The legendary Leo Laporte is hosting a panel discussion titled “The Future of Podcasting.” His panelists are Noah Shannock, founder of Stitcher, and Norman Pattiz, founder of PodcastOne. If you don’t see the live blog posts, click on the title of this post.
Q. email@example.com -send me your pitch and say we met me here.
Leo: Are you soliciting new podcasts?
Pattiz: We are fairly selective. We are interested in where it’s going, not where it’s been in evaluating a show.
Shanock: Go to Stitcher website section for podcasters.
Q. From Podcast Cowboy, who just got his first episode up on Stitcher. My questions were answered, but I didn’t want to sit back down. Started with a satellite dish, then iPhone, thanks for creating Stitcher.
Q. Do you regret your comment that “podcasting is dead”?
Leo: I don’t know what I meant (at second or third podcast expo). I felt it was demeaning to say we are podcasters. We are creating content on the Internet. I didn’t want us to be in a niche. We’re not a niche, we’re the world.
Pattiz: Podcast term may not be beneficial in financial community. They think of it as something that tried and failed. I don’t care about them. I am more interested in advertisers, and not enough of them tried it to have an opinion about how it works. They are open to podcasting. I used PodcastOne term.
Shanock: We have mixed feelings about the P word. We’re the future of radio. We are on demand internet radio. A lot of podcasters use the term podcast, so we are doing a balancing act. We would love it if we went away from that word.
Leo: it’s like blogging. It’s writing on the Internet. Why give us this demeaning name. I also think it was link bait when I said podcasting was dead.
Q. Local journalism is expensive, in time. Is there ever going to be an appreciation by advertisers that some content requires a higher CPM?
Pattiz: If they see value of being in news shows because it’s a certain kind of consumer, they will pay up for it. NPR could get a whole lot more advertising but is very restrictive.
Q. My show was looking at syndication. You (Leo Laporte) said last year to hold out before going to syndication. What would you say now?
Leo: There’s no magic solution. The key is to get to as many ears as possible. You got to get to the ears. When this has become an established medium there will be money that trickles down to long-tail podcasts. Podcasting will always be democratic. Radio will always be undemocratic, with big time gatekeepers. That’s what the Internet has done. It has changed everything. Anyone can have a podcast or YouTube channel. Just do your thing and get to as many ears as you can, good luck, and keep your day job.
Q. Stitcher terms of service say you can remix or edit content. My Creative Commons license requires attribution. Have asked Stitcher twice and not heard back.
Shanock: We should meet afterwards.
Q. I really care about people’s knowing that I’m the one that created it.
Shanock: On front page, with a few content producers, we use content. If a listener knows they will be listening to a Fox show or NPR show they may turn off and not give content a chance. As soon as you listen to the content you know very quickly that it’s your content. We want to help listeners discover shows that they like, to let the content decide.
Q & A begins…
Q: Podcasting has an engagement that radio does not Can radio ever have the same level of engagement?
A (Shanock): Sure. Start a podcast.
(Leo) the podcast version of my radio show has more engagement. Maybe because you have to be dedicated enough to figure out to get it.
(Pattiz) In dash podcast listening will be complicated in the car.
Leo: that’s a lot more work than turning on a radio station.
Questioner: Podcasting is a humanity-level revolution.
Leo: It’s democratizing.
Pattiz: Concentration of radio ownership lessens local content. Owners are strapped with debt and will have to sell of stations that will be bought by local owners. Even if they do that, podcasting has it beat.
Leo: I used to try to read every tweet that appeared since I was there. You get used to seeing it as a river you dip into. (I remember when Leo boycotted Twitter because he was afraid it was crowding the TWIT brand. He got over that eventually.)
Pattiz to Leo: You are a much better looking man in person than you are in the picture.
Leo: Can podcasting take a lot of revenue away from traditional media?
Leo: Do you think I’m crazy to do video?
Pattiz: I don’t think you’re crazy to do anything.
Leo: I love live. Does Stitcher have live?
Shanock: We’ve dabbled with it.
Pattiz: Live can’t pause. We’re radio with a pause button. Some things have to be live – news, sports.
Shanock: News is very popular on Stitcher. Some are putting out news every 10 minutes. Some people want live in case aliens invade the planet, they’ll know right away.
Shanock: We’re able to get away from cost per thousand (CPM) sometimes.
Pattiz: If the business wants to be a billion dollar business, you’ve got to do business with people who want to cover all the people, not an intimate link with podcast listeners. They may be the most important part of developing the industry.
This is a nearly perfect panel, because the interaction of the panelists is a real conversation, so engaged in the subject it’s as if they have forgotten there are hundreds of people listening in person and more online. Plus, Leo Laporte is as graceful an interviewer as you’ll find. Short, pointed, sometimes funny questions that are not about him but meant to draw out interesting answers. Even with a cold, he’s a total master in this setting. Watch and learn.
Pattiz to Leo: You should try an explicit version of your show. Leo Unleashed.
[applause for the idea]
Stitcher guy jumps in to carry it. Pattiz: I thought of it first!
Leo asks Shanock about explicit content on Stitcher. A lot of podcasters got into the business so they could say those words.
Shanock: We classify by explicit and not. Some explicit do great. Mark Marin’s show is called WTF, and everyone knows what the F stands for. Those shows do great. There is only a certain group of advertisers interested.
