By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Podcasting: Steady growth continues, as other new-tech audio media plateau. You hear promos in network spots on-air, inviting listeners to listen to something else (without the controversy we remember from when stations accepted-or-refused advertising as satellite radio launched). And cover-up spots on Tune-In and Alexa are a parade of podcast promos.
Podcasting is an expression of a trend already-in-motion, accelerated by pandemic #StayHome: Consumption is moving from analog/real-time to digital/on-demand. A Vanity Fair article notes that, “during lockdown, news and comedy podcast listening spiked as people searched for both accurate political updates and distraction;” and predicts that, “after COVID, scripted content like children’s podcasts and Spanish-language programming will continue to rise.”
Two factors fueling the migration:
- Star power:
- In their Spotify “Renegades: Born in the USA” series, Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen speak from-the-heart about race, fatherhood, and a divided America.
- “Proto-influencer” Paris Hilton – who rose to fame via visual media, some pornographic – tells The New York Times “I really believe that voice and audio is the next frontier.” Her “This Is Paris” is a partnership with iHeartMedia, “the radio giant that has become one of the largest distributors of podcasts, with more than 750 shows collecting more than 250 million downloads per month.” Among them, Bill Clinton’s “Why Am I Telling You This?” And Hilary Clinton’s podcast.
- Spotify is paying Joe Rogan a reported $100 million – NOT a misprint — for his.
- Variety: FM is playing “Don’t Stop Believin’” over and over, and AM is in Rush Limbaugh re-runs a month after his death.
“Today’s the day.”
That’s the tag line in the TV spot for MasterClass.com, where famous experts explain things. Do that for your advertisers.
Stations can make local service retailers pre-eminent, by crafting on-demand audio and/or YouTube videos in which the client explains things.
- Example: a bike shop owner’s video demonstrates how to change a flat tire. The one I saw made me want to toss my bike in the trunk and let HIM do it. 😉 How about a veterinarian explaining “Why your cat does that, and how to get him to stop.” Show-N-tell stuff, Q+A format.
- Often-productive question: “What’s the biggest/costliest mistake people make when ____?”
- Lift sound bites for on-air spots that tease the digital content (on the station’s or the advertiser’s web site).
- And Tweet links. With digital now the shiny object, offer more than “radio.”
Too busy doing radio? They can always do it themselves, though not as well as a broadcaster. We’ve been doing audio for a century.
And, as we train reps to ask local business owners who already have such digital assets: “If we don’t tell our listeners, how will they know it’s there?”
Holland Cooke is the author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books (click the banner on this page). He is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. And HC hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke