BTB is a blog series by GSF Director of Marketing Chelsea Hamashin. You can see all of the BTB blogs here.

Whether you’re a podcast devotee, an occasional listener, or you’ve never actually listened but you’ve heard the word bouncing around a lot… it’s hard to deny that we’re in the Age of the Pod.

Why are Podcasts so Popular?

BTB: We’re on the Pod-Wagon

Podcasts are everywhere… but why? If you’re a frequent flyer like I am, the reasons may seem obvious to you. But if you’re new to the medium or you haven’t quite figured it out yet, here’s some of the reasons that people love podcasts:

  1. It’s so convenient: Download a podcast app to your smartphone–there are multiple free options, so choose one that’s right for you. Once you have that, you just need some headphones or a connection to your car’s radio, and you’re all set.

    Listening fits right in with the busy lives that we live; whether you’re working out, driving, cleaning, walking your dog, on a plane… you can bring them with you anywhere!

    And once again… they’re FREE.
  2. They’re quick and on your schedule: When you hit “play” it starts, and when you hit “stop” it pauses until you’re ready to listen again. It’s not like an article where you have to sit and read and then find your place the next time you want to pick it back up.

    Plus, episodes are typically focused and not too long, so you can learn a lot about something specific in under an hour.
  3. Genre and community-focused: No matter what you’re interested in, there’s a podcast for you. Politics, celebrities, and true crime are all popular genres, but there’s also podcasts on topics ranging from chicken farming to skiing.

    Because you feel like you’re listening to an intimate conversation with friends focused on a topic you like, it’s easy to see how listeners of podcasts form virtual communities. People even create names for these fan groups, such as “Murderinos” for My Favorite Murder listeners to “Arm-Cherries” for Armchair Expert fans. You get the idea.

There are likely more reasons that podcasts are popular (did we mention they’re FREE?), but no matter the “Why,” the “What” is that podcasts are incredibly popular, and there’s more and more of them hitting the market.

What are the Numbers?

If you don’t believe me, don’t worry–I’ve done the minimal amount of research required to support my claims. Here’s a quick run down of some numbers:

  • 30 million+ podcast episodes have been published as of June 2019
  • 750,000+ different podcast shows are available
  • 51% of the U.S. population has listened to at least one podcast and 33% listen monthly
  • 80% of those podcast listeners listen to an average of 7 shows per week

And that’s just U.S. numbers…according to Statista, the U.S. ranks fifth in percentage of podcast listeners, with South Korea coming out on top!

Global Podcast Listening statistics
Credit: Statista The State of Podcasting

We don’t need an extensive study to see that podcasts are popular across the globe, and they don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

How does Global SOF fit in?

It may seem like it’s crazy to try to break into the podcast market with 750,000+ shows to compete against. But we thought about it and realized that we had a unique perspective… not only are we talking about defense, but our episodes are specifically focused on Special Operations. That gives us a unique twist on so many different military topics.

And hey, it’s in the name–we’re global. That means we have a global audience, and podcasts are a great way to reach our network overseas. Plus we can discuss SOF from an international perspective, and we’re working to bring in more guests from our partner nations.

So you’ve guessed it… earlier this year, we started a podcast! And it’s called: SOFspot.

BTB: We’re on the Pod-Wagon

Hopefully you’re already a listener (and you’ve subscribed), but if not, here’s a few reasons that we think you need to listen:

  • It’s educational: We’ve hit on topics from Urban Warfare to Space Operations to Cyber Warfare. And it’s not just us talking to ourselves… we bring in Subject Matter Experts to speak to these topics and share their knowledge and experience.
  • There’s history: Our community loves military history, so we drop it in where we can. We have a whole episode about WWII’s Telemark Raid (from a Norwegian perspective), a discussion about how USSOCOM was founded, and our first episode is actually about our own GSF history…
  • We’re pretty fun: Obviously we’re biased, but we think we can be pretty entertaining. We keep it serious where we need to, but we’re not afraid to go for a laugh when the moment is right!

Hopefully that convinces you that we as the Global SOF host team are pretty cool… but let’s take a look at our (published) guests!

The Episode List to Date (and what’s to come)!

We have 15 episodes published, with more recorded and even more planned. Here’s what you can find so far:

BTB: We’re on the Pod-Wagon
  1. How did this all happen?: GSF History with our team: Stu, Meaghan, Chelsea, and Rick
  2. Are you ready to exit the aircraft?: SOF for Life and military transition with Stu, Meaghan, Chelsea, and Keenan
  3. Sit down and have a meal: International Business with Stu, Chelsea, Stan Highsmith and Tony Quartarato of Special Networks
  4. The bennies of SkillBridge: SkillBridge fellowships with Chelsea, Steve, and Chuck Neu
  5. Grow through failure: Small business and the defense industry with Chelsea, Meaghan, Lori Larsen of Celestar, and Gath Arevalo of Lukos
  6. Maintain diverse talent: Inclusivity and diversity in SOF with Chelsea, Meaghan, and Lyla Kohistany and Ashley Sogge from PROMOTE
  7. Unify across party lines: The policies and impetus behind the creation of USSOCOM, with Chelsea, Keenan, and The Honorable Jim Locher
  8. A totally different world: The Telemark Raid of WWII with Chelsea, Rick, and Magne Rodahl of Norwegian SOF
  9. Rethink our national security: Congressman Seth Moulton on his defense policies with Meaghan and Steve
  10. The new great game: The Arctic and conflicts around natural resources with Chelsea, Steve, Meaghan, and The Honorable Sharon Burke
  11. Failure of imagination: Lessons learned from ISIS and counterterrorism with Chelsea, Steve, Meaghan, and Nick Rasmussen
  12. Realities of space conflict: The operational environment of space with Chelsea, Steve, Carissa Christensen of Bryce Technologies and US Army COL Dennis Wille
  13. Everybody wants those cybers: The cyber threatscape with Chelsea, Meaghan, and LTC Natalie Vanatta
  14. Cities: a system of systems: Urban warfare and training with Chelsea, Meaghan, Steve, and MAJ (Ret) John Spencer
  15. Credits Through Experience at Norwich: Programs that provide school credit for experiential learning for current and former SOF, with Chelsea, Stu, and Norwich University’s Bill Clements

…with many more to come, including and interview with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, 3 Rangers Foundation, and The Darby Project. Stay tuned!

Listen to them all wherever you get your podcasts, or at our website, http://www.sofspot.org/.

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