NY Magazine has a piece up on podcasting. I think this is the money line in the post:

Connected cars are a boon for the entire streaming audio industry, but they’re especially exciting for podcast makers, whose shows are perfectly suited to in-car listening. Just as TV watchers can now choose Netflix or Amazon streams over surfing channels, radio listeners will soon have a bevy of on-demand options at their disposal.

As is often the case, a simple little thing turns out to be the big thing. That little thing is that almost every car that has been sold in the past five years has had bluetooth connectivity to the car audio system. These days your phone is connected wirelessly to your car the minute you open the door and get in it. That’s a powerful thing. The phone has become the portal to the car audio system. And so if you can get podcasts on your phone, which is trivial these days, you can listen to them on the way to work or your way home.


It is also true that the quality of podcasting content has massively improved in the past five years. Back in 2005 and 2006, our family used to do a podcast called Positively 10th Street. It was a fun experiment but we were pretty terrible at the podcasting thing and dropped it after a year or so. All of the episodes seem to have vanished from the Internet which is shocking to me but probably a happy fact for my kids.

As the NY Mag piece explains, many public radio veterans have started podcasts and they are, as you would expect, very good. And you have things like the A16Z podcast and Spark’s Hallway Chats to listen to if you are tech or startup person and want to listen to tech/startup stuff on the way to work. The trending audio page on SoundCloud shows the most popular talk content on SoundCloud. The diversity of subject matter and styles is really extraordinary.

And there are also a host of podcasting clients for mobile phones that have come to market recently. Stitcher, Overcast, and Instacast are three popular ones. I mostly just listen on SoundCloud but if you want to have a single client that can aggregate RSS feeds as well as SoundCloud and other audio hosts, the mobile phone client is the way to go.

The only thing we need now is for Howard Stern to leave the airwaves and move to podcasting. Then podcasting would take over the world of talk radio. It seems inevitable.


Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    One of the problems with a podcast is sound quality. Saw a company out of Wisconsin called RINGR.us that decompresses audio differently. Now it’s possible to have very high grade audio, even if you are interviewing someone on a mobile phone.

    1. JimHirshfield

      I would think sound quality is more of an issue WRT music than talk.

      1. pointsnfigures

        This guy has programmed a way for sound to be decompressed differently do it sounds exactly like you are in the same room. A lot of times on the radio, and on podcasts, you can tell it’s mobile phone to mobile phone and the sound quality really stinks-which takes away from the podcast.

        1. JimHirshfield

          OK, got it. Better is better.

      2. Anne Libby

        Better sound quality lowers the bar on creating podcasts, though. I’ve experimented with this, but without a sound engineer, it’s hard to sound professional, no matter how good your content is.

        1. pointsnfigures

          sign up for that guys product-would be interested in your feedback.

          1. Anne Libby

            I’ll look at it, thank you.

          2. Anne Libby

            I’m on the list for the beta, when it releases in a few weeks!

          3. LE

            If it’s anything like the demo on their web page it’s seems like a great solution to the problem that they are describing. [1] Will this be a free download or paid or?The name is problematic if they are going to be on the app store because if you search for it on the app store you bring up a bunch of ringtone apps primarily. Needs something more unique that won’t get confused as easily. And conveys the solution to the problem they are solving or is just unique and brandable.[1] Which is different than it being a good business idea.

  2. awaldstein

    So if you drive infrequently, but are constantly walking/biking/training in and out of wifi areas, what’s the best tool to get podcasts, even radio like NPR, off of your phone?

    1. fredwilson

      Get on of the mobile clients and play using headphones. I wouldn’t do that on a bike though

      1. LE

        Not a good idea when running either. Walking as well, depending on where you are walking.

        1. Nick_Moran

          I started asking my listeners where/when they listen. After some feedback… ran a poll. When/where do you most often listen to the podcast?43%On-the-go (fitness, walking, errands on foot, dog walk)32%Travel/Car (commuting, traveling)11%House (chores, backyard, projects, fixing, etc.)14%OtherMy takeaway is that Fred’s comment in the article “if you can get podcasts on your phone, which is trivial these days” has driven the most increase in consumption. More capable mobile devices w/ less friction to download = big increase in downloads.Any other insights on the results would be appreciated!

      2. Pete Griffiths

        Bluetooth headphones.

    2. JimHirshfield

      Most podcasts can be download. So, not streaming, and therefore no connectivity needed.

    3. Matt Zagaja

      I use Apple Podcasts app. Even most Soundcloud podcasts can be downloaded to it, which is a great advantage of an open platform like that.

  3. William Mougayar

    Yup, our lives are full of streams, downloads and real-time bits.- Radio –> podcasts- TV –> streaming programs- DVDs –> streamed video- Print content –> blogs / websites- CDs –> streaming music – Maps –> real-time navigation

    1. JimHirshfield

      What else fits this category of change that has yet to be fully executed?#Opportunity?

      1. Anne Libby

        Restrictive/gated/too-public Social –> ?

      2. William Mougayar

        That’s all I could think of. I thought the wisdom of the AVC crowd would add to it πŸ™‚

        1. JimHirshfield

          – Atoms –> 3D printing

    2. emetelka

      I think a better framework for this is changing push content to on-demand

      1. William Mougayar

        Well, delivery method changes, but formats too. Everything digital can be on-demand, no?

