offers many rewards and virtually no risk, radio executives say.
stations have more competition for listeners than ever, but they also
have more opportunities to leverage their content. Podcasts, audio
shows available for download, have become a popular medium for show
800-pound guerillas over the air, like ESPN and NPR, enjoy
considerable success in the podcast arena. But they aren’t the only
ones: Some independent stations have found that podcasting offers
numerous benefits, including building listenership and boosting brand
an effort to understand how podcasting fits into a broader marketing
strategy and what it takes to succeed on this platform, Radio World
spoke to the producers of three shows: “The B.S. Report” of ESPN;
NPR’s “Fresh Air” and “The Bill Handel Show” of KFI(AM).
the most important advantage of podcasts is expanding the pool of
potential listeners beyond the reach of a broadcast signal.
listeners use word of mouth to introduce the show to their out of
state friends,” Michelle Kube, executive producer of “The Bill
Handel Show,” wrote in an email. “We’re getting emails from
listeners out of state and out of the country that are new listeners
to the show.”
that also helps raise the profile of the station, Kube said.
podcast “has definitely boosted the KFI brand because it enables
listeners, both locally and out of state, to listen on their own
time, at their leisure, when it’s convenient for them to do so.”
also offers another means of generating revenue.
B.S. Report” has two sponsors, Subway and Stamps.com, according to
David Jacoby, the show’s producer. Exactly how much money it makes
is difficult to tell because the sponsorship agreement extends across
all of Grantland’s podcasts, not just “The B.S. Report.”
advises against placing more than one short commercial spot before
the podcast. One of the principle advantages of this format, the
producers say, is that it’s generally commercial-free. Some
stations charge for the podcast itself. Such is the case with “The
Kim Komando Show.” In order to access her podcast, fans have to pay
$5.95 per month to join Kim’s Club.
it may be a different technology, the same ingredients that make a
radio show successful are likely to make a podcast thrive, the
most important thing is the chemistry between two hosts or the host
and a guest,” Jacoby said.
Miller, executive producer of “Fresh Air,” agrees. Just like on
broadcasting, it’s about finding a “compelling guest” and a
“good interviewer,” he said.
“authentic” and finding “fun and interesting content to
provide” are key, according to Kube.
are, however, distinct advantages to podcasts over broadcasting. One
is more flexibility with time.
looks for ways to create “new exclusive podcast-only content”
that enhance listeners’ experience. To wit: some of her podcasts
have included additional audio of producers’ discussions and
behind-the-scenes information about the hosts and topics that were
not a part of the live broadcast.
a fun way to show listeners how things work behind the scenes,”
a broadcast show into a podcast is relatively easy to do, the
don’t really think of the podcast as a different entity,”
Williams said. “Fresh Air,” like many other shows, is simply
redistributed as a podcast.
of the most exciting things about this platform is that the “barrier
to entry is so low,” Jacoby said, estimating that it only costs
several hundred bucks.
is not to say that podcasts suit every type of broadcast content or
don’t present some challenges.
weather, Williams points out, is a terrible topic for podcasts. It
has to be something with a longer “shelf life,” he said.
in order to maximize revenue opportunities over podcasts, the
industry needs to find a way to better measure listenership.
of the podcast, the audience for “Fresh Air” has increased,
Williams estimates, but the measurable audience number has decreased.
think we lose measurable listeners because of the podcast, but we
gain a significant amount of listening that’s not measured because
of podcasts. It’s a really important issue for the online world
trying to measure what the listening is … you can measure
downloads, but there isn’t industry standards for measuring
listening … That can be misleading. That’s another real big issue
in all of radio broadcasting. [And] how can we capture the numbers
when we are seeking underwriting?”
Krigman wrote about “Podcast Success Stories” in January; see radioworld.com, keyword