The Mainstream Owns the Top 20 Podcasts

I’m between audio books, and have exhausted Slate and Ebert/guest host and Roeper, so I visited the iTunes podcast directory for the first time in a couple of months. I was shocked by how mainstream content has taken over the top end (the head of the Long Tail, as it were). With the exception of Ask a Ninja, PodRunner and British History 101 (?), the top twenty are all mainstream commodities.

Some are just time-shifted versions of broadcasts (Comedy Central, CBC Radio) while others are dedicated content from people I recognize (Ricky Gervais, for example). The next 80 seem to reflect a slightly more even distribution. Notably, Rocketboom is nowhere to be seen.

I expect this reflects the growth of podcasting listeners as a whole, as opposed to a reduction in popularity of the former indy podcasting stars. The top 20 is also less nerdy than it used to be, which is a good thing.

One new podcast I recently discovered is helping me with my on-again, off-again attempts at improving my French. It’s well constructed, brief, at my level and the female host has an accent that stirs a man. There’s no photo on their website, so I’ll just imagine Emmanuelle Béart.

I note there’s also a podcast associated with the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

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