        1. Nick_Moran

          Accessibility on-demand seems to be key. While all content, including radio, is not recorded, I’d imagine that eventually you will be able to listen/watch whatever you want, when you want.

  4. JimHirshfield

    Bought a new car yesterday and it has Bluetooth and Pandora integration. Looking forward to the integration with my phone and old iPod (which may reside permanently in car). Queuing up podcasts would be a good idea. I’ll be looking for more excuses to spend more time in the car. As it is now, I spend less than 10 minutes at a shot driving to gym…to train station… etc.

    1. LE

      Bought a new car yesterdayNew car smell!What did you buy? [1] [1] And where and how I was raised “what did you pay and what discount did you get off of list?”

      1. JimHirshfield

        Mazda6 Touring. Picking it up tomorrow… so, no smell just yet. I gotta good deal.

        1. LE

          There are two things I’d like to have.One is what I call “the puppy club”. Where you get to have a new puppy every 2 or 3 months and trade the old puppy in.The other is called “new car smell club” where you get a new car every two months or 3 months just to get that new car smell.That has awesome gas mileage. I can’t even come close to your city mileage at my highway mileage.Did you get the radar cruise control?If not honestly I would consider cancelling this order (show some will power I know you want the car!!) and getting one with it. I ordered my car and the dealer didn’t push it and after waiting 3 mos. for the car to arrive I’m really sorry I didn’t pay the extra money and get it. Even though I don’t drive that much it seems like it would be really great to have.

          1. JimHirshfield

            I don’t use cruise control. Hate it.

  5. Anne Libby

    Earlier this week, I got my dad set up to listen to Serial while on a long car trip.

    1. JimHirshfield

      What’s that? (Serial, not dad)

      1. Anne Libby

        Awesome new podcast series, via the This American Life team, which revisits and reports on a 1990s crime:http://serialpodcast.org

        1. JimHirshfield

          Got it. Cool stuff.

          1. Anne Libby


        2. Girish Mehta

          Thanks for the suggestion, i just queued up all 6 episodes for listen later on my Stitcher app.

          1. Anne Libby

            Enjoy it!

      2. fredwilson

        they talk about Serial in the NY Mag piece i linked to

        1. Anne Libby

          I should now read that article.

      3. leigh

        see my comment meant for you above πŸ˜‰

    2. leigh

      OMG it’s soooo good — think True Detective but radio show — by the makers of the This American Life. I listened to all 6 of them in one day. No one could talk to me. wait i meant this for @jimhirshfield not you!

      1. JimHirshfield

        How did you get any work done?

        1. leigh

          I’m a multi-tasker — While I cleaned my house on the weekend i listened — walking the dog — driving from here to there πŸ™‚ Also i’m one of those people that listens to background noise in order to concentrate. It’s a tick.

          1. JimHirshfield


          2. Anne Libby

            Yes, great for folding laundry!

  6. jason wright

    on cars. we should be doing everything possible to get people off their car addiction.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Impossible where I live with current infrastructure. Would take me 6 hours to get to work.That said, I use the commuter rail and NYC subway everyday, twice.

      1. jason wright

        would a Brompton help?

        1. JimHirshfield

          Not totally infeasible to bike, but distance to gym is an issue (ie time consuming), becomes a workout before and after my usual workout. And then there’s the winter snow.

          1. John McGrath

            Hear you–current infrastructure makes it hard. But even the occasional (weekly?) car-less commute is good for the world and your soul, imo. I let the commute replace my workout, which saves time and varies the workout.Folding bike lets you bring it on the train, but if you have a place to lock it at the station, I find full-sized bikes easier and more efficient.

          2. JimHirshfield

            Totally agree. My one carless day might just be working from home. But I don’t currently do that too often.I see others that commute park their bikes at the train station, but I’m certain they live closer than I do. And at the other end, there is the NYC bike sharing system, CitiBike.

        2. LE

          What kind of problem is he trying to solve exactly by taking on the risk of a folding bike instead of the way that he is dealing with it now? Please explain.

          1. jason wright

            what kind of benefit is he unknowingly passing up by not experimenting?we must each accept that it is just possible our bubble may not be the ultimate expression of our life perfected.

      2. LE

        How long does it take you portal to portal from the time you leave your house till the time you are at your desk by commuter rail and subway?

        1. JimHirshfield

          1.75 hrs. An hour of which is on laptop online.

          1. LE

            Wait, 1.75 hours each way or both ways?

          2. JimHirshfield

            Each way.

          3. LE

            That’s brutal and seems (to me) stressful but I guess if you want or need to work in NYC that’s the life that you’ve chosen.When I was in between houses several years ago (was single) there was a six week period when I lived in a hotel instead of driving 1 hour 22 minutes (just checked it on google maps) to a place that I owned down the shore that was vacant and would be free other than tolls and gas. [1] ( My new place wasn’t ready yet.) I just couldn’t see myself spending that time commuting. I realize that for an hour you are on a laptop so it’s a bit different but I don’t think that would have changed my mind. The hotel was about $6000 for that time period.I could have stayed with my parents or my sister but I don’t do things like that I don’t want to have someone up my grill.[1] So even though the hotel was roughly 6k the gas, tolls, and wear and tear would have lowered that I calc’d it back then when making the decision.

