Reflecting on the podcasting year of 2018
You may or may not know that Audible Feast is a one-woman endeavor. I started the site back in 2015 because I wanted to provide a resource for podcast discovery, and at the time, I didn’t find a lot of resources on my own. I was frustrated with the Apple Podcasts (then iTunes) charts and even the podcast plugs on the high-budget shows with name recognition just led me to other high-budget, and not always high-quality, shows. Sharing knowledge is deeply embedded in my genes, so I learned how to make a website and started publishing.
I listen to podcasts all day, almost every day – the weekends are usually light but on average I listen to somewhere around 50 podcast episodes a week. I do listen to some shorter shows, but my favorite show length is 20-40 minutes. I do binge listen, and I accept pitches from anyone and get loads of press releases about new shows or seasons. Maybe you found me because you pitched me your show!
I find podcasts from a variety of sources: other podcast newsletters, recommendations from friends or fellow Podcast Brunch Club members (who are also often friends!), podcasters that I interview for the Podcast Brunch Club Podcast or for Audible Feast, social media interest groups, and the RadioPublic front page on my phone (very special thanks to Ma’ayan Plaut for being a podcast librarian extraordinaire at RadioPublic). For the record, I don’t personally think there is a discovery problem in podcasting anymore – I think there are tons of resources to find recommendations and I think fewer and fewer people rely on the charts for recommendations and instead find them through channels like I’ve mentioned. But – I’m not a typical listener, so those discovery surveys may show otherwise.
This year I felt the surge in audio fiction, and I’m thrilled about exploring this genre. I waded tentatively into the pool at first, because I’ve never really done audiobooks, but I heard some phenomenal fiction this year. This was also the year of the daily news podcast – I’m still on the fence about these; some are done well, but I personally don’t have room in my day to always listen to a daily. I dip in and out when the topic seems interesting. (I listened to 48 episodes of Today, Explained and 41 episodes of The Daily this year, for perspective.)
One thematic takeaway for this year, at least for the shows I listened to, is challenging the status quo through investigation. Three of the shows that I thought did a phenomenal job of this were Scene on Radio, Reveal, and In the Dark. These are methodical, targeted research efforts crafted by genius storytellers that let the lay-person in on a complex topic. As I have written them all up so many times, it will be no surprise when they appear on my end of the year lists.
Podcasts continue to enrich my life because I learn about new movies to watch and artists to listen to, I laugh uncontrollably (thank you, My Dad Wrote a Porno and Help! I Sexted My Boss), I feel deeply, and I have so much more to talk about with everyone from my kids to people I have literally nothing in common with at work or awkward parties. This year I even got my husband to try a few podcasts. I wrote more about my love affair with podcasts in this article from August 2018.
I’ve had less time to write full reviews this year as my paying job got busier, but I’ve tried to keep up with the weekly “best of” posts which I call the Delicious Ingredients. I’ll be posting my final year-end Best of 2018 posts this week – one for the best shows overall and one for the best individual episodes – but first I wanted to share some statistics with you about what I listened to and loved this year.
I track every podcast episode I listen to here – this page is organized by month, but I dumped all of the data into Excel and did a bit of analysis. I can’t help myself, I’m a data person. I cut it off as of 12/14/18. Highlights:
- Total podcast episode count: (roughly) 2542, or 48/week
- Number of unique shows listened to: 641
- Current subscription list: 531 on RadioPublic, my player of choice
- Current number of episodes in my queue (this is anxiety-producing! I need to clear it out!): 70. Ugh. Can you people stop putting out stuff I want to listen to?
- Number of reviews: 8
- Number of interviews (that I transcribed – there were two more that I didn’t transcribe (yet!)): 5
- Number of Delicious Ingredients posts: 44 (I took a few weeks off!)
- Show listened to the most: Today, Explained
- Non-daily, non-limited run podcasts listened to the most – almost never missed an episode:
- Terrible, Thanks for Asking
- The Hilarious World of Depression
- Between Us Girls
- Probably True Podcast
- The Allusionist
- Women at Work
- Ladies, We Need to Talk
- Scene on Radio
- Switched on Pop
- The Competition
- Sooo Many White Guys
- Someone Knows Something
- My Dad Wrote a Porno
- Love Me
- 30 For 30 Podcasts
- Missing and Murdered
- Alone: A Love Story
- In the Dark
- PLAYLIST Podcast
- Other Men Need Help
- Latina to Latina
- How to Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black
- Here Be Monsters
- Everything is Alive
- Ear Hustle
- Dear Young Rocker
- Limited-run shows I didn’t miss a single episode of because they were excellent:
- The Dream
- The Undersiders
- Intrigue: The Ratline
- Last Seen
- Bag Man
- Welcome to Tinseltown
- The Realness
- David Ortiz: The Big Papi Story
- Lost in Larrimah
- No Feeling is Final
- Silent Waves
- The Alice Fraser Trilogy
- The Doorstep Murder
- The Assassination
- The Promise
- Most episodes listened to in one day: 31 (I think!)
- Shows with most appearances on Delicious Ingredients: Ologies, Someone Knows Something, and The Allusionist – 9 appearances each
- Podcast with the greatest Delicious Ingredient hit rate: Other Men Need Help (4/5 episodes listened to appeared on Delicious Ingredients). Runner up – This is Love – 6/11 episodes appeared on DI.
The end-of-year best-of lists will be out this week. Thank you so much for reading throughout the year and I hope I occasionally help you find something new to listen to!