usatoday.com: remember podcasting? It’s back – and booming

Anyone who’s anyone has a podcast these days. And they’re finding millions of listeners.

LOS ANGELES — Shane Dawson produces videos for YouTube, where his homegrown productions have received more than 2 billion views. With a huge online audience devouring his every video move, what’s he doing dabbling in audio?

“I love podcasts, so I thought I’d try one,” says Dawson of his recently launched hour-long Shane & Friends. “I wasn’t sure my audience would be up for it, but shockingly, they really love it. It proves the next generation is excited about long-form content.”

Dawson isn’t the only video star to give online audio a try. The land of podcasting, once an esoteric outpost devoted to heavily tech-oriented chats, is booming. Actor Alec Baldwin, Extra‘s Maria Menounos and comedians Joan Rivers, Jeff Garlin and Tom Green all recently threw their hats into the podcasting ring alongside CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox, which now offer audio versions of many of their TV news shows.

Apple just surpassed 1 billion subscriptions for podcasts via its iTunes app, which is a major milestone for a category that had been considered an also-ran.

Many top podcasts — such as the Nerdist, NPR’s This American Life and Aisha Tyler’s Girl on Guy, see millions of downloads.

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