          4. JimHirshfield

            Not stressful.Commuting by car is a very very very different thing than by train.In this digital age I can get 80% of my job done on my laptop whether at office, on train, on the porch, or in the library with colonel mustard and his candlestick.

          5. LE

            I can get 80% of my job done on my laptopI can get my work done from a laptop anywhere in the world.However I like my 3 honking big Apple Thunderbolt displays (or their predecessors 24/30/24 LED’s) and Mac Pro cylinder I find that I am way more productive with that. Not to mention working at a desk in an actual office and having everything at your fingertips is great … for me at least. You can mow more lawn with 42 inches than with 12 inches, right? (Do you have a plow for that John Deere btw?)One thing I always liked though was working on a laptop on an airplane but that probably wouldn’t be the case if I was doing it every day.Remember you can never be to rich, to thin or have to many or to large monitors at your disposal.

          6. JimHirshfield

            Efficiency is another issue altogether.Two hours working on train per day is not much of a hit to productivity efficiency.Craftsman, not J.Deere.

          7. ShanaC

            Please tell me you get to work from home sometimes

          8. JimHirshfield

            Sometimes.It’s really not that big a deal commuting by train. It’s an hour train ride and there are many many more people that commute from further away. I’m just honest with myself. Some would call mine an hour commute. But door to door without rushing you have to add 20 minutes to each side.

    2. SubstrateUndertow

      Are you some kind of Marxist πŸ™‚

      1. jason wright

        blockchain bolshevik

    3. LE

      Most people drive cars because it solves a problem in transportation. This is not the same as an addiction which doesn’t solve a problem [1][1] Other than giving pleasure to someone or lessening anxiety.

    4. awaldstein

      Cities like NY are leaders here.Individuals like myself make the choice to live where we don’t need to drive as often.And to buy and rent hybrids/electric as needed.Besides your choice of how to life, what else or you or other groups doing to make this a reality?

      1. LE

        Don’t want to jump to conclusions here but my guess is that you choose NYC for what NYC has to offer? And you most likely wouldn’t have chose Philly or Baltimore even if you didn’t have to drive as often.NYC has many things going for it. Other cities have those things as well but not on the same scale or with the same quality. Philly has several cool places to live and they are at most several blocks wide. NYC’s has hundreds and it seems like they go on forever. It’s like a big box store vs. the old 1500 sf shops of olden times.

        1. awaldstein

          I choose NYC because this is home and because the pleasures of living in dense urban environments appeal to my sense of culture and my sense of ethos in how I live and eat.And urban centers generally and NY specifically are core to how to reduce waste in the future.

      2. jason wright

        on the micro scale i make similar choices to you Arnold.on the macro scale i await the day when a city identifies and designates suburbs as car/ bon free zones. it will involve a measure of economic incentives and disincentives, infrastructure investment, and above all…a vision for the future.

        1. awaldstein

          I share the vision, perplexed though.How can an urban municipality designate suburban municipalities as carbon free zones?

          1. jason wright

            city eco ‘villages’. no car? you pay zero residency tax. car? you pay double residency tax. it’s population engineering. it takes time.Freiburg, Germany, is an interesting model;http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

          2. awaldstein

            Cool–checking it out.Thanks

      3. ShanaC

        Not everyone or every company is in a city like nyc

        1. awaldstein

          I can speak to everywhere but I have friends and clients in LA, Seattle, SF, Detroit and there are density fueled innovations happening everywhere.Am I missing your point?

    5. ShanaC

      Too many places in the us are inaccessible by commuter rail alone. We need better infrastructure.

    6. sigmaalgebra

      Sorry, I’m a car guy! I like cars!When my start-up works, one of the firstthings I want to do is get a high end Corvette,do burn outs, and cut ditches in theasphalt!More seriously, for travel in the US Eastand Midwest, I want to avoid commercialair, not spend the money on private planesor charters, and, instead, just drive, andfor that I want a car good for such driving.So, I’ll just load my stuff into mycar, which already has a lot of mytravel stuff, and just go,and each mile be really thrilled that I don’thave to meet the TSA, check my bags,have my bags inspected, be at risk oftheft, answer questions, etc.To me, the T in TSA must stand fortyranny, and here in the US we havea history of not liking that. Freedom, privatecars, the open road, these are red, white, andblue American things, at least to me! YMMV.

  7. William Mougayar

    Speaking of podcasts apps that have recently come to the market, there is one that came and quickly went. Why did Apple buy Swell and killed it thereafter?

  8. vruz

    Strange how Obvious / Odeo gave up so quickly. They could have totally owned this space.Did they not believe in their vision, or was it their backers?It was really marketing myopia 101 to see iTunes as an unsurmountable competitor.

    1. JimHirshfield

      They did OK in the end, right?Focus.Too early.

