The Coronavirus Quarantine is a unique and generation defining event. Aside from the obvious medical and financial repercussions, the quarantine has resulted in some strange side effects. This unprecedented pandemic has brought the ever transforming media landscape full circle as talk shows move into their hosts houses.
The divide between “professional” and “amateur” content has been closing over the last decade. Podcasts and radio shows are of equal quality, YouTubers are signed to the same talent contracts that athletes and actors are, and online content creators are making the leap into television and film regularly.
As podcasts grew popular, video podcasts boomed alongside it. The format of “video podcasting” took years to find its footing, however podcasts like the Joe Rogan Experience and radio shows like Howard Stern, Sway in the Morning, & The Breakfast Club found a large audience on YouTube. These video podcasts meshed well alongside popular vloggers and YouTubers, but were distinctly different from anything accessible on television or in the mainstream.
Fast forward to 2020, New York City and Los Angeles are now on lock down halting the production of most major media properties. To begin the pandemic talk shows and professional wrestlers performed to empty crowds or scattered members of their staff for live tapings. By the time March 2020 rolls around, all casts and crews have been quarantined in their homes.
Now Stephen Colbert, Desus & Mero, and Seth Myers are all forced to host their shows from their homes using video chat. NBC, Showtime, and CBS scrambled to set up the very same equipment that video podcasters have had set up in their homes for years.
Comedian Chris D’Elia’s Congratulations Video Podcast currently has better production value than the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. While Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign struggles to figure out a Facebook Live stream, comedian Tim Heidecker hosted an eight hour-long live stream episode of his “Office Hours” podcast featuring celebrities and listener call-ins.
The gap between a “talk show” and a “video podcast” has never been narrower. Political video podcasts like The Ben Shapiro Show and The Majority Report with Sam Seder look unscathed during this quarantine, meanwhile the Daily Show can’t seem to figure out the acoustics in Trevor Noah’s apartment.
We all understand that things will never be the same after this COVID-19 pandemic. It will be interesting to see how the media landscape returns when the quarantine is done with.