Kudos to Fred and Paul Jacobs for creating two days of compelling content to work toward bridging the gap between broadcasters and podcasters. The speakers were strong, the sessions were informational, and the rooms were packed. The $64,000 question is: Why did radio show up in big numbers this year? Here’s what we heard…
For the most part everyone we spoke to from the radio industry said they were here to learn. Broadcasters say they want to understand exactly what’s going on in the space. Why is advertising testing the waters? How can radio bring its strengths to this new audio medium and help it grow? How is the measurement working (it’s not)? What can podcasters teach broadcasters as they roll out their own strategies as a way to enhance their over-the-air business?
We also think they were here to poach. Nothing wrong with that. If they identify talent and want to propel them to greatness, why not? Programmers often complain radio’s minor leagues have disappeared. And more than a few podcasters have crossed into the radio sphere.
Hubbard CEO Ginny Morris says Hubbard tries to be part of every revolution of audio. “Our strategy is to be clear-eyed and open-minded.” Westwood One had a large display called the Pitch Pod where they encouraged podcasters to tell their stories. She said podcasting is very compelling. “Listeners can listen to what they want, whenever they want. We are excited about how this can enhance what we do for our listeners.”
Perhaps Carolyn Beasley said it best. “We want to keep our listeners in our ecosystem.” And podcasting can help radio companies that make a comittment to podcasting provide their listeners with the kind of niche programs they cannot provide over the air. Morris agreed, stating, “We are trying to follow the listener. We are trying to understand what the listener is looking for. Radio will have to adapt.”
We heard there were 12 Hubbard managers in attendance this year. There was a huge Beasley contingent. iHeartRadio held a red carpet cocktail party. We spoke to people from Bonneville, Entercom, Galaxy, and several other companies. Why was radio at Podcast Movement this year? The answer is simple. With nearly 20% of consumers now listening to podcasts, with a listening base skewing younger, and with at least $402 million in advertising headed to the medium, radio would be foolish not to be here. And when Podcast Movement kicks off in Orlando next year, you can bet there will be even more radio people in attendance.