      1. vruz

        It wasn’t too early, they started shortly before SoundCloud and they were in a more advantageous position than them.They were just too close to the West Coast to escape the gravity pull of that particular echo chamber.Of course Twitter made up for a lot, moneywise. But they had to knife the right dreams along the way and that doesn’t sit nicely with me.Focus is one thing, butchering the right idea is another, different entirely.

        1. JimHirshfield

          No argument there with regard to butchery.But SoundCloud wasn’t used for podcasts initially, AFAIK. And it took years for SoundCloud to hit critical mass, suggesting that many others were too early (in the sense that they didn’t have the runway/resources to stay the course). Or perhaps they were just off a few degrees in product/market fit?

          1. vruz

            Soundcloud believed in their vision, and had the persistence to endure the process of finding product/market fit.It’s hard for me to believe that an European company had any runway/resources advantage compared to any West Coast company with veterans in their team.Or perhaps sometimes starting up in the west cost can conceivably be a liability for certain specific products and services (echo chamber, burn rate, competition for talent, regulations, having Apple and the RIAA next doors with their eyes set on you)

          2. JimHirshfield

            Good points.

  9. Kelly Taylor

    +1 Fred.A favorite use case lately is listening to HBR’s “Latest Issue Summary” before I read the magazine. There’s something about the mixture and continuity of the mediums that’s really enjoyable.

  10. leigh

    100% obsessed with @serial and podcasts in general. I listen to a lot of culture related ones, film making and writing (personal interest) and then rando ones my friends tell me about. I’m actually pretty worried about the entire podcast patent issue because it feels like podcasts are one of the places where content is working like it should and if someone goes after them for $$$ for a patent? it will change the entire dynamic.

    1. William Mougayar

      Can you explain further the patent issue? Sorry I didn’t get it.

  11. William Mougayar

    Does anyone know what apps/tech is needed to produce a quality podcast, including mixing music, titles, effects, etc. I’ve been thinking about experimenting with it again.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Do you play any instruments?

      1. William Mougayar

        no….just the smartphone is my instrument. i took some guitar and piano lessons while growing-up but it didn’t stick :)why is this relevant to podcasting?

        1. JimHirshfield

          Just thinking you could write/play your own background soundtrack. πŸ˜‰

          1. William Mougayar

            ah…no, I bought the license to a music clip for $12….

          2. JimHirshfield

            Cheaper and quicker than music lessons.

    2. Anne Libby

      I just used GarageBand for my experimenting. I’m sure there’s something “better,” but it was friction free as I have it and it’s pretty simple to use.

      1. William Mougayar


    3. Matt Zagaja

      Biggest thing is a quality microphone like Blue Microphone Yeti or Rode Podcaster. Many use Skype and record audio locally and then send to someone to mix. Adobe and Apple have professional audio apps. Important to keep audio levels consistent.

      1. William Mougayar

        I have a Zoom digital recorder. It’s pretty good for in person, but how recording a podcast via telephone?

        1. Nick_Moran

          It’s best if you have a mixer and mic. If so,1. you send a cable from the mic to an input on the mixer. 2. plug in a cable to your mobile phone’s earphone jack and send that into the mixer. 3. Then a cable plugged into the output from the mixer sends audio to the Zoom.Without a mixer is more of a challenge b/c your computer needs software for the mixing and you still need to do what I said above, but replace “mixer” with “PC.”Happy to help w/ more details if you’re considering this. nick at fullratchet dot net.

          1. William Mougayar

            Thanks a lot Nick! I will ping you. I noticed the high quality of your podcasts. Is this how you do it, more or less?

          2. Nick_Moran

            Thanks for the kind words William! Yep, this is how I do it. I found a veteran that laid out the equipment, setup and workflow (with pictures). After the first few weeks of ramping up, it’s now pretty easy.

    4. LE

      Your question raises an interesting point that I was thinking about the other day with regards to “turn key” products and more importantly not having to think.I was thinking about setting up a video studio and wanted to have a place to start as far as studio camera, audio, lighting all of that. (Not serious but the thought entered my mind for a particular reason). I have the B&H catalog which has a zillion choices. To many choices.What I want is a package that gives me everything I need and allows me to quickly satisfice to “just good enough”.I would think a website which offered packages of products similar to your question would provide a service and be fairly easy to get up and running.

      1. William Mougayar

        Yup…Too many moving parts, but there must be a better way!

        1. LE

          Wow thanks for that.(I took a look at the start of episode 1 and a later episode and it looks like he made a change of venue and lighting so he is definitely improving as he goes along).

    5. Dale Allyn

      I’m someone who is bothered by poor audio quality. To hold my attention, the audio capture needs to be good. A good microphone is needed and too often not used.

    6. Nick_Moran

      I use quite a bit of hardware to produce good sound quality. Shure microphones, a Mackie Mixer, a Behringer Gate/Compressor and a Roland recorder. Do all my post-editing in Audacity (free software). Sometimes Skype / phone connections aren’t great, but it all works well with a good connection.

  12. JimHirshfield

    Heading out shortly to cut the grass, mulch the leaves, in my 42″ lawn tractor. It does not have Bluetooth integration.

    1. Chimpwithcans


      1. JimHirshfield

        You working on it?

