Is the podcasting vs. radio’ showdown finally about to take center stage? It looks like podcasting along with other alternative types of entertainment have finally caused traditional corporate radio to react. In November of 2004, Bridge Ratings & Research released a study that indicated that the terrestrial radio audience was slowly slipping away. During the last couple of months of 2005, the reports show that for the most part, that ‘slippage’ has either stopped or slowed down. The youngest group – 12 – 24 years old – showed probably the most interest in alternative media and also the least interest in traditional radio.
The older groups showed slight increases in their usage of radio, even though most are still spending considerable time with what’s considered alternative media: TV, Internet, Recorded Music, Books and Magazines.
The report doesn’t break out your impact of podcasting, but it does mention iPods and MP3 listening as having an effect, especially on the younger demographics.
For me this will make sense. Younger audiences are more drawn to new technologies. They’ll glom to MP3 players and podcasts and reject a lot of the tradition time-wasters with their parents like books and television, in favor of downloading songs online, browsing the internet and sticking those earbuds into their head and tuning out any local radio station.
Coming from two-plus decades in radio, I know how hard it is to get and sustain viewers once you DON’T have all the competition of 2006. In 1976, you might have gotten a local paper plus some TV channels and a few local competing radio stations.
So a radio programmer today now has to contend with 500 channels of cable television, satellite radio, podcasting, not forgetting the other traditional media sources, like local and national newspapers and magazines, etc.
Where does that leave radio and podcasting?
From a personal standpoint, I don’t have much interest in local radio. Sure it comes on occasion inside my car, only because I’ve been through my CDs and prefer to possess a local station fill in the space rather than silence.
As I go to sleep, We have my clock radio playing a local classic rock station. Unfortunately, the station is owned by a large media corporation that owns hundreds, if not a large number of radio stations across America. So their announcers are forwarded to not say a great deal and consequently are permitted to have very little personality. And ‘after hours’ – should there be no live person behind the microphone – we receive automation, which suggests no live person, no voice tracking (which may at least sound sort of like a live person); just song – song – song – commercial – station promo liner – song – song, etc…
On the other hand, after i fire up a podcast, I am suddenly invited into the realm of a real person – someone who talks, eats, breathes and is excited about their subject, whether its folk music, cult movies, hardcore alternative rock or wine-making.
Podcasting is REAL. It may not hold the development worth of a professional radio station, but truly, who the heck cares? You don’t tune in to podcasting to have the best quality. You tune in to a podcast to acquire a real person.
And that’s what will continue to pull a lot more people to podcasts, regardless of whether hearing or obtaining in front of the mic and producing their own podcast.
I think as humans we require the individual connection, and when it indicates hearing a man sit down facing a campfire, playing his ukulele and whispering about the celebrities above, then lots of us are in; we’re there!
Radio is not disappearing. The smart developers are likely to let their air staff become a little more real, especially when they see the inroads that podcasting will continue to create to their audience. Oddly sufficient, local radio stations have an benefit. Inside the town I live, you can find a couple of nearby stations. One performs a lot of syndicated coding and extremely little local coding. They make it through because they provide a good collection of nationwide speak coding.
One other station is totally local: whatever you listen to is done off their recording studio, from playing the strange combination of songs which make you want to laugh, weep, shout, cringe and turn the damn thing off – all inside a 30 ymtwua period – towards the nearby announcers that are at different phases skilled, untalented, polished, uncooked, goofy, tender, idiotic, passionate and uncaring.
Above all, they’re REAL. And that’s the greatest appeal – and repellent.
It’s like the locally possessed radio stations happen to be doing what podcasters are performing – being human.
It’s just that podcasters still have extreme latitude, as well as the nearby radio people should stay inside certain boundaries.
Therefore if it’s the limitless boundaries you’re searching for in your world, look for a podcast that speaks to you, pay attention to them support them, and let them know you’re out there!