Changing the Conversation

What podcasts do you listen to?

That question is a great icebreaker or way to get to know someone better. It may also someday overtake “what’s the most recent book you read?” as a go-to interview question. Of course, just a few years ago, any mention of podcasts would have been met with a blank stare.

The news and information industry is changing rapidly as mobile technology overtakes traditional media platforms. More people now read news and learn about public policy from information sources other than the traditional media (radio, television, newspaper) than ever before in American history. Podcasts have emerged as a popular medium that offers even more flexibility and opportunity for listeners in the on-demand space.

Though relatively new to the media industry, awareness and listenership of podcasts is growing rapidly. In 2015, the number of Americans who had listened to a podcast grew to an all-time high of 150 million people. It is now the fastest growing medium of information in the nation, but there’s still plenty of room to grow. On the whole only 21 percent of the total U.S. population have listened to a podcast. Both the number of podcasts available for listeners and the number of people who listen to podcasts are expected to steadily climb over the next five years—positioning podcasts as one of the most accessible means of information dissemination available to the consumer.

To leverage this evolving medium, Commonwealth Foundation recently launched its new podcast, Commonwealth Insight. This podcast brings national, state, and local leaders into a forum where listeners can learn about important changes and developments in Pennsylvania and around the nation.

We’ve talked with Evan Baehr, entrepreneur and author, and Matt Brouillette, the new president of Commonwealth Partners, about how small business owners can be a force for good in public policy. We’ve discussed the benefits and challenges of public charter schools with Nina Rees, president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and James Paul, CF’s education policy expert. We’ve examined why Pennsylvanians are leaving the state for greener pastures with Travis Brown, author of How Money Walks and Forbes contributor. And we’ve taken a deep dive into Pennsylvania’s tax and budget policy with Jared Walczak of the Tax Foundation and CF Senior Policy Analyst Bob Dick.

To listen in on these important conversations and more, visit From there you can subscribe on iTunes or the media platform of your choice and never miss an episode. New episodes are up every other Wednesday.

Now, back to the question: What podcasts do you listen to? We want to know! Email us: [email protected].