Submitted by admin on Mon, 07/10/2017 - 12:04

Amit Doshi, Founder, Indus Vox Media, talks about the charm of the spoken word and how his love for podcasts finally led to him heading a podcast network


Amit Doshi
Founder, Indus Vox Media

In 1992 I started college in the US at the University of Delaware. In the summer leading up to the start of college I came across Talk Radio and was hooked. I was fascinated by the medium in all its forms whether it was someone political like Rush Limbaugh, funny like Howard Stern or discussed sports like Mike and The Mad Dog. My fascination went beyond just these shows, and to how powerful talk radio as a medium was. It had the ability to hold my attention for 4-5 hours at a stretch! How do they discuss any subject at length and with such authority? 

I moved back to India in 1997 and I missed podcasts. I didn’t realize how much until 1999 when I first got "broadband"(A whopping 64Kbps!) internet at home. I remember scouring sketchy websites to stream Howard Stern or Mike and the Mad Dog. I kept at it for a while but the websites kept getting less and less reliable so I mostly gave up in a few months.

As I got busier over the next few years, every so often I would wonder on my commute why I couldn’t hear a good discussion on the ins and outs of an election or banter between sports experts, or learn why the Rupee was depreciating against the Dollar.

In 2004, I started reading the Harry Potter books. I enjoyed them quite a bit and remember thinking that these might be kids’ books but there are some really interesting themes to unpack in these books, so I went out looking for discussion forums to see what other people thought. I found sites called MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron which had great forums. They also had these new things called podcasts where a group of Harry Potter fans would get together and discuss themes and theories from the books. I was instantly hooked and it rekindled my love for spoken word. This was just the start. As I soon discovered and started listening regularly to This week in Tech, Cranky Geeks, Buzz Out Loud, Adam Carollas show and many more. Yet, I still wondered why there was nothing like this in India at the time.

As I continued to get absorbed in the podcasting world, I started my first podcast in 2007 - a show to talk about another book series I loved, The Wheel of Time. It was a light-hearted hobby letting me geek out about something I enjoyed. However, listening to a podcast in a pre-smartphone world was an arduous task. The process was to subscribe and download an episode through iTunes on your PC and then, either transfer it to an iPod and hope that works (it often didn't) or take the downloaded files and burn a CD you could listen to in your car. This was clunky and relegated podcasts to the realm of the hobbyist who would be willing to jump through hoops for this listening pleasure.

The introduction of the iPhone and the subsequent smartphone revolution changed all of that. All of a sudden you can download and listen to a podcast on your own device via an app. Once that happened podcasts started to become more and more popular. It's becoming a viable industry internationally and a parallel to radio.

I believe in the medium of spoken word. I think the power that it holds over its listeners is incomparable. With it's success around the world, India too is embracing this alternative medium. From a guy who used to burn podcasts on CDs, I now head a podcasting network.



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