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Can Radio and Podcasting Come Together?

Session explores getting the best from both worlds

Podcasting is here to stay, and radio isn’t going away anytime soon. How can the two work together?

To address that question, the Radio Show session, The Podcast Boom, explored that topic with a panel comprised of podcasting talent and management. Heading it up was Norm Pattiz, chairman and CEO of Podcast One. Kaitlyn Bristowe, podcast host from PodcastOne; Elaina D. Smith, national radio and podcast host, Westwood One; Mario Lopez, host, TV and radio personality, Premiere Networks; and Jewel, multi-platinum recording artist, actress, author, entrepreneur represented the talent side.

Darren Davis, president, iHeartMedia Networks Group, iHeartMedia Inc. and Suzanne Grimes EVP, marketing, Cumulus and president, Westwood One, spoke up for management.

[Read: Why Radio Must Continue to Embrace the Power of Data]

Jewel emphasized that artists need to be engaged with both radio and podcasting for their careers to flourish. “Talent can become disposable if it’s only one dimensional. You have to present a strong viewpoint or perspective, otherwise you’re not going to last. Listeners can hear hour songs on the radio, but podcasting allows others to know you as a person, and what you stand for. And today’s artists really need to know how to express that side of themselves to the audience.”

Smith noted, “Podcasting is popular with my generation, but they are also involved with radio. Cross-promotion is key, we need to develop more ways to get both sides to listen to the other.” Lopez added that we live in an on-demand world, and that the audience is just as interested in what talent does off-stage as on.

Pattiz posed the question, what is the importance of podcasts to radio? Davis made the distinction between national and local podcasts in answering. “You can’t just turn segments of local radio shows into podcasts, they have very limited value. Radio hosts need to create original content for their podcasts. In doing so, they can extend both the station’s brand and their own.” He added that many people forget that there is far more money in local radio than national.

How is podcast management supposed to deal with the lower number of commercials in podcasts? Should this just be recognized as an important difference between podcasting and radio, or should more spots be added? Grimes argued that there should be higher pricing for the fewer podcast commercials, and that a limited commercial load ought to be maintained.

All of the panelists agreed that audience measurement in podcasting is an area for improvement. The traditional method of measuring downloads or RSS feeds can be misleading. Pattiz added that the state of the art seems to be proprietary algorithms, although more work remains to be done. The bottom line is how can these metrics give more value to advertisers for their podcast dollars?

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