THE BLOG
10/14/2012 09:47 pm ET | Updated Dec 12, 2012

WATCH: 60 Seconds of Social Media

Are podcasts back? Did they ever leave? The former "next big thing" was front and center this week courtesy of a clever interview request from Nerdist frontman Chris Hardwick.

Hardwick wanted actor Tom Hanks to appear on his podcast, so he appealed to the actor's love of antique typewriters, by sending an invite written on, and including, a 1934 Smith Corona.

It's a gentle reminder that podcasts never really went away. One out of five smartphone owners are podcast consumers, and since more people than ever are using smartphones, we're seeing some impressive podcast stats.

Comedian Ricky Gervais reported recently that iTunes (where 75 percent of podcasts are accessed) is giving him his own page, to celebrate the fact that combined Ricky Gervais products have had 500 million downloads.

The Adam Carolla Show broke the Guinness World Record (set, incidentally, by Gervais) for the most downloaded podcast, with almost 60 million unique downloads from 2009 to 2011.

But the medium hasn't just caught on with entertainers. The relative ease of recording and distributing branded programming is not lost on marketers. Why should brands care about podcasting? Well, for one thing, 40 percent of podcast consumers have a reported household income of at least $75,000.

Catch up on what you need to know about podcasts in this week's episode of Freshwire's "60 Seconds of Social Media" below.

If you missed last week's episode on social media and politics, check it out here.