Learnings from Orlando

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Recently, I was at Podcast Movement in Orlando. It’s the largest podcast event in the world, I’d think, with a variety of tracks covering almost everything you needed to know about podcasting.

The event grows each year. Podcasting is increasingly serious business, with both Spotify and Google on the show floor this year, and Pandora also being very visible throughout the event (not least, providing rather lovely laptop stickers in every bag).

Apple were at the event, too, but in an invite-only, super-secret session only for the elite few. Arguably, they don’t need to remind podcasters that they exist – though Spotify is strong competition for them. Rumour is that they’re spending money on exclusive podcasts to woo their audience back: I’d argue that they’d be better served by enabling subscription to podcasts, and adding an Android app, but I’m just a writer, not a strategist.

I bumped into Brad Mielke, the host of the US’s Start Here podcast from ABC News. He’s clearly happy and excited about the work he’s doing: and excited, most, about the production value that the post-produced nature of podcasts can bring. “You can convey more with sound than just a straight back and forth interview”, he told me over a disappointing American coffee.

There were plenty of learnings. Martina Castro, CEO of a Spanish-language podcast company called Adonde Media, said to me during a panel that 50% of Spanish-speaking podcast listeners are listening to English content. There’s plenty of space for international growth, it seems.

And that international growth was seen later in the conference, as podcast producer Wondery told us that their hit podcast Dr Death had been launched in many different languages, including Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French and others. As I write this, they appear to have hit the top of the charts in virtually all those countries.



Podcasting appears to be growing up – while retaining its young charm. While big business is most certainly involved, including US radio’s largest broadcasters, it’s also a place where small independent podcasters still have a shot at making a hit podcast in their spare room. The smart money is scaling podcast advertising, so that those independent podcasters – the long tail – can begin earning money to support their work.

There’s literally nowhere else like Podcast Movement: so the organisers are planning two events next year: the main event in Dallas next August, and an event earlier in the year in Los Angeles.

The podcast world is one we can all learn from: as podcasters large and small get together to share best practices and invest in each other.

At a time when many US radio conferences have lost their excitement and enthusiasm, there’s much to learn from what the podcasters are up to.

About The Author

James Cridland, the radio futurologist, is a conference speaker, writer and consultant. He runs the media information website media.info and helps organise the yearly Next Radio conference. He also publishes podnews.net, a daily briefing on podcasting and on-demand, and writes a weekly international radio trends newsletter, at james.crid.land.