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Is Radio Dead? Enter Podcasting!

March 16, 2015

Image result for radio microphone wallpaperIs radio dead?  And, should we just burn the old radio microphone? Well for that matter, are all traditional news channels irrelevant? It seems that Native Digital News is the key to the future of media. Even, PEW’s State of the News Media Report for 2014 talked about the shift in the growth in digital reporting.

The following are some key points to consider, from the PEW 2014 overview.  A year ago, the State of The News Media Report struck a somber note, citing evidence of continued declines in the mainstream media that were impacting both content and audience satisfaction. As indicated above and throughout this post, many of these issues still exist, some have deepened and new ones have emerged. Still, the level of new activity during the past year is creating a perception that something important, perhaps even game-changing, is going on.

  1. Digital players have exploded onto the news scene, (and into our personal lives) bringing technological know how and new money which is luring top talent. For example, BuzzFeed, once scoffed at for content viewed as “click bait,” now has a news staff of 170, including top names like Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Schoofs, and is the kind of place that ProPublica’s Paul Steiger says he would want to work at if he were young again. Mashable now has a news staff of 70 and enticed former New York Times assistant managing editor Jim Roberts to become its chief content officer. And in January of this year, Ezra Klein left the Washington Post for Vox media, which will become the new home for his explanatory journalism concept.
  2. Philanthropic money has increased as well, in many cases focused on smaller outlets seeking to fill the gap in news coverage left by legacy cutbacks. As recently as March 2014, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation announced a $10 million grant to New York Public Radio to help build its digital capabilities, an expressed need among nonprofits.
  3. The year also brought more evidence than ever that news is a part of the explosion of social media and mobile devices, and in a way that could offer opportunity to reach more people with news than ever before. Half of Facebook users get news in their feeds even though they did not go there looking for it. And, the Facebook users who get news at the highest rates are 18-to-29-year-olds.
  4. Here are the events of the past year, put in some perspective. The first-ever accounting found roughly 5,000 full-time professional jobs at nearly 500 digital news outlets, most of which were created in the past half dozen years. But the vast majority of bodies producing original reporting still comes from the newspaper industry. But, those newspaper jobs are far from secure. Full-time professional newsroom employment declined another 6.4% in 2012.
  5. Since the fall of 2013, there has been a dramatic and conspicuous migration of high-profile journalists to digital news ventures. In October, Yahoo hired high-profile New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, who was followed a month later by Times political writer Matt Bai. In late October, former Times assistant managing editor Jim Roberts became chief content officer at Mashable’s growing news operation.
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Photo by: Damien Maloney

Furthermore in support of Pew’s State of the Media research, I’ve read a timely article or two in Wired Magazine of late. There is a huge wave of new media money flooding into the media market. And, the graphic in Wired Magazine was very telling for sure, with $500M going for Vice Media and another $96.5M for Buzz Feed. That’s a lot of money for digital media.

Additionally, Roman Mars, was interviewed in a recent Wired Magazine article about podcasting, and he stated that radio needs a “Tune Up.”  Why? Well, he says, radio used to corner the market back in the day on being close to it’s listeners.” “Listening to NPR became the definition of who you were.”

People and families literally used to gather around their radios to get their news and listen to programs. Those days are far gone, I am afraid to say.

But, podcasting is taking up a growing niche in the news market. It’s not a new technology. And, Mars explains, “There hasn’t been a real spike in podcasts’ popularity so much as long, steady growth in listenership. Mars continues, “But there is a moment happening right now.”   “One piece of that is Serial, which is clearly doing something big and different. Another piece is that Ira Glass was on The Tonight Show and he was talking about podcasts. That’s huge.” And, Roman Mars is building a podcasting Empire, says Wired Magazine!

This niche communications medium is about to explode because of the portability of all our devices today, and how the radio broadcasting and traditional media world must adapt or die as they  continue their downward spiral.

What Roman Mars talks about is that podcasting is so much more personal and intensely close for listeners. It becomes very personal, Mars says. “Podcast listeners are also a very dedicated bunch, and the radio stations just have not gotten it.”  One podcast listener is like having 10,000 listeners on an average quarterly hour (AQH) listenership, because if it is a great podcast they will share it with their friends.

Everyone is multitasking today. And, podcasts are perfectly suited to people having their attention divided in so many different ways, simultaneously. People typically listen to podcasts by themselves, often with ear buds. We are right there, in their ears talking to them.

We’re in a world now where you have something to do at all time, whether it’s commuting on a train, bus or washing dishes and doing laundry or weed whacking the yard. Podcasting is more accessible, more portable.

Podcasts are available all the time, on demand anywhere, 24/365. Podcasts are perfectly oriented for the modern world, you can wash your car to it.

In total, all the new small digital operations have created nearly 2,000 out of the 5,000 full-time editorial jobs PEW identified, and they represent a growing and increasingly important part of a shifting media ecosystem.

Here’s what they’re like: They are young and lean businesses, close to home and a bit more than 50% are opting to run as nonprofits.

Why? Well, refer to the numbers, as I stated before about the new wave of money for digital media… it’s coming from philanthropic organizations, where  61% of the nonprofit news organizations surveyed by Pew Research began with a large start-up grant from these organizations.

As a result of my reading and the direction traditional media has taken (about 11,000 newspaper newsroom jobs were lost as a result of the economic recession), I want to tell you about a new native digital business. I am advising on their digital strategy, and writing for their projects.

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Enter Podcasting and Flatlands Avenue Productions, LLC.  Please subscribe to them via email, after learning more about their business, the team and their services.

In short, Rita Rich is a great podcast producer, who has partnered with a woman named Debra Grobman. Both used were in radio. Debra is in LA and Rita is in the DC metro area, like myself. And, she has a legal representative in Michigan.

Rita Final Bio She is, and well in fact all of us are shifting how we do news and media outreach to help others tell their story. More intimately, for sure. And, Rita is good at it. She is the voice of Patriot-Made Audio and Canadian Made Audio.

They are fun ladies and have told a lot of stories and experience to share. Does your business have a podcast? Do you need a story told? Consider trying a different medium with far greater reach. You should consider the Debra Final Bioinformation I’ve shared today and how much the media and public relations world has changed.

Here is Flatland’s Pitch Deck for any business, government agency, media entity, PR firm, schools, churches or non profits who might be interested in doing a podcast or audio story.

I believe in their venture because they are-we all are reinventing how business gets done and how to reach more people. with less cost.

If you have a few minutes, please listen to a few recent stories from Flatlands Avenue Productions and their newest client, Romy Gingras and her brand new podcast series,The Bonfires of Social Enterprise. And, of course, Flatland’s has other projects with podcasts as well.

What are your thoughts about social enterprises helping to fix complex social problems?

What do you know or not know about Podcasting?  Let’s keep the conversation going!  Oh, and when you contact Rita, be sure to ask where their business name came from, it’s a great little story as well.

Many thanks for the work done by PEW,  who is Associate Director at the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project, and  Wired Magazine from which I pulled some of the content to help me write this blog.

Great stuff don’t ya think!? 🙂  And, if you have a favorite podcast you listen to share it and tell me why you like it? What makes a good podcast would be another great blog post in the near future!

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