In yesterday's post, Seth Resler addressed radio's complicated relationship with podcasting. At Podcast Movement, we brought radio people together with podcasters for an entire day's worth of sessions.
In the same room was veteran broadcaster Dave Beasing. A long-time Jacobs Media consultant, Dave is now Program Director of 100.3 The Sound (KSWD/Entercom) in Los Angeles. Dave is a fan of podcasting and was eager to learn at Podcast Movement. He's a great listener, and picked up on some of the key trends during our sessions.
While not a substitute for being there yourself, here's his “take” from our “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters” sessions. BTW we hope to see you next year for Podcast Movement 18 in Philadelphia. – FJ
“Useful takeaways?” Useful to whom, you may ask. To ME! And maybe other experienced radio executives will find these points helpful, too.
Here are the 10 things that stood out to me:
1. Driving Listeners from On-Air to Pods? Not so easy.
At the Jacobs Media Strategies “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters” sessions, KCRW President Jennifer Ferro noted they haven’t had much success driving traffic to podcasts using on-air promotion. It helps awareness, she says, but is less effective than promoting podcasts on other podcasts. The radio experience is more passive, one button, often in the car where people are avoiding distractions. When they’re listening in the digital space, they’re more willing to jump around among digital offerings.
2. Social Media Does Drive Traffic to Podcasts.
That’s the experience of a Canadian broadcaster with whom I talked. They use software that makes it easy to edit the on-air product into podcast form, then post it. A relevant static photo is displayed, and Facebook treats the file just like video.
3. Talent Matters More than the Idea.
Dean Cappello of WNYC Studios said to “put the talent at the center…” rather than start with an idea or topic, then cast a show. In hiexperience helping create great podcasts like “Radiolab” and “2 Dope Queens,” it’s more effective to start with amazing compelling talent and grow the show/podcast outward from there.
4. Some Successful Radio People have the Skills for Podcasting. (Many do not.)
More Dean Cappello: For radio people to make the transition to podcasting, they have to be able to think critically, blow up an idea and put it back together. Question what you know about radio and whether it applies.
5. Podcasts Vs. Broadcasts: You’ll never be bigger than at the beginning.
“A so-so podcast with a strong open is better than a great podcast with a so-so open,” according to Tamar Charney of NPR One, because 25-50% of podcast listeners drop out in the first five minutes. Or as Mike Carruthers of the “Something You Should Know” podcast put it, “Broadcasting is in-progress. Podcasting is start-to-finish.”
6. Respect Their Time.
More advice from Tamara Charney: When editing on-air down to a podcast, don’t include everything. Only include the best stuff.
7. Branded Podcasts are an Opportunity for Local Radio.
Radio people appeared to show interest in branded podcasts – entire on-demand programs that could be produced by a station and sponsored by advertisers, who then purchase a schedule to promote them. WLNK/Charlotte’s Sheri Lynch (of “Bob & Sheri” fame) discussed the “Her Money” podcast, a prime example that she co-hosts with a client who is a financial planner. Nothing Sheri does could ever NOT be entertaining, and the client does a respectable job of keeping up with her.
8. Financial & Sports = $
“Nobody is selling podcasts on a CPM basis,” according to John Rosso of Triton Digital. Therefore, he said, 2 categories that typically sell easily without CPM are financial and sports.
9. Every Podcast Needs a P&L.
Every podcast in Dean Cappello’s WNYC portfolio has a business plan. Build in costs, lead time, plan for sponsorship money and (hopefully) ancillary revenue (book deals, syndication, video?), and follow the plan. If a podcast isn’t growing or otherwise important, Cappello said to “clear it out of the pipeline.”
10. This is Happening Quickly!
The four members of the Jacobs panel on monetizing podcasts (pictured above) were asked to predict, “What year will the 12+ podcast audience surpass the 12+ radio audience?” Their answers: 2020 (van Mosel), 2025 (Rosso), 2024 (McCracken), 2020 (Walch).
To me, Podcast Movement looked and felt like an NAB Radio convention of about 20 years ago. It was well-attended, with lots of enthusiastic, young content creators. I left Anaheim excited about the future of audio entertainment.
Dave will debut a new column – “21st Century PD” – in Radio World's September 15 issue. Be sure to check it out.