Podcasting part one: How serious should radio broadcasters be about podcasting?

This is the first in a series of articles about podcasting by BPR’s Wayne Clouten

It’s impossible nowadays to have a gathering of radio people or attend a radio conference without the subject of podcasting being somewhere high on the agenda.  Some people view podcasting as a wonderful convergence of radio, the web and portable media players, other describe it as a disruptive technology threatening traditional broadcasters.  However you view podcasting, it is incredibly important for anyone in the business of creating, distributing and monetising audio content to understand how to harness podcasting and make it a constructive element of their business model.

Some broadcasters struggle with what to do with podcasting. Many treat it as an add-on to their core broadcasting business while others see it as an extension into something new.  In any event prioritising it within the business plan of a broadcasting business is often a guess, particularly if there is no clear vision for how it integrates with the broader revenue model of the business.

How serious should a broadcasting business be about podcasting?

A good place to start is to take into account that we are in the radio business.  This is where our attitude toward podcasting can be put in perspective.

Are we not in the broadcasting rather than “narrowcasting” business? Yes, but let’s take a step back.  What we actually do is “specialise in the creation of audio content that informs and entertains”.  That is our craft, the business in which we are and have always been.  We in radio are creators of audio content first and foremost. “Broadcasting” is merely how we have traditionally distributed what we create to those who wish to consume it.

If we therefore define our business as “specialising in the creation of audio content that informs and entertains” then podcasting is neither new to us or to be regarded as a threat.  Podcasting is something that we should own and do best because in theory no other group of people are better than we are at creating audio content that informs and entertains.

So how serious should we be about podcasting?  Very serious.



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