As we approach the eve of the Podcast Movement conference in Chicago, it’s becoming clearer to more and more radio professionals from both the public and commercial sectors that on-demand audio is becoming a media force.
The evidence keeps piling up. If Serial was in fact the tipping point for podcasting, last week’s news that the murder conviction of Adnan Syed was vacated, opening the door to a new trial was epic. And it underscores the impact that well produced content can have in the big scheme of things.
New York Public Radio (WNYC) President and CEO, Laura Walker, wrote a piece for Medium, describing her vision of radio’s future. Podcasting – not surprising – is one of the component parts:
“We believe in the platform of radio and its future; we also believe in the power of the podcast not just to reach large audiences, but also to foster new communities.”
Laura went on to discuss how podcasting features audience diversity, attracts new talent, and engenders loyalty and community.
And then NPR’s Jarl Mohn made headlines last week, notably in the LA Times:
NPR President Jarl Mohn Is Betting On Smart, Addictive Podcasts To Hook Millennials
As Jarl told reporter Stephen Battaglio, “We’re seeing some very encouraging signs that younger people are coming into NPR that previously haven’t listened. They get excited about a podcast and then start listening.”
And that’s just the public radio side of the story.
The podcasting bug is alive and well in commercial radio as well. Hubbard Radio’s investment in Podcast One, and Scripps' purchase of Midroll and more recently Stitcher – are clear signs of serious interest in the podcasting space.
And when it comes to radio talent, podcasting is also entering the mainstream. Former broadcaster-turned-podcaster Tom Leykis will be in attendance at Podcast Movement, sharing the stage with our Seth Resler, along with Val Geller, Doug Berman (EVP of Car Talk and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!), and Spreaker’s Rob Greenlee.
And KQRS morning juggernaut, Tom Barnard, is blowing the doors off with his daily podcast. He continues to dominate the Minneapolis/St. Paul market on FM radio, but it’s podcasting that has taken Tom and the show to new heights.
In our most recent Techsurvey, we’re seeing growth among those who listen to podcasts and on-demand audio. From last year to this year’s TS12, we show a jump from 21%-28% among those who listen to podcasts monthly or more often. These levels are considerably higher in the public radio audience. (We’ll have updated data next month when Public Radio Techsurvey8 is released.)
And the numbers continue to back what both Jarl Mohn and Laura Walker are saying. The core audience for podcasts skews younger, providing an aging medium like broadcast radio with the opportunity to grow a new audience – off the air, in an environment that promises new audience and new revenue streams.
So Jacobs Media will be attending Podcast Movement this week in force. We’re there to learn and meet people inside and outside podcasting. And we’re about to become participants in the revolution, too. Today we’re launching our own podcast, hosted by Seth Resler, our Digital Dot Connector. It’s the DASH Podcast Series, comprised of interviews with some of the key players in the connected car movement we recorded at last fall’s conference in partnership with Radio Ink.
With everything we do at Jacobs Media and jācapps, it’s essential that we not just talk about podcasting, but actually do it. Walking the walk with the DASH Podcast Series is just the beginning. We have other podcasting concepts in the pipeline.
But the key impetus for us stepping out into podcasting is to simply be a part of this thing. The explosion in audio and the different ways that consumers now use and enjoy it is something that is of paramount importance to everyone in radio.
It starts with learning, understanding, and of course, networking. And we’re excited to be a part of the Podcast Movement conference. We’ll be live tweeting from the event, and you’ll read more about Podcast Movement in this blog.
In the meantime, we invite you to sample the first episode of our DASH Podcast Series. It features Paul Jacobs talking with Seth about the importance of the “connected car” to radio. Subsequent episodes will highlight many of our DASH A-listers, discussing their areas of expertise and where broadcast radio fits in with the dashboard.
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