Issue 261,  published June 9, 2020

The Last Pandemic Watch, For Now

It’s Week 15, according to Stitcher’s pandemic timeline, or 14 weeks after the initial stay-at-home measures in these United States. COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to grow at different rates depending on where you are in the world. We are officially in a recession.

That said, Podtrac is officially retiring its Weekly Coronavirus Updates, indicating that US podcast consumption is now largely back on track following the shock listening drops in the early lockdown. Further insight into the way podcast consumption played out over the past few months can be gleaned from the Pandemic Update breakout of the omnibus Stitcher Podcasting Report, released in late May: among other things, the decline in daily commute listening appears to be balanced out by gains in lunchtime listening.

Of course, we’re nowhere near a return to normal, and we’ll almost undoubtedly see further turbulence ahead. The nature of economic recovery moving forward remains unclear, and we’re all but certain to see another spike in national coronavirus cases in part due to the push to reopen the economy — which has been initiated prematurely in some parts of the country, in my opinion — but also in part, perhaps, due to the extensive protests we’ve been experiencing.

The specific question we’ll be watching closely moving forward: even as podcast listening levels drift back on track, what will happen to ad spends?