November 1, 2018

‘Screen Fatigue’ Leading to Podcast Boom

Screens are no longer optional. Whether you are at work or about to go to bed, you are most likely looking at one. As we are increasingly glued to our phones, screen fatigue is becoming more common. Society is looking for a break, and podcasts offer a refreshing alternative.

Nielsen reports that 48 million Americans listen to podcasts weekly. This is up six million from 2017. By way of comparison, more than twice as many Americans listen to podcasts weekly than watch the highest-rated television program, NFL Sunday Night Football (which has a viewership of about 20 million people).

Though podcasts have been around for the past 20 years, only recently has their popularity started to boom. Screen fatigue is a contributing factor, but through the development of technology, recording a podcast is now easier than ever. An increasing number of content creators are taking advantage of the fact that the cost-to-value ratio for podcasts is incredibly low. With a high-quality microphone and some setup time, a podcast can be started without much trouble.

Today’s accelerated internet speeds also allow for podcasts to be downloaded anywhere, very quickly, onto a phone and without interference. The same cannot be said about movies or television shows, as mobile devices are still too small for users’ viewing preferences. This makes podcasts ideal for sitting in traffic or super commutes. The immediacy that podcasts offer also meet the needs of millennials—the group that is on the verge of surpassing Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation—who demand instant gratification.

Podcasts are booming and ag and food-related companies should care. With no indication that the number of listeners will slow down, podcasts represent an ideal platform to tell the “agriculture story.”

Here are three reasons why the rising popularity of podcasts could matter for your business:


1.  Podcasts are ideal for storytelling.

     Contribute to the conversation. As farmers and ag professionals who have boots on the ground day in and day out, your stories are what help draw people in, get them interested and invested in agriculture, and persuade them to be advocates on behalf of the industry.

     There is a lot of misinformation out there about agriculture. This includes distorted facts about growing practices, water use and crop protection; the very real labor shortage that the specialty crop industry is facing; and the reality that most of America’s farms are family owned and operated.

     Since podcasts are an audio-based platform, you are able to communicate directly and with more power than the written word alone. Listeners and subscribers have the opportunity to hear stories straight from you, the source, rather than reading the words and interpreting them on their own.

2.  Podcasts help you reach a new, targeted audience.

     Cut through the clutter. Though the number of podcast listeners is growing, there is still less competition in the podcast realm than there is with other content platforms such as blogs, videos and social media posts. Apple says that there are only around 550,000 unique podcasts, compared to the 440 million available blogs on the internet.

     Creating a podcast opens up opportunities to be found. Typically, when new listeners are looking for a podcast to subscribe to, they are searching out information on a specific topic. You, as farmers who are the experts from field to fork and everything in between, can fill that void. Podcasts allow you to reach the right people (the consumers who are open to learning more about where their food comes from), with the right information, at the right time.

3.  Podcasts trump video and text.

     Unlike videos or stories, podcasts do not need every ounce of your attention. They move with you and do not require for your eyes to constantly be watching a screen for fear of missing a crucial plot point. Podcasts are convenient, as they can be consumed while doing everyday tasks such as driving, exercising, brushing your teeth or doing the dishes.

     Life is lived on the move and if you move with your audience through podcasts, you will be able to connect with future AGvocates by educating, entertaining, informing and inspiring them.


Ready to embark on the podcast train? Western Growers can help. WG recently launched ‘Voices of the Valley,’ a podcast where WG Center for Innovation & Technology Lead Dennis Donohue interviews tech influencers and explores what’s challenging and new in agricultural innovation. Delivered weekly through iTunes – Apple Podcasts and Google Play Music, each episode of Voices of the Valley features insights from farmers, entrepreneurs, educators and technologists on new solutions for today and tomorrow’s challenges. Western Growers is well-versed in creating a podcast and can help create yours.