Podcast Listeners Really Are the Holy Grail Advertisers Hoped They'd Be

I’m not sharing this because of the boon to advertisers, but because the data indicates that people actually ARE LISTENING to podcasts (even long-form and experimental ones) and seem to really engage with the format when they find a show they like. I believe this bodes well for Cosmos.

From personal experience, I know this is true. I am eager for deep, original “content”—and the podcast medium is a great way to consume it, which doesn’t require me to be in front of a screen. Our cultivation of the ‘art of conversation’ feeds directly into this trend.

One of the items on my short-term roadmap is to integrate podcasting throughout the Cosmos platform, so we can host podcasts on Metapsychosis, A Theory of Everybody, and Infinite Conversations itself. If you are interested in podcasting within Cosmos, let me know. The more interest there is in a feature, the more quickly I am likely to work on it. :shushing_face:


Thanks for the article. I agree with you @madrush that proof by data that people are listening to long-form /experimental podcasts is a hopeful outlook for this forming Cosmos-logy. I have to disagree with the article’s praise of advertising as a whole though, and will release my inner curmudge…thanks @achronon for the “invitation.”

I love podcasts. Marco says it best above (and now below):

As one without home internet/modem, podcasts are my go to media source. I can download a podcast quickly and use little precious data. I can listen to a three hour discussion on Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot by some guys who thought about a philosophy degree, but then thought better of it. I can get a dose of hardcore history (now up to six hours in one episode!) from a fella who decided to take a radio show to the podcasting world. I can hear a father and his two kids go on educational adventures around town, providing fodder for later adventures with my own child(ren). Audiofiction, podcasts about podcasts, Lavar Burton reads to me, political analyses, entitled opinions, waking up, sleep with me…all of this while gardening, driving, cooking, washing dishes or clothes, exercising, waking up or going to sleep…

I loved Serial. The author is correct to identify it as the pivot point in podcast production, as many others have noted. Even more so, I loved S-Town, a Serial/This American Life Production (The story line sounds familiar @johnnydavis54 -“about a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it.”…highly recommended if you haven’t yet listened). The production value, the flow of the story, the story itself. the unexpected ending…podcasting is a media form that is a step above the required time slots that radio/TV must follow, allowing for such a production to take place. It is also a form that is a step away from the limits of the visual. It is just like reading a book if listening to a good fictional piece. It is like having the best discussion in the world with a friend right there in your ear.

Don't hear me wrong, though

the video chats/discussions here are currently the number one media form. A group discussion that can be reflected upon via chat forum + video reflection (as Johnny D. is always quick to remind us) + a follow up discussion if needed makes for an enlightening experience, surprisingly more “real” than a real conversation at times.

But let us not go and ruin such a good, new form of media. In a world that begs for attention in all directions, the podcast form was not originally the Wild West as described in the article…it was the natives roaming the Americas before Lewis and Clark, before the gold rush, before the wild west; the Jacques Cousteau before overfishing and diving tourism; The child imagining what it would be like to be a bat or bird before the Wright brothers, before aviation. The Serial production crew, though they created a thoroughly amazing podcast series three times over, are the high profile explorers and creators that gave permission for the commercialization of land, sea and sky and the radio waves. There is so much crap now on the iTunes podcast pages. It is hard to find the true wonderers and wanderers nowadays. I guess we will all have to go underground again and resurface when the bodies seem like fruiting again.

This is unlike the teenage curmudgeonry in which your favorite said indie band starts to go mainstream. “Now everyone is listening, guess I will have to go find more obscurity.” No…true podcasting is a call out to be shared, to be heard. It is the everyday voices that are allowed to speak at their heart’s content and be heard and received. What is being produced and recognized now in the podcasting world, at least what the algorithms are picking up on, is not the little voices with big hearts, it is the biggest mouths with the finest features that attract our attention. I have noticed that podcasting companies are sprouting up left and right. I have noticed that they will put out one or two really short intro-promo podcasts just to boost their listenership (contrary to the article…only a few people will listen to a new podcast if it is longer than thirty minutes…only once the listener is hooked will they start to follow a particular podcast and beg for more, no matter the length…and ads in the beginning, middle or end dont matter…we can easily skip over that stuff)…just to boost themselves up a few notches on the iTunes top 150 list. There are many shows that have trickled in from the radio/newspaper world, some because it is easier to listen to “on demand” but some because they are ready to milk it for what its worth.

