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What Is A Podcast Exactly?

“Podcast Insights says that 51% of the US Population has listened to a podcast and that 49% of podcast listening is done at home, while 22% of listening is done in the car.”

Matt Fishman

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What is a podcast? It seems like a simple question with an easy answer, but not so fast my friend. Should a one hour show that aired live on the radio and then posted on the station’s website be considered a podcast? Or should only programs created and produced exclusivly for download be considered podcasts? Do they have to be downloadable to be considered a podcast? So like I said, not such an easy answer.

What we do know is that podcasts are hot. Podcast Insights reports that there are currently more than 750,000 podcasts. A recent Nielsen audio report detailed that nearly 50% of 6+ listeners in Washington, DC and Seattle-Tacoma have ever listened to a podcast. Podcast Insights says that 51% of the US Population has listened to a podcast and that 49% of podcast listening is done at home, while 22% of listening is done in the car. 

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So back to my original question–what is a podcast? Merriam Webster defines a podcast as, “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet.” Reading that tells me that any program, whether it aired originally on the radio or is an original production, can be considered a podcast.  

Let’s see what some of the thought leaders in the sports radio/sports audio world think is and is not a podcast:

Pete Gianesini, Senior Director, Digital Audio Programming, ESPN:

“Over the years we’ve gone around the block on this a few times. Without having come to a formal resolution, at the end of the day, anything that is a full show or an hour from a longer show, whether original or repurposed from radio or TV, we call a podcast. A standalone interview pulled from a show or anything shorter than that we call a clip. On our podcast page on ESPN.com we categorize our titles as ‘ESPN Originals’, ‘ESPN TV’, and ‘ESPN Radio.

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“In the ESPN app, we have many more categories but they are divided by genre (NBA) rather than the platform it originates from. But even that setup I’d call more of a guideline more than a hard rule. It evolves over time…If someone has a great idea how to rigidly categorize something like that, I’m all ears. I actually think if we are making content that is hard to categorize then we’re doing something right with the format.

Rick Cummings, President of Programming, Emmis Communications:

“At Emmis, a couple things guide our efforts in podcast:

  1. A podcast provides the convenience of consuming when desired.  So most of our high profile morning shows are available via podcast ‘same day,’ and in multiple forms:  long form; hourly and feature segments. 
  2. We have tried and been largely unsuccessful at creating ‘podcast only’ material (instead of repurposed over the air content).  We believe it’s a different skillset, having more in common with making a good film than a good radio show.
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For that and many other reasons, we have completed a round of funding for Los Angeles podcast studio Sound That BRANDS. STB is a talented group of storytellers who produce podcasts that tell a brand’s unique story or tell stories reflective of a brand’s qualities.  At STB, the motto is “be the content, not the interruption.” 

Mike Thomas, National Spoken Word and Podcast Brand Manager, Beasley Media Group

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“We consider time shifted audio, like an hour of Mike Missanelli’s Show, to be a podcast just like we consider original content like “Sports Hub Grub” to be a podcast. Any audio that is available when it’s convenient for the listener to consume it, is a podcast. Apple and Google have unified in calling them podcasts and we are in agreement.”

Suzanne Grimes, President, Westwood One and EVP/Marketing for Cumulus Media

“A podcast is original audio content created for the purpose of listening across a multitude of digital platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, etc. It is audio content created to be consumed as a podcast; it can be host driven, scripted, investigative journalism, news and beyond.

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On-demand audio is content that has been repurposed for digital audio consumption so a consumer can listen on their own time. This could be broadcast radio or TV content that has been edited to be an on-demand digital audio file.

As you can see, with a category so vaguely defined as podcasts, major radio operations have differing opinions as to what is and what is not a podcast. So what does the ratings company, Nielsen, think of this question? 

While Nielsen doesn’t currently differentiate between repurposed audio and an original podcast, the company has found a way to credit a podcast to a station’s ratings for PPM (Portable People Meter) markets. It has to meet the following criteria: 

  • The radio station broadcast the podcast audio on-air, and
  • The podcast includes the station’s PPM codes, and
  • The podcast is long enough to earn a Quarter Hour of credit, and
  • The Panelist listened to the podcast within a day of the original broadcast.

The PPM system discards podcast listening that does not meet these criteria. 

I found this to be incredibly interesting. So it clearly makes sense for stations to drive listeners to download radio shows and listen to them as opposed to spending a ton of time creating and promoting original podcasts. 

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In conclusion, as podcasts and on-demand content continues to grow, the measurements, metrics and standards will become better defined in order to better serve the audio companies and their sponsors. 

So what’s a podcast? What isn’t a podcast? Depends who you ask. 

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.

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WRONG BAD

In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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