The almighty podcast: What was once a niche market for tech nerds and internet whiz kids has since exploded into the mainstream. As of 2021, experts say there are over 850,000 active podcasts, and the arena continues to grow.
This is because itâ€™s relatively simple to start a podcast: with a computer, microphone, and recording equipment, you can share information to potentially millions of people easily, without worrying about pitching your idea to a radio or television station.
One area where the growth of podcasts has been extremely pronounced is in the diabetes space, where many have existed since 2005 but have become even more popular during the pandemic. When gathering in person literally became a matter of life-or-death, connecting with others in the diabetes space through podcasts became vital.
Meant to inform, inspire, and ignite (passion and advocacy), diabetes podcasts have become wildly popular of late.
This article will talk all about diabetes podcasting, and weâ€™ll chat with some podcasters themselves about their work and where they see this medium heading in the future.
A diabetes podcasting pioneer
Diabetes podcasts have been around since at least 2008. One person who helped popularize and create a community around them is Stacey Simms, a former professional newscaster and diabetes mom. She started her podcast â€œDiabetes Connectionsâ€ in 2015 to connect with others, educate the public, and inspire hope in her audience.
She covers topics ranging from pregnancy and parenting to thriving in school and managing diabetes in college and beyond.
â€œAudio is an incredible medium. Itâ€™s intimate and informative and inclusive. Think about how connected you feel to a radio show you may have listened to growing up. You probably feel like you knew the DJ and that you were part of a community just by listening,â€ Simms tells DiabetesMine.
â€œDiabetes podcasts can make people feel less alone, more connected and more informed. As you know, diabetes can be a very isolating condition; Iâ€™ve been told by listeners that my show is the only time anyone in their lives talks about diabetes!â€
She continues, â€œSince I began â€˜Diabetes Connections,â€™ many more diabetes podcasts have entered the space, each with its own point of view and focus. I love that! There isnâ€™t one way to live with diabetes, and having a diverse selection of hosts and shows means more chances for someone to find their niche within our wider community.â€
â€œMy show is very much news-based,â€ she explains. â€œI mention my son, but I donâ€™t share a lot of personal information and itâ€™s not about teaching anyone how to manage â€˜like us.â€™ As someone whoâ€™s spent their career in professional news, I aim to bring you information and perspective from companies and the community that youâ€™re not going to get anywhere else. But maybe thatâ€™s not for you. You might prefer to hear real-life stories of adults living with type 1 diabetes. Or all about nutrition or diet from an RD [registered dietitian]. Or about mental health from a psychologist. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s amazing about podcasts. Thereâ€™s one for everyone.â€
A podcast for every interest
The diabetes space is unique in the sense that there are podcasts about diabetes paired with just about anything else you can think of: diabetes and advocacy, diabetes and parenting, diabetes and young adults, and even diabetes and world adventures.
Podcasts in our diabetes space go back to the â€œDiabeticFeedâ€ podcast in 2005, created by advocate and longtime T1D Christel Aprigliano. She created that podcast in the earlier days of the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) when blogging was just starting up, and sheâ€™s told DiabetesMine previously that it was a way to help connect with others in the community. Her podcast aired episodes through 2010, but it set the stage for all that would follow.
There were so many diabetes podcasts popping up at one point, Simms created â€œDiabetes Podcast Weekâ€ in 2016 and had a list of several other diabetes- themed podcasts featured. Her initiative ran for a few years, helping to raise awareness about the grassroots Spare a Rose charitable effort within the DOC.
So many diabetes podcasts have come and gone through the years. Here are 7 of the most popular diabetes podcasts out there today:
â€˜Beta Cell Podcastâ€™
Craig Stubing, who has lived with type 1 diabetes (T1D) since 13 years old, is CEO of the Beta Cell Foundation, which fosters and funds grassroots projects developed by individuals living with T1D to educate, empower, and unite our community.
Stubing tells DiabetesMine that he started â€œBeta Cell Podcastâ€ largely out of his own need to connect with others.
â€œI didnâ€™t know anyone with T1D when growing up. I had my first real conversations with other diabetics 13 years after diagnosis, working on a video for my endocrinologist advocating for Medicare coverage of CGMs [continuous glucose monitors]. It amazed me how similar other diabeticsâ€™ experiences with T1D were to mine despite having lived completely different lives and how relatable they were compared to the athletes and celebrities in books and magazines.â€
He continues, â€œI realized that there were probably other people like me who had never experienced the revelation of this shared experience and the emotional burden it lifts. Starting â€˜Beta Cellâ€™ was a way to share the experiences of living with T1D to other people who felt alone with the disease â€” or didnâ€™t even know that they felt alone â€” through carefully crafted stories, hosted by someone who can empathize with them.â€
The Beta Cell Foundation, and subsequent podcast, are explicit in their stance that they take no money from the pharmaceutical industry.
