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Column: Tampa Bay residents rank second in downloading podcasts

Chattanooga and Kansas City — I can understand why people there are bored and have nothing to do but download podcasts.

But, Tampa Bay? Who would have thunk?

A survey released in January by podcast hosting network Wizard Media shows that our region ranks second in podcast download requests. The data was collected through an opt-in survey of 20,000 audience members.

We clinched the spot with a whopping 380.76 percent growth. Chattanooga led the pack and Kansas City came a close third. Envious yet Silicon Valley?

Chris Spencer, CEO of Wizard Media, explained the growth by saying it has become very easy to download podcasts. That, along with mushrooming local podcasters, is driving the growth, Spencer said.

In the grand scheme of things, Tampa is just mirroring a global and national trend. Podcasts — the radio-like shows that can be downloaded and played on your computer or MP3 player — seem like the best thing that's happened since the Internet. Consumers like listening to their favorite shows on their own time. So, the industry is experiencing exponential growth.

Wizard serviced more than

1-billion download requests last year. Researcher eMarketer reported a 285 percent jump in the size of the U.S. podcast audience in 2007. The proliferation is expected to triple ad dollars from $165-million last year to $435-million in 2012.

Those numbers would definitely make podcasters pop the champagne bottle. Tampa-based Patrick Melton, who hosts the comedy, talk, entertainment podcast, Nobody Likes Onions, says his shows today have a worldwide audience. Melton did stand-up gigs in area clubs before taking his act high-tech and global.

"When I started, I didn't know how big this was going to be or how long we were going to be on it," he said.

The first week there were about 25 subscribers; today he says he has tens of thousands. Of late, he is noticing a lot more fans from the Tampa Bay market.

"The technology market here is very proficient," he said.

Proficient, maybe. But we still have some catching up to do before we beat Chattanooga.

Madhusmita Bora can be reached at mbora@sptimes.com or (813) 225-3112.

Column: Tampa Bay residents rank second in downloading podcasts 05/02/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 9, 2008 9:04am]
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