An idea ahead of its time

Apple launched podcasts back in 2004, offering just about everyone the chance to produce something approaching their own personal radio show. Podcasts enabled enthusiastic amateurs to rub shoulders with established media giants and compete for a global audience.

But then came the rise of video and vlogging superstars. Social media platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook gained huge momentum and appeared to leave podcasting to a few die-hard faithful.

But podcasts are back, big time. According to FastCompany, podcast listening figures recently hit an all-time high with Apple announcing that downloads reached an astonishing 50 billion in March 2018 compared to just 7 million back in 2014.

A brief history of podcasts

The New Statesmen detailed the origins of the format from the concept of ‘audioblogging’. It evolved into podcasting as tech advancements made it easier to do and more accessible to listeners. By the early 2000s, a sound file could be recorded and uploaded to the podcaster’s feed and be automatically delivered to subscribers. Fact fans will be interested to know the word ‘podcasting’ was coined in 2004 by technology journalist Ben Hammersley. He was looking for a term to describe the ‘new boom in amateur radio’ that had been enabled by the internet.

Apple began to include podcasts as a default option on iPods (remember those?) and the podcast app was a standard feature on iPhones by 2008 with Android quick to follow suit.

Today, it couldn’t be much easier to find and subscribe to a podcast on a subject that interests you. Wired published a good article on the tools you can use to unlock the wealth of podcast joy that awaits newcomers.

Blockbuster shows such as Serial and S-Town have seen podcasts cast off their niche status and become mainstream media. But fear not – there are still plenty to satisfy the most niche interests. There’s everything from conspiracy theories to improvised Star Trek stories and pen connoisseurs espousing the joys of writing instruments, Hobbies, culture, arts, drama, education and business are all there and easily found with wildly differing levels of quality.

Best Fintech podcasts

So with the treasure trove of podcasts available, it’s no surprise that there are a few fintech podcasts for your listening pleasure and education. Fintech Insider by 11FS is the most prolific, having clocked up nearly 230 episodes at the time of writing due to its head-spinning tri-weekly schedule. London Fintech Podcast, which recently passed its 100thepisode, focuses on ‘insights, stories & inspiration from a Golden Age of Creativity, Opportunity and Innovation.’

Our favourite fintech podcast, for reasons I’ll explain, is Fintech Unplugged. It’s co-hosted by two established industry leaders in their own right. Robert Courtneidge and Suresh Vaghjiani have both previously claimed the number 1 spot on the Payments Power 10 list so you know you are in good company. What makes this podcast unique is its mix of their frequently controversial views of the payments industry and sheer entertainment value. Many people in the fintech industry were already familiar with the play-fighting personas Robert and Suresh have created over the past few years, such as going head-to-head as adversaries to headline the infamous Payments Punch Up at PayExpo.

In the interests of full disclosure, we produce Fintech Unplugged. We’re happy to confirm it’s as much fun to work on as it is to listen to. In our next blog, we’ll share some of the insights we’ve built up while producing the show. They could help if you are thinking of starting your own fintech podcast.