In 2022, data shows that more Americans listen to podcasts than have Netflix accounts; more than one-third, or 104 million, of all Americans listen to podcasts.
Over time, podcasts have become more popular amongst many age groups because of their diverse topics, genres, hosts and guests. Students and faculty at WHS listen to a wide variety of podcasts that reflect their different interests.
“I like to listen to lifestyle and conversational podcasts. I am currently listening to ‘Office Ladies,’ and ‘Anything Goes,’” said junior Siena Flanigon.
For avid fans of “The Office” like Flanigon, “Office Ladies” offers a show hosted by former stars of the show Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsley. The co-hosts rewatch an episode of “The Office” and discuss behind-the-scenes information.
Also guided by different hosts, sophomore Sam Hinckley tunes in to different categories of podcasts that strongly interest him.
“Usually, I would listen to a sports podcast or one with a famous person I know,” said Hinckley. “Honestly, I would listen to anything that grabs my attention…Typically, I choose to listen to podcasts that have interesting or funny hosts, not because of the topic.”
While podcasts can be a source of entertainment, many listeners also find that podcasts have beneficial intellectual and social effects on their lifestyles.
“Right now, I’m listening to ‘Anything Goes,’ by Emma Chamberlain. I like it because she is just a little bit older than us and gives great advice,” said sophomore Hailey Pelzar. “I feel like I’m on FaceTime with Emma. It’s just a nice way to relax and gain information.”
On the other hand, the head of the world language department at WHS, Kathleen Baker, prefers to listen to podcasts that are more closely related to her line of work.
“I’m listening to ‘Inspired Proficiency,’ which discusses teaching languages for proficiency, and various podcasts about teaching students with different learning profiles,” said Baker.
In contrast, Hinckley prefers to listen to podcasts that are unrelated to anything academic since, after school is over, he likes to relax his mind.
“They help me unwind or relax after a long day and give me something to do when I’m bored,” said Hinckley. “I find that Netflix and YouTube can be very fast-paced, action-packed videos while podcasts are slower and more relaxing, which is why I would recommend them before bed.”
Most podcast listeners agree that podcasts are a substitute for other entertainment options.
“They are good for background noise, an alternative to music, and they’re entertaining,” said Flanigon.
Baker agrees that podcasts can be a great alternative to music, while also being an easy way of multitasking.
“I would recommend trying one out when taking a walk or doing chores around the house,” said Baker.
Though many believe podcasts offer more benefits than disadvantages, not all podcasts are intended for all people. To truly enjoy them, it is important to understand that finding the right fit requires knowing what you are looking for.
“I only really enjoy podcasts that are short and to the point,” said Baker. “Some of them are long and I lose patience or don’t have time to finish them.”
Whether listeners prefer short or longer podcasts, what keeps them coming back is the fact that the wide range of podcasts offer something for everyone, making podcasts one of the entertainment options with the fastest growth rates in recent years.
“They are a super interesting way to learn things, but also have fun,” said Pelzar.
This article originally appeared in Wildcat Tracks.