The Future of Radio

The future of radio will be very interesting. We have seen the growth of satellite radio over the past decade which has created tremendous new opportunities for ministries. I do believe that people will continue to listen to audio based media and probably more than ever in the coming years. I believe that audio often has more opportunities than video because it can be consumed in a passive way. For instance, you can listen to music while you work out or a podcast while you drive. Video requires the attention of your eyes and ears where audio media only requires your ears. With that in mind, here is my prediction about the future of radio:

  • FM Radio further replaced by iTunes, Pandora and Spotify – I think this has less to do with streaming via Internet and more to do with people people preferring to consume content On-Demand. We have seen so many TV viewers “cutting the cord” and watching less live TV and watching more shows on Netflix or Hulu or watching pre-recorded shows through their DVR. I believe radio will move in this same direction as it becomes easier to stream through your car radio system.
  • AM Radio replaced by Podcasting – just like people want to listen to their own music playlist, I think they will also choose to listen to their own podcasts of choice at the optimal time for them rather than bouncing radio station to radio station to see what’s on at the time. I think the same content form will be just as relevant, but the means of listening will move more and more from AM Radio to iTunes podcasts.
  • Access everywhere with downloadable content and streaming – I see all of our devices talking to each other and allowing us to easily move from one place to another and continue to engage with the same piece of media. For instance, you can start a podcast or listen to a playlist while getting ready in the bathroom and as you move to the kitchen it continues to play there and continues to play even in your car making a natural transition place to place. Currently this happens by putting your phone on speaker, but the future, will be much more immersive and natural.

These are my predictions around the future of radio. What do you think?

What does this mean for ministries? I think this means that all ministries no matter how big or small have an opportunity to create and distribute content through these means. I think it will be even more challenging to get noticed and ministries must be extremely creative in building an audience on these platforms rather than just buying time on a platform with a pre-existing audience. I do believe there will be more and more ad buying opportunities to help get noticed and ministries will have the opportunity to engage a very targeted audience as they focus in on who it is they feel called to reach.


Promoting Your Podcast Online

It’s hard to know how to effectively promote a podcast as you are often not sure where to drive people. I’m not sure that we have figured this out or that anyone has developed a perfect solution, but here are some tips that we have learned over the past 18 months:

  • Optimize for iTunes Search – many people will find your podcast simply through searching on iTunes.  Make sure that you have a title that is clear and searchable.  Also, be creative in your show titles as these are also significant in search optimization for your podcast.
  • Maximize Social Media – use social media to build community outside of your podcast creating awareness of the podcast and also making your podcast content very sharable socially.  Don’t rely only on iTunes search to promote your podcast.
  • Build an Email List – getting subscribers to your podcast is great, but alerting them of new episodes via email is even better. Creatively find opportunities for your listeners to subscribe to your email list to get updates as this will help them to stay more engaged long term.
  • Be a Guest – make yourself available to other podcasters as a guest. Invite them to join you on your podcast and they will likely invite you to do the same on theirs. People rarely just listen to one podcast and it’s not stealing an audience when partnering on podcasts, but sharing an audience around a similar theme.
  • Resource your Guests – when you have guests join your podcast make sure to resource them with everything they need to promote the podcast on their platforms. Send them a pre-created email and blog post as well as social media posts with graphics to help them most effectively promote the episode.
  • Talk about it Often – as you have opportunities to write, speak or just interact with other people around the topic of your podcast make sure to mention it often. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of personal invitation.

I would love to hear any other promotional opportunities you might have found around podcasting. We are all learning together and your insights are incredibly valuable.


Distributing Your Podcast Effectively

A question that I often get is this: how do you get your podcast on iTunes? This is easy once you are set up, but unbelievably confusing. I still don’t know how this fully works and this is where we had the hardest time in getting started. You have to host your podcast somewhere and create a feed for iTunes to pull your podcast feed. Makes sense, right?

Let me simplify this for you: get Libsyn.

Libsyn will cost you about $7/month and does everything for you. They will give you the instructions to setup your podcast with iTunes and connect everything with your Libsyn account so that you don’t have to worry about how it all works. Libsyn is powerful, flexible and simple to use. They also provide the best possible analytics on podcasts, which makes the cost really worth it.

Beyond the automatic pushes to iTunes and other distribution opportunities, their media player is easily embedded into your website.  We have found it important to use our website (Squarespace) for info about our podcast and a place to post “show notes.” During episodes we will mention links and various things that will drive people to our website to get more info. So, for each episode we post the show notes and an embedded audio player for people to easily listen right there on our website as well.

If you use a different distribution platform I would love to hear what it is and why you chose it.

Strategically Learning through Podcasts

You have probably heard the phrase “Leaders are Learners” many times before and I cannot agree more.  I have not met someone who is a strong leader and not constantly looking to learn new things.  For me learning generally comes in the form of reading (books, articles, blogs), but it’s become more and more challenging to find time to sit down and read. 

One of the things I looked forward to in moving to New York was the opportunity to read more books during my various commutes on the subway.  What I didn’t expect is how crowded the subway constantly is and getting a seat and pulling out something to read is rarely possible. 

If you know me well, I don’t sit (or stand) still well.  People watching is fun on the subway, but I needed something productive to do.  I noticed that everyone wears headphones, so I immediately thought that  I could move to Audio Books.  I’m cheap though and I quickly shifted my thoughts to FREE podcasts, which has been fantastic! 

Honestly, I have been researching podcasts quite a bit recently as I believe the iPad (or Apple in general) will soon take over car dashboards and our listening engagement in the car will come through internet data rather than radio signals.  This means we can all be a talk radio host to millions of cars everywhere through a podcast.  Just like our TV watching has shifted primarily from live TV to more on demand viewing once the DVR came out and even more with Netflix, our radios will also shift to On Demand podcasts more than live radio broadcasts.  That’s just my prediction for the future for what it’s worth.

Anyways, I continue to find such great content being recorded for podcasts and made available on iTunes that I cannot spend enough time walking and riding the subway to listen to all of the podcasts that I want to listen to.  Here are some of my favorites:

·      #AskGaryVee Show

·      Social Media Church

·      Catalyst

·      Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast

·      EntreLeadership

·      Smart Passive Income

Also, for any entrepreneur or marketer, if you haven’t yet listened to Seth Godin’s Startup School podcast please go download it today and thank me later. 

So, are you a podcast listener?  What are some of your favorite podcasts?  Do you see this trend continuing to grow?