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Do Old People Listen To Podcasts? Yes. Yes, We Do.
Episode 2831st August 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

Podcasting is often touted as a way to reach a younger hipper

Evo Terra:

demographic, but that ignores the millions of people 55 and older,

Evo Terra:

who listened to podcasts today with different habits and content preference.

Evo Terra:

Today's episode is brought to you by the Advancing Podcasting

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Podcast Pontifications and it's populated by like-minded working

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Evo Terra:

Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

Evo Terra:

I've been thinking about a slide from Edison Research's The Infinite Dial 2021

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report that showed strong growth in the 55 and older listening crowd to podcasts.

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That's now up to an estimated twenty-four million Americans, which is up big time

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from like four million a decade ago.

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Twenty more million people 55 and older are listening to podcasts

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today than were a decade ago.

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A lot can happen in a decade.

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Related to that, you know, a few days ago we lost Ed Asner at ninety-one.

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Ed, if you're unfamiliar, was most known for his role on the Mary Tyler

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Moore Show, which ran from 1970 to 1976.

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If you remember the show at all or were subjected to it perhaps by your parents

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or grandparents who liked to watch reruns, you remember that Ed's character, Lou,

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was the grumpy old man on the show.

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Old man Ed Asner was in his forties the entire time that show aired.

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I'm older than Ed Asner was during the taping of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

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So let's get back to podcasting cause all of this ties in together.

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We tend to think of podcasting as something that is young and

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hip and attracts the youngsters and the hipsters, I guess.

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And yes, in truth, i t actually is.

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Just today there was a report out by Westwood One, showing the median age of

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podcast listeners is just thirty-four.

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But remember that slide I mentioned from the Edison Research.

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There are a lot of not thirty-four-year-olds listening

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to podcasts, and their number is growing every single year.

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Now, I'm going to make a lot of inferences here on just a couple

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of the graphs in that report.

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With those inferences come four bits of insight that I think warrant the

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attention of podcasters like you and me.

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The 55 and older podcast listening crowd have more discretionary time.

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If we look at this same report, Edison Research's The Infinite Dial

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21 report, the middle group, the thirty-five to fifty-four-year-olds,

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they actually went down as a percentage.

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The percentage of listeners of that age group that listened to podcast

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on a monthly basis, that actually went down from '20 to '21, likely

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because of the pandemic problems.

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A lot of key listening time for that age group like commuting back

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and forth to work and going to the gym, well, a lot of that went away.

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But for the 55 and older crowd, same timeframe, they actually grew by

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four basis points year over year.

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And yes, I do understand that many people in the 55 and older crowd do have

Evo Terra:

jobs and do commute and go to the gym.

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But many of them actually are further along in their careers and have a lot more

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flexibility than some of the youngers.

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Also, that 55 and older bucket is big.

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It covers a lot of retired and semi-retired people who don't do the

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normal things, like listen in the morning on the commute and listen

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on the way home on the commute.

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They don't follow normal listening practices because behaviors change

Evo Terra:

when you retire or semi-retire.

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So if this group, this 55 and older group, which is growing, if that's bucking

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that trend, what other best practices or assumed behaviors of podcasting are

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they bucking and you're not aware of?

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Second interesting thing I note is that 55 and older podcast

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listeners is by far not a monolith.

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You realize that between 55 and, let's just say, a hundred

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that's forty-five different ages.

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And the difference between a 55-year-old and a seventy-year-old is vast.

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That's only fifteen years in between there, but still a big difference

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from someone who is 55 to someone who is seventy, generally speaking.

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Now, I don't have the data to support this, I'm sure Edison does, but it

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stands to reason that the percentage of listeners across those forty-five years,

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between 55 and 100, it stands to reason if you plotted out the number of people

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listening, the percentage of listening in each year, it would be a big power curve.

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Right?

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55 would probably be the biggest, or 55 to fifty-seven, and then it would

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slowly taper off, as the age number gets higher, the percentage likely gets lower.

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But as time progresses, that fat head you see at 55, fifty-six will continue to get

Evo Terra:

a little wider and a little wider and a little wider as people continue to age in.

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That brings me to my third insight here.

