I have been podcasting since October 2004, so clearly you should listen to me. But I’m also an old white guy. So in the future, maybe you’ll stop listening to me? I’m OK with that.
For the culmination of my 10-part future predictions of podcasting that were first made in the inaugural print edition of the Podcast Business Journal, I’m taking on… well, me. And all the people that look like me. Because in the future, old white men will become less relevant in podcasting. And hopefully in just about everything else in the world.
I’ve been at this a long time. And I was born a white man. No, those happy accidents don’t invalidate my voice. However, I am weary (as you should be) of the argumentum ad antiquitatem logical fallacy. In short: if it’s old, it must be good.
So when I give advice, it’s from 15 years — nearly the entire duration podcasting has existed — of experience. Therefore my advice must be great! (And it is, I assure you.) At least with as much assurance as I, an old white guy, can give you. And yes, my fellow OG podcasters and I did some great things, with a lot less of the tools we podcasters have available today. Yes, we helped establish some wonderful processes and podcasting best practices, many of which continue to remain relevant.
But at some point in time, those experiences and processes are going to start getting in the way of advancing podcasting. Because established processes and best practices are notoriously difficult to change.
The good news, depending on your perspective, is that nature has a way of rectifying this problem on its own. However, rather than just waiting for us to die off, I think we can stop giving so much of the spotlight and attention to people who look a lot like me. You know, before we all die of old age.
The reality is this: There are a lot — and I mean a lot — of people in podcasting with valid voices speaking great ideas and concepts who aren’t old, who aren’t white, and who aren’t men.
I shouldn’t get special privileges because I am all three of those things. But know that I do get special privileges because I am all of those things. Heck, I get it because I’m any combination of those things. I’m not oblivious to this.
So I’m encouraging you to do what I’m doing: Actively seek out voices within podcasting that are not any of those three things. Or at least not all of those three things.
Because podcasting has already matriculated people with amazing skills, some of which have only been doing this for a year, and some who have been doing it for just as long as I have, who don’t happen to share the same dangly bits or skin tone as me.
If you’ve been reading or listening to me for a while, you know that I work hard to ensure I stay relevant. A big part of that is making sure I incorporate as many of these different voices as I can into my thinking.
But if I’m honest, I’ll admit that’s really rough for me. I can find female voices easily enough, because I have had female podcasters in my friend-set since the beginning. (Hi, Mur and Mignon!) Because I know them, it makes it easier for me to connect with and listen to them.
But one out of three isn’t enough. I’m trying (real hard, Ringo) to connect with much younger non-white podcasters, and I encourage you to do the exact same thing.
If only it were easier. Search inside podcasts already sucks hard enough, so that’s no help. Probably the thing that’s moved the needle the most for me is attending conferences, meetups, and networking events. I’m purposely avoiding my friends who’ve been doing this every bit as long as I have when I attend. I’m skipping their sessions so I can hear presentations from different voices. I think that’s important.
As we work to advance podcasting, it can’t always be about or lead by people that look like me. We already have the lion’s share of the voice, and I’m trying to actively stop that.
No, that doesn’t mean I’m stopping Podcast Pontifications. I still have a voice. It’s still a valid one. Yes, I think you should still listen and of course, tell all of your podcasting friends to listen. But I can’t be the only voice you or they listen to. I need you to try and find other people who don’t look like me and are also saying interesting things about podcasting.
So rather than continuing to get all preachy (not really my thing), I’m just going to end it here and say thank you very much for listening to me. But pretty please, with sugar on top, go find other voices to listen to as well.
I hope that you enjoyed these 10 future predictions of podcasting.
Since you got this far, how about mashing that 👏 button a few dozen times to let me know you dig the written-word version of my thoughts on these podcasting topics? I’d sure appreciate it!
This article started life as a podcast episode. The 228th episode of my four-times-a-week short-form podcast called, oddly enough, Podcast Pontifications. It’s a podcast for working podcasters that’s focused on trends in our growing industry and ideas on ways to make podcasting not just easier, but better. Yes, you should listen. Here’s an easy way: 👇
Evo Terra (hey, that’s me!) has been podcasting since 2004, is the author of Podcasting For Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and is the CEO and founder of Simpler Media Productions, a strategic podcast consultancy working with businesses, brands, and professional service providers all around the world.