September 15, 2015 by johnnyseifertradio
‘The Chris Moyles Breakfast Show’ podcast.
This was the first podcast I ever downloaded in 2007 and religiously listened to on a Friday night with highlights of the weeks output condensed into fourty minutes. Fast forward eight years and podcasts have vastly improved with radio groups such as NPR in America producing stand alone podcasts such as Invisibilia, Serial and Freakonomics. Over in the UK we have podcasts such as Answer Me This and Out Of Date which are both worth listening to. However, radio stations have now seen that there is a market to produce further content to their radio shows for a mobile audience that 92% of their listeners have smart phones.This week BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat has produced a documentary podcast stripped across a week on air on their Newsbeat show at 12:45 and 17:45. The audio has been then lifted and has been made available to download on the podcast service on IOS.
The audio package itself is brilliant! Newsbeat have done really well in looking at suicide but focussing on wider strands including trolling. Using one of my radio idols, Valerie Geller’s model at the Next Radio Conference 2015, the podcasts fulfilled these requirements to create powerful audio packages:
However, I have a problem!
My problem is that although great audio, what does the potential listener do next after listening? When scheduled on the radio as a part of BBC Radio 1, Chris Smith on BBC Newsbeat read out a cue material before hitting play on the scheduled audio package. However, listening to the audio as a podcast myself as an audio consumer, I expected a different unique experience as Trevor Marshall pointed out.
Step 1- Repackage The Audio:
The audio should have been repackaged. This meant having a thirty second introduction at the top of the podcast explaining the context of the episode and how it fits into Newsbeat such as:
“This is Chris Smith from BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat. On air this week at 12:45 and 17:45 we have been following the story of Izzy Dix. Every day we have focussed on a different part to the tragic suicide that Izzy took such as what the police did. In this episode, you are going to hear how Izzy’s mum was trolled…”
By doing this, it is now clear where the audio has come from. In addition, it gives a focus for the potential listener to know how they can hear similar stories or further packages about other news stories as they have now been engaged by Newsbeat.
Stage 2- Idents
Idents and jingles have always been important to radio as it creates familiarity and makes the station recognisable. The same should apply to podcasts. Newsbeat has its own unique idents that should have been used to split up the audio. There has been alot of research to show that especially teen audiences have a short attention span. This means that to re-engage them in a fifteen minute podcast, an ident should be used three times roughly every five minutes to remind them what they are listening to. Yes they have chosen to listen to the audio, but we can not predict where they are listening and how much attention they are actually giving. They could be driving but focussing on the road, they could be in bed but scanning their Twitter feed at the same time. Having an ident will segway the audio breaking up the narrative and almost wake the listener up whilst showcasing the house production that Radio 1 has done.
Stage 3- The Ending
The ending of each podcast needed to be stronger to bring it back to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat. Rather then the story ending and having a pause at the end so that Greg James on air can fire up a moving slow song to help draw the listener out the shell they have formed around them and can re-integrate into mixed segments on Radio1, the podcast should have again been re-packaged with an ending like:
[Ident of Newsbeat]
“I have been Chris Smith and you have been listening to a BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat special. If you would like to find out more or want some advice check out the Newsbeat website and download the new app”.
[Ident of BBC Radio 1]
Yes, the podcasts about suicide are important in learning about the topic. But, there has to be a motive for Radio 1 to invest money and time into the research and production of the packages. Having a clear ending re-affirms the authority by Newsbeat and gives the potential listener again a clear plan of action of what to do next to continue listening to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat.
Was Radio 1 being interactive or just broadcasting on a podcast platform? I have dicussed how we need to rethink how we consume audio here