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Twenty-four million today.

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What is that, 240 million tomorrow?

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Okay, maybe not tomorrow, but pretty soon.

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You've got to remember, the thirty-five to fifty-four year age bracket, the

Evo Terra:

fifty-fours age into 55+ every year.

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And those are people who are listening a lot right now.

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You don't magically stop listening to podcasts when you turn 55.

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They're going to keep listening.

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I've long said that podcasting fails the "grandma test."

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Where the blame squarely sits at the feet shared by the distributed

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nature of podcasting, as well as podcast listening app developers.

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I'm not sure that either of those things is going to change anytime soon,

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cause they haven't in seventeen years.

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But my wife, who is also a grandma, has no trouble using the podcast listening app.

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Not the podcast listening app that came on her phone, the one she purposely

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installed because she knows it provides a better experience for her.

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The old people in technology problem, if you will, is being solved.

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Not because technology is getting better, although I guess you could

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argue it is, but because tech-savvy people are aging into those ranges.

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Also, us 55 and older crowd tend to listen to age-specific content.

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For fun, go look at Alan Alda's podcast, Clear+Vivid.

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I'm not sure why we stopped using the ampersand, but Clear+Vivid is

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the name of Alan Alda's podcast.

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Look at it on Apple Podcasts.

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Just use the website.

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Don't have to worry about installing the program.

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I'll put a link to it in the episode details.

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Scroll down to the "listeners also subscribed to" section,

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and what do you see?

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A predominance of shows that are hosted by people in that 55+ age range.

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Now, Alan Alda's 85.

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Katie Couric's show is in there.

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She's 64.

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Rob Lowe's podcast was there as well.

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He's 57.

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You'll also see WTF by Mark Maron.

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He's in

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there too.

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Well, guess what?

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Mark is same majors Rob 57.

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It's not all old people stuff.

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I mean, sure.

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Some of it is hosted by old people, but it's very mainstream.

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And also there's a lot of very niche content in there as well.

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So yeah, old people do listen to podcasts and we're going to keep

Evo Terra:

lists that, excuse me, they are going to keep listening to podcasts

Evo Terra:

as we become those of who we speak.

Evo Terra:

Let's do some quick Boostagram Cornering, shall we?

Evo Terra:

Now it's time for the boost-the boost-the boost- Boostagram Corner.

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Boostagram Corner.

Evo Terra:

I don't know a thing about crypto.

Evo Terra:

Patchy from the pod inbox.

Evo Terra:

He bought me 15 virtual coffees and says, see you for a real

Evo Terra:

coffee at sheep podcast.

Evo Terra:

Live indeed, you will pat.

Evo Terra:

Thanks.

Evo Terra:

Looking forward to that, by the way she podcast is in October and Scott.

Evo Terra:

If you use the code, a Z P O D.

Evo Terra:

When you register, you'll save like a hundred bucks on your ticket.

Evo Terra:

Yeah.

Evo Terra:

Go.

Evo Terra:

I'm going to be there.

Evo Terra:

Also Kevin Patton of academic podcasting.

Evo Terra:

He left me a nice review for Podcast Pontifications on pod

Evo Terra:

chaser and said, I love the brief, but provocative audio essays that

Evo Terra:

get me thinking outside the box.

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The other podcasting pundants often seem to put us in.

Evo Terra:

Ooh.

Evo Terra:

Even when I disagree with Evo suggestions, what I learned from.

Evo Terra:

Any podcaster who consider themselves creative needs to listen regularly.

Evo Terra:

Thank you very much, Kevin, for that.

Evo Terra:

If you got any value out of today's episodes or any of the episodes I bring

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to you four days a week, please return some of that value either by using

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one of the new podcast, listening apps that send funds while you listen, or by

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leaving a review somewhere like Kevin did.

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Or, finally, at BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra, much like Pat.

Evo Terra:

That's it.

Evo Terra:

I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

Evo Terra:

Cheers!

Evo Terra:

Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

Evo Terra:

He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

Evo Terra:

Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

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section of your podcast listening app.

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A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

Evo Terra:

podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

Evo Terra:

transcript, both created by Allie Press.

Evo Terra:

Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.