The anonymous, groundbreaking and proudly unique Podcaster ‘Blindboy’ has delivered a blisteringly hot take on the state of the media in 2023, which perhaps to make a point, will only have been heard by those who first listened to a 40 minute monologue about birdshit. That’s right. Birdshit. And what a delicious monologue it was.
Now, I’m not going to talk about Blindboy’s ‘in depth thesis about Birdshit’, you can listen to that here. But the 15 or so minutes that came after that was a bold series of observations about what Podcasts are offering that traditional television and radio shows are not.
Blindboy, who as well as being a ragingly successful podcaster is an author, music producer and comedian, says legacy media outlets, whether they be in TV, radio or newspapers, have created an enormous, but now failing, echo-chamber.
Prominence in his home country of Ireland, he says, is an illusion constructed by these monopolised platforms. “If you participate in legacy media in any way, whether it’s radio, TV or newspaper, other legacy media then props you up and creates a spectacle of fame. It’s a construct,” Blindboy said.
“I’m going to use myself as an example. I’m not famous in Ireland. If you say Blindboy in Ireland, most people will go ‘oh, that guy with the bag on his head, yeah I kind of know him’, and it’s just vague. (But) my podcast has more listeners than any of the TV shows or radio shows in the country. That doesn’t make sense.”
Blindboy is not suggesting he’s been forgotten; rather, he is not part of the traditional ‘fame machine.’ As an independent media contributor, he feels he is largely overlooked by legacy media outlets. “It’s not a great conspiracy, it’s just how the industry is operating right now. It’s straight up business. It’s competition.”
Few could argue that radio stations see podcasters as rivals, so it’s hardly surprising that traditional media maintains an editorial policy of focusing less on podcasts or blogs, and more on content within their sphere. Blindboy gives the example of how legacy media all but ignored a recent interview he had with the President of Ireland, despite the conversation delving deeply into important issues.
The Podcaster says he understands, however, that this is largely a choice he makes by remaining independent. “It’s a choice that I make and I’m happy with that choice because it means I’m chipping away or making shit that I genuinely really love. I could probably take more opportunities to work in TV or film … but 90% of the time it means making something that I won’t enjoy making,” he said.
Blindboy then refers to the very podcast he was recording and says he would love to produce a documentary about birdshit in a street in Limerick and their global significance, but it’d be challenging to execute in a satisfying manner given the existing TV and radio production methods.
“The first 40 minutes of this podcast was just very simple, slow story telling. That’s all it is. Simple, slow story telling,” Blindboy said. “When I write a podcast, within the first three minutes I say something that will make you stay until the end. I’ll open up the podcast talking about birdshit in Limerick, and the listener just goes ‘I have to see where he takes this.’ And that’s story telling.”
Blindboy says that kind of storytelling isn’t possible on traditional TV or radio because the formats prioritize capturing the viewer’s attention within specific time slots, losing the ability to delicately reveal a narrative. He says the rush to maintain viewer interest often leads to a predictable, homogenized format and the result is a piece that fails to treat its audience with respect, leaving them feeling somewhat empty.
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