EP 01 Episode Notes: The Genetic Code of Podcasting

List of the 10 characteristics studied and their definitions:

Authenticity How authentic are the hosts and people on the podcast?
CelebrityAre there celebrities on the podcast, as a host or a guest?
EvergreenThe podcast is evergreen or timeless and does not connect to something immediate (e.g. current events, news of today, etc.)
Narrative/StorytellingThe hosts or guests recount stories with a narrative, such as a personal experience, or a story about someone else.
InformativeThe podcast contributes to a listener being ‘well-informed’, or gaining a greater understanding of a topic.
HumourHow much is humour a factor in this podcast?
NicheWould this podcast appeal to a particular niche group (e.g. people who sew quilts), or is it more of a general interest podcast?
Production QualityHow good is the production, based on things like good mixing, no plosives, well-recorded material, no distortion or poor levels, no sloppy editing, etc.
Sound DesignHow much does sound design play a part in this podcast (i.e. incorporating creative sound production to enhance the mood or narrative, using sound effects and/or music to paint pictures, illustrate ideas, set a tone, etc.)
EmotionalDoes it engender feelings in the listener, such as anger, happiness, sadness, worry, empathy, sympathy, etc.? Note that this is different from simply ‘enjoying’ or ‘liking’ the podcast (which may spark an emotion of satisfaction or something similar). We’re looking for something that is emotionally moving.

[5:04] Lori shares the original research question: Can a framework for defining the underlying characteristics of podcast content be established? 

[5:44] Lori identifies the underlying research question: Could these characteristics then be used to improve access to listeners to podcasts of interest?

[5:52] Lori mentions that “there are some issues with recommendation engines existing like Apple […] we don’t really know how podcasts make it onto their top lists.” Read more about this on “Itunes/Apple Podcast Rankings: How Do They Work?” by Matthew McLean (2020) from The Podcast Host

[6:17] Lori expresses the purpose of the study: Can we get to the nitty gritty, to the genetic code of podcasts?”

[6:57] Lori makes reference to literature concerning podcasting in relation to its relative medium, radio. Read more about this on “Will the iPod Kill the Radio Star? Profiling Podcasting as Radio” by Richard Berry (2006). 

[7:42] Lori shares that she wanted to move from the idea of what defines podcasting as a medium. She proposes that there are distinct defining characteristics within the medium, similar to a pyramid. Lori proposes the next stage is to analyze genre. 

[9:40] Lori mentions Gimlet and Radiotopia

[10:33] Lori talks about Pandora’s music recommendation software.

[11:26] Lori mentions Pandora’s Music Genome Project. Read more about it on “The Song Decoders” by Rob Walker (2009) from The New York Times Magazine

[12:18] Lori mentions Pandora’s Podcast Genome Project. Read more about it on “Pandora CEO Roger Lynch Wants to Create the Podcast Genome Project” by Janko Roettgers (2018) from Variety 

[12:47] Dario mentions Pandora’s 1500 potential attributes to podcasting. Read more about the Genome Project’s methodology on “Pandora’s podcast genome project will help you find your next Serial” by John Porter (2019) from The Verge.  

[16:12] Lori talks about Pardon My Take and Spittin’ Chiclets‘ spider graph.

[21:06] Lori states that a “category that was on spectrum, as opposed to a binary, is evergreen or timeliness.” Read more about it on “Rethinking Evergreen Content” by Matthew Grocki (2017

[21:27] Lori mentions that evergreenness is something that gets talked about a lot in terms of podcasting as a medium. Read on “Fishbat explains the Importance of Evergreen Content

[23:04] Lori talks about Patient Zero and Hell and Gone‘s spider graph.

[26:37] Anna cites Alex Symons (2017) “Podcast Comedy and ‘Authentic Outsiders’: How New Media Is Challenging the Owners of Industry.”

[27:33] Lori talks about COVID times in relation to intimacy and authenticity. Read more about it on “Are we entering an era of authenticity?” by Steve Pratt (2020) from Pacific Content 

[29:00] Dario mentions the podcast he produces with Neil Fox, The Cinematologists

[29:57] Lori mentions she’s in some Facebook groups for podcasters. Here are some Facebook groups Lori is part of: Podcast Movement Community, She Podcasts, Just Busters, Lady PodSquad, Toronto Women’ Podcast Network, Toronto Podcasters Community.

