Trunk Line

Podcasting (& Streaming) +/vs. Radio

September 6th, 2022 · No Comments

This is my response on Quora to the question How are podcasts and talk radio different?

MicrophoneFirst, radio is broadcasting over the air (and also increasingly, also over the Internet, where it is called streaming or webcasting), while podcasts are recorded files distributed over the Internet through RSS (Really Simple Syndication). Podcasts can be played at the listener’s convenience on any app or device that supports it, of which there are many, including the phones in nearly everyone’s pocket or purse. It is also important to note that podcasting can be done by anyone anywhere (even from one of those phones) and does not require a license or a station, so the number of producers is limitless.

Second, since podcasters from the start have not enjoyed any kind of broad music licensing agreement with producers of recordings, podcasting has been almost all talk. (See, a podcaster needs to “clear rights” for every piece of music played. Live streamers such as Spotify, Apple and Amazon already have their rights cleared broadly through licensing systems.)

This is why podcasting and streaming are body-snatching radio from two sides: podcasting is becoming talk radio, while streaming is becoming music radio.

At the end of this trend, most radio listening will not be on radios, but on phones and other computing devices connected to the Internet. If the trend goes all the way, over-the-air radio will cease. This is already happening to AM radio (called MW outside North America), and may eventually happen to FM as well.  Meanwhile, expect talk and music listening on the Internet to continue growing, through streaming and podcasting.

Tags: Industry · Media · Radio

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