Pattiz talks about a wrestling podcast by Steve Austin, with a clean, family friendly version and an “unleashed” version. Now we can sell the e-rated version and the family friendly version. They’re both doing really well.
Pattiz says “mother fucker.”
Shanock: Now this show can’t be on Stitcher!
Norman Pattiz lookds and sounds like a younger Clint Eastwood, without the empty chair.
Pattiz: A lot of advertisers don’t want explicit rating on a podcast. We are producing a lot of our podcasts.
Leo: Are you looking for talent?
Leo: You’re looking for engaged fans.
Leo: Distinction between hobby podcasters and those who are making careers.
Pattiz: The hobby podcaster has chance to catch on.
Shanock: That’s the great thing about ranking engines. It gives shows a chance to be found and thrive on their own merit.
Leo: Will a good show be discovered?
Shanock: Absolutely. Stitcher has mechanisms within the platform. Fastest trending shows, if you liked this you might like that.
Stitcher founder Noah Shanock is watching Leo and Norman Pattiz with a leaning-back skeptical body stance, waiting for them to take a breath so he can get into the conversation. He’s probably 15 years younger than this venerable old Turks. He will have his day.
Pattiz: Why do comedians do so well at iTunes? They got into it to promote their club dates, merchandising. It was marketing.
Leo: Now it’s a revenue source.
Pattiz: We’re thinking about opening up to a larger group of podcasts. Maybe call it the Podcast One Underground. A place for sampling. His earlier business, Westwood One, brought ad buyers to radio in an earlier era. (Fun to see him energized by this new opportunity.)
Pattiz: We made a decision to go with traditional ad buyers. We think we offer them a digital solution that helps them compete within their own operations. The first people who became interested in what I was doing were talent agents.
Leo: Why would big stars be interested?
Pattiz: Everyone is looking for digital solutions.
Leo: Are they hedging their bets?
Pattiz: They’ve got to be there.
Leo: It seems like everyone is trying to figure this out.
I love the term “terrestrial radio.” Sounds like dinosaurs stomping around in the forest.
Award for best shoes among the panelists goes to… Norman Pattiz, sporting a snappy pair of white soles highlighted by blue and bronze tops. Leo and the Stitcher guy are wearing Wall Street style black footwear.
Leo Laporte: Will podcasting metrics coalesce into a single measurement the way it has with TV?
Leo Laporte: what are the podcasting metrics now?
Pattiz: Libsyn does a good job. RawVoice and Blubrry. PodTrac . All of the technology is proprietary.
Leo: We use PodTrac, but you said it’s too low.
Pattiz: They just measure unique visitors.
We don’t care how many different platforms our programs are available on. We will build out the PodcastOne platform.
If you take a look at the downloads that we generate monthly on 200 podcasts it’s in excess of 200 million downloads. Everyone measures differently. SoundCloud doesn’t measure downloads, they measure something else.
All of these measurements are estimates.
Noah Shanock: Stitcher has 20,000 podcasts (including The Kindle Chronicles) on it. Aimed at listening in the car primarily. People want to listen in the car to what’s already in their pocket.
In 2013 there were 150,000,000 podcasts downloaded through Stitcher. More vehicles will have it in 2014.
It’s an advertising model similar to Pandora or terrestrial radio. But we deliver more value, especially as we get better. Better targeting and analytics. Industry needs to figure measurement out.
Here’s the view of of the panel.
Noah Shanock (Stitcher founder): I started a podcast just for fun. I realized that there was already all this great content out there-from traditional radio to long-tail content. But it was difficult to deliver the content, and to find content you wanted. I remember trying to explain to my Mom how to listen to my radio show. It was impossible.
Pattiz: Big advertisers looking for comfort level. “You guys are the product, the creative energy,” he tells audience. “But there needs to be an organized industry to get serious national advertisers to take a look at us.” You have to have reporting, billing, production values they expect. Normally that would be paid for by an industry, but the industry does not yet exist. We call it digital audio on demand. Digital buyers are so granular, it makes it hard to get a decent rate.
Norman Pattiz: Started PodcastOne at an advanced age. Radio syndication business was like where podcasting is now. Opportunity is similar to when he tapped demand from national advertisers for radio. Has about 200 podcasts. It’s a revenue solution, to build demand with national advertisers. Same ones you’d see on network TV, to turn medium into a medium that could be a big business.
Leo: Nothing has killed anything else. There are many models.
Leo Laporte: What would you do if you were Howard Stern?
Pattiz: I would go to subscription model for podcast. He’s one of the few people who could get away with this. Glenn Beck is another, generating $40-50 million a year.
Laporte: That started with mainstream media.
Pattiz: He gave up millions of viewers for hundreds of thousands. But he’s making money. For 99 percent of other people, it won’t work. Stern is one.
Shanock: If I were Howard Stern, I would do an exclusive deal with Stitcher.
Some of the most popular content on Stitcher is from terrestrial radio, Noah Shannock says.
Pattiz: That’s why radio should embrace podcasting. They can develop an audience that would never find them on traditional radio.
Laporte: I think….
Pattiz: Oh what do you know?
Leo suggests that radio stations are like bookstores–endangered by digital disruption.