Dave Beasing: This was only my second, and I loved it, again. When Mark Ramsey was onstage he called podcasting the “independent film of audio,” and that helps explain the vibe at Podcast Movement. There’s lots of youth, energy, and creativity. Frankly, it reminds me of radio conventions I attended in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Dave Beasing: Both years, it’s been about the people — specifically, their passion and intelligence. Was it Howard Stern who said, “Radio is a business of C students”? I’m not sure I agree, but — believe me — podcasters are head of their class.
Dave Beasing: I moderated a panel of broadcasters, and the Q&A was almost entirely radio salespeople asking about revenue. Radio is starting to think of podcasting as a business, not a hobby.
Dave Beasing: I was surprised… and also thought there should be more. Jacobs Media has done a great service for radio by creating the “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters” track at Podcast Movement, and it’s helping blur the line between the two groups. It’s encouraging to see some positive signs — Ginny Morris and Greg Strassell bringing 12 people from Hubbard, the Beasley team actively recruiting podcasters, Westwood One providing a “pitch pod” to share ideas, and a presence for iHeart, Entercom/cadence13, and others. To use a metaphor, some people in radio are starting to understand that they’re not in the stagecoach business but the transportation business.
Dave Beasing: There was some concern among podcasters about that. Radio is sending exploratory missions, but I think the natives are safe. There’s still a lot of unclaimed territory, plenty for everybody. What commercial radio programmers bring to the table is not only the “megaphone,” but they know how to target diverse audiences. They’ve designed audio products for a wide range of demographics, genders, ethnicities, and interests. People with radio backgrounds have a lot to learn about the differences between broadcast and podcast, but they’re good at targeting and branding.
Dave Beasing: 1. Discovery — There’s such an abundance of content (some of it bad), it can be hard to find the good stuff in the topic categories you like. Google is now taking a bigger interest in podcasting, and that’s starting to improve distribution and search.
2. Measurement — Advertisers feeling confident about who is actually hearing their messages will be a game changer.
3. Ease of Use — More accurately, the challenge is informing people how easy it already is. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with bright people that end in me saying, “Here, give me your phone. Push this, then that. You’re now listening to a podcast.” They look like I’ve pulled a rabbit out of my hat.
Dave Beasing: It’s simple really…
1. A Great Story — The story of a middle-aged Orange County woman who gradually, painfully realizes she’s the latest mark of a ruthless romantic grifter began as a fascinating LA Times newspaper story. Then it became one of the most successful podcasts, “Dirty John.” Soon, it’ll be a two-season (or more) series on Bravo TV. That’s why “True Crime” has become such a popular podcast category. Current events podcasts — about news, politics, sports — tell great stories about what’s happening now in the world around us. Interview podcasts help guests tell their stories. The branded podcast that I co-produced for Trader Joe’s tells the story behind that much-admired brand. Comedy podcasts tell funny stories. Some radio talent may think that simply leaving the microphones on longer — what program directors won’t allow them to do — can make a good podcast. Even improv actors begin a scene with a story to tell. Every great podcast starts with a great story, and there is no substitute.
Dave Beasing: I hope I’m not “transitioning out of” radio but playing a role in radio’s transition. Radio has reigned supreme in the auto dashboard, but that’s changing. Although that’s scary to people who own transmitters, it’s exciting for content guys like me. In the old days, TV producers only had about four places to distribute their work. Now there’s Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, you name it.
Dave Beasing: That’s my new company! Our slogan is, “Be the content, not the interruption,” and that was always my goal in radio, too. My core skill is as a writer, positioning a product without talking about the product. I love finding what customers care about and then associating my brand with their values and interests. Radio sales managers felt welcome in my office, because I enjoyed creating content for their clients’ brands. That not only got results for them, it also made their sponsorships more welcomed by my listeners.
Dave Beasing: Who doesn’t love to shop at Trader Joe’s? So Steve Goldstein and I were thrilled when they asked us to help create that same environment in podcast form. To get in the mood, our sound designer Jeff Schmidt wore a Hawaiian shirt while editing, too (Kidding!). I encourage any radio people who see branded podcasts as a revenue opportunity to listen to Season 1 of “Inside Trader Joe’s.” It might be, but not by just interviewing a client then uploading. That gets no listens, no renewals, and could actually damage a brand. Good content requires time, creativity, and talent, regardless of the subject matter. Steve used to be one of the smartest guys in radio. Now he’s the smartest guy in podcasting, so I hope that his company Amplifi Media and Sound That Brands can partner on some more cool projects.
When he’s not hammering nails into his new studio walls, Dave can be reached at [email protected]