When podcasting debuted in 2004, the ability to take audio content on-the-go was still novel and exciting (remember when iPods were new?). Portable audio devices started the digital revolution. Now, it’s a given that consumers will take their media with them and enjoy on-demand access…but most radio hasn’t caught on to the diversity of podcast content and therefore the reason for its global appeal.
Today, most radio content still airs exclusively live – meaning potential audiences won’t hear it unless they happen to be near a radio while it’s playing (and, unless that radio happens to be tuned to a live broadcast. These days, many are not.)
And while the majority of radio has stuck to a dated, linear model, audiences have largely moved to on-demand listening – consuming whatever they want, whenever they want, 24/7.
Unlike the limitations of radio, there are a close to 100 different devices, apps, and sites where a listener can find a podcast. Apple Podcasts is currently the primary player in this space, but Google Play, Spotify, Pandora, apps, and a dozen or so sites make it easy to syndicate and consume the latest podcast content. Podcasting natively has already invaded smart home devices, and you can easily listen on-demand with Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Apple HomePod and Google Home.
Blubrry pushed the boundaries in 2016 when we began working with major streaming provider, StreamGuys, to distribute podcasts via internet radio, adopting a linear option for podcasts. Podcast2Radio expands podcasts to Kindle, Apple TV, Aha Radio, Sonos, Alexa, Tunein, vTuner, Xbox One, ZenoLive, Shoutcast and more. Yes, some radio networks allow streaming via apps, buried among thousands of other stations – but by focusing solely on a live format they’re missing out on the opportunities of podcasting.
Radio has power locally, but by not embracing podcasting, networks are missing out on a huge opportunity to spread their message more widely, give their on-air talent a broader platform, and yes, sell more advertising. Just look at Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, etc.: they are winning huge market share of music listeners to include spoken word content rich podcasting.
Fight or flight: radio needs to fight. By diversifying their content and distribution methods, they’ll appeal to the greater masses. They’re fully capable of this: as networks and stations get creative with marketing highlights and new content programming, they’ll find lost audiences.
Part 1 and Part 2 of our NAB radio series illustrates that it is possible to do both. Radio can hit a home run and bring a lot of traffic to their sites, where listeners can get their on-demand fix and satisfaction from their drive time show as well. Podcasting is exploding, but the question is: when will radio stations build a strategy to jump onboard?
At the upcoming NABShow, Blubrry will be speaking to radio executives from around the world and helping them discover their podcasting strategy to compete completely in this quickly growing section of the digital space. Contact us to create an appointment and get started creating your station’s podcast strategy.