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  • Matt Cundill

The Podcast Movement is Indeed a Thing

Updated: Dec 11, 2019


I spent last week in Chicago at the Podcast Movement. A little under a year ago, I was going fishing with my cousin, Kingman Gordon who told me his co-worker was a podcast fan and was attending the 2015 version of this conference in Dallas.

“What the f#@k? There’s a podcast conference?” Read that blog here.


The first thing I did was make attending this conference apart of my podcast strategy. As a radio consultant, I get a lot of questions about podcasting. It is one of the biggest questions I get asked from programmers and general managers. Once they hear there is little to no money in the venture they stop asking - which is a mistake I will write about in the future. The second thing I did was start a podcast. Another media group who walks that walk is The Jacobs Media Strategies. They launched 2 of 12 episodes of their podcast “Dash: Future of the Connected Car."

The first thing I noticed was how the conference is unlike traditional radio gatherings. The conference has about 80-90 percent of the attendees directly involved in podcast; that’s a lot of talent in one room. Secondly, no one has figured out how to monetize the medium; which leads to many shared ideas about marketing, promotion and revenue opportunities.

A number of podcasters are resigned to not making any; satisfied with the branding and exposure for themselves, guests and clients. Because the medium is an open canvass, everyone's monetizing strategy is going to be unique to their podcast. The same goes for your radio station: One station's best use for podcast is not going to be the same for another.

Some observations:

* A lot of podcasts do not do a great job of retaining listeners. Steve Goldstein's session "They aren’t listening to your entire podcast - 7 ways to fix it", was an eye opening experience for podcasters. Read more here.


*Keynote speaker Kevin Smith doesn’t make money from podcasting and considers it his truest form of expression. He encouraged all podcasters to express themselves deeply to attain the best results.

* Podcasters have yet to land on a universal method for measuring listeners. For now it’s downloads but go have a look at your Apple Podcasts App and check out the number of downloaded and unlistened shows. I’ll bet it’s over 50%.

* Much like YouTube Channels, there is the “long tail” where the majority of podcasters reside. Unlike YouTube, there is no money residing on the tail. Jeff Vidler from Audience Insights who was also in attendance, described the long tail for podcasting as such:

"The current reality is that podcasting, at least as it now stands, represents the very definition of a long-tail medium. When we asked listeners to podcasts and streamed audio programs which shows they listen to most often, only eight programs were mentioned by 1% or more of all listeners—the most popular shows were “This American Life” and “TED Talks,” each receiving a whopping 2% of all mentions. It’s a diverse universe that extends from public radio shows to comedy, and pretty much all points in between.


* While 21% of Americans, have consumed a podcast within the last month, many have no clue how to access one. Operating a radio is still way easier than locating, retrieving, downloading and then listening to a podcast.


With more radio people than ever in attendance, one traditional radio session made an appearance. The Aircheck! Hosted by Seth Resler from Jacob’s Media and a panel consisting of Valerie Geller, Tom Leykis, Rob Greenlee (Spreaker) and Doug Berman (NPR). Two podcasts were brave enough to put themselves out there for critiquing from these heavy hitters. The two biggest criticisms are things all too common in any radio show; role definition and too many words to get to the pay-off. This is a session all podcasters should attend and I hope the organizers of Podcast Movement can put more emphasis into podcasters critiquing and self checking their end product.

Next year the event is certain to have more radio people than ever in attendance. Podcast Movement 17 will take place in Anaheim next August 23-25, 2017!

More Reading from Jacobs Media: Here's what a group of 17 broadcasters had to say about the conference.

More Reading from Jason Barrett: (SportsRadioPD.com): Takeaways from the Podcast Movement Conference.


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