[37:15] Lori talks about RSS feed. Read more on “How do RSS Feeds work?

[37:48] Lori mentions Natural Language Processing (NLP) as a current system to gather more accurate data from podcasts. Read more about NLP on “A Comprehensive Guide to Natural Language Generation” by Sciforce (2019) 

[39:37] Lori talks about Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History which is a part of Gladwell’s podcasting company, Pushkin

[40:10] Dario makes reference to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast series in partnership with Lexus called “Go and See”.

[42:36] Anna makes references to Dario Llinares and Richard Berry’s (2018) modes of listening as a contributing factor for the intimacy of the medium. Read more about it on: “Introduction: Podcasting and Podcasts— Parameters of a New Aural Culture” 

[43:06] Anna refers to authenticity as a really important aspect of podcasting. Read more about it on “Self-Service Media: Public Radio Personalities, Reality Podcasting, and Entrepreneurial Culture.” by Christopher Cwynar (2019) 

[43:37] Anna points out that storytelling can be used as a tool to create a memorable content, captivate audiences and bridge that gap between the listener and the content. Read more about it on “Telling Stories Instead of Interviewing Experts — Zendesk Rethinks The Company Podcast” (2017) by Pacific Content 

[43:54] Anna talks about para-social relationships in relation to podcasting. Read about more on “Female Sportscaster Credibility: Has Appearance Taken Precedence?” by Daniel Cochece Davis and Janielle Krawczyk (2010)

[47:14] Lori talks about the percentage of podcasts’ ratings according to each characteristic:

  • Storytelling 62%
  • Informative 65%
  • Authenticity 56%
  • Production Quality 78%
  • Niche 28%

[51:25] Lori makes reference to The Habitat and Why Won’t You Date Me? podcasts’ comparison spider graph

[53:30] Dario makes reference to Dan Misener’s visualization studies about podcasting groups. Read more about it on “I tracked Apple’s Top 200 Podcasts for two years. Here’s what I found.” from Pacific Content.

[58:08] Lori mentions she is a producer and host in podcasting. Listen to Lori’s sewing and handmade fashion podcast: Clothes Making Mavens 

[58:36] Lori talks about the first mention of the word podcast in 2004. Read more about it on “Audible revolution” by Ben Hammersley from The Guardian

[59:05] Dario mentions his podcasts: The Cinematologists / New Aural Cultures and [01:01:28] his book in collaboration with Neil Fox and Richard Berry (2018) called Podcasting: New Aural Cultures and Digital Media


Annotated Bibliography (MLA, 8th Edition)

[5:52] McLean, Matthew. “ITunes/Apple Podcast Rankings: How Do They Work?” The Podcast Host, 17 Mar. 2020, www.thepodcasthost.com/promotion/apple-podcast-rankings.

[6:57] Berry, Richard. “Will the IPod Kill the Radio Star? Profiling Podcasting as Radio.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, vol. 12, no. 2, 2006, pp. 143–62. Crossref, doi:10.1177/1354856506066522.

[6:57] Berry, Richard. “Part of the Establishment.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, vol. 22, no. 6, 2016, pp. 661–71. Crossref, doi:10.1177/1354856516632105.

[7:42] Drew, Christopher. “Educational Podcasts: A Genre Analysis.” E-Learning and Digital Media, vol. 14, no. 4, 2017, pp. 201–11. Crossref, doi:10.1177/2042753017736177.

[11:26] “Pandora – Music Genome Project ®.” Pandora, www.pandora.com/about/mgp. Accessed 31 July 2020.

[11:26] Walker, Rob. “The Song Decoders at Pandora.” The New York Times Magazine, 14 Oct. 2009, www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/magazine/18Pandora-t.html.

[12:18] Barrett, Brian. “Pandora’s Podcast Genome Project Wants to Find Your Next Favorite Show.” Wired, 27 Nov. 2018, www.wired.com/story/pandora-podcast-genome-project-beta.

[12:18] Roettgers, Janko. “Pandora CEO Roger Lynch Wants to Create the Podcast Genome Project.” Variety, 11 Jan. 2018, www.variety.com/2018/digital/news/pandora-podcast-genome-project-1202661263.

[12:47] Porter, Jon. “Pandora’s Podcast Genome Project Will Help You Find Your next Serial.” The Verge, 13 Nov. 2018, www.theverge.com/2018/11/13/18090980/pandora-podcast-genome-project-public-beta.

