The scene you're looking at is a festive luau taking place at the Anaheim Marriott during the Podcast Movement 2017 conference that ends today. And it was apparent, this event featured a much younger demographic than you're used to seeing at most radio gatherings. I'm not able to poll the nearly 2,000 attendees at this breakthrough event, but my estimate is that the average age falls somewhere in the mid-30s.
But it's not just an age thing. Podcast Movement is a gathering that is simple shimmering with energy, electricity, and passion. We're talking about hundreds and hundreds of podcasters, most of whom are upbeat and excited about the future of audio.
And this palpable feeling of innovation was everywhere at this conference – in the capacity-filled meeting room, the busy hallways, the crowded exhibit hall, and the vibrant parties. Most of the attendees I've met these past couple years at Podcast Movement are upbeat and confident. They want to create audio content, they want to learn, and they're not afraid to question conventional wisdom.
And someone in attendance at this conference could turn out to be the innovator, the disruptor, or the game-changer. I believe that the large crowd of radio people who showed up in Anaheim would agree with me about this unbridled energy. We were gratified to see a couple hundred attendees in our “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters” sessions – a quantum leap in radio's representations from last year's Chicago conference.
At one of our sessions, Market Enginuity's Sarah van Mosel warned the room about how voice command devices like the Amazon Echo could soon disrupt the way consumers simply find our stations. Rather than turn a dial, push a button, or open an app, it may not be long before they simply shout out a command to “tune in” a radio station.
Fred Jacobs shows radio personalities how to take their game to the next level in this webinar recording.
Or will they? Because if radio doesn't address what Amazon calls the “invocations” that puts Alexa into action, the ease in which people find radio stations could be disrupted, if not totally derailed. She suggested that radio should run – not walk -to get its Echo game in order.
And then I came across this graphic in my email that stopped me cold:
By using social media technology in a very innovative way, the National Weather Service lapped media weather “authorities – from The Weather Channel to local TV news to news radio stations. A research study may reveal that a media brand “owns” an image like weather, but an end-around like this – using the technology of now – allows a government agency to outpace and outdo well-heeled, traditional media brands. Radio and TV often excel during emergencies like Hurricane Harvey, but the National Weather Service is using innovative tools to go directly to consumers on a platform they use every day.
The lessons from Podcast Movement aren't about how to monetize podcasts or how long they should be.
They're about how the combination of technology and innovation can disrupt institutions and create an entirely new audio paradigm.
Don't believe me? I just met several hundred smart young people who would be happy to argue the point.
Thanks to everyone who attended our “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters” sessions at Podcast Movement. And to my old college friend, Scott Westerman, who never fails to inspire.