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Why Podcasts Matter

Ten days ago, Podcast Movement Evolution in Las Vegas wrapped up. The conference was full of enthusiastic attendees, sponsors with their displays and exhibits, sessions loaded with takeaway content and keynote speakers. Like the very first Podcast Movement that I attended, this one was reminiscent of radio and record industry events of days gone by. Parties, suites, a crowded bar and big dinners. There was even a bus that took partiers to a Las Vegas disco. Lots of networking and many a digital card was swapped.

It’s easy for those of us who’ve been in media for a longtime to forget the feeling of excitement we once had to work in Radio. The thrill of walking into a station. Seeing the receptionist. Noticing the posters on the walls. The music playing in a hallway. The camaraderie of sitting with others who share the same job category as you and swapping stories. The feeling that you’re not working. You’re being paid to have fun. The “bennies” that go with the job. Concert tickets, sporting events, free meals and unclaimed prizes in the prize closet.

That’s the only paragraph you’ll read of me longing for those days. We have so many more opportunities today that when Radio was it … and it alone for audio. Many radio people attended as did executives of their companies who position themselves as an “Audio” company. Audio is hot. There is real true excitement for Audio. I could argue that while different, podcasting, and social media has stoked the fires of Radio. At least those that see podcasting as something more than a place to repurpose their radio shows.

I was honored to interview Cadence13 podcaster and ESPN talent Stephen A. Smith as a keynote speaker. I also participated in a session hosted by Gemini XIII where their new coaching platform, PodJourney, was presented. Along with Frances Harlow (Arcana Audio), Lauren Popish (The Wave Podcasting) and Anne Feuss (Pod People) we coached podcasters on their performance and answered their questions.

Smith spoke about his reason for adding podcasting to his audio platform. The two primary reasons being that he wants to share his thoughts and opinions beyond sports. He also wants his presence to be On-Demand. Those two purposes are a part of why podcasts matter.

There are those in radio and bloggers that demean the platform. It’s true that there are many hobbyists who have a podcast, but it’s also purposeful to be everywhere and be able to be heard everywhere. The same approach is important for your talent. A repurposed radio show, while not my favorite type of podcast, enables your program to be On-Demand. What I favor more so is a unique podcast that is not the same as your radio show because it expands the brand of the talent and the station.

It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Radio is mass media. Podcasting is niche media. We need mass media to drive niche media. That’s where radio comes into play. If a radio listener who is also a podcast listener is going to devote some of their listening time to a podcast … why shouldn’t it be yours?

Podcasts matter:

  • They extend a brand or stations reach.

  • They’re digestible in chunks and on-demand.

  • They create a one-on-one listening experience.

  • They fit into the overly busy world in which we exist.

Radio is the original audio creator. Podcasting is one of today’s portable audio platforms. They go together and are seen by the consumer/listener as interchangeable. Take advantage of podcasting. Embrace it. Own it.

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