[21:06] Grocki, Matthew. “Rethinking Evergreen Content.” EContent Magazine, 10 Oct. 2017, www.econtentmag.com/Articles/Column/Natural-Content-Practices/Rethinking-Evergreen-Content-119978.htm.

[21:27] Fishbat. “Digital Marketing Company, Fishbat. Explains 3 Reasons Why Your Website Needs Evergreen Content.” Cision PR Newswire, 18 Apr. 2019, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/digital-marketing-company-fishbat-explains-3-reasons-why-your-website-needs-evergreen-content-300829791.html.

[26:37] Symons, Alex. “Podcast Comedy and ‘Authentic Outsiders’: How New Media Is Challenging the Owners of Industry.” Celebrity Studies, vol. 8, no. 1, 2016, pp. 104–18. Crossref, doi:10.1080/19392397.2016.1217162.

[26:37] Meserko, Vincent M. “Going Mental: Podcasting, Authenticity, and Artist–Fan Identification on Paul Gilmartin’s Mental Illness Happy Hour.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, vol. 58, no. 3, 2014, pp. 456–69. Crossref, doi:10.1080/08838151.2014.935848.

[27:33] Pratt, Steve. “Are We Entering an Era of Authenticity? – Pacific Content.” Medium, 20 May 2020, blog.pacific-content.com/are-we-entering-an-era-of-authenticity-6dadf0ad9ce8.

[37:15] “How Do RSS Feeds Work?” RSS.Com, bit.ly/2XeyHqg. Accessed 31 July 2020.

[37:48] Sciforce. “A Comprehensive Guide to Natural Language Generation.” Medium, 4 July 2019, www.medium.com/sciforce/a-comprehensive-guide-to-natural-language-generation-dd63a4b6e548.

[42:36] Llinares, Dario, et al. “Introduction: Podcasting and Podcasts—Parameters of a New Aural Culture.” Podcasting: New Aural Cultures and Digital Media, edited by Dario Llinares et al., Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp. 1–13, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-90056-8_1.

[43:06] Cwynar, Christopher. “Self-Service Media: Public Radio Personalities, Reality Podcasting, and Entrepreneurial Culture.” Popular Communication, vol. 17, no. 4, 2019, pp. 317–32. Crossref, doi:10.1080/15405702.2019.1634811.

[43:06] MacGregor, Stephen. “Book Review: Podcasting: The Audio Media Revolution.” New Media & Society, vol. 22, no. 5, 2020, pp. 921–22. Crossref, doi:10.1177/1461444820907305.

[43:37] Content, Pacific. “Telling Stories Instead of Interviewing Experts — Zendesk Rethinks The Company Podcast.” Medium, 21 Apr. 2018, www.blog.pacific-content.com/telling-stories-instead-of-interviewing-experts-zendesk-rethinks-the-company-podcast-53cc8e8a6bca.

[43:54] Cochece Davis, Daniel, and Janielle Krawczyk. “Female Sportscaster Credibility: Has Appearance Taken Precedence?” Journal of Sports Media, vol. 5, no. 2, 2010, pp. 1–34. Crossref, doi:10.1353/jsm.2010.0004.

[45:13] Winn, Ross. “List of ITunes Podcast Categories (Podcasts Connect Categories) 2020.” Podcast Insights®, 8 Jan. 2020, www.podcastinsights.com/itunes-podcast-categories/.

[53:30] Misener, Dan. “I Tracked Apple’s Top 200 Podcasts for Two Years. Here’s What I Found.” Medium, 21 Mar. 2019, www.blog.pacific-content.com/i-tracked-apples-top-200-podcasts-for-two-years-here-s-what-i-found-97091666349a.

[58:36] Hammersley, Ben. “Audible Revolution.” The Guardian, 21 Feb. 2017, www.theguardian.com/media/2004/feb/12/broadcasting.digitalmedia.

[01:01:28] Llinares, Dario, et al. Podcasting: New Aural Cultures and Digital Media. 1st ed. 2018, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.


Suggested Citation (MLA, 8th Edition)

Beckstead, Lori. “The Genetic Code of Podcasting: a new way of thinking about discoverability.” Open Peer Review Podcast, SoundCloud, 19 July 2020, https://openpeerreviewpodcast.wordpress.com