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Podcast Popularity Soars Amidst The Coronavirus Pandemic

The podcast business is booming as thousands of shows have been providing a great deal of entertainment amidst the stay at home orders. Spotify’s overall listener count, for example, has topped 286 million with a lot of its growth due to the coronavirus pandemic. This platform and many others have a plethora of shows covering a range of topics across pop culture, news, sports and music. Because episodes can be produced remotely, the pandemic has not disrupted the host’s and producer’s ability to keep their shows going.

It has never been easier and safer for podcasters to pump out content. Show hosts have been working out of their homes, improvising by using closets or attics to block out noise. They utilize platforms that promote remote podcasting by allowing for co-hosts to record in different areas. Podcasts that previously were co-hosted in studios and brought in guests to interview now rely on technology provided by services like Anchor — which allows for video chats to be turned into audio podcasts — to record remotely and adhere to social distancing requirements, while maintaining the same sound quality as before. Luckily, podcasts that have had to adapt haven’t had to sacrifice on quality. 

The main source of the increase in listeners is the great discussion topics stemming from news of the pandemic. NPR created a podcast, “Coronavirus Daily,” specifically for COVID-19 updates that regards all dimensions of the crisis: science, economics, politics, society and culture. The New York Times’ “The Daily” offers a quick recap of daily news while focusing on one major story told by some of the best journalists in the world. Recent episodes have included an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, conversations with scientists working on a vaccine and stories from doctors on the frontline of the pandemic. 

Whether you’re looking to catch up on politics, get a good laugh in or simply learn something new there is something out there for everyone. Here are some recommendations for great quarantine listens:

“Oh, Hello: The P’dcast”

Photo Provided by @mulaney / Twitter

Since the shutting down of Broadway meant the end of their hit show “Oh Hello, On Broadway,” Nick Kroll and John Mulaney have taken their on-stage characters, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, to the podcast space. “Oh Hello, the P’dcast” has the two seeking advice from podcast hall of famers Ira Glass (“This American Life”) and Sarah Koenig (“Serial”) on how to explore the death of Princess Diana, the people’s princess.

“Office Ladies”

Photo Provided by @jennafischer / Twitter

With many people binge-watching “The Office” during their time in quarantine, this podcast offers a fun and insightful look into the show. Former cast members Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey host and rewatch episodes with detailed, behind-the-scenes commentary from their closets. Watching the classic show and listening to the podcast in tandem will certainly bring something new to the experience.  

“Armchair Expert”

photo provided by @armchairexppod / Instagram

On his hit show, Dax Shepard interviews celebs about their hopes, dreams, struggles and how they made it in the crazy world that is Hollywood. With some of the busiest celebrities having more time on their hands, awesome people such as Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow and Rob Lowe are being interviewed from the comfort of their homes. Recent episodes include insight into what these big names are up to during quarantine and their advice for getting through the pandemic. 

“My Favorite Murder”

Photo Provided by @myfavmurder / Twitter

Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark’s “My Favorite Murder” is a true-crime comedy podcast with weekly episodes in which each host tells a true crime story in great detail. This show is great for returning crime junkies or those looking for a new podcast genre to listen to. Episodes will certainly help pass the time by allowing listeners to delve into top cases and form their own theories. 

Jacqui Pash is an Entertainment Intern for the 2020 spring quarter. She can be reached at jpash@uci.edu.