Leaning Into Radio’s Podcasting Push
Podcasters have been predicting the death of radio since 2004. But it hasn’t happened. Today, radio is making a big push to podcasting. And if podcasters are smart, they’ll ride that wave and gain new listeners.
Go to Google, click on the “News” tab, and search for “radio podcasting”. Go ahead and sort by recency. As you’ll note, lots and lots of news about big radio stations/networks/conglomerates embracing podcasting.
No, this isn’t anything new. And if it’s new to you, it shouldn’t be unexpected. Someone is listening to the audio from the 800K podcasts already in the market. Radio makes audio. Ergo, it warrants a big push into podcasting.
Leading the charge to companies like the BBC, iHeartRadio, CBS, and more. These big players (as well as mid- and small-tier networks) are looking at podcasting as a way to increase the listenership of their content. And podcast listeners listen to a lot of content. The math is easy for them.
So it’s no surprise that big radio companies like CBS and iHeart have been spending lots of on-air time telling their listeners over-the-airwaves that they can also listen to their favorite radio programs or voices as podcasts. But they don’t really want their listeners using Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the typical places that most podcast consumers use. Instead, they’re spending air-time getting radio listeners to download a brand new dedicated app that’s branded by that radio network. Like the iHeartRadio app, the BBC Sounds app, or the Radio.com app from CBS.
But if you’ve been listening to podcast pundits like me for years, you’ll note that we don’t talk much about those radio station apps. That’s mostly because those apps tend to have a very, very small percentage of marketshare when looking at podcast consumption overall.
The bulk of overall downloads are seen by big players like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, et cetera, so we spend our time talking about those key players.
But small percentages don’t necessarily mean small numbers of actual listeners. The audience for podcasting is growing every day. And bear in mind that radio stations keep pounding out the message of “Listen to Two Dorks With Microphones In The Morning on the iHeartRadio app!” day after day, hour after hour. Small percentages can mean really, really big actual numbers of listeners actually using the app.
It’s also possible — quite likely, actually — that those who’ve been converted to app-listening by radio networks are not exploring beyond their standard radio fare. Listeners on those radio network apps may only be listening to the content they are told to listen to by the broadcasters, only now they’re listening on-demand instead of listening live. That’s reason enough alone to make sure your podcast is listed on any and all of these apps.
But I want you to take that one step further and really lean into your podcast’s listing on radio-centric apps.
I’m not a fan of cluttering up your podcast’s webpages with a dozen or more “listen here!” icons. Overwhelming choices are never a good thing. Your podcast’s webpages should provide an easy experience for the new listener. Hence my recommendation to limit the offerings you display to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. Oh, and Pandora once your show has been approved there.
Now I’m telling you to add one more to the list: one of the apps from Big Radio.
Why on earth would a podcaster shill for Big Radio? First, you’re not shilling for anyone, so get over that and think about a person who’s as of yet uninitiated in the podcasting world. Or maybe they agree with the Family Guy cartoon and think podcasts all suck. Imagine this person somehow hears about your program, either by searching for something you’ve covered on your show or by clicking a link sent to them by a friend… whatever. You can’t predict how people will stumble across your content.
What’s important is that they are on your web site, and all that podcasty stuff from Apple and Google is just meaningless to them. Maybe they aren’t big music listeners, so they don’t see the connection with Spotify or Pandora.
But if they see something that they recognize as radio: Click!
Their brain suddenly understands, “Oh, this is available as a radio program,” they say to themselves. “The thing I’ve been listening to for 50 years! I understand that I get talky-talk stuff on the radio. This content sounds like the kind of talky-talk stuff I like, so I’m going to click this big, recognizable radio-looking button and see what happens!”
Bingo. You’ve just reached a new listener that you weren’t going to get any other way.
Here are your next steps to make that happen. I know I’m not a “how-to” show, but this is important:
- Make sure your show(s) is/are listed on radio network apps like Radio.com and iHeartRadio.
- Download that app yourself and make sure you’re able to link directly and deeply into your show from that app.
- Copy that link, find the big, recognizable-as-radio graphic, and add it to your website.
Pro tip: Never link to just the app itself and say “just search for my show.” Please don’t do that ever. Always make sure you’re making a deep link to your content.
Radio stations continue to push the message to their listeners to download their app. By all accounts, those listeners are doing that, which means awareness for these apps is growing.
Podcast listening is rising everywhere. Apple Podcasts reports listenership is up. Spotify is taking lots of market share, mainly by making new podcast listeners. I think these radio stations are also creating their own new market share by bringing new listeners to our party.
So let’s take advantage of their branding efforts, podcasters. Let’s take advantage of all of that new awareness that radio broadcasters and their networks are giving to podcasting and capitalize on it by simply putting out the logos and links to our shows in those particular apps on our sites.
I’ll be working on that this weekend for my show. (I’m not sure which of the two I’m going to add or both. I probably won’t do both.) Soon I’ll update PodcastPontifications.com as well as all of the episode pages of Podcast Pontifications (which I really need to get to its own hosting company, but that’s another thing altogether). And that’s a good weekend project for you as well.
Next week I will be traveling, so you won’t get a show from me on Monday or Tuesday. However, I will be back on Wednesday and Thursday. So only two episodes from me next week, and then back on the regular wagon of four-times-a-week production.
Since you got this far, how about mashing that 👏 button a few dozen times to let me know you dig the written-word version of my thoughts on these podcasting topics? I’d sure appreciate it!
This article started life as a podcast episode. The 249th episode of my four-times-a-week short-form podcast called, oddly enough, Podcast Pontifications. It’s a podcast for working podcasters that’s focused on trends in our growing industry and ideas on ways to make podcasting not just easier, but better. Yes, you should listen. Here’s an easy way: 👇
Evo Terra (hey, that’s me!) has been podcasting since 2004, is the author of Podcasting For Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and is the CEO and founder of Simpler Media Productions, a strategic podcast consultancy working with businesses, brands, and professional service providers all around the world.