Podcasts have become popular in American culture and now represent a growing media format for younger Americans to catch up on news.
- Half of all Americans have listened to a podcast in the last year, and around 25% of them listen to a podcast almost daily.
- Comedy, entertainment, and politics are among the most popular podcast categories as listeners tune in for entertainment, education, or background noise.
- While most podcast listeners hear news discussed on their favorite podcasts, only about 25% tune into a podcast produced by a news organization, according to a recent Pew Research report.
Why it’s news
Podcasts are an increasingly popular way for listeners to learn new information or tune into entertainment without turning on the TV or a streaming service. Many of these media consumers hear about current events on their favorite podcasts, but few join official news organizations.
Only 29% of survey respondents said that catching up on current events was a significant reason for listening to podcasts, but most listeners still said the news and current events were at least part of their listening routine.
Two-thirds of listeners say that the news is discussed at least somewhat on their favorite podcasts. Of those listeners, the majority say they expect the information they hear to be mostly accurate, Pew reports.
However, these listeners are generally not getting their news from news organizations. Only 25% of listeners report listening to a podcast associated with a newsgroup. Another 59% say they do not listen to official news podcasts, and the remaining 21% say they are unsure.
While 47% of podcast users tune in for comedy, and another 46% listen to entertainment and pop culture content, around 41% listen to political and government commentary. About 87% of these listeners expect the news they hear to be accurate.
Listeners tend to have a much higher level of trust in podcast news sources than in other media outlets. In a separate Pew report, Americans were asked if the news they saw on social media could be considered accurate. Only 39% of users said their social-media news was accurate, and another 59% said they expected it to be inaccurate.
More than half of listeners say they trust podcast information just as much as news they get from other sources. However, 31% said they trust podcasts more than other news sources.
Many listeners also feel podcasts provide information they would not have heard elsewhere. Over half of the listeners say they hear the political opinions of guest speakers on the podcast.
Those who listen to political commentary on podcasts say they mostly agree with the podcasts they listen to. Around 47% of political commentary podcast listeners say the host’s views align with their own, with another 46% saying they have an even mix of political opinions.