Rachel Kenny started listening to podcasts in 2015 — and quickly fell behind. “As I started subscribing to more and more podcasts, they started stacking up, and I couldn’t keep up at normal speed,” the 26-year-old data scientist in Indianapolis told BuzzFeed News. “I also had to listen to the backlist of all the podcasts when I subscribed to them.” So Kenny began listening faster: first at 2x, then she worked her way up to 3x. She stopped only because “that’s just as fast as the Downcast app allows.” She estimates that she listens to five to seven hours of podcasts a day (which equals 15 to 21 hours at normal speed), “so maybe 20 to 40 episodes a day or 100 to 250 a week,” she said. She tracks her listening habits on a spreadsheet.
Ok, that’s a shitload of podcasts.
The article says a lot of these speed listeners are “completetists” who have to listen to the entire backlog of podcast once they’re committed. It strikes me as a form of obsessive-compulsive disease.
I’m definitely not a completetist. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m forty and with each passing year I grow more aware of my mortality. I don’t want to waste my remaining time listening to shitty podcast episodes just so I can mark them as “completed” in my head.
I’m a regular listener to The Joe Rogan Experience, but I find episodes all the time I have no interest in finishing and I when I make this realization, I delete that epsiode immediately.
With regard to speed, I do listen to podcasts from 1X to 1.5X, depending the the general cadence of the show. For audiobooks, I’ve gone up to 2X if it’s a slow narrator.
“What I love about this space is that it feels much more similar to reading to a child than it does sticking them in front of a screen,” said Emily Shapiro, Panoply’s director of children’s programming (and a co-founder of the New York International Children’s Film Festival). “With visual media, you can get these brain-dead kids who are just plugged in and being fed all of their entertainment.” But with podcasts, “they’re creating the world.”
We all descended from people who huddled around fires and told stories.
It should be no surprise people love (good) podcasts.