Radio is an enduring and well-loved type of media that most people still have access to in their own homes, whether that’s via a traditional radio receiver, a digital radio or an internet-equipped device. So, if you’re already a fan of this type of media – whether you prefer talk radio, chart hits or obscure new music – why would you switch to podcasts instead?
Read on to find the answer to this question, as well as a bit more about the differences between traditional radio and its modern rival, the podcast.
The Internet Age
Let’s get one thing clear to start off with: podcasts are not here to replace radio programmes, or consign them to the forgotten world of Betamax, minidiscs and the Dreamcast. Rather, they present an alternative type of listening media that has developed specifically as a result of the internet’s widespread reach. Just as you’d now turn to Netflix for the latest TV shows, or Pokerstarscasino for all the well-known table games, platforms like Stitcher or Luminary provide podcasts to the people.
Podcasts tend to be more of an ‘audioblog’, rather than the magazine-type model that many radio shows use, meaning that they’re often fuelled by the host’s opinion or that of the guests on the show. They are a result of the increasing individuality granted to creators by the internet and advancements in communications technology.
Increasing Choice & Accessibility
Podcasting platforms offer increased choice and accessibility to audiences due to their decentralised nature and the fact that literally anybody can start one. Attracting listeners may be a whole different matter, but anyone who has basic recording equipment and an internet connection can, in theory, start their own podcast. This means that the range of topics covered is vast, ranging from astrology, to TV and movies, to comedy, history, agony aunts and beyond. The fact that podcasts can easily be accessed via various different apps on smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers means that they are available anywhere with an internet connection. However, if you want to listen ‘offline’, there is also the option to download episodes to your device and listen to them at your leisure.
Traditionally, your choice of radio station has relied upon where you are geographically; that’s changed in recent years with the advent of digital or internet radio and the introduction of ‘play on demand’ radio apps. This circumnavigates the problems associated with missing a live radio show by using the internet to make local stations available to listeners all over the world, at any time of the day or night. As an added plus, radio shows are licensed to play all the latest chart hits, as well as older music, whereas podcasts are often only able to broadcast original content. So, whether you choose to access radio shows, podcasts, or both is entirely up to you and what you’re looking to get out of the experience.
Companionship & Listener Participation
One of the greatest things about the radio is the air of companionship it can lend to people who find themselves alone or lonely. Whether you live alone, find yourself in a lonely situation or simply like a friendly voice to keep you company during your working day, the radio has always been there to fill the silence with talk, news and music. The radio acts as a reliable news source as well as keeping you up to date with the latest new music and trends. Although it’s not a 100% guarantee that all content is truthful, being on the radio does lend a show a certain level of dependability. In addition to this, most radio shows are recorded live through necessity; this means that listeners can interact with hosts in real time, therefore increasing the friendliness factor and opening up the floor to listener participation. This allows an open dialogue to form between the host and the listener as the show progresses.
Podcasts may not broadcast live, but they have solved the issue of listener participation by using social media in order to collect feedback and directly engage their audience with the show. The majority of podcast listening platforms allow for people to leave opinions and feedback about the shows they’ve been enjoying, and many podcast hosts will include social media handles in the description of their show so that people know where to follow them.
This opens up an ever-evolving dialogue between host(s) and listeners, regardless of when the show is uploaded or listened to, or where people are based. Alongside this, as mentioned above, podcasts tend to allow for less censored expressions of personal views; this could prove alienating for some listeners, but if you can find a show that aligns with your own values, listening can be an immensely validating experience. At a time when the real world is becoming less connected, people are reaching out online instead and finding connections and reassurance that way.