What Radio Can Learn From Podcasts


(By Buzz Knight) The podcast community has exploded in recent years and has many unique attributes that traditional media and the radio business specifically can consider emulating and learn from.

Here are some observations and lessons:

1) The Value of a niche
Podcasts frequently target niche audiences, allowing hosts to build a loyal community and develop a deep connection with listeners. This can serve as a model for traditional media to find ways to create targeted content.

Radio by its nature understands niche programming based on formats chosen, but it may be an opportunity for the business to further consider that niche content can be golden both for listeners and advertisers.

2) Authenticity and intimacy
Podcasts by their nature are unscripted, offering an intimate connection between a host and a listener thereby creating a unique relationship.

Radio has leveraged this asset for many years but as budget cuts have minimized talent or fully eliminated talent, sometimes this is lost in certain markets.

You sometimes get the impression that air talent is rushing their way thru their daily tasks and just checking the box in terms of the content being created.

Radio can observe what podcasters create and find ways to increase the level of interaction and connection between their audience and their content.

3) Accessibility and On-demand content available on multi-platforms.
Podcasts are easy to access and can be listened to on-demand making it a convenient process for listeners to consume content at their own space and time. Surely, the challenge of discovery in the podcast ecosystem exists, but once a podcast user gets familiar and educated with the discovery process it’s easy and at one’s fingertips.

Radio should emulate this asset of podcasts and offer greater flexibility and accessibility in their content distribution on multiple platforms.

This occurs with some consistency for radio brands but needs further examination to maximize audience retention.

4) Experimentation, trial and error and innovation.
The podcast community is a haven for innovation and experimentation and is often quick at adopting new technology and adjusting to new trends. Traditional media and radio specifically should learn from this by being open to experimenting with new formats to stay ahead of the curve.

The podcast community’s fear of failure can be a double edge sword sometimes leading to an unpolished and unprofessional output, but the proper balance of quality and consistency can go a long way to building a loyal audience.

5) Community
Podcasters nurture a sense of community with their audience who connect with each other via online forums and social media.

Radio brands can learn from this by doing a better job of encouraging audience engagement and creating moments for community building around their content.
Many would observe radio started by being the original form of social media but with depleted resources this factor is at risk.

Additionally, community is an important asset for podcasters themselves as the community of people with the same mission find a way to share insights and help each other succeed.
Radio can strengthen this element of community among peers as well.

6) Sponsorship and monetization
It’s no secret that a small number of podcasts find a road to building a significant audience that is large enough to monetize.

As traditional media needs to explore new revenue streams they can learn from podcasters and their various monetization and sponsorship models, and radio is no exception.

Whether it be event creation when a podcast is recorded before a live audience or the use of merchandise to help market a podcast, there are examples that radio can study that can prove to be beneficial.


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


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