        1. Chimpwithcans

          ha ha – no but maybe I should – maybe Fred should consider my above comment the shortest pitch for seed funding he’s ever received!

  13. Mike Kijewski

    Bababooey to yall. Unfortunately Howard is all about the Benjamins. Not sure who is going to pay him $1M per show for a Podcast. (I think that’s close to what his contract works out to.)

  14. cyanbane

    Positively 10th Street is what brought me here πŸ˜‰ I think the “dual” hosting of podcasts now is interesting. Some of the ones I still follow have the base rss feed serving the files from some host and then they also usually host it on soundcloud also and embed on their page. Seems like soundcloud is in a good position for tooling support.

  15. Semil Shah

    It’s not just the car, which is for consumption. Other big factors are: better microphones on iPhone 5 and up, cheaper data and better bandwidth to upload and stream, networks like Twitter and Soundcloud, and people needing to get/keep attention as blogging gets noisier. Overall, it’s great to see. I learn mostly by conversation or audio so I hope the trend keeps up!

    1. Eustachy Materac


      1. franekanaconda


  16. tim

    love podcasts, but there’s nothing like live talk radio

  17. Aviah Laor

    Search is still an issue with audio

    1. Jeff Jarvis

      Podcasts are more about relationships and habit.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        There are still the issues of discovery,recommendation, curation, notification,and subscription, for each interest, of the moment or longer term, of eachperson, the interest treated as unique in all the world.

  18. JamesHRH

    OMG, where to start. Podcasting is loserville.Podcasts are mostly done by people with time on their hands (that is big time talent!) or no motivation / ability to perform live (i.e., comedians with no desire to go on the road).Its never done by big time radio talent, always done by print or video jockeys or third tier talent.Its offline origin species is not talk radio, its audio books (wool! when you think sweeping the nation, you think audio books!).Podcasts are not structured to be consumed in commutable chunks. They are interviews or opinion shows that are without constraint and therefore horribly sturctured.Me using my phone to DJ my car like its my only personal 20 Sqft dance club is not the same as some dilberry entertaining me on the way to work.If your market environment success prerequisite is a Jetsons style self driving car, I mean, …. ack.LIVE is what talking talent does to make their $$$.Howard Stern will never, ever, ever, ever, ever do a podcast (unless it is a cut down package of his weekly shows).Ron White ( Top 3 grossing US comedian ) will never stop touring (look at his dates for this month – https://tatersalad.com/tour ).

    1. Jeff Jarvis

      Big-time radio talent with plastic voices and nothing to say. Yes, I want to keep listening to them.

      1. JamesHRH

        Pull up ESPN Radio, after Mike & Mike in the AM slot (they are totally what you are talking about). Cowherd, VanPelt&Russillo, LeBatard are top notch talent.Not podcasting though.

    2. ShanaC

      Npr seems to be the exception to this rule. Radio lab and planet money both started out as podcasts. Radio labs founders got a MacArthur genius grant. Planet money’s have a Peabody for excellence in news reporting.Depth helps separate them out

    3. Nick_Moran

      I think Mr. Calacanis would disagree with you. Ultimately, it’s an on-demand content medium for audio. While Howard may not set out to do a podcast, I would be surprised if his radio show is not soon converted into a podcast for on-demand streaming.

      1. rich caccappolo

        I agree – he has one year left on the Sirius contract and then they will do something straight to consumers

        1. JamesHRH

          If Sirius re-ups, why would he take the chance?Why is Hits 1 a mandatory Promo Opp for every new major artist?Distribution is king.Why would Howard work to build his own channel, when someone will pay him to be on their channel?Seen a Louis C K podcast or video special lately?

      2. JamesHRH

        Nick – if Sirius cuts his deal by 75%, he is a fool not to take the guaranteed do-re-mi. Never happening.

    4. Pete Griffiths

      wtf??there is a ton of great content available as podcasts.

      1. JamesHRH

        I did not say that they were lousy, I said they were losers. By definition, if they are doing a podcast, they are not the industry leader.Dr Pepper is great, its just not the dark, fizzy sugar water I would want to own (not that fizzy sugar water is a hot sector, but, I need a Coke to come up with a better example).Think I am full of it – make me a list of media stars (not third tier talent like Adam Carolla……..Jimmy Kimmel podcasting – nope) who are doing a podcast.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          I think we may have a different understanding of what is included in the category ‘podcast.’So, for me, it includes, for example, a huge amount of awesome material that the BBC makes available.It sounds as if, for you, you are thinking only of content for which podcast is the first (only?) distribution medium?

    5. Andrew Hoydich

      I worked at Stitcher for two years and can safely say that you have no idea what you’re talking about.I will agree that podcasts lack the power to monetize like live radio does, but I will disagree with you on every other aspect of you’re argument.You’re generalization of podcasters is horribly inaccurate.Plenty of podcasts are done in 5-20 minute chunks, the optimal commute length. And even if there is a show that is done in 30-90 minute chunks…guess what? It’s digital so you can stop when you get to work and pick up from where you left off when you leave!! Very cool stuff.Not sure I get the DJ’ing reference

      1. JamesHRH

        Appreciate the feedback from someone with experience.Can you back up your assertions with some stats (i.e., turn plenty into a %?). Most podcasts that I looked at (before becoming a fogie and just ignoring the entire platform) averaged 60 mins.I do have a LOT of experience in the radio biz, which is deeply unaffected by the digital wave of new media (compared to some of its ink stained brethren, at least). Local stations are not even fully live, yet they hold their audiences fairly well.DJ reference – using my iSomething to spin my own handcrafted selection of New Wave Hits of the ’80’s, as opposed to listening to New Wave or 80’s on 8….or having my daughter DJ instead of listening to Hits 1 (Sirius).Obvious but under discussed – there is a social aspect to Hit radio. Its what EVERYONE is listening to, it turns out…….

