Public Radio Inches Closer to For-Profit | News & Notes 5

Tyler Moody

The biggest headline in recent podcast news is WNYC’s announcement they are raising $15 million to open a podcast division.

The NY Times reported the story, and to me the key point in here is about money. It’s this line:

Podcasts are also attractive to public broadcasters because they are not subject to the Federal Communications Commission’s strict rules about corporate sponsorship that govern the public airways.

Podcasting is growing and providing a new revenue stream for public radio stations (and networks).

WNYC has recently lost a lot of talent to MidRoll and Audible and as the article mentions this move could be a way to retain or attract talent to public radio. That is probably true. AND with podcasting rules being more flexible than the FCC’s public airwaves rules these content producers can enter into a more commercial radio existence. They can sell ads instead of sponsorship and underwriting.

I honestly don’t think it spells doom for public broadcasting and serving communities and the mission of dedicated public radio networks and stations. I think there are a lot of people devoted to serving communities and not just money. But it sure is gonna change things don’t you think?

Imagine other big public stations like WBEZ and KCRW following in WNYC’s footsteps and creating their own divisions for podcasting. Now imagine those divisions being spun off into for profit companies. Something that can sell all kinds of ads in the digital space, and also turn around and “sell” those shows back to their public radio division to be run on air.

Then…. they also sell those shows to other public radio stations to run on air. Which in turn leads to more people learning about it and going to get the podcast.

On air you get messages about pledge drives and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, online you get square space, and whoever else jumps into the growing podcast ad market.

Not too hard to imagine is it?

In other radio/audio/podcasting news:

A host in Atlanta is let go after bringing the practice of “recycling” an interview to a news station. Oops. AJC Rodney Ho

This release from Spreaker caught my eye, their studio app is now available for desktop. I haven’t used Spreaker, but if this makes it even easier for non-radio talent to make quality recordings for podcasts I think it’s big too. Here’s the line that got me:

This four audio source input support eliminates the need for an expensive audio mixer to record more than one microphone at a time for easy mobile recordings.

You and I are in the radio/podcast business so we might think “it’s already easy!” but for those that aren’t in it everyday, making the devices they already use into a podcast studio without extra gear is a good thing.

Thanks for reading, your comments are always welcome. What did I miss? What did I get right?

Studio Mic Image credit: here 

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