Title: The World’s Fastest-Growing Sports Media Podcast
Date: October 6, 2017
Length: 25 minutes
Cast: Robert Seidman
Extra: You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes as well as following along on Twitter at @SportsTVratings
Episode 27 of The World’s Fastest-Growing Sports Media Podcast, is centered entirely on a one-on-one interview with Traug Keller, the Senior Vice President of ESPN Audio. First of all, I love the idea for this episode, because there may not be a better guest to have on than Keller to discuss the way a big media company views the podcasting world and its future.
For me, or anyone else in the radio or podcasting business, this episode makes you think and evaluate how you’re handling your product on a day-to-day basis. Am I using every platform available at my disposal? Am I making my show mobile-friendly that can be played at the push of a button? Those are just a couple of the many questions I found myself asking during this episode. At the 4-minute mark, Keller made a comment that really resonated with me when he said, “I am now consuming a lot of my audio via podcast.” He then uses an example to say that he absolutely loves the Dan Le Batard Show. However, no matter how much he enjoys it; it doesn’t seem like he’s running to a radio every day for Le Batard’s open to hear the show. Instead, Keller says he listens via the podcast, which has risen as the most streamed and downloaded show ESPN has. People still want your product, but now more than ever, they want to consume it on their own time. Give them that option.
Seidman then posed an interesting question to Keller about the accessibility of iPhone users compared to Android. To be honest, I’ve never considered this as a potential issue, since I’ve had an iPhone for as long as I remember. But after listening to Seidman pose the question, he’s right. Just about every single podcast I listen to, comes via iTunes. To curb that, Keller says ESPN not only has their own app, but they have partnerships with Spotify, TuneIn and Google Play, all accessible with Android. ESPN has left no stone unturned with their accessibility to listeners. It’s also a reason that 1/5 people in America are tuning into ESPN Radio every week. That’s right around 24 million people.
I really liked the question that Seidman asked about the timing of releasing podcasts of the studio shows. Seemingly, in less than an hour, a live show you may have missed would be available on the ESPN app. Seidman’s point is fair when he asks if that’s a problem, seeing that it could create a situation to where the viewer doesn’t need to watch the live version. However, Keller is right when he points out that you don’t have to worry about cannibalization. His reasoning is simple, “I think Steve Jobs got asked that question about the iPad versus the iPhone,” said Keller. “We’d rather do it than have someone else do it to us.” In turn, Keller found they could build a new audience by going into multiple platforms.
I found this podcast to be very intriguing. Mostly, because I feel like I learned a few things. Audio on demand is a perfect way of predicting the future of radio and podcasts and I couldn’t agree more with Seidman and Keller’s point on it. Staying ahead of the curve is crucial in this business, and both guys had interesting thoughts on how the younger generation handles audio, as well as how it will shape things in the future. One thing I would have liked to ask Keller is this: If podcasting continues to grow, how does that affect the world of traditional radio? Also, will we see a deeper talent pool with so many individuals offering their own podcast? That said, I was still very pleased with the questions and directions that Seidman steered the podcast towards. My biggest takeaway is this, and frankly, I can’t get the phrase ‘audio on demand’ out of my mind. It’s now all about accessibility. You may have a great product, but are you making it available for consumption on numerous platforms? If not, you’re behind. And thankfully, both Seidman and Keller reiterated that point. This podcast gets high marks for me.