Podcasting is an exciting technology, great for listeners and RadioTime. It creates more selection which makes the even guide more valuable. Podcasting is part of a long chain of technology that extends radio, it won’t replace radio. This post has our perspective on podcasting and a little of our broader strategy to bridge old and new radio.
Podcasting is a simple way to distribute downloadable radio. We share the enthusiasm, but not enough to center around a pure podcasting model. The podcasting buzz validates our premise; radio listeners want personalized help chosing from a broad selection and on-demand use — just like they enjoy for books, music, TV, and movies. The podcasting buzz helps recruit new stakeholders who otherwise couldn’t imagine a better radio.
Like blogs, most anyone can make a podcast — some will be good. But the most popular podcasts are not amature postings, but broadcast radio programs. Since radio is “professional audio publishing” this is not surprising. Over the past 90 years radio has been building and monetizing an audience by grooming, marketing, and distributing the best audio programming across local and global markets.
Our contribution is a smart guide to connect programming with listeners. Our goal is making it simple to find and enjoy great radio when and where you like.
RadioTime content is information, not programs themselves. We organize broad content, offer recommendations, and simplify the technical details about schedules and distribution.
Great programming content comes from both old and new radio. Old radio is big. Over 98% of adults listen, on average we spend 21 hours each week with radio. Internet streams and satellite radio have a growing chunk but 95% of all radio listening is still AM/FM. Of course programs are broadcast live on a predictable schedule or a one-time shot. Some programs are available as on-demand archived webcasts, and occasionally as MP3 downloads.
RadioTime has been busy building software and process that structure all the options.
Podcasting is a another radio option. Today RadioTime has podcast download options for some broadcast programs. Podcasting uses a structured directory with simple downloads. The hurdles are lightweight compared to organizing old radio programming with so many variables including scheduling, coverage, and streaming problems. Scaling coverage of podcasting content will be a breeze by comparison. Apple made this clear by adding podcasts to iTunes over a few months without breaking a sweat.
If podcasting technology is cleaner, why bother with traditional radio? Content.
Quality Content. Radio creates compelling premium content earning a large audience. Almost none of the most popular and best quality programs are downloadable today.
Free Content. Radio is free to listeners through established models using advertising and public funding. The few popular programs available as downloads are also expensive. For example, Bob Edward’s program cost $3/day or $70/year. Baseball games are free broadcast but expensive over the Internet.
Broad Content. Traditional radio brings unsurpassed depth and breadth for every taste – if you can find it. RadioTime organizes over 100,000 hours every day in 140 languages. Even with the tremendous growth over the past year, radio listening is a million bigger than podcast listening.
Live Content. Radio is often best live, downloading is only for recorded programs.
Local Content. Radio is a local medium, small local producers are often last to adopt new technology.
Legal Content. Legal and copyright issues constrain when and what content can be delivered for download. Live or recorded broadcasts don’t face these hurdles.
Old radio distribution and advertising models fund all this great content. It will take time before the model can flip. The reason you can’t get Morning Edition on satellite is because it is the local stations who buy the program. Broadcast radio has survived many challenges, it will adapt to new ones and won’t go dark anytime soon.
As new radio options like satellite and podcasting grow, RadioTime will cover ever more content, listening patterns, and distribution details. We’ll work hard so you can easily find and enjoy programming personalized for your taste, the time, location, your device, and your connection. We’ll license the information broadly so device and services suppliers can easily integrate great old and new radio content in new solutions.