Alex Blumberg on Our Podcast Future

One former public radio producer is launching a podcast network

January 11, 2015

Alex Blumberg used to be a producer for This American Life. He also co-founded NPR's Planet Money. He recently left public radio to launch his own podcast production company, called Gimlet Media. They've already got two podcasts out, with a third on the way. He says, with smart phones and Wi-Fi enabled cars, “there’s all this additional time that is available for listening that wasn’t there before.”

Blumberg says about 240 million people listen to the radio every week in the United States, for about 10 to 12 hours a week. By comparison, only about 40 million people in this country have listened to at least one podcast episode, though he believes that number could double in the next five to 10 years.

Though podcasting is about 10 years old, new listening platforms have spurred a wave of new programs. As the number of listeners grows--thanks in part to the success of the breakout podcast, Serial--Blumberg says, “if we put a lot of time and effort and care into crafting our shows… we will be rewarded with audience.”

In the extended interview, Blumberg talks about why he decided to leave public radio, and how he thinks the new wave of podcasts will shape future listening. You can download that extended interview below.



My favorite podcast is The Satellite Sisters. They started on public radio and now produce and edit two podcasts per week. They are five sisters: an author, a teacher, an advertising exec, a nurse and an international relations expert. Demographics...mostly women, any age, but topics may appeal most to the over 30 group.