Kill the Best Bits.

I think I might have posted something on this before but its worthy of a repeat… I just don’t understand the point of “best of radio show” style podcasts!

In many ways even more true for radio shows than say podcast series which maintains their weekly or daily feed with a compilation episode or two- which I can sort of understand.

Let me dig deeper. I should say that I can see the thought progression that winds up with a “best of us” podcast from a radio station perspective. It’s (fairly) easy to put together – the content is available and it gets you a podcast in the works quickly. Here is an alternative view: It’s dull, uninventive, panders to the ego and is a placeholder bit of content which as an industry we should have done with by now!

If you are a radio station, host or show team and you want to have some sort of podcast, then great, well done I applaud your eagerness. Make it worthwhile- put the work in! Make it work for the medium on which it will reside and if you can’t, won’t or don’t have the time then you probably don’t want it enough and shouldn’t do it. Think of it differently. If you decided that you wanted to have a blog post each week, and you could think of what to type, or subjects to write about and so instead just posted transcripts of the words spoken on your show, then yes “technically” you are posting a blog article, but in reality it isn’t particularly a great example of the blogging art form (if it is an art form!)- either way, its dull, uninventive, panders to the ego and is a placeholder bit of content.

Now I know, (because I’ve had the discussions a few times), that there are some people who will like to listen to “best bits of the show” and might not have heard it in real time. I get that absolutely and there always will be some. You might never get them to listen to the show in real time, or engage in any other way. I’d wager though that the vast majority of them would be lapsed listeners- lifestyle or location/job means they can’t or don’t listen anymore to the live thing and the actual number is fairly small. The other regular audience tends to be “super fans”. They are first to comment, engage and take part in anything you might do live on air and will happily re-listen to regurgitated on air content served in podcast form. My view is that neither constituent group grows the overall worth and interest by much and ultimately isn’t a particularly large contingent. It doesn’t really move the needle in terms of overall strategy, brand growth or evolution.

Hold on a second though! Time to own up. I have to admit that I’ve had shows that have done best of podcasts in the past. In the early days of podcasting, without the ability to use music in the pod and as a music station, the choices for what to use in the podcast arena were few. Producing a compilation of the best bits of a station’s speech heavier shows, like breakfast, was a simple answer and had some modest success. The Radio 1 days of Chris Moyles Breakfast Best Bits and others too, always appeared at the top of the podcast charts- a quick scroll just now and the Top 100 doesn’t feature ANY of these types of pods. We have come a long way baby since then, and with bespoke, engaging and amusing podcast-only content available, the menu of “second helpings” from the on air show isn’t as potent as it once was. Let go of it and think differently.

I remember back when I sat in a programmer’s chair, even though we began with a ‘best bits” podcast, it quickly changed into bespoke, original content. Initially with a few best bits from the on air mixed in, but then less and less as we found they didn’t fit anymore. the podcast lived essentially as an additional show, but without the music, and gave the show team an opportunity to run some content which didn’t always make it to air, and then to even test out some content which later appeared in the live environment on the on air radio show, and so treated the podcast as a rehearsal for the live thing or a test bed for content. It had another benefit, from a situation of programmer and breakfast host or team- with the constant watching brief to keep things succinct, efficient and short as they can be for on air, the podcast gave a release and a chance for the breakfast hosts to flex their speech muscles, develop some concepts and refine their art is a non-live environment (with the opportunity of an edit). The by-product of that was that the on air work got better, refined by the rehearsal and test-bed opportunity and the flexing of the skills. The podcast was certainly a better listen and started to develop it’s own following which complimented the on air and gave those on air listeners something more worthwhile than a repeat of something they already heard.

Just as weak radio output and weak programming doesn’t grow the impact of radio, weak content in other forms- weak podcasts, weak website, weak apps have a similar downwards pull for radio.

Get new posts delivered straight to your inbox… just fill in the box below.

Want to get me working with you on your projects? Here are a few things I could help you with:

  • Coaching talent on performance. Remote or in person.
  • Analysis of markets and performance.
  • Leading training sessions- remote or in person.
  • Editorial advice and guidance.
  • Bespoke presentations or sessions.
  • Programming development and management.

Click the links below and lets start to have fun.

Published by Dick Stone

Radio...its always been radio.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: