The Human Element of Podcasts: The Connection Between Host and Audience

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Podcasts have become a staple of our media diets in the last decade. They are easily accessible and even easier to digest; pick an episode to listen to and you’re good to go. Whether you are actively listening to the content being shared or passively listening to it as background audio, podcasts are one of the simplest yet most informative and engaging forms of media around.

Due to their ease of delivery and digestibility, podcasts are perfectly suited to cover a range of topics. Whether it be the grimness of true crime or the escapism of comedy, the passion of sports or the laid-back reviewing of a new movie, podcasts cater to practically every interest under the sun. The range of options for each genre means that listeners are spoilt for choice over the same subject matter, and may pick from any one of the hundreds of shows available.

With the range of topics available, there is also a range of hosts who all offer something unique for their audience. Each host is different in their delivery, approach and personality, and this allows them to attract their own crowd over time as a group of listeners gravitate to the uniqueness of one host’s voice from the sea of choices to listen to.

And that is what I am interested in studying in this piece. I want to explore why listeners may feel connected to podcasters; what pulls a listener to the host and what makes them feel connected in this uniquely one-sided audial relationship.


Podcasts, like any form of media, forge a gradual yet genuine connection between the presenters and their audience. As written by The Guardian, hosts and audiences connect through the former’s candidly honest presentation during the episode. This honest sharing allows listeners to become privy to the podcaster’s personal experiences and views, whilst still maintaining the host-audience dynamic where one presents and the other listens.

By sharing more about themselves over time, the hosts may endear themselves to their listeners through these honest conversations. Podcast conversations will also start to become more personal now that the audial ice is broken, as both host and audience become more comfortable with their dynamic and the programme’s status quo is now established.

What podcasts lack in the human element of reciprocity through real-life conversations, they make up for elsewhere. Over time, hosts can build a like-minded and appreciative community of listeners who share the same interests or tastes as them. This following and body of work help podcasters raise their profile as content creators, which opens the door to other avenues of work, creativity and income. This strengthens their influence and ability as a presenter to make better and more varied content for not just their current audience to listen to, but for future listeners to delve into.

Diving deeper into the host’s role, the key ingredient for them to perform well (they are essentially our main character) is to be able to facilitate a connection with their audience. This is where podcasts thrive as an open yet intimate medium. Hosts know that what they say will be broadcast to thousands, and yet there is a willing vulnerability to have an honest conversation. According to The Guardian, audiences’ interests naturally pique when engaged in a candid and open conversation by their host. As human beings with our eternal and inherent kaypoh nature, we will listen and pick up on any personal details that help us paint a complete picture of our host to understand them better.

Listening to podcasts also allows us to feel more connected in some way with the ones sharing the information. Podcasts are essentially long interpersonal rambles that the listeners are privy to. And for good or ill, long rambles reveal more about the speaker to the listener. When given a platform to broadcast these personal rambles, these conversations can build a community that sees them as candid “inside jokes” that make up the host’s overall character. The audience knows it comes partly from a place of honesty, which builds an empathetic understanding of their hosts and endears them to the listener.

This relationship comes about from an appreciation of the podcast’s authenticity and production. Hosts feel more real by opening up to their audiences and making them privy to certain aspects of their personal lives. Likewise, an audience that not only admires that genuineness but also enjoys the topic and content covered, will no doubt come back to listen to more of the honest character they are invested in following.


As mentioned earlier, the content is part of what makes a podcast attractive. Anything from the podcast name to the title of the recommended episode can pull us in if it appeals to us.

So a podcast only bolsters in appeal when we know and feel that the host is as interested in the topic as we are. Listening to someone speak passionately about our interests is incredibly rewarding as it allows us to latch onto them and their personality. We resonate with what they share as we appreciate them for their authenticity. We feel heard because we know that someone with a voice shares our interests, knows what we know and is being openly real when doing so.

Beyond the hosts, their content also gives us a unique insight into our interests. Some podcasts bring in special guests invited to share their unique insights, others are hosted by the insiders themselves. Both approaches give us professional and experienced insight into our interests. Podcasts hosted by analysts, journalists and professional trainers share information we would not normally find on our own.

And cycling back to the topic of passion and authenticity, the podcasting medium also helps ground these knowledgeable hosts as people that we can learn from. Experienced figures in the field step into the studio to share personal anecdotes and lessons from their past that add a layer of authenticity to their presentation of the subject matter. They make themselves more relatable, and the audience appreciates this relatability as encouragement for their own growth.


One of the ways podcasts—like many other forms of media—succeed is through forging an intimate connection between the host and their listening audience. How they can go about forging this connection is by delivering relatable content for their listeners. This is achieved by delivering authenticity and candidness that shows the listeners that they care and are as invested in the topic of interest as the listeners themselves are. Podcast hosts can also show their passion for the subject and where possible, offer unique insights into the subject matter by researching further, inviting experts and insiders, or sharing their own personal experiences covering the matter.

Podcasts have a uniquely intimate nature, existing as a recorded conversation between the hosts for the listeners to consume for their own knowledge and entertainment. By offering listeners genuine and interesting conversations that benefit them (either as entertainment or knowledge), the connection between host and listener grows stronger and will continue to benefit both.