Want The Best Content For Your Radio Station? Tried Podcasts?
March 31, 2015
Russell Brand is best known for, well, a variety of things.
He was Katy Perry's husband for two years, which must have been nice. He was sacked from MTV for bringing his drug dealer into the studios; was criticized while hosting the VMAs for describing President George Bush as "a retarded cowboy fella who wouldn't be trusted with scissors," was fired from Xfm for reading pornographic material live on-air; and was fired from BBC Radio 2 for leaving lewd messages on someone's answering machine. He's also been ejected from various awards shows and been arrested after altercations with photographers.
Oh, and he's a comedian. And a radio presenter. And, as we'd say in the UK, he's bloody good, and comes with an army of fans who love what he does.
He's recently back on a new podcast on online audio service audioBoom. It's a good podcast: a fast-talking podcast, liberally sprayed with language that would get any broadcaster into trouble, but an engaging listen that's familiar with his fans. It's just the type of thing that radio needs. It's just that if you were to put him live on a radio station, you'd be quantifiably insane or quickly unemployed. He's one of those presenters who needs permanent delay running, "just in case".
So, step forward Xfm, who brightly noticed that he was doing a podcast, and negotiated the rights to… put it on the radio.
The program goes out on a Sunday evening: portions of his podcast which have been carefully edited to comply with broadcast rules, edited with music and jingles. Having sampled a recent program, it's a great and entertaining listen, and it sounds just as if it's an Xfm radio show. Because it is, of course. It's just been out as a podcast first.
Listeners are more platform-agnostic than ever before. They want great content on a device they have in hand, and wherever, and whenever, they want to consume it. And radio no longer has a monopoly on the delivery of great audio.
I can think of plenty of podcasts that would be really good to be repurposed for on-air use: to be edited and post-produced by radio professionals to help them make great radio. Podcasts are growing, but still represent a tiny minority of audio listening. Radio still delivers the mass audiences that content creators crave.
It takes a certain amount of humility to take a podcast and refashion it for radio; but it sounds as if it works.
For radio stations eager to find unique content that's real and relevant, particularly for weekends and evenings, perhaps we're better off spending more time looking at the iTunes podcast chart and converting podcasting success to radio gold.