Is Radio Missing the Mark in Podcasting?

Radio and podcasting are similar in many ways. But they also have drastic differences that we can help broadcasters understand at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show. Along with a handful of other podcasting companies in the Podcasting Pavilion, we’ll be working hard to assist radio executive and creators in building a new digital strategy around their content in order to make the most of both of these complementary platforms.

In its original form, radio was news and storytelling: there are even sites dedicated to the upkeep of the original radio series of old. But, times have changed and the storytelling of old is now largely regulated to modern audiobooks. There is huge interest in deploying podcast at radio stations, but that interest often conflicts with the traditional linear radio programming model.

The answer: view podcasting and radio as complementary, instead of competing, audio platforms.

Almost everything of significance within a community is broadcast to the masses who are tuned-in during drive time. The interview with the college coach, local sports highlights, a rock band making its debut, food events, you name it – radio’s local focus makes live content an important part of any community. But increasingly, todays’ listeners also seek out – and are accustomed to – on-demand content that they can stream or download and listen to whenever and wherever they like.

The best strategy, then, is not a matter of either/or, but of carefully planning to make the most of each kind of audio consumption. Live, local broadcasts, combined with some original content, can keep digital listeners engaged beyond the range of the radio transmitter. And best yet, this approach allows radio stations to build their brand, instead of getting lost in an app with 1000’s of others. The radio station’s website can become the default go-to page for local content that listeners can subscribe and listen to on demand.

Radio-to-podcast isn’t as simple as just dumping an entire program into one episode. No one wants to listen to a podcast composed of three hours of morning drive – in fact, that is the absolute last thing a station should do. But short segments of content that keep listeners tuned in are the same kind of thing listeners will consume on their own time.

By using the power of broadcast to promote the podcast, and the podcast to promote the radio station, the two mediums create a symbiotic relationship that can lead listeners to cross over in both directions.

Radio needs to become a key voice in this consistently-growing medium, and podcasting companies like Blubrry have the tools and services to help stations take off quickly — at price points that will not require an executive meeting. The Blubrry team has been working with radio networks for at least three years, advising them on how to implement successful podcasting strategies for their digital networks. With our guidance, radio networks can implement successful strategies that allow the two models to complement each other.

We’ll see you at NAB soon, so contact us if you’d like to schedule a meeting to help you hit the mark in podcasting.


2 Replies to “Is Radio Missing the Mark in Podcasting?”

  1. I don’t think radio is missing anything by ignoring podcasting. There is just no real money to be made with it. Local advertisers are not going to buy time because the listeners could be located anywhere in the world. And no one who is listening in Denver is going to get in their car and drive all the way to Pittsburgh to go to a dry cleaners because they heard their ad on the podcast. And getting national accounts is almost next to impossible unless you have super great connections with the major advertising agencies. And most people don’t have that and never will. Podcasting is great for people who want to feel like they’re in radio but pick up a paycheck from a completely different line of work.

  2. Radio groups we work with have been successful in monetizing there shows. They are extending their current advertisers into local content. Those that are creating original content have expanded advertising to include e-commerce and digital companies in their communities. Their original content is, of course, opened to the regular podcast advertising pool which is expected to reach 600 million this year. Our pretense remains that radio has to start podcasting they have few alternatives. Hoping to be found in an app with 1000’s of other stations is not what I would term a viable long-term survival strategy.

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