Ever since I started my Men’s Family Law podcast I’ve been asked by my friends, acquaintances, and strangers, “What’s a podcast?”
Well, it’s like an on demand radio show. The length can be anywhere from five minutes to three hours. There are spirituality based shows, financial, comedy and educational shows. The depth and breadth of topics is amazing — because all it takes to put on a show is a digital recording device (that’s most phones these days) and an Internet connection, and you can have a show devoted to the knitting of hats if you want to. The beauty of the podcast from a producer’s standpoint (like me) is that a listener hears an episode, and they decide they want to subscribe for free to my podcast. They click a button and from that day forward, every time that I create a new show and publish it, they get it delivered directly to their phone or listening device such as an actual iPod, an MP3 player, a computer, an iPad, a tablet — basically anything that has a speaker and a cpu.
If you have an iPhone you can use the Podcasts app to find and select shows of interest to you. Although you don’t have to have an iPhone, you can access podcasts with other digital devices. Android phones have a huge selection of apps that can be used to find and listen to a personalized selection of your favorite topics.
Podcasts come in all different styles though, some have advertising, like the Joe Rogan Experience which is a two- to three-hour show that comedian/MMA commentator Joe Rogan puts out which features commercials for the show’s sponsors. Others are like Cliff Ravenscraft’s podcast, Answerman, a show devoted to the topic of podcasting has no overt advertising from outside sponsors, but Ravenscraft does have products and services available on his website, coaching programs available, and up until this month a Mastermind Group that he led, all of which he talks about on his show.
Podcasting is a newly skinned version of an old style marketing tool. The sponsored radio show, which became the sponsored TV show that is lovingly referred to as the “soap opera” because it was sponsored by Proctor and Gamble and they sold soap to stay-at-home mothers. These days, the sponsored TV and radio shows are less common as production costs have increased.
Low production cost allows non-traditional and traditional radio and TV shows to make their way onto the podcast platform. “This American Life,” “60 Minutes,” which has an audio only version, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, Dennis Miller, and “Face The Nation” all have podcasts. There are startup individuals who have their own shows talking about whatever you’re interested in, I guarantee it. If you can find a topic that doesn’t have a podcast, I’ll buy you a coffee.
The value for me as a producer of content with my own show is that I have now created a marketing resource that is live, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that answers my potential clients’ most common questions in a format that is informative for them, which they can access at their leisure. If a man in crisis wants to listen to all my podcasts at one sitting he can, or he can enjoy them while commuting to work. It’s a great tool to develop a relationship with a potential client.
The value for me of being a listener is that I can be taught information, on demand, when I need it, at the pace I need it. When I’m on the treadmill at the Loews Hotel or the Santa Monica Equinox, I can be listening to a show about cooking, marketing, or finance. When I’m home and relaxing I use it for guided meditations.
Professionally I use it for continuing education purposes. There are shows specifically designed for lawyers to help us keep up to date on the ever changing laws and practice requirements. Sometimes I find other shows that point out to me shifts that are going to be impacting my profession and our society.
For example, I was listening to the Freakonomics podcast this past week while I was working out, and the topic was “Why Marry?” a two-part podcast that explored the institution of marriage, how popular it is these days both here and in Europe. It was a fascinating take on the way society is changing and who is getting married and who isn’t and why.
But the most fascinating and scary things for me to learn was that right now 42 percent of the children born in our country are born to single mothers. By 2020, over 50 percent of the school age children will be in single parent households, mostly mothers.
It’s amazing what you learn when you spend your time wisely. I could have been listening to the Divas collection on my iPhone as I worked out, but by listening to a podcast I am able to learn about a societal shift that has dramatic ramifications for not just my role as a father’s rights attorney, but as a person concerned about our society. What does it say about us, if half the children are not having a strong relationship with their fathers? What does that portend for our future? I’m not sure today, and won’t be tomorrow, but it will be the topic of discussion in next week’s column.
And I would not have known about it, if I wasn’t listening to the Freakonomics podcast.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in father’s and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra