At last week's Morning Show Bootcamp in Atlanta, it was exciting to see so much young talent on their way up, honing their craft, taking notes, exploring and exchanging fresh content ideas. Goodness knows commercial radio needs to move past "The Almost Impossible Trivia Question" to remain relevant and vital as more audio choices proliferate.
Many, if not most, attendees pay their own way to the conference which makes the event even more remarkable.
There was, however, one troubling moment I have not been able to get out of my head.
It occurred during a very good panel I was on, which covered among other things, podcasting and smart speakers. We polled the room and found many had started podcasts. A terrific and quantum change from two years ago. Several, however, told us they chose to augment their normal over-the-air morning show with an "extra" podcast show that is unfiltered and blue.
That might seem "exciting" and "dangerous" for broadcasters who must adhere to FCC regulations for over-the-air content, but going blue is hardly novel and hardly dangerous. Watch YouTube.
While Howard Stern still drops an F'bomb here and there, and it fits his brand image, the novelty wore off a long time ago. Stern is great because of compelling content, with our without, the bombs.
Taking an established brand and augmenting it with a couple of "dick jokes" feels lazy and not likely to move the needle for podcast listening. There are over 400,000 podcast titles out there and plenty have some edge to them.
As radio hosts think about a podcast strategy, it should be driven with thoughts of developing great, fresh and unique local content. BJ Shea from KISW, Seattle has a podcast called Geek Nation where he and his team spend time on gaming, tech, gadgets, board games and comics. It's something his daily show can't easily accommodate, and is a great brand extension, especially in hi-tech Seattle (and beyond).
There were many great podcast ideas, like Geek Nation, shared at the conference.
As radio hosts think about a podcast strategy, it should be driven with thoughts of developing great, fresh and unique local content.
Long term success in all media is driven by topic knowledge, passion and authenticity. Asking people to make the effort to find and download a podcast is not likely to occur without a clear listener benefit.
We have many conversations with broadcasters looking to add a podcast, and some have difficulty answering these deceptively hard key questions (we have more, but this is where we start):
- What is the podcast about? - What's the elevator pitch?
- Who is going to listen to the podcast? - Is the station's current audience the target or reaching beyond? Age? Interests?
- Why should they listen? - What will they learn? How will they feel? How will they benefit?
The success bar in podcasting is high. Most content creators will not win by lowering the bar, but rather by innovating with fresh and compelling ideas.
Many of the people attending last week's Morning Show Bootcamp have the innate talent and ability, if it can be channeled and developed. It is harder than it seems.
Podcast is different than broadcast and many are learning that simply checking "the box" by posting a podcast probably won't be enough.
Original content is what moves the needle.
At the upcoming Podcast Movement, we have teamed with Nuvoodoo Media to present the findings of a series of breakthrough one-on-one focus groups with millennials. This first-ever series covers many topics including:
- How many podcasts per week?
- Where do they listen?
- What impact do the ads have?
- Which podcasts do they listen to?
- How do they find new podcasts
- Do they listen all the way through a podcast
Thursday August 24, 11am - HOW PEOPLE REALLY LISTEN TO PODCASTS. Watch the trailer: