Erik Diehn Discusses the Golden Age of Audio with PRX CEO Jake Shapiro

Erik Diehn joined Midroll in August to head up business development. He recently sat down for a chat with Jake Shapiro, CEO of the Public Radio Exchange, to discuss the new “Golden Age” of audio that’s arrived with podcasting.

Jake Shapiro (L) and Erik Diehn (R)
Jake Shapiro (L) and Erik Diehn (R)

Jake observed that with the launch of new podcast networks–like American Public Media’s Infinite Guest and PRX’s own Radiotopia–podcasting is having a “ripe moment.” He elaborated that it actually seems like, “a revival, in a way, because podcasting kind of leapt out of the blogging world right around the time PRX was getting started… and then it kind of stalled out for a moment.” So, he asked Erik why podcasting is having its moment now.

Erik explained that a major reason for the delay in widespread adoption was the “friction” required to download, sync and listen to podcasts. But, “The plus side of that is the people who did come to it were really devoted fans. The intimacy of the medium, the fact that it was a really opt-in experience–versus the lean-back radio [where] it’s just on in the car–means the people who listen to podcast, those are your biggest fans.”

Now, the rise of smartphones and the coming wave of integration in the car is pushing podcasting into the mainstream. “I’m super excited about cars, in general,” Erik said. “I think Volvo’s releasing its first model with Carplay, which is the Apple iPod integration, where you’ve got the in-dash experience. [Apple’s] Podcasts is among the seven apps you see there. And all-of-the-sudden it becomes easier for people to listen.”

Jake and Erik also discussed the increasing viability of producing podcasts as a business. For that discussion, Erik’s thoughts on the opportunities and challenges for public radio, and more of his advice for podcast producers, listen to whole the interview below, or read the transcript.

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