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I Listen to Podcasts

Entry 1984, on 2019-06-13 at 15:02:32 (Rating 2, News)

I like to listen to podcasts featuring some of the most prominent "intellectuals" and commentators in the world today. In fact, it is not only prominence which interests me, but also controversiality. Why do I rely on podcasts instead of other forms of information? Because the mainstream sources, especially TV news, and radio and newspapers to a slightly lesser extent, are both superficial and biased.

So, I'll list a few of the people I find most interesting to listen to. These are in no particular order (well maybe the order does haver some significance): Sam Harris, Joe Rogan (as a host rather than commentator himself), Sean Carroll, Jordan Peterson, Russel Brand, Debra Soh, Josh Szeps (AKA Josh Zepps), Steven Pinker, and a few others I probably can't recall right now. And here are the companies and organisations I listen to podcasts from: Nature, NASA, RNZ, BBC. Yes, I know some of those are mainstream, so I haven't completely escaped them yet!

I'm certainly not saying I agree with everything some of those fairly controversial people I listed above say and believe, because how could I since they often disagree with each other. But I do find their ideas interesting and thought provoking, as well as a useful counter to the standard narrative we see most of the time from the MSM.

So I certainly get to hear alternative, and often quite confrontational and controversial, views this way, but I also get to hear those thoughts in depth. Some of the podcasts run for over 4 hours, so there is far more detail and careful thought than in a typical TV interview of a few minutes.

According to some estimates, Joe Rogan gets about 10 million downloads per day, which makes conventional media like CNN with something like 6 million viewers per day look a bit less relevant than you might think. Plus, there are hundreds of thousands of different podcasts. According to one source, there are 350 new podcasts introduced every day. And that's not new episodes, it's completely new podcast series. I couldn't find any stats on how many of those last more than a few episodes though!

It is generally accepted that the mainstream media is dying, and this might be why. I have been a podcast listener (and producer, go to ojb.nz and click "Podcasts" at the bottom of the page) for many years now, but I am always "ahead of the curve" with new technology, and it is only now that podcasts seem to be going more mainstream.

OK, it seems that podcasts are great, so let me summarise all of the reasons why I find podcasts to be the best medium for getting new information...

First, most of them are free. Increasingly conventional media are putting their content behind paywalls, but all this will do is hasten their demise. Why would anyone use a biased, superficial source they have to pay for when they can get more useful information for free? Many podcasts are subsidised by advertising, but that is easy to skip over. I generally listen to new ads once, because I do owe the advertiser something for helping to keep the podcast going, but skip over them after that.

Second, podcasts are convenient. With most conventional sources you might need to watch TV or listen to a radio at a particular time, or find a newspaper and a suitable environment to read it. With podcasts you can listen any time, any place. I listen when I am driving or walking from place to place. That means that time which is usually unproductive can be used to acquire new information.

Third, podcasts can be as short and simplified or as long and thorough as you like. The podcasts I listen to vary from about a minute to well over four hours in length. I would probably never read a news article in any format that takes four or five hours to complete, but I regularly do that with podcasts. Obviously, the longer podcasts are far more detailed that the superficial reports on most other media, especially TV.

Fourth, podcasts aren't limited by the same rules as most other sources. Political correctness isn't a big problem, controversial opinions are fine, and swearing and cursing are common! Basically, people can be themselves, and say what they really think, because the podcast producer (Joe Rogan is a classic example) don't owe anything to anyone, and that makes their material far more honest.

Want some awesome examples? Try the "Alex Jones Returns" podcast from Joe Rogan, which shows absolutely epic insanity. Or maybe the one featuring Elon Musk smoking weed and drinking whiskey. You don't get this sort of stuff anywhere else!

Finally, many podcasts are independently produced, so I'm not supporting big corporations by listening to them. Sure, that isn't true in every case, and if you look at my list above you will see the BBC, for example. But in most cases the podcasts are produced by individuals or small teams. I would far rather support small, specialised producers than big corporations who are just exploiting a technology they had little to do with creating.

Of course, I am aware that Apple, which is a big corporation, had a lot to do with the initial creation of podcasts, but as you will know if you read this blog, I do rate Apple as one of the better "evil corporations!" That's because at least they introduce some beauty and innovation into the world, as well as avoiding paying tax and outsourcing to China!

Some will say it is unfortunate that the internet has been responsible for the death of conventional media, but I can't see that there is much there worth saving. Even the best sources are so superficial, full of bias, and just generally dishonest that the sooner they disappear the better, in my opinion.

Can you get tied up in an "echo chamber" of podcasts which just tell you what you want to hear? Hell, yes! But you can have exactly the same thing happen with conventional sources. Look at how a left-oriented verus right-oriented news sources in the US treat the same event, and you will see that you are being lied to by the echo chamber on both sides. The same thing can happen with podcasts, but it is up to the listener to try to choose sources which give some balance.

So those are my thoughts on podcasting. I really do think this represents the future of how information and news will be distributed, and if you don't use them already I encourage you to give them a try. So throw away your radio, and use your TV as a screen to stream from your smartphone. The old media is dead, and those who don't realise that yet just haven't quite caught up with reality.

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