        1. Andrew Hoydich

          I’m not sure I can give a % but many of my favorite podcasts are acceptable listening lengths. If I were still at Stitcher I could probably get that information for you! That being said I can assure you that things have most likely changed since you last gave podcasts a look. I certainly know what you’re talking about when you say”They are interviews or opinion shows that are without constraint and therefore horribly sturctured.”Trust me. I know. It’s just what you get when you look at the entire pool of a specific type of content when the content is theoretically so easy to create (there is a lot of low production quality music, drawing, etc). Anyone with a mic can “make a podcast.” But I also know that there are people working harder than ever to reach an audience through this platform. And the space is maturing. The good podcasts are surfacing and getting better equipment. And there is a push to standardize the structure of podcasts & recognize/implement best practices (episodes less 20 minutes in length is a widely recognized best practice)And an on-demand listening experience makes so much more sense than a live radio experience in so many ways… I’m not saying in EVERY way, but in so many ways.FYI here are some podcasts that come to mind when I think of “plenty”Motley Fool MoneyMarketFooleryWhere the Money IsBBC Global News Ten Minute PodcastScience Friday99% InvisibleRadioLabFreakonomicsThe MothAPM MarketplaceTech News TodayWSJ This MorningAlmost every NPR showHBR IdeaCastBBC Business DailyAll of the Quick and Dirty Tips showsand more…The genre of content affects the length of the episode. You’d be hard-pressed to find a comedy podcast (other than Ten Minute Podcast) that is under an hour. But honestly, some kind of snackable content has made its way into most genres by now.And I actually find myself listening to longer length content (30-90 mins) just because I have no problem stopping when I get to work, and picking up where I left off on the way home. Although because it’s football season I’m almost exclusively listening to Fantasy Football podcasts which are very informational and easy to start/stop.

  19. Jeff Jarvis

    Agree strongly about Howard Stern; been arguing for years on his show that he should move the show to the net and there get rid of bozo bosses (and, sadly, jokes about them) and gain control over his fate and profit.For all: I strongly recommend Alex Blumberg’s podcast about making a podcast company, learning the lessons all my entrepreneurial journalism students learn, but in public. http://hearstartup.com/

    1. fredwilson

      It’s mentioned in the NY Mag piece Jeff. Good visibility for Alex

    2. JamesHRH

      Do the math on Howard going direct.He has to fund everything and has no audience, but gets the joy and satisfaction of building his own distribution channel.Or, he takes a huge check from Sirius.Never, ever, going to happen.

    3. Pat Clark

      Just binge-listened to episodes 1-6 driving back from DC yesterday. Really enjoyed it. Fred had a shout out in one of them (I think it was the episode centered around splitting up equity).

  20. ErikSchwartz

    There’s a demographic mismatch between the vast majority of talk radio’s audience and podcasting. I spent several years trying to drag talk radio into the present, I was moderately successful at it with shows with a younger demo. The shows with an older demographic were not that interested.The other problem they have is it’s an industry overrun by strategy consultants and most talk radio consultants have a very minimal understanding of technology and the internet. They are radio people who learned a little about the internet rather than technology people looking at a market.Two pieces I wrote on the subject in six years ago.http://sisyph.us/technologyhttp://sisyph.us/technology

    1. ShanaC

      How do talk radio consultants view podcasts in general

      1. ErikSchwartz

        Now? They talk about digital media like they invented it. But it’s really not in their DNA.

  21. LE

    I realize that you and Gotham Gal are an exception but it seems that the market for podcasts in cars is possibly limited to the “bridge and tunnel” crowd (in any particular city that is).If you live out in the city you are primarily going on short trips in the neighborhood or perhaps going out to dinner with your wife or girlfriend (on different nights of course..Friday is for girlfriends, Saturday night is for wives etc…per Goodfellas at least.)And when you go on a trip to grandmas or your sister in laws for a holiday occasion you have “the family” with you. And that family is not going to want to listen to a podcast and neither is your wife who doesn’t even know who Marc Andressen is (although he was pretty funny when I heard him on Bloomberg the other night).My point is that I question whether there is enough critical mass to make podcasts come of age now.One last thing the bridge and tunnel crowd also likes traffic updates and catching up on the latest news via 1010wins or the Philly equivalent KYW1060. In Philly it’s on the “two’s” and in NY it’s on the “10’s”.

    1. Matt Zagaja

      Traffic updates come from Waze, Google Maps, etc. now. Don’t need a radio update.I agree that podcasts in cars are harder to get agreement on if you have a crowd. They’re great for gym workouts and I often fall asleep listening to them, however. Many people I know listen to NPR while making breakfast. So plenty of other use cases besides travel time.

