Apple and the birth of the drive-time podcast: How to turn an afterthought into a new mass medium

Mike Elgan, long-time editor of Windows magazine, who has seen the light and now contributes to Leander Kahney’s Cult of Mac,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

In a piece written on Saturday, Elgan refers to car radio as a horrible content consumption experience: The cheesy commercials. The lack of control over selection. It’s awful… Anyone who gets used to listening to podcasts and downloadable music has trouble even listening to car radio.

MacDailyNews Take: Same with SiriusXM subscribers.

P.E.D. reports, “Apple didn’t invent podcasting, but it gave the medium an important platform seven years ago when it included — almost as an afterthought — native support of podcasts in iTunes 4.9. The news last week was that Apple has removed podcasts from its iTunes app in iOS 6, the new version of the iPhone and iPad operating systen due out this fall. Instead, podcasting will reportedly be given its own application — a move that could be interpreted as either an upgrade or a downgrade depending how prominently Apple features the new app. Elgan, who describes himself as a ‘HUGE fan of podcasts,’ is counting on an upgrade. And he imagines a scenario in which Apple’s podcasts are integrated with the new automobiles being designed with Siri controls built into the steering wheel.”

“Apple has a unique opportunity here to take podcasting to the next level, introducing a rapidly developing medium to millions of new listeners,” P.E.D. writes. “Let’s hope they don’t blow it.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s podcasting stroke of genius – June 17, 2012
Apple gives podcasts a gentle push out of iTunes – June 15, 2012


    1. Funny, I only listen to podcasts when I’m driving or exercising and usually when I’m working.

      Now if Apple would just return the ability to manually sort smart playlists that they removed in the iTunes 10.

  1. I said this before. From my observations, I can not say that this is true. People are reporting on someone’s mistaken thinking that podcasts are missing from iOS6. From what I can tell, this is not true one iota. They are exactly where they have always been. If the menus changed a little bit, I can’t say. But I have no trouble at all finding podcasts both in the Music and iTunes apps on “all” version of iOS.

    I should know, I only listen to podcasts. I have dumped radio, ohhh, since the first iPhone came out.

  2. I think this can only be true in America. Many millions of people listen to radio in the UK, mostly the BBC, the two main stations get somewhere around 18-19 million listeners to their morning shows alone. There are two other FM channels plus three digital DAB channels. I’m just about to have a Kenwoid DAB/DAB+ head unit installed in my car specifically to listen to one BBC station, 6Music, which plays possibly the widest, most diverse range of music anywhere.
    If not listening to that, then my iPod Classic has just shy of 13000 tracks on it. Who needs podcasts…

    1. Yes, this is (sadly) a US problem: our commercial radio (see “commercial”) is absolutely, positively dreck. Worse than that really. I think it sucks the intelligence out of everyone who listens. Anyway, NPR is good, and they actually carry several BBC shows, but that’s the only hope on the great American airwaves. Phones, iPods, and satellite radio are the only way to salvage things here, and they all cost money, which is unfortunate.

  3. After getting XM Radio with our new car (3 months free was a very smart move!), and having my iPhone in the car, I haven’t turned on a radio station except for NPR in almost 2 years. Don’t miss it one bit. Good riddance!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.