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The oldest podcaster in the world? And how can we hit $2bn?

March 3, 2020 · 4.7 minutes to read

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Podcast News

Cover story: At 101, is Ida Schuster the oldest podcaster in the world? The actor is hosting Old School, with her life story of growing up in a Jewish immigrant family in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, and a journey through her childhood, the war years, and her long career on stage and screen. (The Big Light / Acast)
And is the oldest podcast in the world in Spanish? The team at En Caso de que el Mundo Se Desintegre thinks it’s the longest-running Spanish-language podcast, being first published in February 1999 (with audio files on the web via Internet Explorer Channels) and 2003 (via RSS). Do you know different?
  • Correction: Yesterday, we mentioned that the “Obsessed with…” podcast series was growing. In fact, the new podcast we mention, a new companion podcast to a Netflix TV show, is unconnected to previous “Obsessed with…” podcasts, which are companion podcasts to BBC TV shows. Sorry.
  • From our readers

    Our note that there are now more than 900,000 podcasts in Apple’s directory brought some comment from readers.

    “Podcast Creator / Listener” says: Directories make it look as if the top 200 podcasts are the only podcasts worthy of listening-to: when in fact, if your show is in the top 9,000 you’re still in the top ONE PERCENT of all podcasts, right?! Why would they not expand the ranking lists?? It’s common sense really.

    Cody Gough says: The “here’s how many shows are on Apple Podcasts” stat is always widely reported on by your publication and several other outlets. But I wonder, what is the point? I ask specifically because of the moment I realized the stat doesn’t really mean anything: my wife (a college professor) had her students produce a couple of podcast episodes on Anchor as an assignment in their Spanish class. So assuming they published it or Anchor submitted it to Apple Podcasts, that means that at least 20 or so of those 900,000 podcast are literally student assignments that just ended up on the directory. And that’s the thing: people post audio for a myriad of reasons. Who knows how many of those 900k pods are literally some corporate marketing person uploading 2 minutes of audio with the file labeled “test,” or a proof of concept that the CMO made them post just to see how podcast feeds work? I searched for “test” and found a “podcast” that is 3 seconds of audio, uploaded once, in 2017. Yet under Daniel J Lewis’ definition, this is “a podcast.” To me, saying that every piece of audio on Apple Podcasts is a “podcast” is like saying that every PowerPoint presentation is a sales deck, or inferring that Hollywood is being pitched more scripts because more people are using Microsoft Word. I wonder if it might be worth noting the lack of qualitative information this stat actually contains. Lewis is certainly doing a clever job of getting some free press out of what is a virtually meaningless statistic, but I wonder what value it really provides.

    (In terms of their value: we think a headline number helps podcasters talk up the industry, and you can guess that we’ll probably highlight when the number gets to above a million. However, yes, the stat is relatively meaningless by itself - and, given there are more than a million self-published books published each year in the US alone, there’s plenty of space to grow.)

    Beer tomorrow night in New York

    Our Editor is hosting the RAIN Podcast Business Summit tomorrow morning, Wednesday Mar 4. So, from 6pm on Wednesday night, we’ll be inside the Beer Authority, on 300 W 40th St, and will swap you a cheap laptop sticker for a pint of foaming beer. (We’ve not booked a space, so find out what James looks like on the RAIN website).

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