I’ve seen several posts and threads lately on the fediverse that take a rather pessimistic view of podcasts and advocate for written media instead. I guess here’s my hot take about it because no one asked!

You know what? Transcripts would be great and having them integrated into the podcast app like synchronized lyrics, even better. Being able to quickly refer to the part that I didn’t catch or copy a piece of information to save as a note, would be fantastic. I’m excited for all these types of features coming to podcast apps. Multi-track media, like video with subtitles is great for everyone and helps with accessibility.

However, there’s a lot of “this could have been an email” energy in a lot of these conversations. And a lot of straight up hate about tech bro podcasts… it makes me question why these folks are listening to that content, I don’t want to read the crap content I wouldn’t want to listen to either. I’m sure there must be a lot of atrocious podcasts out there for people to have such strong opinions. Luckily I’m not familiar with them and even if I were, I would just move on instead of crapping on the medium as a whole. There’s a lot of equivalence of audio and text and I would rather have text because that’s easier to skim. Sure, no argument about the skimming part. But audio is a different (and richer) medium than text and good podcasts lean into the strengths of the medium; tone, tamber, pacing, ambiance, relative loudness, etc. I’m not just talking about radio drama, I’m also talking about news, conversational, and reporting podcasts.

There’s no substitute for good content (I mean that in the definition of the word not content-creator sense) but audio is a great medium so I’m defending that in text form so it might actually reach folks that will not listen to a podcast about it. I would love for podcasts to have transcripts and make all media more accessible. But hey Podcasters, please keep making great podcasts with excellent audio mixing and production, I appreciate your craft!