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TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Monday, December 3, 2007

Two Ps in a Podcast

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When it comes to radio, the term podcast brings two words to mind: preservation and perseverance. Podcasting challenges the preservation of traditional radio broadcasting as consumers become increasingly selective with their preferred content, download that content from audio hubs, such as iTunes, and sometimes circumvent the radio station altogether.
However, podcasting also represents the perseverance a radio station can demonstrate, honoring consumer individuality and embracing a technology that instructs stations on how to reach listeners on an even more unique level. It is evident that commercial music-formatted radio has more often preserved existing formats, in spite of podcasting, while public radio and news-talk radio appears to persevere in this new renaissance media era, right alongside podcasting.
Podcasts may have a smaller presence within commercial music-oriented radio because stations with a music-driven format are restricted by copyright laws preventing Internet downloads. It is also difficult to find a finite chunk to download as a podcast if a station format is song after song as opposed to scheduled programs. For example, Z100 in New York has a lengthy list of podcasts on its website that are recorded interviews conducted by the stations on-air personalities.
As for listener-generated content, websites of stations owned by Clear Channel Radio encourage artists to submit their music for on-air and online consideration, but there is no mention of podcasts and no other opportunity for submissions. KYOU-AM in San Francisco appears to be one of the only all-podcast radio stations exclusively populated by listeners. This site is brimming with content ranging from A to Z, yet it remains one of the only radio stations choosing this type of format.
Podcasting is a perfect fit for public radio, news and talk radio because of already existing segmented shows that can easily be downloaded at the listener’s convenience. For example, on the NPR podcast directory more than 50 public radio stations and producers collaborate to bring listeners podcasts, amounting to more than 500 podcasts to choose from to date. The news and talk format also lends itself well to posting audio editorials and, in turn, listener feedback as podcasts.
One such station, WUSF-FM in Tampa, produces niche programming as podcasts highlighting local current events and audio sessions breaking down local news. This mode of news gathering and broadcasting is extremely beneficial for PR companies because an ANR can live on as a podcast, reaching a more specifically targeted audience. As for listener-generated content, NPR offers a clearinghouse of original podcasts on the site alt.NPR.org, where innovative, dynamic and eclectic podcasts from professional and non-professional contributors can be found.
Both news and talk stations and NPR appear to have successfully persevered through the podcasting technological breakthrough, serving as a destination where listeners can retrieve already existing programming, post feedback and generate original content. Commercial music formatted radio stations, faced with licensing challenges and formats that don’t easily fit into podcasts, overall tend to lack in the podcast arena. Perhaps podcasting has taken commercial music radio on a journey right back to itself, revealing a preservation of the novelty of being live and on the air.
by Megan Heffernan

 

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