My first love? The voice out of the box. Until I found the pre-record button…

World Radio Day. My first love? The voice out of the box. Until I found the pre-record button. How I found my love of audio through radio and why podcasts maintained it

 

How I found my love of audio through radio, but why podcasts maintained it.

Radio was my absolute first love. Hands down. Somewhere, in the depths of my mum’s attic buried in some forgotten box collecting vast amounts of dust, is hours upon hours of recordings that I used to make on a Dictaphone.

If anyone else feels the same way about audio as I do, they’d have had a similar experience growing up… probably. Pressing record, waiting for the (actual) radio to play your favourite top 40 single, lowering the volume at the end of the tune, and then politely asking some poor relative to voice a jingle. Something like, oh, I don’t know… ‘You’re locked into Hot Songs FM!’. And no, that wasn’t the name of my ‘radio station’. No, nope, definitely not….

I went on to get a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and dabble in radio as a broadcast journalist and presenter before moving into radio ad operations. The glitz and glamour of radio (see also: incredibly early mornings and always thinking about content), didn’t turn out to be my jam. My relationship with had radio changed, but my passion for audio remained. I started flirting with the idea of the podcast, which in 2015, was still one of those concepts that you were kind of aware existed but didn’t really give it a huge amount of thought. By the time I’d finished working in radio, I had jumped straight into listening to My Dad Wrote A Porno, the podcast that changed the game. I loved it.

As I entered 2016, what I didn’t realise, back when I was sat in my bedroom talking about what mum was cooking for dinner and creating competitions in which my sister (bless her) would be losing out on an all-inclusive two-week holiday with £1K spending money to my cousin who would have to feign ecstatic joy at the fake news, was that back then I was, actually, creating podcasts. Was it actually podcasts I loved rather than radio? For all this time?

In the last 5 years, and particularly since Covid, we have seen a catalytic boom in podcast production. We retreated to create and feed our demand for information. So now, we have no option to embrace podcasts because they are everywhere.

But why? Because they are easy to make and pick up everything that live radio can’t offer.

The opportunity to choose your content, subject matters that aren’t limited to certain points of the day, learning about stuff that that could take days by book, and half an hour through your ears.

From a business point of view? If you’re not in the process of starting your own pod with a dose of delicious, branded content, you can always hop on someone else’s to shamelessly plug yourself or your brand. Specific and targeted audiences are going to drive more business to your product or service.

For those of you wondering how you make any dosh out of podcasts, 2023 is bringing the money. Advertisers are selling spots on podcasts as much as they are radio and TV, and sponsors pay huge amounts to reach that target audiences. Spotify produced a rather succinct round-up of how good podcasts are for advertisers.

Podcasts are certainly seeming way more attractive now. Hold up…

I did, and still find, radio an absolute joy to listen to; the authenticity of a live, voice-only performance is a craft like no other. The merits and value of live radio is still phenomenal. Real-time content adds an immediacy and relevance to every listener. The difference of opinion, personality and unpredictable nature of live radio is what helps remind people that we are all human with different points of view. As we saw in lockdown, the ‘friend through the box’ is an absolute life-line to those experiencing loneliness and isolation. Radio shows and podcasts are certainly not the same, but the idea that radio and podcasts are opposing mediums is, in my opinion, ludicrous. Rather, when they work in tandem, they can extend debate and entertainment, promote each other, and sound really good doing it all!

Most literature I’ve ingested of late seem to be pitching radio and podcasts against each other, like they are going through a particularly messy divorce, or are sworn enemies: the Montague and Capulet of audio you could say.

Ignore the noise, dust yourself off like I did and embrace podcasts and radio as one. They actually look pretty good together.

If you’re interested in starting a podcast for your radio, looking for space in which to do so, or flirting with the idea of starting a podcast for your business, drop me an email:
podcasts@paddingtonworks.com

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