LONDON — Radiodays Europe’s Podcast Day Online brought together more than 60 speakers and over 600 registered attendees virtually to assess the world of podcasting in the middle of the pandemic.
Editor of Podnews.net, James Cridland, set the scene with a look at current trends: “The rise of podcasting offers another route to audiences alongside radio,” he said, “perhaps offering better access to younger audiences.”
Cridland highlighted data from the MIDAS survey in the United Kingdom showing that for those listening on headphones, live radio now lagged well behind other audio types, reaching just 12%, compared to 57% for podcasts. He also noted the “Share of Ear” study from Edison Research in the United States, where spoken word’s share of time spent listening has increased by 30% over the last six years, while music’s share decreased by 8%.
Rise of Podcasts
Cridland also pointed to dynamic content insertion, with an example of localization from NPR in America. Listeners in 10 regions from Boston to Los Angeles hear a version of daily news podcast “Consider This” with a blend of national stories and local reporting.
NPR partnered with its sponsorship vendor, AdsWizz, to deliver the localized news in the same way podcast publishers deliver local sponsorship content. A later session also highlighted the success of hyperlocal podcasts in filling gaps left by traditional media, with examples from Marseille in France, Shrewsbury in the U.K., and an English-speaking news podcast in Berlin, Germany.
Elsewhere, several speakers noted the importance of finding strong stories for their podcasts. Copenhagen-based sound designer, Tim Hinman, said that he often chooses stories if they are quick to take off and start to be a talking point: “The story has to be one which if you sit around a table at lunchtime and tell that story everyone goes — what?.”
Meanwhile, producer Elina Ylä-Mononen from Finland’s national public broadcaster, Yle, explained the unusual idea behind the most popular podcast in Finland: “What if hell was real, and you could tune into it by switching on your radio and listening to Radio Sodomo?”. She believed the concept and platform allows them to get away with more than a traditional radio program: “Radio Sodomo is a pretty brutal podcast, a biting satire about society, politics, and culture,” said Ylä-Mononen.
Podcast Day Online also heard from the Podcast of the Year at the British Podcast Awards, “Brown Girls Do It Too”. The show’s idea came from BBC Asian Network producer Rayhan Rahman who brought together Poppy Jay and Rubina Pabani to create a show where no topics were off-limits. Their tips for an award-winning podcast? “Have fun, be authentic, be true to your voice, be weird and listen back to everything you make”, said Pabani. “Be really honest,” added Jay. “If you’ve got a really good story to tell that hasn’t been told before, just let loose!”.