      1. LE

        I was focusing on “cars” because that is the gist of Fred’s post.I don’t know about Waze but to me Google Maps is not the same as hearing transit updates over the radio.When I dated a girl in NYC several years ago I had to come and go frequently (she didn’t own a car). I would really make decisions on the fly listening to 1010wins. Part of it was hearing things like “police are finishing and that should be cleared up in about 10 minutes” information that didn’t show up on google maps. Same in Philly there is an advantage to both types of info of course. The narrative from the radio I found helpful.

    2. John McGrath

      The bridge and tunnel crowd is enormous, and not the full market–many, many people commute from exurb to exurb, often long distances. Uncle Google says the average U.S. commute time is 25.4 minutes, a fine amount of time for a podcast:https://www.google.com/webh

      1. LE

        I’m curious if there is data on the number of people that commute by car to work in the AM or at other times on a regular basis.It takes my wife about 25 minutes to get to work (exurb to exurb) it only takes me about 3 or 4 minutes (7 during “rush” hour not that I’m going at rush hour in either direction).One other thing about podcasts . There is decision making involved, similar to deciding what to watch on Netflix or Amazon video. Turning on the radio when you get in your car sleepy to go to work or at the end of the day is more effortless and requires less thought than choosing a podcast. (I could be wrong but that’s my take from what I know..)Most people can quickly decide what music to listen to (or listen to again) or will turn on the local station that they are comfortable with or just enjoy the quiet. Deciding what podcast to listen to, which requires more attention for that matter, is a bit different. To me these are all things that could lead to lack of adoption is my point.

        1. John McGrath

          Good point about decision making. Content discovery has been simplified and made algorithmic in other media though. Pandora, the news feed, Flipboard, they all combine personalization with the ease of just flipping it on. Could be applied to podcasts, if it hasn’t already been. Probably a business in that.

  22. kirklove

    Great googly-moogly that screen. How do you not stare at it and play with it instead of focusing on the road!

    1. fredwilson

      Joanne drives!

      1. kirklove

        That’s the smartest smart feature of that car! πŸ˜‰

      2. Nick_Moran

        Can two agree to listen to the same podcast?! ; ]

  23. Pete Griffiths

    Has anyone build a radio that I can pause and rewind?

  24. John McGrath

    Can’t count the number of times I’ve sat in a driveway or parking lot to catch the end of a radio show. Love being able to time-shift.

  25. Ken Greenwood

    Spot on with where podcast consumption can go. I listen while commuting, walking and other exercising. It is the way that I consume most of the news and other content on subjects I am interested in. The players have gotten really good at “stitching” what I want in the order I want and updating as the day goes by. When I have had enough of all of that I switch to an audio book. As we know, the smartphone has been the path to all new life-living facets. Will it stay that way? What would take it’s place? What percent time is your smartphone today is actually used as a phone? Mine, less than 1%. Messaging, emailing, etc. and all the other stuff mentioned here is the 99%.

  26. John Revay

    BIG honkin display in that Telsa,Assuming Joanne is driving and while you snapped that photo.Hopefully we get a follow-up post/review on the car designed and built by software people after you drive it for a while…

    1. fredwilson

      She does all the driving in our family

  27. sigmaalgebra

    Cute.So, soon there will be a billion podcasts available, and, then,how the heck to find ones you will like?

    1. JamesHRH

      Yup. Absolutely no money in this at all.

  28. gregory

    It’s easy to forget how hard it was to listen to a podcast on the go in 2005. I found many people weren’t in the habit of syncing their iPods regularly, and even when you did a host of things could go wrong to prevent the downloading of new episodes. I remember having to burn my podcast, Venture Voice, to a CD for my mother to be able to listen in the car.While I’m enjoying listening podcasts more now than before due to the increased variety and quality, there is something that I miss about the early days when it almost felt like ham radio. Like the early days of blogging, it was so personal, and many of the people making even the most popular ones were amaturs.Fred, will you be bringing back Positively 10th Street or otherwise re-entering the podcast world?

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t think so but you never know

      1. JamesHRH

        why not?

  29. matthughes

    Podcasting is born of the Internet.If I may, I launched Slugball Radio two months ago to accompany my email newsletter.For my part, it had to be done right … I finally committed, invested in the equipment and software, figured out the workflow, and starting lining up topics and guests. I still have a lot to learn but so far, so good.Earlier this week, I interviewed Mark McClusky, editor of Wired, about his new book, Faster, Higher, Stronger … the intersection of sports and science:https://soundcloud.com/slug

  30. Kevin

    Totally agree that demand building, but there are is still a lack on the supply side.Far fewer producer than the market will support. Communities and tools that support production have a big opportunity. Soundcloud is great but is built for a music community. Talkradio needs its own community. Something like the RAUR app or Spreakr that does productions as well as distribution is needed for the next generation of Howard Stern / Ryan Seacrest to come out of.

