Tag Archives: radio

Finding Podcastings’ Listening Simplicity

By Rob Greenlee
Every time I step into a car with an AM/FM radio, I am reminded about the concept of simplicity and ease of use as key reasons why radio grew to have such a large listening audience.

When I contrast the current in-car radio experience with present podcast usability, the AM/FM radio experience is still winning the simplicity test and audiences today.

We have seen usability and simplicity gains of on demand audio and podcasting technology over the past 10 years. This adoption has started to erode the listener base of in-car radio and is causing a gradual increase in on demand audio podcasts usage. The iPod synchronization model using a cable of the past has been replaced by always internet connected smartphones and mobile computing devices that has driven the improvements in simplicity and access to on demand podcast audio content to more and more people.

The power of radio is linked to creating a more lean back type of experience around getting the content, but the content we are getting via radio just may not always be what we really want at that moment. Over the past 30 years, we have expected audio content to be managed for us by human curation.

Human curation of audio and original content creation has always been strength of broadcast radio stations, but over time we have seen the gradual erosion of the content quality and originality at radio stations as the cost of curation and creation has gone up. This drove increased need to monetize radio stations businesses and thus causing radio listeners to dislike the amount of commercial advertising spots.

Smartphones and smart agent technologies like Siri, Cortana and Alexa/Echo are pushing into a new era of machine learning, voice interaction and artificial intelligence that will understand our interests and favorites to better deliver podcasts we want when we want them anywhere. This machine learning and artificial intelligence will drive understanding that is contextual to location and interests in the car center around things like music, local news, traffic, weather and local sports events. These mobile technologies will also know and correlated with other data from searches and other media consumption patterns.

This direction seems complex and potentially confusing to podcast listeners, but I think it will bring ease of use and more simplicity to listener consumption of podcast content as we look into the future.

The best example of this is the Amazon Alexa/Echo interactive voice platform and its move to becoming an internet of things platform with podcasts being available upon voice request and management from many types of devices in our homes, work and cars.

Podcasting Metrics Debate moves to War of Words with Public Radio

Some podcasting platform players are getting all upset with many large Public Radio groups putting out Podcasting Measurement Specs that give the impression to some that they are declaring war on the long established podcasting space.

“I don’t entirely agree they are “Declaring War on Podcasting Space“.

We just need to agreed on podcasting metric standard fast via IAB Podcast Working Group or this type of stuff will keep happening out of frustration.

“No one can own this podcasting standard.”

They did put it out public and, whether right or wrong, it is a reality that many in the podcasting space do not see consistency in metrics in the podcasting space.

“This public radio doc is a symptom of the problem and not the problem.”

We all know what needs to happen (RadioInk) to avoid this and keep it out of the press. Declaring it a war just brings more negative attention to the problem that does exists that is being referred to as the “Wild West”.

Here are my thoughts on the above topic with the help of Elsie and Jessica of ShePodcasts.com

My Digital Life Show #7: The Future of Radio and Podcasting

Here is episode #7 of the “My Digital Life Show” for Tuesday, July 16th, 2013.  This episode topic is about “The Future of Radio and Podcasting from 2005 to 2013 with Radio Expert/Consultant Mark Ramsey.

In this episode we cover these more specific questions:

  • How Podcasts and Radio Content will blend together in the Car?
  • Possible changes coming to broadcast radio?
  • Does radio needs some of the current podcasts talent to succeed now and in the future?

I interviewed Mark Ramsey back in 2005 for my ITConversations Network “WebTalk with Rob Greenlee” show.  Back then, we both talked about the potential of podcasting in the face of shrinking radio audiences and how major celebrities will lead to audience growth in podcasting in the early days of podcasting.  Here is a link to that full interview from 2005.  I replay a key 9 minutes from that interview in the current episode here.

Fast forward 8 years, to 2013 and how have things changed and did we get it right back in 2005?  What are the predictions for radio and podcasting going forward from 2013?

Links:

Full WebTalk with Rob Greenlee on ITConversations Interview from 2005

Mark Ramsey Media

Hivio

Radios Ripped from New Cars, Consumers say, “Not So Fast”

Retraction: The Exact AM/FM Dash Story by Eric Rhoads of RadioInk

Episode length: 56 min MP3  Recorded: 7-16-2013

Please feel free to give me feedback on this show to: rob at robgreenlee dotcom or twitter @robgreenlee .  Leave some of your thoughts here in the comments and I will respond to them in next week episode.

On-Demand and Time-Shifted Talk Radio is the Future of Audio Podcasting

The talk of the death of podcasting is an annual right of passage these days,  but I am starting to think that nothing is really wrong in the podcasting medium. We are just seeing the natural maturation of this form of media.  Saying that is not to discount the need for the medium to improve its distribution platforms and offer greater quality content. It seems like the future should be centered on developing more synergy with the broadcast radio side.  I know this is a little counter to what we might all think, but really radio has wide adoption and podcasting fills a need that radio is weak at and that is around on-demand and time-shifted consumption of serialized audio programming.  It seems like many of the folks on the radio side don’t really get podcasting and the podcasting side does not get how radio works.  Both could really learn from the other and help each other.

I also see the video side of podcasting beginning to fade away as video shifts to being more cloud based-streaming that can be more easily monitized.  It seems that within a few short years podcasting will be 90% audio and radio stations will be much larger podcasters then they are today.  The other major concern area for me is around distribution platforms viability long-term as it is very difficult for any of these platforms to make any or enough money to keep investing in these platforms.

Here is an excerpt from a recent Wired Gadget Lab article:

“Stitcher Stitcher is a free talk radio app that lets you listen to your favorite programs on demand. You can choose from more than 7,000 shows, and the app is available on all major phone platforms — including Windows Phone for the first time.

“We decided that the time was right to create a Windows Phone Mango app now that Windows Phone is definitely becoming the third member of the space,” said Collin Billings, Stitcher’s director of user experience.

Stitcher aggregates popular content by source (for example, NPR, BBC and CNN) and by topic (for example, food and motorcycles). Content is wirelessly synced, so if you start listening to a program on your Windows Phone, you can pick up where you left off on an Internet-connected radio or on your PC.

The app’s name is derived from the practice of “stitching” together multiple stations and podcasts to create a personalized talk radio playlist. If you’re not quite sure what to listen to, or are looking to branch out to new sources, you can see what other listeners of the same show also liked.”

I need to say that the lack of podcast aggregator platform revenue is number 1# limiting issue around podcast distribution platform innovation and improvement.  The answer to this question looks a lot like Stitcher with more integration with internet radio in the car and on mobile/wifi devices.