Radio’s Podcasting Disconnect
There’s a consensus in the audio industry that podcasting will do to the spoken word what streaming has done for music. More and more long-form audio content is being produced for podcasting and the broadcasters are nervous about their talk stations (usually on the AM dial) becoming marginalized. As a reaction Radio is trying to embrace podcasting as their own off-platform product extension. But there’s a huge disconnect between the broadcasters’ podcasting ambitions and their ability to produce, distribute, and monetize podcasts.
In this provocative article Amplifi Media’s Steve Goldstein dishes a dose of reality on Radio’s podcast ambitions. The problem starts with the content itself. A typical 4-5 hour talk daypart is a rambling combination of content, new/weather/traffic updates, ads, etc., which becomes dated the minute it airs. Most podcast listeners won’t have the patience to sort through this mountain of mush, and instead want original content that’s concise and snackable. The way podcasts are consumed is the other problem. Radio is stuck in the 2010 era of podcasting, where the content is downloaded or cached up front and then listened to later. Because it’s not live streamed broadcasters can’t provide hard audience metrics or even prove that an ad in a podcast was actually heard. In today’s media world this lack of visibility is a non-starter for most brands.
So yes, the podcasting revolution is coming to the audio world sooner than later. But it won’t be broadcasters leading the charge by simply moving their spoken word content into podcasts. Instead content originally produced for podcasts, distributed via stream, with ad insertion technology will win the day.