  31. LaMarEstaba

    Fascinating to see this trend emerge. I know that Tucker Max and Tim Ferriss have each launched their own podcasts. Of the maybe dozens that have popped up, those are the 2 that I listen to with some regularity. Tim talks to cool people he knows and Tucker talks with a group of people about interpersonal attraction. While I really liked Tim’s Kevin Kelly interview, I’ve been referencing Tucker’s podcasts everywhere. I listen to Tucker’s at least once a week, while Tim’s might be once every few weeks. When I read about the ad dollars that are at stake, it made sense.I thought that it was a computer-at-work thing – sort of like Mark Cuban’s audionet/broadcast.com doing Internet radio back in the day – but it’s interesting that podcasts are for people who drive to work. I have a 10-minute drive to work, if that, and I barely have time to turn on the radio. I can see how podcasts would be a good fit for a certain segment of the population, though. At least in Tucker’s and Tim’s, there are a ton of references/resources that get linked on the webpage. I wonder what the workflow on that is like for the average podcast listener. I listen to podcasts mostly on a computer, so I read the research after I listen to the podcast. What do people who listen to the podcast in the morning do? Read research at work?

  32. Deborah

    Agree w/ Fred Wilson. You all should check out Raur (by Instaradio). Doing big things and has a sick interface: http://raur.co/

  33. jasoncalacanis

    It’s amazing what’s happened since the days of Pseudo.com, and mobile, broadband mobile, free storage, bluetooth and free/almost free bandwidth (via youtube, soundcloud, etc) have created a perfect storm.five years ago when I started my podcast we got a couple of thousand listeners. Now i have four full-time people working on it, $500k a year in revenue, 150k+ listeners and the ads are sold out 3-6 months in advance.most of all, I love doing the podcast. it gives me an excuse 2x a week to talk to people smarter than me for one hour (or three in Chris Sacca’s case!). I can’t walk down the street for more than 10 minutes in San Frncisco without someone saying “I love the show!”In another five years I think we will hit 500k listeners and $2-3m in yearly revenue with a team of 10 working on it. We’ve hand a bunch of radio and TV folks approach us about partnering with the show and it just never makes any sense… we have our audience, we have our tools and we have our team–we don’t need them!Leo Laporte, Dave Winer and Kevin Rose/Alex/Diggnation really laid a lot of this ground work and deserve a lot of credit.

    1. fredwilson

      And you and Josh Harris did a cameo in the Poatively 10th Strret podcast!

    2. Nick_Moran

      You’re a legend and an inspiration. Intro music wakes me up! Hope my podcast is 1% as good as your’s someday.

  34. richardaltman

    hi everyone, i’m not going to read what you have to say not because it’s not intelligent it’s just that, as a person of no influence, it’s easy for me to see patterns due to my disconnection from ‘the scene’ for your perusal and i’ll tweet this to fred as well, i expect zero reaction. I detailed this scenario Sept. 8 20 13 http://youtu.be/Q1rpMbBGor0… and then later on when no one, still no one detailed the real reason why apple bought beats, whether apple knows it or not, it’s cars. Now go listen to Tubeway Army

  35. Gotham Gal

    let’s bring back the podcast. our kids can be our guests when they come home. πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      i’m game

  36. Dan Epstein

    I think podcasting is going to be very big, and that we’re still very early in the growth stages, even though podcasts have been around a decade (longer?). I’d guess 1 – 5% of the public regular listens to podcasts.I’m not sure what the “tipping point” will be to to start mass popularity. Perhaps data connections and a way to play podcasts in cars. Perhaps better phones. Maybe the word of mouth of something like Serial.But there is great, tailored content available on podcasts. Getting better every day.

  37. Remi Zagari

    Really interesting

  38. Nick Ambrose

    Just downloaded the Soundcloud app and maybe it’s just me, but it’s kind of not very easy to use.First I searched for a16z which happens to be a “person” and a set of podcasts (I think(I chose to follow the person and got a bunch of what looks like un-numbered or dated podcasts.Then I went to Spark’s Hallway chats which seems to be just a playlist and not a person, and added that.Now when I go to stream, the list of a16z podcasts shows up but not the “playlist” which is not in the playlists menu (because its not *my* playlist) but it’s in favorites.But a16z is not in favorites, because I’m following that (person).Not a huge fan of this honestly.What’s wrong with a menu option called “My stuff” which has everything I’ve followed/favorited (podcasts, people, playlists) that has a checkbox to show all “unlistened to”Then I can queue a bunch of this stuff up to my “play next” list (which I could re-order / edit if i want) ?

  39. modernist

    thanks, im picturing calacanis listening to walden in a tesla

  40. Josh Anisfeld

    The podcasting boom is just starting. With the ability to quickly create quality shows, not only are individuals going to be flocking to this, but brands who are slow to adopt it are going to start using it in their marketing efforts.

  41. John Wall

    One thing that surprises me is that event with Stitcher and iTunes gaining momentum there’s still nowhere to effectively advertise a podcast.

  42. LE

    Attached. Note logo at the top, that looks like a medical symbol at that size.

  43. fredwilson


  44. Dale Allyn

    Yep, clicking through on the image at the top of the post allows you to see the Tesla logo clearly.CC: @ccrystle:disqus

  45. William Mougayar

    I will. Thanks a lot for mentioning it.