Will Podcasting Replace Traditional Radio?

Only a handful of the”elite podcasters” actually get money for their unique content. Even though sponsors often times pay on a “cost per listener” in order to advertise on those podcasts, the primary emphasis is on how big their audience is. But whose fault is it that this is the dynamic being looked at?

One reason many sponsors give as to why they only sponsor the elite is that it’s too time-consuming to sponsor small and medium-sized podcasts. That’s why they often set the minimum number of listeners at 50,000 or possibly 10,000 downloads PER EPISODE!

But whose fault is this? We can identify, basically, four different areas in the podcast industry that we can look to in order to answer this question.

1. The sponsors.

2. The podcast hosting / listening platforms.

3. Podcasters themselves.

4. The media / sponsorship companies.

Is it the sponsor’s fault? Not really. It is true, though, that it does take a lot of time and resources for them to research, find, reach out to and negotiate prices with many podcasters. Smaller podcasters may have a great relationship and very high trust factor with their audiences. Since they many know their listeners in real life (or the listeners have actively found their podcast), they are often ignored by the major sponsors.

But the focus for the larger companies is usually on the “return on investment” (ROI). The traditional podcaster just will not produce the ROI these companies are looking for.

Is it the podcast platforms? Well, they are much to blame for the discovery part. So yes, in a way, it is the fault of the platform companies. They make it harder for some podcasts to grow and they tend to keep the elite money makers at the top of their search results. It almost seems like an old monarchy type of society, where the rules are rigged to keep the elite in power. But that really does not provide us the information on “whose fault it really is?”

So, is fault with the podcasters themselves? That’s a huge burden to put on individual podcasters. We can’t really expect hundreds of thousands of podcasters to be able to find sponsors who will want to sponsor just one small podcast. That won’t work in most cases. Also, that would take too much time for podcasters to get enough money to make the time factor profitable to reach out to sponsors. The “ROI” for individual podcasters would be lacking.

Is it the fault of the media / sponsorship companies? In my opinion, they are the actual ones to blame. When podcasting started to grow, so did the interest to make a profit out of the podcasters work. But the companies who were interested seemed to come in with the idea that the same model used for radio would translate to podcasting. But there is a problem with that theory, too.

The problem is, podcasting is not radio!

That is why podcasting is growing so fast! Podcasters do not need to pay so they can be on an individual radio station at a certain time. They can actually be on many different listening platforms, at the same time, listened to whenever and wherever by whoever, on-demand.

Podcasters do not need to have a media empire helping them produce or create their content. Podcasting truly is “by the people, for the people.”

We see many companies whose only focus is on the larger, more popular podcasts. They use the old obsolete radio model as their sponsorship guide. Not only with the podcasts they have on their platforms, but also with the dynamic ad system they insist on using.

Dynamic advertising is where the ads are changed over time, automatically. There is no input from the podcaster. It is all handled by the software at the company level.

Podcasters lose a key characteristic strength when they agree to dynamic ad inserts. The most popular (and most responsive) advertising for podcasters is where the host actually reads the ad during the recording process. This is done “pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll.”

Holding on to an old model might be why some of these companies lose tens of millions of dollars each year in advertising costs each year. Which is also why they are very particular in only dealing with the larger, well-known, podcasts.

Podcasting is truly about the creators. It could be called “grassroots journalism!” This is a new medium, with hundreds of thousands of podcasters, that needs a new model to generate advertising revenue.

Podcasting started off as an amateur platform where everybody could create and publish their own content. You didn’t need an editor in chief or a media publishing giant telling you what to do, what to talk about or how to go about promoting your podcast.

People from all around the world currently record, edit, and publish their own content. Their listeners can listen to their programs whenever and wherever they want to. Truly, citizen journalism in the audio space was created by podcasters and has grown exponentially.

I liken podcasting today to where FM radio was back in the early 1980′s. FM radio was “available” (usually in elevators or doctors offices) but was not widely distributed or listened to. Just as FM radio became a “standard feature” in new cars (instead of “special order”), podcast listening ability is now becoming a “standard feature” in new cars as well. Almost every new car has a USB port and the ability to listen to podcasts through the car stereo system!

To answer the original question, “Is Podcasting Going to Replace Radio,” the answer is “NO.”

However, podcasting is going to take a BIG market segment away from traditional radio. In fact, it has already started. That is why many, smaller radio stations, have gone out of business. It is also evident in the recent published statistics concerning podcast listenership! Podcast listening is growing exponentially!

There is a great example, using an “old saying.” It goes something like this:

“When is the best time to plant a tree? Answer: “Twenty years ago.”

“When is the second best time to plant a tree?” Answer: “Today!”

Concerning podcasting, “When was the best time to start a podcast?

Answer: “Five or six years ago!”

