Supplies needed: a computer, portable media player or smartphone; a program for listening to MP3 audio files; an Internet connection; and earphones. What are you doing? Listening to a podcast.
While podcasting is a relatively new term, its roots date all the way back to the 1980s, first known as “audioblogging.” But as the iPod grew in popularity, podcasting began its rise starting around 2004.
21% of Americans ages 12 and up have listened to a podcast in the past month. That is up from 17% in 2015. Monthly podcast listenership has increased 75% since 2013.
What does that really mean? While 21% may not seem like a lot of people — 21% of the country uses Twitter, and that’s the same amount who are tuning in to podcasts. The podcast audience is 57 million Americans in total.
Today, hundreds of thousands of English-language podcasts are available on most every topic you can imagine. And among those is three whose focus is on assistive technology.
Tune in to ATU: The one that started it all
In October 2007, Easter Seals Crossroads was awarded the Indiana Assistive Technology Act grant (INDATA), which consists of federal funding targeted to increase the availability of assistive technology to Hoosiers with disabilities.
Just four years later in 2011, the INDATA Project launched two of its popular podcasts, Assistive Technology Update and Accessibility Minute. Wade Wingler, the vice president of technology and information services for Easter Seals Crossroads, is the voice behind the Assistive Technology Update.
“It’s a weekly news and interview show focused on the assistive technology industry,” Wingler said. “The purpose is to share the news of AT with people in Indiana and around the world and have meaningful dialogue with thought leaders in the field.”