Why Your Morning Show Podcast Is Probably Failing
March 22, 2016
Most radio stations' first foray into podcasting is a repurposing of the morning show - all of it. And while the theory makes sense to have the content available at a later time, the metrics suggest otherwise.
When local newspapers started on the internet, the first thing they did was post full articles. That didn't work so well. It was hard to read long stories online. Over time, they created shorter items incorporating graphics, photos and original content better suited for the internet. This has become even more important in a mobile-first environment where brevity is critical.
A lot of the thinking among local TV executives when they first developed their internet initiatives was to repurpose the 6pm news. The logic was irrefutable - "now you can watch the news whenever you want." Except few did. TV stations learned quickly that there wasn't much interest in their 6pm news at 8:40, or whenever someone might watch.
More recently, TV stations have found far greater success providing short video, slideshows, brief updates, notifications and a big dose of weather all designed and built for consumption on mobile apps. It's the news from their newsroom, but filtered, presented and reimagined for the idiosyncrasies of a mobile world.
So, it may not be surprising that commercial radio's initial track into podcasting has followed the path of newspapers and TV. Many radio stations post a full 4-hour morning show. And for the same reasons newspapers and TV initially failed, by and large it is not working for radio.
Most radio listeners spend no more than 30 minutes with a morning show on a given day, so it's a fantasy to think they'll be knocking down 3 hours more later that day. People are time starved and have short attention spans; plus, forwarding through hours of audio isn't easy.
Part of the answer lies in reimagining and understanding the architecture and consumption patterns of podcasts. Custom curation of the morning content is better suited for the podcast environment. Do the work for the audience. Make it more bite-size. One strategy is to limit it to a few top segments of the day. And there are other more effective strategies.
Take a lesson from Newspapers and TV. Every device has a different form factor.