If you’ve been listening to public radio over the past few years, you know there’s a certain style that has crept its way into the way programs are created and personalities sound. It’s that quirky, conversational style that sounds natural, genuine, and like someone’s telling you a story.
Contrast that with the monotonal sound that many have long associated with public radio – yes, all the way back to that Schweddy Balls bit that Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live turned into a parody that had more than a little ring of truth.
That new sound becoming synonymous with public radio programs, features, and podcasts could be called “The Ira Glass Effect.” As Glass points out in a recent Denver Post interview conducted by John Wenzel, Glass is more than a little aware of the impact he’s had on myriad shows and podcasts that have been produced by public radio over the years.
His baby – This American Life – has become one of the most successful shows in the history of public radio, spawning the now-famous Serial podcast, as well as influencing many other shows. And undoubtedly, it has inspired young nerds everywhere they have the potential to be on the radio, assuming they do their homework, prep like crazy, and then tell a compelling story.
Glass is in the process of touring the country in a stage show that is a step in a very different media direction for him. But the thing about it that is especially interesting is the name of the production itself:
When you think about “Reinventing Radio,” Glass has essentially done just that, as he explained to the Post:
“In August, we crossed this line where we now have just as many people listening to us as a podcast as on the radio. The radio part is not going away, but the podcast audience is younger and all over the world.”
And that phenomenon should make everyone in radio – whether in the commercial or the public system – sit up and take notice. That’s because it speaks to a sea change, not just in the way “radio” is defined and produced, but in the way consumers access and enjoy it.
Will on-demand change radio in the radical way it has changed television? And what are the implications of podcasting in the hierarchy of radio programming and content creation? Measurement, marketing, and monetization are three key questions that loom large in the podcasting space.
We tackled many of these same types of issue with the 35,000+ radio listeners who have already completed a Techsurvey12 questionnaire. From binge TV viewing to podcast consumption, we will learn a great deal more about on-demand programming and whether it will help contribute to reinventing radio as we’ve known it.
Whatever you call it – on-demand or podcasting – it could become the next big thing that might, in fact, reinvent radio and the way listeners consume it.
Ira Glass knows there’s a there there. And based on his track record and proof of concept, don’t bet against him.
Prior to launching the company, Fred spent the majority of his time designing and managing research projects as the Director of Research for the Radio and Publishing divisions for Frank N. Magid Associates, a leading research and consulting firm. Later, Fred became Director of Radio Research for the ABC-FM Owned and Operated Radio Stations. From there, Fred gravitated to the station side, becoming program director for legendary WRIF-FM in Detroit, before forming Jacobs Media.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults Jacobs Media’s major market Classic, Mainstream, and Active Rock clients, while having input in every client relationship.
Fred has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.
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