Why do you choose to watch NBC news over CNN news over FOX news? We each have a list of reasons, from authority to political biases to which networks aren't in a fight with my cable provider at the moment. But if we look beneath our immediate answers, we find that we select our information-source-of-choice largely based on who entertains us the best.
If we want an elegant presentation of the news, we turn to Anderson Cooper. If we're looking for a liberal rant with laughter, we turn to Jon Stewart. And if we like outrage with our information, we turn to Rush Limbaugh. Our rational needs absolutely play a part in our decisions about whom we will choose, but all things being equal we ultimately select programs for more emotional entertainment factors.
This is why I always counsel my podcast consultancy clients to build their shows around entertainment first. Because if a program doesn't have something immediately "likable," it will get lost in the competitive noise.
Listeners and viewers have plenty of choices for getting the information they need. iTunes alone has over a quarter of a million podcasts. So even if you have a piece of earth-shattering information that will draw people in for a listen, that still just accounts for ONE SHOW. Building a program around unfolding stories, likable people, humor, or some other emotional driver is what will keep an audience coming back again and again.
Certainly you can't skimp on content and pure fluff will eventually bore listeners. But striking a balance between what will entertain and what will inform is a key component of any successful content-based strategy...and an essential factor in starting your own successful podcast.