Are Podcasting Hosts Losing Touch with Their Audience?

In an increasingly digital world, the advent of podcasting was welcomed as a refreshing gust of audio breeze.

The format, allowing for the exploration of a vast array of topics in depth, seemed an antidote to the fast and fleeting quality of social media feeds.

Yet, as the podcast landscape matures, a disturbing trend has insinuated itself into our airwaves, causing some to question the medium’s raison d’être.

Podcast hosts, with seeming disregard for their audience’s interests and attention spans, are increasingly indulging in verbose, self-centred monologues and esoteric digressions.

To start, there’s a growing propensity for hosts to treat their podcasts as personal diaries.

The average listener, tuning in for insights on, say, climate change, is instead subjected to a monotonous litany of the host’s personal adventures in sourdough bread baking.

These soliloquies often venture into the realm of the mundane or the self-indulgent, offering little in the way of relevance or value to the listener.

Such meanderings are not merely tedious but betray a startling contempt for the audience, reducing them to mere bystanders in the host’s self-aggrandising show.

Perhaps even more perplexing is the increasing tendency for hosts to delve into local sports analysis with an incomprehensible fervour.

This might make sense if the podcast was advertised as sports-centric, but often it’s far from the case.

Picture a podcast on technology trends suddenly veering into an impassioned debate about the latest cricket controversy.

For listeners outside the United Kingdom or the Indian subcontinent, this is at best, confusing, and at worst, alienating.

In an age when podcasts can reach a global audience, such parochialism seems archaic and smacks of a lack of awareness or concern for the audience.

To be sure, a measure of personal touch and local flavour can enrich a podcast, giving it a unique voice in the crowded audio space.

Yet, as with any form of storytelling, there needs to be a balance.

An overemphasis on the personal or the parochial can easily tip a podcast from relatable to self-indulgent, from engaging to exclusionary.

As listeners, we crave content that is not just informative but also respectful of our time and interests.

We yearn for podcasts that challenge us, that broaden our horizons, that make us feel a part of a larger, global conversation.

We don’t tune in to hear a podcast host’s grocery list or their ruminations on a local sports game that we neither understand nor care about.

Podcast hosts need to remember that they are not speaking into a void, but to an audience that spans continents and cultures.

They would do well to heed the age-old adage: Know your audience.

In the democratised world of podcasting, where listeners can easily switch to another show with a tap of a finger, hosts who forget this basic principle do so at their peril.

As we navigate this brave new world of podcasting, let us hope that the trend of host-centric verbosity and parochialism proves to be a passing phase rather than a portent of things to come.

For the sake of the medium’s future, and our ears, let’s hope that hosts start to realise: it’s not about you, it’s about the listener.