are usually NPR reporters or Dungeons and Dragons players.
So how does this experience translate to the stage? Though I’m yet to attend a live show for a podcast (fellow My Dad Wrote a Porno fans who are free this Spring hmu), I’ve attended several conventions where I’ve gotten to experience what it’s like to see my internet interests enter the “real world”. I’ve held group discussions about a book series’ lore and sang along with a crowd to the soundtrack of a niche internet musical. There is something special about seeing a personality or media that you’ve only ever enjoyed in the privacy of your home (or your earbuds) suddenly become a public, shared event. It’s almost equally about watching the performance as it is about watching the people around you share delight in something that you’ve held so close.
Podcasts sit in a particularly intimate space for media. They come with us in moments that even some of our closest friends might not (I mean, most of my friends haven’t chatted with me while I fold my underwear) and dedicated listeners can spend hundreds of hours getting acquainted with the lives and views of the hosts. Podcast fans are a perfectly poised consumer base for live performance; they’ll be fast to grab tickets to see these people who they value so highly and, just like with concerts, theatre, and all the live performances we enjoy, they’ll bring people together for a shared experience with media they love.