Interest in podcasts is surging nationally. Here’s why local hosts are invested in audio

Podcasting had a renaissance during the pandemic. During quarantine, new shows were birthed, old shows were revived—and hosts found audiences eager to soak it all up.

Four years later, consumption of podcasts in the U.S. has hit an all-time high. Weekly and monthly listening broke records in 2023, with 42% of those ages 12 and older reporting listening to a podcast in the past month. The statistics are even higher for younger audiences, with 55% of those ages 12-34 tuning in.

For producers, the barrier to entry is relatively low. Beginner equipment is inexpensive and easy to find.

Locally, facilities like the River Center Branch Library offer recording studios available by reservation. The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge records interviews with local artists for its AC23 podcast at its Cary Saurage Community Arts Center, which also boasts a recording studio for creators. And injury attorney Gordon McKernan, who helms a podcast called Grubbin’ with G, is starting construction this month on a new podcast studio at his Hilton Avenue office. Once complete, churches or community groups may be granted access to record content.

Building an audio platform—and finding a like-minded community in return—is right at the fingertips of aspiring hosts. And many in our own backyard have seized the opportunity, tapping into the art form to voice their opinions on topics as varied as politics and religion to food and the arts.

Some are even taking their self-produced content to YouTube, which recently became the top-ranked platform for podcast consumption.

So, what does it all mean for the hosts?

225 chatted with Capital Region voices who have launched new podcasts since the pandemic. They shared their motivation for launching a podcast, why they continue to pour into multimedia outlets—and what they’re doing to make each episode a must-listen.

Go ahead. Queue these up for your next long drive.

Forever a DreamHer

@foreveradreamher | Stream it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts


The Forever a DreamHer podcast and multimedia content aim to help local women make their career dreams a reality. Photos by Collin Richie.

Chisolu Isiadinso’s passion for providing women with business knowledge beams out of her like the fiery glow of a flame. From the conviction in her eyes and the dedication in her voice, it’s clear closing the void between women and business resources is her mission.

“I see all the time, even in corporate: Women are not developed,” the Baton Rouge native says. “That’s why we sit in the same positions for 10-plus years without promotions.”

Despite the systemic challenges women (especially women of color) have long faced in the workforce, the pandemic helped fuel an exponential rise in female-owned businesses, which increased at nearly double the rate of those owned by men between 2019 and 2023, according to the 2024 Wells Fargo Impact of Women Owned Businesses report.

The 33-year-old was part of that trend: She launched Forever a DreamHer, a lifestyle brand for women in business, in 2021.

Her goal: to provide businesswomen with resources, accountability and community. The brand boasts a podcast, a Dreamology membership program, virtual courses, workshops, events, the StartHer accelerator program, private groups and even a virtual coworking space.


“A lot of women are hosting events, but the question is, when people leave, what happens after the event?”

[Chisolu Isiadinso]

During the podcast episodes, Isiadinso interviews guests about topics like becoming a seven-figure entrepreneur, transitioning from college to work, switching careers and accessing business capital. She records from her home content studio.

It’s one of many ways Forever a DreamHer draws members to its program, which by this spring had grown to 75 participants from Louisiana, Texas and Georgia. Women of all backgrounds can subscribe to the free or paid levels and get access to its digital hub.

“A lot of women are hosting events, but the question is, when people leave, what happens after the event?” Isiadinso asks. “Do they have access to other resources and tools that can hold them accountable and keep them engaged with the people that they just finished working with?”

It’s a question Isiadinso knows will resonate not just regionally, but nationally and globally.

She plans to connect with investors to fund her vision, offer more networking events, record more podcasts and host a conference as early as 2025.

“My goal is to grow economic impact,” she says. “And that is going to be through community.”

The Eat The Boot Podcast

@eathebootpod | Stream it on Spotify and Apple Podcasts
Co-hosts Tony Ridinger and Joey Cavalier with producer Charles “Chuck P” Pierce. Photo courtesy Eat The Boot.

The chat always starts with food on The Eat The Boot Podcast. Hosted by Joey Cavalier and Tony Ridinger, and produced by Charles “Chuck P” Pierce, the show dissects the Capital Region culinary scene—though hosts say anything is up for discussion.

The pod branched off from the Facebook group with the same name, which began in Ascension Parish in 2017. Now with around 88,000 members hailing from greater Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette, commenters sound off daily on restaurants they’ve tried, dishes they’re into and trends they’re not into.