That is another reason why I am here, on this site. It is difficult to discover new podcasts unless from a trusted friend. The “similar podcast” option algorithms are beings overshadowed by the big name, grubby hands trying to get their data into the algorithms…

I do have ideas on this front. I imagine this, for example (another hare-brained idea, bear with me a moment longer):
I wish to read Tillich’s Systematic Theology page by page, section by section…then respond to the text, then have other, more intelligent folk respond to the text or my response…or better yet (just to please the Cosmos crowd), I wish to read The Life Divine (I did record the final chapter “The Divine Life” ten years ago but lost it in an external hard drive…). My podcast idea is this: to read a chapter or segment and have it as its own episode. Then I would go and summarize and analyze (another episode), then potentially revisit it year after year, adding ideas in new episodes. The problem with my vision is the single individual doing this…the beauty of this site is the co-operation, collaboration, the giant minds that be better than mine. I do not necessarily have a reading voice…maybe a vocal reader such as @ZacharyFeder could be the voice; the individual analysis could turn into a one-on-one or a response to an individual analysis…or a group chat. A"vodcast." This is just a hint of the podcast project potential…but “little by little!”


I’m all about podcasts as well. Toyed with starting one called the “This American Subconscious Life” which would be a psychological analysis of the stories presented in it’s namesake. I’d be interested in the conversation at least @madrush, and thanks @Douggins.


I think podcasts are great, too. I often listen to podcasts of CBC radio shows I’ve missed, and I spent two days while driving across Canada listening to about 14 hours of podcasts from the MetOpera about, well, opera. I listen to a range of material on podcast format. What I would like to see is a podcasting “app” where you could record and then edit the results (essentially cut and reorder it somewhat, and possibly integrate images or sound files from other sources) before uploading it for public broadcasting. A bit like our text editor on Infinite Conversations, just to clean the podcast up. Not sure how difficult this would be to implement, however.


The closest podcast “editor” is not really an editor per se, but an attempt at a podcast community. Tung.fm allows for a discussion to occur through audio clippings and comments. It is pretty basic: you recommend a podcast, can add comments about the episode, clip a segment of audio that stood out and attempt to start a discussion. I had to leave this holy grail of a place last year because the group that flocked there seemed to only be interested in business and tech world stuff. It’s potential is great, and the features had only scratches the surface of the possible world out there. But that is the core element in my mind that is lacking…the discussion around an episode and the ability compile the highlights for others to check out.

What you are describing is something I am greatly interested in but haven’t found the right “app”…a particular DAW might be what you are looking for (I use FL Studio, though only as a recreational music creator; some users have talked about podcasting with FL Studio). You might want to give some of the free and open sourced software a try, as mentioned further down the DAW wiki page. I know the audio editing that you wish to accomplish above is already available, but would not know which is the most ideal for such a project, or one that would include visual aspects. I might research this soon, for I do have a strong interest in doing exactly what you are hoping is available somewhere. Such potential in the podcast world!

I have many projects in mind for the audio realm, such as creating interactive children’s stories, in which you would have audio playing while the child reads and when they reach a certain point in the book or turn the page the audio will change, or a sound effect will chime in…this has already been accomplished through apps on iPad, but I want something more tangible, something that can be experienced with the hands…maybe this is what VR will be doing someday soon, but I have zero interest in investing in the rudiments available currently.


Actually, what I had in mind was an online app. I use a range of software on my computer for this kind of work (GarageBand for sound, iMovie, and also Final Cut Pro for video), but I find these awkward to use and clunky for an online product. I have become enamoured of streaming environments such as Periscope, which are particularly easy to use, but contain no tools for editing - you stream the video directly into a recording and the recording is directly available. What I want is an online editor to “tweak” the resulting video (or audio) files without needing to download the result back to the computer and use computer-specific tools to do the work. And gee, if you could add some kind of interaction, such as you describe, Doug, that would be gravy! I can dream, can’t I?


In case anyone’s interested - the last episode of This American Life was particularly interesting from an Epigenetic Trans-Generational Psychotherapeutic stand point (exactly the kind of thing I would love to talk about on my imaginary “This Unconscious American Life” Pod cast).

