Hey everyone, it's been a minute. Gonna break down the last month or so of podcast news and look forward to 2023.
First, a programming note. Yes, I've "pod faded" with this show a bit. That's largely because I've been dedicating a lot of time to a passion project, a show called WJPZ at 50. It celebrates 50 years of the radio station at my alma mater, Syracuse University. We are releasing interviews with alumni every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through the beginning of March and our annual reunion banquet. After that, the show will slow to a once-a-week cadence, and I'll be able to re-focus on this show and other areas of my podcast production business. Thank you by the way, PodNews and Podcast Business Journal for the mentions. OK, onto the news....
What about video podcasts? I'm asked this all the time. A new study from Cumulus/Westwood One and Signal Hill Insights show that 28% of podcast listeners want to watch video of their podcast, and 29% want video playing in the background. This changes a bit by format - like true crime for example is often best suited to audio only. But here's MY key takeaway: 43% of listeners prefer audio only. My position on this hasn't changed. I'm a radio guy by trade, so I'm always audio first. A podcast goes where video can't - in the car, walking the dog, and more. Now YouTube is huge for podcast discovery, but you can get all that SEO benefit but uploading your audio to YouTube with a static image or moving waveform, or even auto-generated captions. Make sure you have good show notes, and a transcription of your content if available. But don't feel the need to shoot video of your podcast- to me, the ROI on your time investment just isn't there. And yes, I know what you're thinking - Jag, aren't you doing a video version of this podcast? Well, yes, but only because it's very short. If this thing were 30 minutes, no way I'd be shooting and editing video.
Speaking of YouTube, they've put out a 67 page guide to podcasting. If you've got some time - you can link from the bottom of this article at TubeFilter: https://www.tubefilter.com/2022/11/23/youtube-podcast-guide/
Podcast Hosting App Anchor seems to be losing market share. I've long been concerned about Anchor, its connection to Spotify, and the murkiness around who owns your content. Remember, free is never really free. Anchor, however, HAS announced an audio enhancement tool that will clean up your audio in noisy environments. Add this to the existing Studio Sound feature in Descript, and an AI audio enhancement tool in beta from Adobe, and podcast audio is going to get much better in 2023. If you're going to use these tools, however, proceed with caution. They aren't perfect, and unless you check through them, or employ a professional editor, you can get some WEIRD stuff in your "enhanced" audio.
Spatial Audio could be the next big audio tech breakthrough. Theoretically, if you're listening to a podcast with headphones, you'll be able to hear the conversation from different angles depending on how you move your head. The New York Times has a website demo. I think it will be a couple of years before this is common place, but the cutting edge stuff is pretty cool. Link: https://rd.nytimes.com/projects/a-guide-to-creating-spatial-audio-podcasts
There seems to be a growing sentiment in podcasting to remove email addresses from RSS feeds. Up until now, you needed an active email address to verify ownership of a podcast in Apple, Spotify, and more. But with the rise of two-factor authentication, that may no longer be needed. Why the pushback against email addresses? They inordinate amount of spam that you get from every bot on the planet as a podcast owner. And think you have it bad? Try being the email on the RSS feed of 25 or so client podcasts. It's a daily pain I incur so my clients don't have to. You're welcome. :)
New research shows that podcast listeners are OK with content that's, shall we say, not squeaky-clean. The reason seems to be: they've sought out a particular show. So for the most part, they know what they're getting into. As opposed to something broadcast over a television network or FM radio station. I will say, however, always mark an episode as "explicit" if someone swears. It keeps our evil Lords at Apple happy, plus it's a nice courtesy to give your listeners. However, explicit content and offensive content can be two very different things. Tom Webster has a great article on "brand safety" as it relates to podcasters and advertisers in Sounds Profitable: https://soundsprofitable.com/update/podcasting-superpower
And finally, I leave you with some good news. Adnan Syed, the wrongly convicted subject of the podcast Serial, has a job. Georgetown University has hired him to work with their prison reform initiative. I'll give credit where credit is due to Georgetown, even as a Syracuse grad. Lata!