A Podcast Day conference was held in London in mid-June as part of the Radio days Europe conference, bringing together the best of Europe and the world of podcasters, producers and content creators to share their experiences, best practices and insights on where and how the podcast community is developing. PROTOK.RS podcast team had a great opportunity to attend, learn from, and connect with the conference thanks to the program “Održivi mediji”.
Fun and True Crime
Entertainment content podcasts are definitely a model that dominates as well as fiction and True Crime topics. A great example is “Welcome to Night Vale”, a US podcast that has been broadcast for 7 years and has millions of listeners. The story is set in the fictional town of Night Vale, and describes the twisted and morbid events in that town in America in a radio format aimed at fictional residents of the town. And people adore it! These fictional residents are equally women and men, members of the LGBTQ population, and those in interracial relationships. This is certainly one of the reasons for the success of the podcast, probably because they were the first podcast whose theme was fiction, as a message from Jeff, the author of the podcast, that it’s important to do what you love, with the people you love, for the audience you respect, everything the rest will come
“All you can control is your happiness as humans, and everything else is just an accident.” Jeffrey Cranor, autor podcasta “Welcome to Night Vale”
We were also interested in Insider Podcast productions from France. Their podcast “Shaken” is the winner of the European Best Podcast Episode 2017 award at the EPPY Awards (Editor & Publisher). This podcast is also characterized by its sponsorship of podcasts, which deals with investigative journalism and the discovery of potentially misjudgments for various crimes in France during the 1990s.
Another interesting podcast that we have to mention, though we can’t listen to it (because we don’t know German), is the “Faking Hitler” podcast. Hitler’s diaries were discovered in Germany some 30 years ago, and it was a big boom at that moment. They just turned out to be fake and then served as great material for creating podcasts.
Educational podcasts are important, especially for younger generations, such as the Radio France podcast, which is for ages 8-12 and teaches them about important historical events. One of the more interesting is certainly a father-son podcast called Daddy’s Boy, which aims to break the taboo topic of parent-child conversations and show that the nature of that relationship should be more spontaneous and free. It also provides a broader perspective and insight into the problems of young people, both from their own and their parents’ perspectives. What is also an important lesson in promoting this type of podcast is that it is up to the parents themselves to get their children to listen to the podcasts, so access to the target group in this category is more specific.
Brexitcast is the BBC’s Brexit podcast run by four political journalists who report daily on all things, big and small, about Brexit. Sometimes they come from Brussels, sometimes from London, sometimes from bed. They record on the go, edit a little and that’s probably what appeals to a large, younger audience. The conference premiered that Brexitcast would also be broadcast on TV in the coming period, an interesting turn.
The atypical, but still political podcast is “George the Poet,” which is directed and produced by George and brings his worldview through a unique blend of drama, news, poetry, observations, experimental ideas and music. Which people really like! The podcast has won 5 awards in various categories at the most recent British Podcast Awards, including the Best Podcast of the Year award. It’s worth listening to. 😉
One piece of information that highlights how important the episode description is is that 73% of people choose to listen to a new podcast based on how attracted it is. Andrew Davis of ABC Audio Studios Australia shared statistics, but also good examples and tips on how to make a good description of podcasts and shows that include paying attention to figures and facts, search keywords, quotes and guest names, and especially keeping a consistent a tone of description, which will be in line with the tone of the episode and thus attract listeners, set and justify expectations.
Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Product Manager from Google Podcasts shared with us how they see the future of podcasts on Google, through short podcasts of up to 10 minutes, educational content and the ability to learn languages. Also, with the launch of the Google Podcast platform just over a year ago, Google will continue to strive to increase the number of podcast listeners worldwide on its platform, with great potential as statistics say 85% of people use android phones (although sometimes it doesn’t look like it at first ball) and only 22% of people in the US listen to podcasts.
New business models
A complete novelty for us are the production companies that specialize in creating podcasts and produce 30 or more podcasts at the same time specializing in different companies and organizations. An interesting business model is the creation of special, premium content that listeners pay for, while all other content is free, while some are funded solely through the material they create.
We learned from Benjamin Partridge, producer and writer for the Beef and Dairy Network podcast, that he runs his own news podcast for members of the fictitious Beef and Milk Club. But we also learned about the Maximum fun network, whose members, like Benjamin, are comedy and fiction writers, promote each other, join together and monetize as part of the system.
One form is that podcasts are made in seasons, and the most popular ones are, like the “George the Poet” podcast, which has drama, interesting conversations, plot, character, something new and unprecedented so far. Podcasts that offer specific things also have a specific, specific audience.
Why podcast? A little philosophical reflection…
After all these stories, the technology we work with and less with the people, the traffic we get stuck in, the lonely life we live, are podcasts the reaction and need of that new society we are creating? The podcast form is free, authentic. The audio form is special because it captures the elusive stuff well, the tone of one’s voice, the longer pause before answering – it conveys faithfully a person’s character. Some speakers say that through a podcast you enter people’s lives, into their intimate space, and it is a great privilege to be someone in life and in your head. Is the podcast a natural need for the human connection we lose in the modern, fast-paced, technological world?
“It is about personality and intimacy, they (podcasts) are inside of our bodies. We are all unique as people, but how we do our storytelling is what makes a real difference.” from PodcastDay Conference 2019
Impact Hub Belgrade has started it’s own podcast – check out more about it HERE!
Author: Mina Stefanović, August 16, 2019
Translation: Jovana Krivokuća