Live podcasts will debut at a comic festival next week, while another property will introduce scheduled programming on YouTube. Some of Mumbai’s most famous comics tell us why they are laughing into the digital world.
The fifth year of NCPA Cheer, starting June 3 will be different from its previous editions. The funny feast will present Audiomatic – Our Last Week’s live podcast, presented by Anuvab Pal and Kunaal Roy Kapur. “Cheer was the first-of-its-kind festival when we began five years ago. It has full-fledged traditional plays, stand-up acts, workshops and now a podcast. The audience at the festival is usually younger. We decided to go with the podcast because their humour is witty, topical and not crass,” says Deepa Gahlot, Head of Programming, NCPA. Pal, a popular name in the circuit, will also be conducting workshops with children at the festival. He is anxious about the podcast, “Many told us the podcasts don’t work, and people don’t listen. NCPA suggested we jam with our listeners. Usually, we record in a small room and that has a safety factor. It’s not stand-up but a conversation, and you don’t know if people will find it funny,” he admits.
According to Sameer Pitalwalla, CEO and co-founder of digital media company, Culture Machine, podcasts today are not what they were meant to be. “I did a thesis on podcasts, 10 years ago, during my student years. In its original context, it is audio content that you should be listening to on your iPod. Now, the mechanism is different and the term ‘podcast’ is used loosely,” he elaborates. “The US, for example, has a history of talk radio, which is why, the concept is popular there. If you look at AIB’s podcasts, you will realise that they have more views on YouTube,” says comic Sorabh Pant. “Companies like Saavn and Gaana are doing podcasts too. It will pick up big time in the next few years,” he adds. For Pal and Kapur, however, the podcast has been a fun experience. “Just like TV, for the first six months — you need to build the brand. With Audiomatic, we try to keep the podcasts regular,” shares Pal. However, AIB’s Rohan Joshi has a different perspective, “Our podcasts got very popular on Soundcloud. It was pure audio. The concept is picking up in India. Only some podcasts, with energetic performers will grab eyeballs. Most people prefer to listen and imagine.”