Podcasts and Productivity: A Qualitative Uses and Gratifications Study

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Mass Communication and Society

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Through analysis of five focus groups with people who “usually (more often than not) listened to at least one podcast episode a week” in the last two months, this uses and gratifications (U&G) study uncovers several prominent themes among podcast listener experiences. In an effort to integrate old and new media use typologies within U&G research, our results are presented in two parts: emerging typologies and expansions of existing typologies. The emerging section includes reasons for podcast displacement of other media, customizable experiences, and multitasking (which involves both temptation bundling and feeding the brain). The expansion builds on the existing typologies of companionship and interaction by analyzing avenues for parasocial relationship formation and identifying social opportunities as well as social frustrations surrounding podcasts. We ultimately conclude that podcasts offer an endless supply of engaging content that travels with listeners, allowing them to be “productive” in various physical and mind-expanding ways. The enjoyment is facilitated in part by forging connections with hosts and other listeners.