“When is the next best time to start a podcast?” Answer: “TODAY!”

If you have ever considered starting a podcast, now would be the perfect time for you to do so. The exponential growth curve is on the rise. For the foreseeable future, it will continue to grow and the dominance of podcasting will only become greater. Get into podcasting today and “catch the wave!”

Robert Thibodeau has been in online media since

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The Popularity of Podcasting

What is Podcasting?

The process of using the internet to make public broadcasting recordings accessible on a computer or mobile device for download is known as Podcasting

A podcast is a serialized set of digital audio clips with spoken terms that a user can access on a work device for easy listening. An easy and efficient way for many podcast outlets to manage personal consumption database and playback is supported by streaming apps and podcasting networks.

The podcast medium has become popular 15 years after Apple first offered 3,000+ songs on iTunes. Millions of Americans are reportedly subscribing to podcasts every week, up from 19 million in 2013. The range of possibilities podcast listeners have today is one reason for the rise. With over 54 million podcast episodes widely accessible worldwide, there are now over 1,000,000 successful podcasts. Due to the low-cost of entry, a record 192,000 new podcasts were released in the first ten months of 2020. A variety of major media firms have recently entered the industry in recognition of the success of podcasting. Joe Rogan just signed a huge, mult-million dollar deal all because of his podcast!

The Growth of Podcasting in the Last Five Years

For the past five years, I have attended the Podcast Movement Conference, the biggest annual podcasting event, and have seen the conference expand along with the industry, reaching 5,000 participants in 2020. With the shutdown and virtual podcasting events being held, I believe the podcast industry is going to grow exponentially this year!

Podcasts are simply a compilation of audio files being made available digitally for other people to listen to at their convenience. Most podcasts are set up like a TV or radio program, with numerous “seasons” and episodes with special guests concentrating on various topics. Listeners can subscribe to particular podcasts, download and listen to new episodes whenever it is convenient for them.

While podcasts have been in use for almost 20 years, think back to 2004 when the iPod minis of Apple were all the fashion, and the iTunes Music Store had just gone global. There has been a rise in listening in the last few years that has gained a lot of attention from business owners, celebrities, advertisers, and customers alike.

Why People Are Listening to Podcast More Than Eve Before

Let’s take a closer look at six reasons why people listening to podcasts continues to increase:

1. It doesn’t take much to get started.

One of the things that makes podcasts so compelling for companies, especially companies with smaller or limited budgets, is the affordability to get started. These companies do not require a large investment for their podcast. For the individual, the same thing applies. You can probably use equipment you already have (computer, computer camera and microphone) to get started! For your first few episodes, something as easy as recording on a smartphone or tablet would work just fine.

You do not need to type down anything you want to say, because podcasts are also very conversational. To help you remain on track, you can create an outline ahead of time, but much of the discussion will be nicely unscripted. This is especially true if you have a co-host or are conducting interviews.

2. Podcasts are also perfect for storytelling

As a small business owner, your stories are what will help you to attract people to listen to your podcast and get them involved in your business. Your podcast can encourage them to choose your company over the competition. Hopefully, you’re always searching for ways to share amazing stories, generate interest, send people to your website, or forum, engage on social media, and sign up to receive newsletters and email notifications about your business or services.

Podcasts allow you to leverage more communication power as an audio-based medium than written words alone. Instead of reading the words and understanding them (or misinterpreting them) on their own, your listeners will be hearing your stories straight from the source. You tone of voice, your excitement, your seriousness – all of it – comes through the audio they hear!

3. Podcast are extremely convenient to absorb.

Podcasts offer listeners the gift of multitasking rather than blog posts or videos, which demand someone’s full attention.

This is why, through their smartphones, laptops, or other mobile devices, most people who listen to podcasts listeners will do so while doing other things. As they are getting ready for work in the morning, on their commute to work, or preparing dinner, they are able to listen to podcasts.

Video, on the other hand, requires people to concentrate on the video and not on other things. This is one of the major advantages of podcasting!

Podcast listeners can easily integrate listening time into their everyday schedules, which is why statistics reveal six or more podcasts a week are consumed by one in five weekly podcast users.

The Future of Podcast Is Looking Bright

I am excited to see where podcasting will go next. Personally, as a podcaster, I really am encouraged by what I’m seeing right now. As Apple continues to invest heavily in podcasting, I think there will be many more big names in entering the podcasting sphere of influence. Despite the big names entering this market, you and I also have an equal opportunity to create our own programming and see it grow into something huge as well.

Robert Thibodeau has been in online media since 2010. Between his online radio programs and his podcasts, he has accumulated about 5,000 episodes and conducted 750+ interviews in that time. He has helped many people to launch their own podcasts (many of which have earned numerous podcasting awards). He is the founder of “Podcasters For C

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