Yesterday, we gave you a look at last week’s Podcast Movement conference, where 1,400 podcasting enthusiasts came together in Chicago to exchange ideas and thoughts about this burgeoning on-demand medium.
From content creation to marketing to revenue generation, Podcast Movement offered more than 90 sessions, panels, and keynotes that ran the gamut. Most attendees fall into that group you might refer to as enthusiastic hobbyists, many of whom were there to learn and network from each other.
Organizers Dan Franks and Jared Easley should be proud of their accomplishment. As noted, PM16 was extremely well-attended, and exceptionally well-produced. If you watched the video we embedded in our post yesterday, you can see how the cool staging contributed to an energetic environment.
The other phenomenon at Podcast Movement was the growing number of radio professionals at the conference, many of whom were there for the first time. I was one of those Podcast Movement “virgins,” there to soak up the energy, passion, and vibe.
And to give you perspective on what Podcast Movement was like from the radio broadcasting POV, we asked a group of managers and executives to tell us about their experience. Now that they've attended PM16, how do they view podcasting, podcasters, and the collective future? These 17 folks represent both commercial and public radio, and include upper management, consultants, on-air talent, digital media, programming, and everything in between.
So here’s the story of Podcast Movement from their perspectives:
Shannon Kelly, Beasley Media/Corporate Director Digital Content
Wow, the Podcast Movement! What a great experience. It was so inspiring to be with so many creative individuals. The wide range of storytellers, from comedic to investigative to self-exploration and healing, was super motivating. I learned that there is no limit to creative self-expression and podcasting is the perfect medium for it.
The Podcast Movement confirmed that podcasting is a perfect platform for commercial radio to explore. We have the technology, we have the production, we have the talent, we have the storytellers and the means to promote our podcasts. I’m excited to begin this journey and give our extraordinary personalities the opportunity to expand their brands and offer new content in this space.
Buzz Knight, Greater Media/VP, Programming
I loved being a first-timer at Podcast Movement. The energy and exuberance reminded me of my visits to the Consumer Electronics Show.
Kevin Smith, who delivered one of the keynotes, summed up my takeaway:
“Podcasting is a medium built on self-expression and passion. Go risk something and create.”
Kerri Hoffman, Public Radio Exchange (PRX)/CEO
Because the gathering is a cross-section of podcasters from public media, commercial media and independent digital marketers, best practices can be generously shared. I find value in learning from people and businesses I don't know (yet).
PM has exposed our organization to the larger world of podcasting, the exciting trends, and the existing hurdles. The conference is large and over time, the lack of attendee segmentation will create a programming challenge.
Mike O’Malley, Albright & O’Malley & Brenner/partner
Two things jumped out at me: talent and opportunity.
We often struggle finding talent in the radio pool; meanwhile the podcasting waters may be quite rich with the type of enthusiastic storytellers we’re looking for.
Second, the monetization opportunities go well beyond simple pre-, mid-, and post-rolls. Thinking differently about scale, opens up a world of monetization possibilities.
Tom Barnard, KQRS morning show & podcaster
Podcasting is great way to fuel consumption of on-demand content.
In terms of terrestrial radio, podcasting is another way to promote your brand, grow your digital platform and has big upside for radio companies leveraging their top talent.
Drew Horowitz, Hubbard Radio/President & COO
My takeaway is that the podcast movement is what FM Radio was in the ‘70s: a new entertainment platform that is being constructed and used by the Plurals and Millennials.
It can be a wonderfully cohabiting medium with radio that can be a talent and content incubator for us.
It is still in the early stage but there is a there there.
Angie May Yarusso, Emmis Digital/VP
Podcast Movement is about using the power of audio storytelling to create content and connect people.
My two biggest takeaways from attending this conference were 1) Successful podcasts are built on a host’s passion not repurposing on-air content. 2) Podcasting is digital content just like blogging, video, and social media.
The win is to create a meaningful digital audience, passionate about a topic, by fully integrating audio in a digital content strategy (great content, blogging, social, and distribution). Advertising revenue is created from brands who share the audience and passion and will pay for the digital engagement across the entire strategy, not just the audio pre-roll.
Valerie Geller, Geller Media International/President
Every broadcaster noticed it: the passion – something that's been missing from commercial radio lately. Public radio's been ahead in this game, mostly because it's filled with kids in college who think it's fun. Since I'm platform agnostic, my work training/coaching communicators easily crosses over. (And some of the podcasts really do need help…).
While podcasting relates to radio, it's its OWN thing – an organic evolution of blogging – attracting individuals who have something to say and building audiences with their content and personalities. Good ones offer audiences what they can't find on radio (or anywhere else) But it's a mixed bag, ranging from interesting, fun and engaging to the audio equivalent of watching paint dry.
That's creative process. But cream rises.
