For most commercial radio stations, the first step into the world of podcasting is to take their on-air content and publish it online as a podcast. Unfortunately, in most cases, it's not just simply a matter of uploading a straight recording of a five-hour show. Here are some things to consider as you repackage your radio shows as podcasts:
1. Remove the Music
I'm not a lawyer, and you should always check with your own legal team, but I'm willing to bet that they'll tell you that you have to strip out all of the songs you played on the air before posting your show online. At this point, there's isn't a license that easily allows for music by big artists to be included in podcasts. From time to time a podcaster finds a way around this problem, but those are the exceptions, not the rule.
2. Remove the Commercials
When it comes to podcasting, the expectations around commercials are different. Podcasts don't have six-minute blocks of produced 60-second spots. Instead, they usually incorporate host-read sponsorships at the beginning and in the middle of the podcast. If you don't adhere to the convention, you're likely to turn off podcast listeners. If you want to monetize your podcasts, insert separate host-read spots that meet listener expectations.
3. Chunk it Up
Public radio is much farther ahead of commercial radio when it comes to podcasting in part because there's less work involved in adapting their content for on-demand consumption. By and large, you can take an episode of Wait Wait…Don't Tell Me! or Fresh Air and publish it as a podcast in its original state. Unfortunately, the same is not usually true of commercial radio. Even if you've got an all-talk morning show, simply publishing over four hours of audio on a daily basis isn't a sufficient strategy. Yes, you should publish your morning show (sans music and commercials) in its entirety for die-hard fans, but you should also take the station's interviews and benchmark features and edit them into specific podcasts.
4. Record Intros and Outros for the Podcast Versions
I have heard some radio stations “chunk up” features as podcast series, but neglect to properly set up these features for a podcast format at the beginning of each episode. The first 60 seconds of a podcast episode are crucial, as listeners will abandon the episode if they don't understand what's going on. Record a specific introduction for the podcast that tells people what the show is about, who you are, and what happens in this episode. For example, “Hi, this is Johnny Fever from WKRP in Cincinnati. Every morning at 6:15, 7:15, and 8:15, we do our Morning Prank Call, where we call up a listener and, well…lie to them. Here are our prank calls from June 2nd, 2017…”
By the same token, record an outro for the end of each podcast episode: “Thanks for listening, I'm Johnny Fever. Remember, you can hear more prank calls every morning on WKRP at 6:15, 7:15, and 8:15. Or you can subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you find podcasts. You can also find them in the WKRP mobile app. Catch you next time!”
5. Get Credit
If you want Nielsen to count any time-shifted radio listening towards your station's PPM ratings, you'll need to do two things: (1) Use audio that's encoded for PPM, and (2) Publish it online quickly — Nielsen only counts audio that is listened to within 24 hours of the original broadcast.
Guide to Podcasting
For more help with podcasting, check out our Guide to Podcasting for Radio Stations.
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