“For (years), we were having these conversations,” says Cavalier, the group’s founder and the podcast’s co-host. “We would talk about topics in the group, and it was just a wealth of fun and interesting conversation.”

The team launched the podcast in January 2023, dispensing uncut restaurant reviews and inside jokes. It is typically recorded at Zee Zee’s, though it sometimes ventures to regional restaurants and attractions like South 73 Lunchroom and Night Market BTR to stage shows. It averages about 100 downloads per episode.

While Cavalier always knew the podcast would be an ode to all things Louisiana food, he says he discovered its true purpose later:

“We want people to be more compassionate diners,” Cavalier says. “Just trying to get people to be more present when they sit down at a restaurant and be more understanding of what it’s like on the other side of the table. … That is the main goal.”

The Punch Bowl Diaries

@punchbowldiaries_podcast | Stream it on Spotify and Apple Podcasts
Hosts April Hill and Leigh Moss. Photo courtesy The Punch Bowl Diaries.

The Punch Bowl Diaries offers a simultaneously lighthearted and vulnerable look at Southern motherhood. The podcast is rooted in faith, say co-hosts April Hill and Leigh Moss, who introduced it in 2023.

“We have covered topics from postpartum depression to domestic violence,” Moss says. “But the unifying theme between all of those has been hope: when you walk through those hard seasons, digging in and relying on Jesus to pull you through.”

While Hill and Moss spend many episodes just bouncing different topics off each other, the duo also invites guests on to “spike the punch bowl.” In a recent show, best-selling author Christy Wright joined the discussion.

Its episodes have logged over 12,000 downloads. Some shows have been recorded as videos, too.

Hill and Moss aim to empower listeners to realize they are not alone.

“While these topics are hard, they are very motivational,” Moss says.

“Every single podcast,” Hill adds, “our goal is to make people more hopeful than when they found us.”

The Life Daytime Talk Show

@thelifedaytime | Stream it on YouTube
Hosts Tanesha Craig and Lisa Cook. Photo courtesy The Life Daytime Talk Show.

The Life Daytime Talk Show was inspired by The Real, a former national daytime talk show hosted by women from diverse backgrounds.

Producer Reacee Wright dreamt up the local podcast concept in 2022.

The Life Daytime covers entertainment, politics and everyday life,” says co-host Tanesha Craig. “The show is really for the everyday woman, but we also cater to men too.”

When it comes to national entertainment trends and how they impact the Baton Rouge community, co-hosts Craig and Lisa Cook aim to be your gals.

“Our ‘Chick Chat’ segment is more of the gossip with celebrities and what is trending online. That is what I love about it: We are chicks, and we are chatting,” Cook says.

Episodes are video-recorded and uploaded exclusively to YouTube. The podcast counts over 2,500 combined followers on its social media pages.

The team says the videos are currently recorded in a “starter studio,” a converted room inside Wright’s shop, Adore Her Beauty Makeup Studio & Spa. But they have big goals of taking the show to larger stages—all gas, no brakes until they get there.

“We have a future goal of being a studio show with an audience. My dreams are so big. I see it as being a national, syndicated show,” Wright says. “I have spoken that since day one.”

DIGITS: Podcast consumption growth


The percentage of those ages 12 and up who’d listened to a podcast in the previous week back in 2019


The 2023 percentage of those ages 12 and up who’d listened to a show in the last week

Is video killing the radio star?

Born in the early ’00s as an audio medium, modern podcasting is becoming increasingly visual. Studies show podcast creaters and listeners are increasingly turning to YouTube:


Percent of the 30 top-ranked podcasts that offered a video version in 2023


Percent of listeners who now consume podcasts on YouTube most frequently


Percent of consumers who listen to podcasts on Apple Podcasts or Spotify most frequently

Podcast do’s and don’ts

Insight for running a successful podcast, gathered from conversations with Capital Region hosts

DO have a unique sound and style.

Because social media platforms are so saturated with content, creators must figure out how to game the algorithm. Plot how your podcast will stand apart.

DO have a clear message.

Create a goal and mission statement—something that can resonate with listeners.

DON’T overthink it. Just DO it.

We are our own biggest critics. Once you have an idea, seize it. Many podcasts start out with a cell phone and headphones. You don’t need thousands of dollars of equipment to get your message out there—and you can always invest in more technology later.

DON’T take it too seriously.

Have fun. Podcasting is meant to be a cathartic outlet for hosts and listeners alike. It’s OK if your first episodes aren’t perfect.

This article was originally published in the June 2024 issue of 225 Magazine.