Is it too meta to write a podcast review about a podcast about podcasting?
But that’s just how much I’ve enjoyed listening to BitRate by Mark Steadman of Podiant and Brendan Hutchins of The Podcast Advocate Network:
BitRate is a podcast about the culture of podcasts, commenting on how people listen to them, make them, find them, and love them. Each week, co-hosts Mark Steadman and Brendan Hutchins discuss the world of podcasting news and developments, but also reflect on how it relates to podcasts as a whole, and the longevity and prosperity of the medium we all share a passion for. Occasionally, there will be a guest from the podcast industry to share their perspectives. With hosts spanning from Birmingham, UK to Portland, Oregon, USA, BitRate is a global love letter to podcasts!
As someone who co-hosts a podcast on podcasting myself, I was curious to see what BitRate would be like: where we’d intersect and where we’d differ. Even in the podcast reporting scene, which has wonderfully varied voices, it can be easy to still fall into an echo chamber of similar opinion. BitRate brought me exactly what I’d hoped it would: interesting conversation about the podcasting industry presented with plenty of discussion and examples, with opinions that usually differed from my own.
If the topics on BitRate seem to mirror those on Tuned In, Dialed Up, I can guarantee you the parallels are coincidental; there are topics that are always on podcasters’ and podcast reporters’ mind, and BitRate discusses each in depth while still being lighthearted and conversational. The hosts’ recent conversation on branded podcasts was a completely different take than I have, but I was more than happy to hear the two hosts discuss. Hearing a perspective different from your own is something I maintain as vital, and the dynamic between Steadman and Hutchins had such casual, funny chemistry that it’s easy to listen along regardless of whether you agree–and I would assume that several readers would agree with BitRate. I left the episode with a mind unchanged, but a much deeper understanding of why someone might think differently than myself regarding branded podcasts.
Of course, this isn’t to say that the minds of those in the industry are a hivemind. On a recent episode, for instance, hosts Steadman and Hutchins team up with RadioPublic’s Ma’ayan Plaut to discuss whether the term “podcast” is antiquated. This was something I hadn’t even considered until lately. The idea is that “pod” is inherently tied to “iPod,” a device that isn’t even made anymore. Steadman and Hutchins have no issue taking a backseat to their guest expert, adding commentary, jokes, and opinions where needed, but allowing her to carry the meat of the conversation. The episode winds up being an industry critique paired with suggestions on the alternatives–some of which are delightful, some of which are “gross,” and all of which are clearly listed on their website. (I’m still personally in favor of bringing “talkies” back, but I suppose that could be seen as musical podcast erasure.)
If you’re looking for more conversation about the podcast industry without the discussion being too inaccessible, BitRate is a fantastic podcast to add to your queue. If this site or its newsletter are your only sources of podcast industry discussion, listening to BitRate is my version of required reading for you.
You can find BitRate on any podcatcher or on their website.