Kurt Johnson, Townsquare Media/SVP, Programming
This is the meeting place for podcasters – call it “PodCon.” From hobbyists to Kevin Smith and everyone in between.
These are deeply passionate people who are living on the long tail. It'll be interesting as the medium develops. No one could say where it's headed, but many of the attendees didn't seem to care. They just love to tell stories for a wide variety of reasons.
Rob Cressman, WDRV, Chicago/Program Director
It was refreshing to step into such an energized mix. Podcast Movement included pioneers, visionaries and accomplished hosts developing a culture and community.
The revolutionary spirit in the halls was reminiscent of an Alternative format panel at a Gavin convention, circa 1994-1995.
Steve Goldstein, Amplifi Media/President & Founder
Podcast Movement has the energy of an NAB from 15 years ago with people focused on discovery and learning. Much of the energy is derived from people knowing they are at the forefront of a nascent category.
It is an odd combination of hobbyists and professionals, many of which are mastering their craft and experimentation with different content and voices. Many of these styles are foreign to those in commercial radio.
What’s most stimulating is the focus on “new.” New ideas, new voices, and especially storytelling. There are comedians, lawyers, health care pros, food aficionados, TV show producers, guys trying to make guys better. Many will hit the wall, but some are already developing a substantial following.
Erica Dreyer, NRG Media/Director, Integrated Media
I spent a lot of time in the monetization sessions so one of my main takeaways would be that there’s a lot of excitement and momentum with podcasts but the industry is still in its infancy.
It’ll be exciting to watch the movement grow as we learn from each other how to balance a great user experience with increased revenue opportunities.
John Gehron, AccuRadio/COO
My main takeaway was it reminded me of the early days of RAIN when Internet radio was starting. There were only a few broadcasters but many believers, from hobbyists to techies. Podcast Movement featured very much the same early energy and collaboration.
This is about having your own voice without being filtered by media. Just like the Internet is good for the long tail of music, podcasting allows the long tail of information. It's an outlet for niche subjects that are too narrow for mainstream media.
Jake Shapiro, RadioPublic/CEO
Podcast Movement is a messy and tasty mashup of a newly emboldened podcast ecosystem. The conference has a feeling of a new industry taking shape and getting a sense of itself, transitioning from fragmented niche communities to a thriving village of talent, networks, sponsors and vendors and fans – from the grassroots to the big players.
Most tensions and competitive suspicions are overshadowed by excitement about growth and opportunity, and a shared recognition that podcasting is a unique and still undervalued medium in today's digital entertainment and information world. Podcasting is on the move.
Phil Mackey, 1500 ESPN, Minneapolis/On-air talent
With help from some of the smartest people in podcasting, radio, marketing and technology, Podcast Movement centers around two key themes: 1) How to create compelling audio content that connects with audiences… and 2) How to best distribute this content in a way that reaches as many people as possible.
While radio's core business still revolves around AM & FM signals, the future of audio consumption is becoming more and more platform-agnostic. For that reason, it's more important than ever to leverage the credibility and platforms our radio brands have built and use them to expand into podcasting.
Rob McCracken, Midroll Media/Director, Digital Solutions Group
PM16 had something for everyone. It provided a chance to form new relationships with peers, conduct business and to gain perspective from the biggest players in the space to the smallest independent podcasters.
If you’re serious about learning how to participate and thrive in the spoken-word audio space I think you have to mark it on your calendar for next year.
Derek Wetmore, Hubbard Radio/Senior Editor
Podcast Movement was three days of collective insight, energy, and answers from some of the brightest minds in podcasting, all coming together to raise the water level of the medium.
I thought it was helpful to hear the way others are approaching some of the most pressing challenges facing podcasters.
Greg Strassell, Hubbard Radio/SVP Programming
For the most part, I was excited to see a convention dedicated to audio. There are many great ventures moving ahead from the bigger podcast companies, but many more indie podcasters looking for opportunities to grow with partnerships.
With a favorite quote of “never stop learning,” this was an opportunity to meet and hear from content creators and for the Hubbard team in attendance to come back with ideas to embrace this further.
Scott Mahalick, Alpha Media/EVP Programming
The Podcast Movement is a collection of really talented, self-expressionists with a deadly focus on how to maximize their entertainment value.
It reminds me what we in radio have been preaching for years: the most entertaining storytellers win. I think podcasters are a great source for recruitment and partnering.
There's a lot of commonality about these observations, especially as it relates to podcasters representing the beginning of something special, not dissimilar to what Alternative or FM radio was like decades ago. There's a raw, wild and wooly feeling to podcasting, reflected by this conference, and those who are part of it. There's also a sense the space is maturing, changing, and trying to find its focus.
The radio industry is still assessing the role it will play in the podcast ecosphere. Many companies are grappling with podcasting as you read this post because there's a growing feeling that it is part of the medium's future.
It's safe bet that more broadcasters will be attending Podcast Movement 2017, next August in Anaheim.