The End of a PodCon Era

Photo Credit: Jared McClelland

Photo Credit: Jared McClelland

In the beginning months of 2017, an Indiegogo campaign popped up for a podcast event that would bring fans and creators together for one glorious weekend. With over 3,000 backers and 81% of its goal, PodCon was determined to make the best podcast convention imaginable.

PodCon was created by Hank Green, Joseph Fink, Jerrey Cranor, and Travis McElroy to be a “place where people got together to really get into podcasts together for a couple days”. That’s exactly what happened.

I was lucky enough to attend PodCon for the past two years, and it has been my favorite convention to ever be a part of. Fans and creators roamed the floors and mingled as true fans of podcasts. Over the past two years, I was lucky enough to meet many influential podcasters that I admire through meet ups, creator chats, and a pizza party (for backers of a certain level and above). This would have never been possible without PodCon.

I will have fond memories like how I was the first person at the convention to recognize Paul Bae from The Black Tapes and The Big Loop, or that I sat and talked with the very pleasant Helen Austwick Zaltzman from The Allusionist at the hotel bar, and the time I discussed Magic the Gathering with Roman Mars from 99% Invisible. Who knew that last one would ever even be an option?

Now, the end of an era is upon us.

PodCon’s official Twitter page posted a tweet expressing their love for the community that has supported them. In that same tweet, they also blindsided the fans with the news that a third year of the event would not happen.

This comes as a shock to me personally since the second year of the event’s Indiegogo campaign was funded with a 23% increase from the year prior. I think it’s fair to say that the fans were ready to make sure PodCon happened on a yearly basis.

The problem is that running a convention is expensive, and you can’t just rely on the fans. Hank Green wrote that the main reason PodCon will end after two years is because it just isn’t sustainable. The creators of popular shows have less time and require more money to book them for a weekend, and sponsors seemed to be hard to acquire. Restructuring is an option, but not one that the creators could justify doing. So, here we are.

There are other podcast conventions that are still out there. Some in their first year, and probably more coming in the future. It’s possible that someone will swoop in to replace the void that PodCon is leaving in the hearts of thousands. This particular fan can only hope.