WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Podcasts vs Broadcasts

Aug 25, 2015

There is a bit of a debate right now in the public radio world about whether a greater emphasis should be placed on podcasts rather than the radio.

One of the people involved in this discussion is Adam Davidson, who left NPR a few months ago and now serves as a consultant for the Planet Money podcast he co-founded.

The magazine Current, which reports on public media, said Davidson compares public radio’s current market position to that of the big three American automakers — Ford, GM and Chrysler — in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Shop Talk panelist Jonathan Ahl said all media should be aware of how on-demand options change the way people use media, but he does not believe NPR should be compared to the big three automakers.  He feels Davidson’s comments amount to an attempt to grab headlines.

Ahl pointed out radio audience numbers have increased in recent years. And he said that unlike Planet Money, local stations cannot survive by producing a great program only every once in a while – they need to produce stories every day because people want to know what’s happening in their communities.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton said even though she is part of the millennial generation she disagrees with the idea that terrestrial radio and television are going away.  She also believes cable TV has its supporters, though she lauded HBO for allowing the audience to download apps for specific programs instead of having to subscribe to the channel’s entire cable package.

Panelist Rich Egger said while millennials generally prefer to podcast, that might change when they’re a few years older, raising a family and more interested in what’s happening their communities.