At PodCon 2 in January 2019, hundreds and hundreds of podcast fans and creators alike came together in Seattle to celebrate and learn about the medium. Despite the fact that podcasts are a rather intimate experience that’s often listened to at home or in the car and usually on a smartphone or tablet, there is a large community of fans and creators for podcasts of any genre. Finding a community of other podcasters, both online and in real life, is easier to do than you might think!
As podcasting as grown in popularity and content, conferences focusing on this medium have started to happen around the United States and other parts of the world. PodCon, for example, held its first conference in December of 2017 and its second in January of 2019. Other festivals not specifically focused on podcasts have also taken note of their rising acceptance and fandom and have included podcasting events in their lineups. The Austin Film Fest, South by Southwest (SXSW), and Bumbershoot have all included some podcast shows and creators during their weekends.
PodCon isn’t the only podcast focused conference/festival, as there are many others that happen in many different cities! Here are just some of the conferences you might be able to attend:
- WNYC’s Werk It Festival is a women’s podcast festival in New York City. 2018’s Werk It Fest included two full days of workshops, live taping, networking, conversations, mentoring sessions, and even a chance to pitch a show to WNYC Studios through their Podcast Accelerator!
- Podcast Movement is an annual gathering of podcast creators and fans. This conference has been happening for the last few years and several thousand podcasters have participated! The next Podcast Movement is happening August 13-16, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.
- DC PodFest is a podcast festival with a focus on the business, creativity, and influence of podcasting.
- NYC PodFest started in 2013 and offers an exclusive podcast experience in an intimate setting. The most recent NYC PodFest was April 6-8, 2018 and it does look like another will happen in 2019!
- Third Coast Festival is a Chicago based audio festival that curates and celebrates audio storytelling. In addition to live events and the festival, there’s an audio library, radio show, and 2 podcasts!
These conferences are based in the United States but there are other podcast conferences out there!
In addition to conferences, there’s another way you can meet other podcast fans but with a more specific lens. Some shows have done live shows, events, and tours! Welcome to Night Vale, for example, has taken several stories on the road to several major cities and countries over the last few years; Call Your Girlfriend has also gone on a couple live show tours or have hosted the occasional live event in the US. Additionally, The Moth has live storytelling events at various times in cities around the world.
So many other shows, like My Brother, My Brother, and Me and Hello From The Magic Tavern, have also done live shows! These live shows and events are an amazing way to experience your favorite show(s) in a new way with many other fans.
While live shows and conferences are an amazing way to meet and be with other podcast fans and creators, they often only happen for an evening (live shows) or a couple days (conferences). The good news is that there are other ways to be in more consistent contact with other fans!
The Podcast Brunch Club is one way to regularly meet up with other podcast fans, as the club describes itself as a book club but for podcasts! You can join the Brunch Club either in person with a local club near you or online. If there aren’t any clubs near you, it is possible to start one if you’d like or join a virtual meet up that relies on video conferencing.
There are also so many podcast fans/creators who interact and build meaningful relationships with others online. The audio drama community has #AudioDramaSunday each week on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Plus, many shows, hosts, creators, and other fans will have social media accounts that you can interact with.
Additionally, there are even a few Facebook and Discord groups for fans of different shows! Discord is a bit like Slack, the workplace team messaging app, and allows for different communities to come together and chat in message boards about shows. Some shows, like The Bright Sessions and She’s All Fat, will have Discord or Facebook groups for their supporters on Patreon and Wil Williams, from Wil Williams Reviews, also runs a Discord group for podcast fans and creators.
If you’re on Facebook, there are so many groups you can join even if you’re not able to financially support the show. ‘Friends of Nancy’ Facebook group, for example, is for fans of WNYC’s Nancy while Can I Pet Your Dog from Maximum Fun has a group filled with fans of the show and dog lovers.
In my own experience (and generally speaking), podcast fans and creators are amazing people to talk and connect with and there are so many ways to meet others! Podcasting (and other forms of audio) may be an intimate medium to listen to but celebrating and discussing your favorite shows doesn’t have to be done alone.