Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Podcasts are still a hit, consider adding these business ones to your list

October 3, 2022

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Whether it’s news, true crime or pop culture, a new wave of podcasting is among us. According to a 2021 report by Statista, podcast awareness has grown by 56% and consumption has grown to 120 million podcast listeners.

About 40% of the U.S. adult population have listened to podcasts in the last month, they found. NPR, iHeartRadio and Spotify were the leading platforms users chose and the largest generation listening were millennials. The estimated total listeners in 2021 was almost 83 million.

Part of the podcast growth is in-part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More people became podcast hosts while sitting at home and the amount of consumable content has only increased. Over the course of the pandemic lockdowns, people became “content junkies,” Craig Nolden wrote for Burrelles, a media and data website; the popularity hasn’t given out yet either.

There’s a convenience of podcasting that makes it a popular way to consume news while on the go. While reading retention is proven to be better, with podcasting and radio services, users are able to drive to the grocery store while listening, for example.

The niches that have come from both the increase in production and consumption of podcasting have provided a home for listeners with every interest. Whether you’re an expert investor, wanting to keep tabs on companies, or have beginner-level knowledge of the economy, fear not, there are plenty of podcasts that can get you hooked.

Additionally, check out this article written by the Reynolds Center in 2017 about podcast growth. It’s interesting to see how in the last five years, the need for podcasts, both for consumers and producers has grown.

Business Breakdowns

General Info: Business Breakdowns, produced by Colossus, is a podcast that aims to “discover how companies work from the people who know them best.” In each episode, they examine a company, what they do well, what they aren’t, and the complexities behind the name brands. They look at research and interview experts to evaluate public stocks and private businesses. Their goal with the podcast is to teach people about financial statements, business history, and the inner workings of organizations.

Reviews: rated 4.7 out of 5 on Apple Podcasts

“They do a good job of bringing on analysts and others with lots of insight and experience. They usually do big companies and publicly traded if I’m not mistaken. They’re always very interesting and the questions cover just about everything,” Conciousdave wrote.

My review: I really like this podcast concept. I thought it was really interesting to do a deep dive into different companies and what goes on behind the scenes. As a consumer, you may not know the entire logistics that are inevitable when it comes to producing a business. I listened to the HelloFresh episode because I’ve always been curious about trying meal prepping and planning services like HelloFresh, and I know how popular they’ve become. There were plenty of other companies that the podcast covered that I know I will want to listen to just based on my daily life and personal interests. My only negative review of the podcast so far is that I have decently limited knowledge and vocabulary about the economy and the high-end operations of companies so at times it was difficult to follow the jargon that they were saying. At the same time, this is a beneficial way to grow my knowledge about the industry.

Listen to an episode:

Business Casual

General Info: Business Casual is produced by Morning Brew Productions. It examines business topics that shape the current society. They bring on popular guests and experts to discuss what’s going on in the world. “Because money talks…but it does not have to be dull,” they wrote in the podcast description. In the first episode opening, host Kinsey Grant acknowledged that this podcast covers serious questions people have about business in a not-so-serious way. The hosts acknowledge the world of business is complicated, important and overwhelming at the same time. This podcast examines topics surrounding business and talking them out in a casual way. “We won’t just talk to CEOs, we’ll talk to the people behind the scenes. We’ll talk about how business shapes culture,” they said in the trailer.

Reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars on Apple Podcasts

“Easy listen! Love listening to this on my morning commute,” rmehta231 wrote.

“Morning Brew is such a great way to catch up on daily finance, tech and national news! I love listening to them each morning!” 3 stars given wrote.

My review: I really enjoyed this podcast because they were transparent about how business can be intimidating to non-experts, the issues that we are seeing in our lives, and with themselves as learners too. I feel like the hosts are in touch with what younger people are feeling about COVID-19 repercussions, the housing market, investing and labor. The authenticity of the show shines through and it does feel like an inviting space to learn. Instead of assuming I, as the consumer, know a lot about the economy, they are opening the door for educating the masses about issues we’re all facing—I think that the great thing about podcasting is that with the increased accessibility to niche or undiscovered topics, people are learning more and are enjoying it.

Listen to an episode:

Masters in Business

General info: Hosted by Bloomberg Radio columnist Barry Ritholtz, Masters in Business is a series that looks at the people and ideas that shape business. This podcast has been around for a bit. The first available episode is from Nov. 2014 and after reading Ritholtz’s bio on Bloomberg’s website, it’s clear he knows his stuff. He will discuss different companies and interview top business executives.

Reviews: 4.4 out of 5 stars on Apple Podcasts

“I’ve been a fan for a long time. This is probably the first podcast I’ve subscribed to over the years. However, most of the podcasts are getting longer with either too many commercials or too much fluff,” Sam the Giants fan wrote.

My review: Barry Ritholtz does know what he’s talking about. Being an experienced professional, he is well versed and knows what to talk about. There’s a lot of variety in what topics the podcast covers, which is nice—also expected with over 400 episodes—although it does seem to be geared towards people already in the financial industry or people who are very knowledgeable about these topics. I do have to agree with a majority of the public reviews: there are a lot of ads. While almost every podcast has ads or is sponsored by a company, before reading the reviews, I thought it was a bit much. That being said, Bloomberg itself is a business. I think we, as listeners, have to look at that relationship between being a producer and consumer and how that’s a business too. It all feels very meta when listening to business podcasts.

Listen to an episode:

Planet Money

General info: Produced by podcast giant NPR, Planet Money explains how money makes the world go round. Covering a broad range of topics, this podcast sets out to explain what’s going on in the economy and with businesses. There’s almost 400 episodes so they’ve covered a lot of topics—and they’re all pretty short episodes too.

Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars

“Everyone knows NPR has gone to the left but usually this show is still fair and enjoyable. Best when it sticks to economics, not political complaining,” lrhhrl, wrote.

My review: I enjoy the level of professionality that all NPR podcasts bring, it’s not clunky, the audio is good and they get to the point. Something I think NPR podcasts do well is that they make it conversational, like talking with a friend, as they state in the podcast description, but you still get high-level analysis of issues. I don’t rate this as a bad podcast in any way, I think if you are dedicated to learning more about specific topics and issues, this is a good place to do it. I will admit, scrolling through the extensive list of podcast titles and descriptions, I only found a few that really stood out to me as something I really would want to listen to.

Listen to an episode:

Marketplace

General info: Publishing every weekday, Marketplace looks at what’s going on with businesses and the economy. Episodes range from helpful tips, to popular questions, sitting down with professionals and looking at pop culture.

Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars on Apple Podcasts

“Listening to a business podcast may seem like eating your vegetables, but Kai Ryssdahl and his reporting team at least make it seem like crisp sautéed asparagus with home made hollandaise,” Vicky the Archivist wrote.

My review: What stood out to me when including this podcast in the list was “no econ or finance background required.” Emerging myself in the business world has been a huge learning experience and I think a lot of people feel this way. As I did with each of the other podcasts on the list, I looked through each of the reviews available on Apple Podcasts. The reviews here were so different from the others, generally, they all seemed genuinely enthusiastic about what Marketplace brings to the table. Host Kai Ryssdahl does a great job presenting the news of the day and I think since the episodes are short and published daily, this is something that people could definitely add to their routines and it would soon become a habit.

Listen to an episode:

If you’re still not satisfied… there are plenty of business podcasts out there, these are just a few. Through discussions in radio and audio classes, we’ve noted how there are so many different preferences when it comes to listening. Testing the waters and trial and error is the best advice I can give. And in the meantime, check out the podcast, We Mean Business, produced by The Reynolds Center on our website and anywhere you get your podcasts.

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