The Apple podcasts platform alone provides access to over 400,000 shows in over 100 languages. No doubt that podcasts are a technological and primarily social phenomenon of our days. And as their cultural significance and scholarly value get recognized more and more, their volatility also becomes a concern. Podcasts are at high risk of not surviving for long in the digital future due to many technical reasons shared by other formats and media, but also for contextual reasons like the fact that podcasts are mostly produced outside of institutionalised platforms, i.e. by independents - according to the results of the survey involving 550+ podcasters about their preservation habits, conducted by Mary Kidd and the Preserve this podcast! team, which you can read here.
A great strength of podcasts is that it's relatively easy to set one up, giving a voice to diverse groups of people around the world who are now dispensed from having to go through the bottleneck of receiving the support of a professional broadcasting platform. Podcasts make the world a richer place, and the best amonig them will bubble up on a largely meritocratic reward system. Yet the question remains: will they endure? Mary Kidd works at the New York Public Library and is involved in "Preserve This Podcast!", a grant-funded project that will help podcasters make sure their work doesn’t disappear. And speaking of podcasts... this initiative has just launched its own podcast!
Some good read here: https://medium.com/the-bytegeist-blog/preserve-this-podcast-ae8e93ac83ae
The project's podcast: http://preservethispodcast.org
The online booklet/zine (which accompanies the podcast) can be found here: http://preservethispodcast.org/assets/PreserveThisPodcast_Zine_Online.pdf