Essentially it tells a story that illustrates how disturbances in the family lineage will attempt to correct themselves over time, even many generations later, something I work with almost every day.

The story is of a child being kidnapped and taken into a family that was not his own. Several generations later a mirror effect takes place where a member of the family who did the kidnapping is excluded by the very act of revealing the truth. A common occurrence but in this case quite dramatic and unique in a few additional ways.

I could say so much more about this but won’t unless there’s interest to discuss. @DurwinFoster - might be of interest to you as well for your practice. : )

Peace out.


I’m very interested in participating in a podcast thing. I do have a podcast (Restless Device) that is just kind of floating out there on its own picking up listeners god knows how. On principle, I’m pretty allergic to the “personal brand-building” that shows up in the “10 Tips for Podcast Success!” sorts of articles, but I do put some work into the episodes, and would love for people to listen. It’d be even better to get feedback and have conversations around the topics, but on the other hand, being ignored by internet commenters might actually be a blessing.

Beyond all that, I love the idea of having my podcast research project thing be part of something larger. I think part of my current obsession with Frankfurt School philosophers (a discussion for a different thread) is the image of all of these very different thinkers coming together around the School of Social Research and influencing each other and sometimes working together, while also very much having their own things. I’ve definitely been looking for something with that sort of energy.

There does seem to be a move toward consolidation afoot in the podcast world. Which makes @Douggins’s western analogy even more apt. There are all these podcast networks like Radiotopia, MaxFun, and Gimlet which all have very different business models, but seem largely about getting a critical mass of content that can draw sustainable funding (in crowdfunding, advertisements, or branded content). They probably also serve a good discovery tool for listeners (if I like one show on a network, I might try out others). Behind the scenes there’s probably some great synergy between the creators, but I don’t see (hear?) it too much in the work. I wouldn’t say any are a model for Cosmos podcasting, but maybe there are elements or lessons.

I have lots of thoughts about podcast content, too, but probably another post.


Another aside - If anyone wants to have a discussion of the film Black Panther and its cultural significance I’m watching it this weekend.

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I’m with you on this, @Douggins. I am not interested in the commercial side of podcasting—and would have little enthusiasm for (if not outright hostility towards!) any kind of advertising in Cosmos, unless it was synergistic across the platform—e.g., cross-promotion of other shows or projects/ initiatives from the Cosmosphere, or from member-partners.

That said, I see audience building and developing the overall quality of our work as key to the viability of this platform. I am also drawn to forms of interaction at a distance and non-local communion that don’t require sitting in front of a screen—even though I deeply enjoy our video meetings and face-to-face dialogues.

But truly, the ear is the “magical organ” and there is nothing like having someone else’s voice in your head. I have a bunch of ideas about content, too, and would love to bat these around with all of yours. I’m glad to hear others here are interested in podcasting too, and I will definitely be following up with y’all soon.


Hey Zachary, this dude might be interested:

Perhaps somewhat oddly (or not), I found his YouTube channel some months ago when the term “mythos collective” came into my mind and I did a Google search for it. (I had been trying to think of names for hypothetical Metapsychosis channels.) I watched a few videos and just liked his personality and style. He writes music too, and like many YouTube vloggers, looks like he could use some love. Well anyway, a perspective on the on the cultural significance of the film…


I’ll just go right on and toss in my Love:

You go in for the Afrofuturism, come out with a full coverage of Afro-history. “It began in Africa,” then branches form like a Janelle Monae album or David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, covering all genres (even one-upped the James Bond franchise in tact, technology and tongue-in-cheek humor).

This is a powerful movie. Elegant, respectable, real, and empowering. Begins slow, seeping ideas into the subconscious, ends with the power to change worlds, or minds. The historical significance of the creation of the comic (mentioned in video above) is all that you need to know of Black Panther going into the movie.

Themes recognized:

father-king-son dynamics (again, covering current black history and combining with African history/Afrofuturism…this is a story that has been waiting to be told for many years)

Technology and possible (potential?) use; a society on top of their tech-game, protecting positive use, retaining the sphere of a utopian society (which was as close to “no-where” as possible)

Matriarchs, independence and power and collaboration.

Immigration and immigration of new ideas.

Stories of old and stories told anew