Is the podcasting vs. radio’ showdown finally about to take center stage? It seems like podcasting and other alternative causes of entertainment have finally triggered traditional corporate radio to react. In November of 2004, Bridge Ratings & Research released a report that revealed that the terrestrial radio audience was slowly slipping away. During the last few 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 the least interest in traditional radio.
The older groups showed slight increases within their utilization of radio, even though many are still spending lots of time with what’s considered alternative media: TV, Internet, Recorded Music, Books and Magazines.
The report doesn’t break the impact of podcasting, however it does mention iPods and MP3 listening as having an effect, especially on the younger demographics.
To me as a result sense. Younger audiences are more drawn to technologies. They’ll glom to MP3 players and podcasts and reject most of the tradition time-wasters of the parents like books and TV, in favor of downloading songs online, browsing the web and sticking those earbuds into their head and tuning out any local radio station.
Originating from two-plus decades in radio, I know how hard it is to get and keep viewers when you DON’T have all the competition of 2006. In 1976, you might have had a neighborhood paper and some TV channels and a handful of local competing radio stations.
So a radio programmer today presently has to contest with 500 channels of cable television, satellite radio, podcasting, not forgetting the other traditional media sources, such as local and national newspapers and magazines, etc.
Where does that leave radio and podcasting?
Coming from a personal standpoint, I don’t have much interest in local radio. Sure it appears up on occasion in my car, only because I’ve been through all of my CDs and would prefer to possess a local station fill in the space as opposed to silence.
When I fall asleep, I have my clock radio playing the local classic rock station. Unfortunately, the station is properties of a huge media corporation that owns hundreds, if not a large number of radio stations across America. So their announcers are sent to not say a great deal and as a result can have very little personality. And ‘after hours’ – when there is no live person behind the microphone – we receive automation, which suggests no live person, no voice tracking (which will at least sound sort of like a live person); just song – song – song – commercial – station promo liner – song – song, etc…
On the other hand, when I fire up a podcast, I am suddenly invited into the industry of a real person – someone who talks, eats, breathes and is also excited about their subject, whether its folk music, cult movies, hardcore alternative rock or wine-making.
Podcasting is Genuine. It may not hold the development value of a specialist stereo station, but truly, who the heck cares? You don’t tune in to podcasting to get the highest quality. You pay attention to a podcast to get a genuine person.
And that’s what is going to carry on and pull a lot more people to podcasts, whether hearing or obtaining while watching mic and creating their particular podcast.
In my opinion as people we need the personal interaction, and if it indicates paying attention to a guy sit down before a campfire, enjoying his ukulele and whispering about the stars above, then a lot of us have been in; we’re there!
Radio is not going away. The smart programmers will let their air staff become more real, especially when they view the inroads that podcasting will continue to help make into their audience. Oddly sufficient, local stereo stations have an advantage. In the city I live, there are a couple of nearby stations. One performs lots of syndicated programming and incredibly small local coding. They survive simply because they give you a good lineup of nationwide speak coding.
Another station is totally local: whatever you listen to is done from their recording studio, from playing the weird combination of tunes which will make you need to laugh, weep, shout, cringe and turn the damn factor off – all inside a 30 ymtwua period – towards the local announcers who definitely are at various stages talented, untalented, refined, raw, goofy, tender, idiotic, enthusiastic and uncaring.
Above all, they’re Genuine. And that’s the ultimate appeal – and resistant.
It’s like the nearby possessed stereo stations already are doing what podcasters are doing – becoming human.
It’s just that podcasters have extreme latitude, and also the nearby stereo people should stay within certain limitations.
Therefore if it’s the limitless boundaries you’re trying to find within your world, look for a podcast that talks to you, listen to them support them, and let them know you’re available!