With the invention of the television in the late 1920s, people began to say radio, which came decades ago, was obsolete, but here we are in the 21st century and both mediums are still in use.

Enters the podcast, the new player in the media scene that is touted to change the game, and put both television and radio in their places or so they say.

Podcasts, a portmanteau of iPod and Broadcast, began as an individual program made by the people for the people by allowing any person to record himself or herself and then upload the file on the internet enabling people to download and listen.

Podcasts initially were in an audio format exclusively, but some provided video along with the audio recording sessions, making it essentially a televised and radio-oriented event.

Podcasts are a recent phenomenon in the Arab world and it has been proliferating exponentially due to easy access via mobile devices and smartphones, said Farah Al Gharabally, head of a Podcast company based in Dubai, in an interview with KUNA.

She noted that some studies revealed that podcasts were heavily searched on social media applications and websites, noting that there were very popular podcasts out there listened to by millions of people across the globe.

The audience in the Arab world and in the Gulf region in specific were hungry for programs with new innovative content, intriguing formats, and a high ceiling for freedom, which are definitely found in podcasts, she affirmed.

On the funding aspects, Al-Gharabally indicated that most finances came from company sponsorships and advertisement, noting that podcast could be also self-funded by any regular joe. She indicated that the future of podcasts in Kuwait and the Arab world, in general, was bright, adding that there was a huge following for podcasts in the region.

Abdulaziz Al-Slaiem, a member of a production team at a podcast company, said that due to the popularity of the medium and its proliferation in social media apps such as Instagram and Twitter, podcasts were becoming more common nowadays.

The language used in podcast, and the production value does not need to be of super high quality, these particular aspects drew many people into podcasts, he claimed, indicating that in the COVID-19 pandemic, podcasts had become very popular.

One only needs a proper microphone, a good headset, and an available space to produce a podcast that is accessible to most, he said. Whether podcasts would eclipse mediums such as television and radio, remains to be seen, but from what history has taught us, it would surely become one of the mainstays of media now and on into the future.

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