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How Has Podcasting Affected Radio?

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How Has Podcasting Affected Radio?

Today, podcasts are widely considered to be one of the most effective forms of media consumption in the music industry. They’re also among the fastest growing types of media.

And while there are many different kinds of podcasts out there, they all fall into three basic categories: entertainment, news programs, and informational.

In general, podcasts are very similar to traditional public broadcasting radio programs. Both offer stories told over a period of time.

ALSO SEE: What Is The Difference Between Podcasting and Radio Broadcsating

However, unlike broadcast radio, audio podcasts don’t require a live host. Instead, someone else reads the story off a script. This allows podcasters to record multiple episodes without having to hire employees.

While podcasts are often categorized as a form of entertainment, they differ from radio, FM stations, and other media platforms in several ways.

For example, podcasts tend to focus on longer stories, whereas radio hosts typically stick to shorter segments.

In addition, radio usually features music or other sounds played during the show. Both radio and podcasts include interviews, too. These interviews generally take place either via telephone or Skype.

Despite the popularity of podcasts, radio shows are still a popular option. People listen to local stations for news, sports, talk shows, and even comedy routines.

There are also national networks like NPR and BBC World Service that broadcast across the globe.

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The facts are that radio listenership continues to decline while the popularity of podcasts grows exponentially.

Podcasts, even live podcasts, are becoming increasingly popular among consumers, especially millennials.

They consume about 20% of all audio content online. In comparison, radio listenership declined 7% over the same period.

ALSO SEE: Why Are Podcasts so Popular?

Advertisers pay less money for each listener. And since advertisers want to reach audiences that are most likely to convert into customers, they choose to advertise on podcasts rather than traditional radio (also see, ‘Should I Sponsor A Podcast?‘).

This type of advertising is known as “sticky.” When someone listens to a specific show, he or she is much more likely to remember the brand and go out of his way to buy products from it.

In addition to being cheaper, podcast advertising offers a better chance to connect with a niche audience. People tend to listen to podcasts during commute times, such as walking to work or driving to school.

These are moments when people are already thinking about what they’re going to do next. And it makes sense that they would be interested in hearing something related to their day-to-day activities (also see, ‘Podcasts To Listen To While Running‘).


A podcast is basically a digital audio file that focuses on a specific theme. Some podcasters also like to include some visual components into their podcasts.

These audio podcasts can be accessed via smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops, and any desktop computer. People can download and listen to them both offline and online (also see, ‘Podcasts Without Wifi‘).

Since podcasts offer great accessibility, listeners can easily access them from anywhere. They can just plug in their earphones, turn up the volume, and start listening to their favorite podcast.

Podcast listeners can subscribe to podcasts, so they can be notified whenever there is a new episode out which is an obvious difference in radio (also seem ‘Podcast RSS Feeds’). Podcasts offer certain flexibility to listeners that radio does not. 

Target Audience

When it comes to podcasts versus radio, one thing becomes clear very quickly: the content. Most podcasts are audio programs that run over the internet.

As we’ve seen, they usually consist of interviews, discussions, music, comedy bits, etc. But there are plenty of other formats out there too, including talk shows, news, sports, and even instructional videos.

ALSO SEE: How To Start A Sports Podcast

Radio stations, on the other hand, broadcast live programming. Their focus tends to be on music, news, weather, sports, and entertainment.

Both mediums attract different audiences, though, and therefore produce different kinds of content.

Editing Options

Editing Options

The biggest difference between podcasts and traditional radio is that the former is usually recorded ahead of time.

This allows hosts to record multiple episodes of their program at once, making sure everything goes smoothly.

However, because most podcasts are recorded in advance, they’re less likely to go off script and accidentally say something embarrassing.

Although there are some programs on radio that have some pre-recorded content, such as news broadcasts, it’s a small portion of the overall market.

These programs are typically used to fill airtime during dead spots. For example, many stations use “news breaks,” where the host reads breaking news headlines while the rest of the station plays music.

The live nature of radio means that most content is completely unedited. Because of this, radio hosts are more prone to make mistakes.

As mentioned above, because of this, radio broadcasters should be very cautious about what they say.

They should avoid speaking too quickly, repeating themselves, and saying anything that could potentially damage their reputation. This makes radio broadcasting a much more risky business than podcasting. 

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Time Control

Podcasts are a unique medium because it allows people to listen to audio content whenever they want.  Many people listen to podcasts while commuting to work, sitting in traffic or waiting for something else.

However, there are some limitations to listening to podcasts. First, you might miss out on important news or breaking stories if you aren’t listening live.

But the downside of radio is that you cannot skip around or fast forward through the content. You must listen to every single word.

With a podcast, you can always go back and rewind to catch up on what happened earlier. And finally, you can jump straight to the end of the show without having to hear everything in between.

The difference between the two forms of audio content is significant. Without a doubt, podcasts are much more flexible. 


How Has Podcasting Affected Radio?

As we’ve seen there are many differences between podcasts and traditional radio broadcasts. Another big difference is the licensing requirements.

Podcasts are often free to produce, while radio stations must pay royalties to record labels. Another major difference is how much control a podcaster has over their show (also see, ‘Podcast Topic Ideas‘).

While radio stations usually have complete control over their programs, podcasters cannot censor what their listeners say about their work.

The general regulations and licensing requirements for podcasting vs. radio vary a lot.

For example, a podcast needs to make sure that the audio file they upload to iTunes doesn’t violate copyright laws (also see, ‘How to Use Copyrighted Music In Podcast‘).

In addition, a podcaster must follow certain guidelines set out by Apple regarding the length of each episode, and whether the episodes contain advertisements.

A radio station does not have to worry about those things. They simply need to ensure that they don’t broadcast copyrighted material without paying the appropriate fees.


Podcasts are gaining popularity at an exponential rate and they’re also attracting younger audiences.

However, as long as there are new ways to communicate with people, there will be room for both radio and podcasts.

Matt Brook

With a background in Journalism and years of experience in the industry, Matt brings a wealth of knowledge to the WiredClip team.

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