[one_half]Overrated – Anthony McGinnis
Podcasts have forever changed the way we consume the thoughts and opinions of people we follow. The long format of podcasts allows for in-depth discussions and detailed explanations. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast in particular has given exposure to several different political figures who otherwise never would have been able to adequately explain their beliefs in the lightning-fast atmosphere of cable news. For example, Andrew Yang’s appearance on Rogan’s podcast launched his online popularity, and because of that he gained enough support to be in the 2020 Democratic debates. So, I won’t deny that podcasts have value to them.
However, part of what makes podcasts special is also what makes them overrated, which is the fact that anyone can do it. Consequently, the market of podcasts has become completely oversaturated. There are a ludicrous number of podcasts on YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify. If you like one particular podcast, there will be at least a dozen others that are nearly identical in subject matter and style. I challenge you to find a YouTuber who discusses news and politics, but who doesn’t also run a podcast or livestream. Podcasts used to be unique; now they’re overplayed.
The fact that anyone can run a podcast themselves at little cost has given people more opportunities and exposure than they would have had otherwise, which brings with it both good and bad. People with unique and valuable voices can disseminate their opinions more easily, but so too can radicals and propagandists. The corporate oversight of cable news has prevented people on the far ends of the political spectrum from gaining large enough audiences. However, since podcasts are mostly independent, there are no such rules. Fascists and anarchists alike can set up their own podcasts without challenge. This uncertainty and the oversaturation of the overall podcast market leads me to the conclusion that, as a whole, they’re vastly overrated.
[one_half]Underrated – Zane Nogueras
Media is an ever-changing landscape, with different platforms emerging all the time. One of the fastest growing forms of media is the podcast.
A great advantage of the podcast is the ability to watch it at any given time. Podcasts provide people the ability to listen to their favorite celebrity talk about anything for one hour or three or more, depending on the podcast. While late night talk shows and radio used to be the only windows into the lives of a celebrity, podcasts provide a deeper and more intimate look at who these people are in real life. In a podcast, while some topics might be vetted before the it begins, the conversations between the host and the guest are more authentic. These organic conversations are much more enjoyable as guests can provide a more thorough answer to a question.
Bernie Sanders is a good example of the power of podcasts, as he has spent time on both late-night talk shows and major podcasts. On a talk show he can come across as crazy, promoting ideas without time to provide substance, but on podcasts, he is given the ability to explain exactly what he means when he brings up his claims. From the remarks, listeners can then make a more educated opinion on how they feel about him as a candidate.
The most important part about podcasts is the fact that they are not regulated. Mainstream news media nowadays spins stories to make people side with them, cutting up information into nearly unrecognizable bits. Podcasts provide the ability for people to be totally transparent in their views on a topic, some of which people would never hear on mainstream media.
People can not only listen to whatever they want, but also create what they want with whoever they want. The Joe Rogan Experience, for example, recently had NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on. Regardless of anyone’s belief on what should happen to Snowden, the fact that he was able to talk on a public platform for hours and be listened to by millions shows the power of podcasts.
In a world of ever-increasing censorship and regulation, podcasts provide us with our last form of true media. The only place where you know what you’re hearing hasn’t been bastardized by a corporation behind the scenes, podcasts are the most important media today and they deserve all the recognition they are receiving.