Thinking about it now, it’s rather surprising that we didn’t all fall in love with podcasts sooner.
Our love for the radio – an invention which has provided us with audible chocolate for nigh on a century – was immediate from the day the BBC began its daily transmission in 1922.
Over the last hundred years, however, our obsession with music, and the way we absorb it individually and collectively, has evolved: First with Peter Godmark’s Martians vinyl player for Columbia records, responsible for the invention of the epochal long-playing record (LP); then came the cassette medium in the 60s, swiftly followed by a brief CD-player spell, before today’s instantly accessible music apps such as Apple and Spotify.
And yet our go to sources of information, until now, have broadly remained rooted in books, television and the radio – not to mention a quick scan on Wikipedia before correcting your friends on Facebook.
Our innate thirst for knowledge has been contentedly quenched by a familiar friend, who informs us of the day’s events, interviews experts – as we drive home from work – and imparts information in bite-size chunks before announcing the weather forecast, playing a song or asking listeners to call in.
Like many others, I enjoy the comfort and structure of a radio programme, specifically, Radio 4, which, as I eat my Alpen before work, grants me a rite of passage to take on the day, after listening to John Humphreys work tirelessly to get a clear answer from Michael Gove.
But I want to know more.
When it comes to current affairs, my curiosity has been aroused on multiple fronts. I am intrigued as to why Johnson and his lackeys have opted for the tactic of prorogation. I am fascinated by the connecting themes behind Tarantino’s episodic recount of 1960s Hollywood. I am curious as to which players have fallen out of favour at their respective football clubs, and why?
And now all our questions are answered in the humble podcast, consisting merely of a small handful of people sat around a table with just a microphone, their knowledge and each other – a perfect distraction from the crying baby on the tube to work or a pleasant alternative to the EDM blaring out of the speakers as you clamber aboard the cross-trainer.
You finish the journey, you’d like to think so anyway, with a slightly more well-rounded world view to the extent that you gallantly enter the office with an air of intellectual superiority, quick to relay this newly found knowledge onto your colleagues, leaving them either impressed or depressed, depending on the delivery.
Even after a torrid shift, there is nothing more I love than the listening to the Gossip Mongers podcast. Three comedians sit around and read out gossip and fictitious tales sent in by readers, guaranteed to have you in tears of laughter at least once per episode. Just the sound of the intro to the trio’s twaddle alone is enough sooth to the ears, enough to lift my subdued spirit.
I’m often bemused by this ever increasing breed of YouTubers and how their popularity continuously grows. Most offer vapid content which I think are a waste of time but when I watch closely, I see the comfort that people glean from a familiar figure. Not everyone has to like the same things, after all.
And it’s not so different from a podcast. You grow to love the presenter and trust their wisdom, as though they are speaking only to you. They help you rise in the morning and send you softly to sleep at night. They can slow a hectic day down or fill a free gap in your morning. They offer instant information they have worked endlessly to research and deliver in an engaging way.
So settle down, plug in your earphones and enjoy the podcast, whose allure is continuing to galvanise anyone and everyone.