Podcast positivity

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

I spent last week at Podcast Movement in Philadelphia – a conference with 2,300 delegates, it dwarfs any radio conference I’ve been to.

This was a well-run conference: running to time throughout, with ten different tracks that delegates could go to.

Reflecting podcasting’s diverse nature, some tracks were basic advice about how to promote your show, or what to do in your podcast intro. Other tracks were rather more commercial in nature, delving deep into cost-per-thousand, targeting and analytics.

Exhibitors offered everything, from microphones and mixers to hosting companies and guest-booking services. The conference hotel was packed, with a bar that was buzzing throughout. The thoughtful organisers had done a lot to encourage a diverse community spirit, even laying on childcare to those that needed it.

It was also different for other reasons: it was wildly positive.

Podcasting is still pretty small, even in the US. It’s 4% of our total audio consumption, say Edison Research, and less than a fifth of the population listen to any podcast over the average week. Smart speakers are not being used for podcast listening to any degree. Google has only just woken up to podcasting. Revenue is small – the total US industry earnt just $314m last year.

Radio, on the other hand? 58% of audio consumption (including satellite); 93% of the population listen every week; and smart speakers are having a significantly positive effect. Revenue? 43 times larger, at $13.8bn in the US last year.

I bumped into a number of people who go to both conferences. All remarked how positive the podcasters were – and how negative the radio conferences are.

Is it the whiff of freshly-raised VC money? Is it that podcasters are younger than radio folk? Is it that they’re just more enthusiastic about the medium?

I believe there is plenty to be positive about for radio. In many countries it’s celebrating best-ever revenue, and best-ever audiences.

That’s why Matt Deegan and I run a radio conference every year – it’s called Next Radio, and it’s on 17th September this year in central London. You’ll enjoy over 25 positive speakers, with great ideas for radio and podcasting. You can buy tickets at https://next.radio

But in any case – when radio has far more audience, and far more revenue… why aren’t our conferences far more positive? Perhaps that’s something we can learn from podcasting.


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.

Contact James at [email protected] or @jamescridland