He tells DiabetesMine that the independent voice is sorely needed. â€œDiabetes podcasts are a lens for the community to look at diabetes in a way that does not get covered by the mainstream media, or organizations that profit off a certain image of diabetes. Because of the platform the community has given me over the many years of producing â€˜Beta Cell,â€™ Iâ€™ve come to see it as a huge responsibility to the community to provide the highest quality podcast I can.â€
â€œA huge part of that is talking about the topics that need to be talked about, not just the inspiration and venting that fill diabetes media, to help build positive change on a personal and global level.â€
The podcast that Stubing hosts dives into the deeper issues of diabetes advocacy including state and federal legislation, insulin pricing and access to care, and explores how T1D impacts our lives and how our lives impact T1D.
â€œItâ€™s easy to believe that having a voice means you should do all the talking. But being part of a community, especially a community focused on living with a chronic disease, is understanding when you should be listening,â€ Stubing adds.
Created and hosted by Scott Benner, the idea for â€œJuiceBox Podcastâ€ was born in 2007 during a sleepless night taking care of his child with T1D.
Bennerâ€™s podcast episodes cover everything from the ins and outs of parenting a child with diabetes to navigating relationships and marrying someone who lives with diabetes, to supporting the caregivers of people with diabetes.
The host loves being part of the diabetes community and is happy to continue to offer his support for people living with the condition in the form of education, friendship, and community.
â€œPancreas Palsâ€ is a podcast that was created to connect young adults in the T1D community. Meant to be an informal, fun podcast, this conversation should spark joy in anyone who listens in.
Co-creators and co-hosts Emily Goldman and Miriam Brand-Schulberg share the laughter and tears of living life with diabetes when youâ€™re a young adult trying to make your way in the world. Their tagline is â€œType 1, Type Fun,â€ and shouldnâ€™t it be, at least some of the time?
Florida-based professor and patient advocate Phyllisa Deroze hosts â€œD-Talk,â€ a new podcast from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). This podcast delves into various serious issues facing the diabetes community, by talking to advocates and leading health professionals from around the world.
This brings a global perspective to the world of diabetes podcasts, with Deroze covering everything from COVID-19 impacts to mental health challenges, and diabetes complications.
â€œD-Talkâ€ can be found on Spotify.
â€˜The Dave and Amber Showâ€™
The newly formed org Diabetes Way just launched â€œThe Dave and Amber Show,â€ with David Kliff, diabetes industry analyst at Diabetic Investor, and Amber Clour, host of the existing podcast â€œDiabetes Daily Grind.â€ This show is a straightforward resource for people living with people with diabetes â€” family, friends, co-workers, partners, and caregivers â€” who all have questions and are looking for answers.
Clour tells DiabetesMine, â€œIâ€™d been blogging for about a year and realized I wanted to share stories from other people living their best life with diabetes. It doesnâ€™t hurt to also have the gift of gab.â€
â€œDiabetes podcasts, forums, and blogs help people living with this disease find their community,â€ Clour says. â€œI never knew how important it was to connect with someone who has walked a day in my T1D shoes until getting involved in the diabetes online community.â€
â€œ[Podcasting] fills a much-needed void in the diabetes community. Hearing someone talk about their journey can be life changing both emotionally and physically, especially when it comes to diabetes management,â€ she adds.
The idea of creating a new podcast for family, friends, and coworkers is in recognition of the fact that these supporters â€œmay feel ill-equipped â€” perhaps even embarrassed to ask. They want to help the person with diabetes, but arenâ€™t quite sure how or where to start.â€ The aim to provide a â€œstraightforward resourceâ€ to help.
Importance of sharing our voices
Podcasts are a way for the diabetes community to learn from others, share tips, tricks, and life â€œhacks,â€ and connect with others in a way that wasnâ€™t available even a decade ago.
Stubing tells DiabetesMine, â€œMy goals for my podcast and the foundation are to provide the education and tools to help our community fight for itself. Itâ€™s important that the future of type 1 diabetes be created by all people with type 1 diabetes, not just those with podcasts, and itâ€™s our role as podcasters to ensure that they can.â€
Simms agrees, saying, â€œAt its best, a diabetes podcast should educate and inspire. It should make you feel like youâ€™re part of a community and lift you up. It should also reflect reality and show that this isnâ€™t an easy condition. At its absolute best, it might spark change for an individual or for the community.â€
And Clour adds, reminding us all: â€œEveryone has a voice and nothing is going to change if we donâ€™t speak up.â€
This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a leading consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community that joined ishonest Media in 2015. The Diabetes Mine team is made up of informed patient advocates who are also trained journalists. We focus on providing content that informs and inspires people affected by diabetes.
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