Audio Content Runs Amok


(By Buzz Knight) There is excellent news if you’re a provider or creator of audio content. Audio is cool and it is not only available on-demand but it is in demand.

Audio is available on more platforms of distribution than ever.

There is of course traditional radio which has always tried to be a steady and reliable source of content and audience engagement.

The rise in content creation from Podcasters has been a boom for the audio sector as well.

Then along comes Clubhouse which has inspired other social media type platforms and the trend for social going private along with people gravitating toward niche communities.

What got me thinking about writing this article was the dramatic negative trendline regarding Clubhouse downloads and consumption.

First, we hear that Clubhouse enjoyed this surge in use during the pandemic and could be valued at 4 billion dollars without any revenue.

They experienced a sharp spike in February with 9.6 million downloads and in April numbers plummeted to 900,000 downloads worldwide (according to Sensor Tower, a company that offers intelligence on the “app economy.”)

Is it the novelty of a new app to play with wearing down or is it the quality of the audio content catching up with it?

Even if it is some combination of both it begs the important questions of content creation and presentation and the difficulty of it for novice presenters.

Spotify just announced its live audio app and Clubhouse rival, Spotify Greenroom which came behind the company’s purchase of the sports focused app Locker Room which promises to leverage their personalization technology to better connect users to content they want to hear.

Twitter is jumping into the audio fray with something called “Spaces” and Facebook has created their version called “Live Audio Rooms.”

Not to be outdone, Reddit will offer its community Reddit Talk, a similar venture that hopes existing users will flock to a new feature rather than download a whole new app.

All of this has fueled new voices that are being heard in some cases for the first time.
It has also created a dash for content creation that has run amok when considering quality.

Radio is the original social network and has generally taken a quality first approach.
There is always room for improvement and radio content providers get how to win audience attention.

While there are many great examples of well-orchestrated podcasts, the highway is littered with poorly executed examples that have gone to market.

Steve Goldstein, the founder of Amplifi Media has done great work in sifting thru the 2 million podcasts and his analysis makes the point that podcasting is hard work.

Those of us who have been content creators or content presenters respect that delivering content and connecting with an audience is hard work.

Just as riding a bike for the first time was a dispiriting experience because of the degree of difficulty we all remember the first time we cracked a microphone as equally challenging and humbling.

The work that needs to be put in to curate and tell a story with a succinct beginning, middle and end is significant to say the least and is the difference between content that connects and content that repels.

Let content run amok elsewhere and be great every second you have an opportunity to connect with your audience.

That will always win in the long run.

Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


  1. To “So Boring” – clearly not an open-minded individual – radio IS social if it’s done right, as in interaction with listeners, legitimate conversation with the community, genuine desire to entertain between songs with topics that relate to the audience. But many local stations have been forced to pull back on resources – namely people – due to financial setbacks. Fewer people doing more work with less material equals less creativity and less concern for content (companies don’t think they have the luxury for that.) There is a much-needed place for radio to bind a community together (because networks and music boxes can’t do that effectively.) Giving time and temp isn’t the same as telling the listener why they should care: because the roads are iced over and you nearly spun out on the main interstate on the way to the station and it’s only gotten worse in the past hour; because the heavy downpour is postponing the Heart Walk with a thousand participants; because we’re finally getting sunshine after a week of lining up the animals two-by-two for a big ride and kids can use their favorite park again. You won’t get that kind of personalization through a non-local source. THAT’S social.

    • Really? So Joe Rogan isn’t social? Stern abandoned terrestrial because it didn’t have the money to pay him. Why didn’t they have the money? Well, because advertisers see less value in radio and therefore spend less money. “Bind a community together”…. Good grief. No one even owns a radio anymore (under 50). Your examples are all emergency situations, so if you’re medium is only good at emergencies then you’re in big trouble. Why are TV meteorologists all using Facebook LIVE? Because there’s more audience on Facebook than a Morning Radio show. I have no idea what a music box is, unless you’re talking about a radio station that promised 50 minutes of music an hour (which also promises 10 minutes of commercials per hour). Between the songs, we get to hear someone trying to be a comedian, while also spamming our ears about why we need to visit the station website…. LAME! You blame financial setbacks, and that’s correct. To less value goes less money. You dinosaurs can keep acting radio is some magical culture, but it’s a simple delivery device that rarely gets talked about.

  2. “Radio is the original social network”. This is a tired saying from the same tired “experts”.
    First off, I’ve never heard Zuckerberg or Dorsey ever claim that radio was the inspiration. Ever.
    Radio isn’t social. It’s a one channel experience. Want Country music? Well, you have 2 choices per city. That’s not social. Go to Spotify and you have 2 million choices. And Social has nothing to do with “local”… local is usually an excuse to be boring. “Go to our website and see where we’ll be giving away free hot dogs this weekend”….Local, sure. Boring, yes. Do people go to your station to hear other people win prices? Nope. But somehow, it’s the “original social network”. And by the way, let’s say you’re right and it’s the original social network? Now what?Wanna cookie? It doesn’t change the fact that the entire radio industry isn’t as valuable as one of the main social platforms. When will these radio sites start getting thoughts from someone under 45? I hate to be age-based, but if we keep reading the same tired thoughts with different words, how will the industry ever change? I’m already waiting for Monday morning’s “Top Ten Tips for Talent” 1) Have weekly air checks 2) Be supportive 3)….. bla bla…..


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