Why journalists, reporters, and writers need a podcast librarian

You write things. I find things. Let’s work together.

Editors and writers: complete our initial research request and we’ll set up a time to talk.

There are a whole lot of podcasts available, and you like to write about them — maybe you love to listen and want to spread the good word, maybe it’s a good fit for your beat, maybe you’re just curious about what’s out there and you know your audience is always looking for what to listen to next. But:

  1. You’re busy. Who isn’t?
  2. Podcast research is hard. Why, why is it so hard to find new things to listen to?
  3. Human-asked questions aren’t easily answered by a search engine. “Siri, find me something about Missouri to listen to.”

I feel all of that. Here the thing: I love doing this kind of research and I love answering hard questions. RadioPublic’s Podcast Librarian is here to assist in your audio research.

If you write about podcasts, or podcast content could be a part of a larger article you’re writing, consider me your personal no-cost research assistant. After a preliminary round of research based on your initial query and a short 10-minute phone/video call conversation to hone in on your particular request, you’ll be prepared to write your one-of-a-kind piece that shares and celebrates the podcast medium.

Why write about podcasts?

Seeing as I write (and read) lots about podcasts, I would venture to ask why not write about podcasts? They’re as creative and vast (in terms of content) a medium as books, movies, newspapers, magazines, TV, and music. If you write about any of these things — or they influence the kind of topics you write about — you can write about podcasts, too.

  • Your readers are likely listeners too (and if they aren’t yet, they might be soon). An estimated 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast before, and an estimated 67 million listen to podcasts monthly, growing by over 20% per year, according to Edison Research data. And that’s only in the US: those numbers are greater worldwide, and we can expect that those numbers will only continue to grow in the next few years.
  • From your mouth to their ears: Listeners say that word of mouth is a primary way they learn about and sample new shows. As a member of your audience, it is more likely that your readers will trust your taste in recommendations, and in turn, a good listening recommendation from you will solidify more trust in you and your publication.
  • Get yourself some new readers. Listeners are searching for recommendations that aren’t easily answered by browsing the top charts — think “listening for a family roadtrip” or “episodes for your 30 minute commute.” Consider this an open opportunity to establish an editorial voice in a new space and generate some quality search traffic along the way.
  • If you are thinking about starting your own podcast, writing about them is a great way to start. Publications large and small are testing the waters or jumping in with both feet to ride the podcast wave. Writing about podcasts is an initial strategy to attract listeners, learn about the medium, and build credibility to cross-promote your own show.

Overall: a more engaged reader is probably a listener, too. Continuing to build and foster your relationships with your audience by providing them with the content they care about is a win-win situation.

There are few approaches I’ve read so far that serve as a paradigm for what is possible in podcast writing (and I’m sure we’ll see many more approaches soon, too):

Imagine this setting when we have our scheduled chat.

What a podcast librarian can help you do

  • Provide additional listening recommendations: Source shows and episodes for articles focused on making podcast recommendations or that partner with your article as an “additional listening” resource for your audience.
  • Extend your stories’ lifespans: Build out a podcast-specific article based on your most read articles from the past month.
  • Increase retention & engagement: Advise you on tools to share podcasts that increase audience retention and deepen engagement.
  • Stand out: Differentiate your article from the slew of existing writing that repackages the same popular shows over and over again.
  • Break the story: Alert you to new and upcoming shows so you can plan your editorial calendar.

What a podcast librarian can’t do

  • Provide links to shows or episodes that are not available via RSS. I wish we could, too, but that’s a choice made at the individual show level that we can’t change.
  • Listen to every single show we recommend. There are only so many hours in the day, eep.
  • Write the article for you. You’re way better at this than we are, promise.

Editors and writers: complete our initial research request and we’ll set up a time to talk.

The Podcast Librarian is a free resource for journalists, reporters, and writers provided by RadioPublic. We’re a public benefit corporation that helps listeners discover, engage with, and reward the creators of stories, podcasts, and other audio.


This article is part of a series on RadioPublic resources for people who write about podcasts. Check out the rest of the series here.

Still have questions? Leave a response, or get in touch. We love helping writers incorporate podcasts into their articles.

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