Normal is Now: Create for the Present Moment


PodMov Daily: Friday, October 15

Episode 521: Week Download Complete

Normal is Now: Create for the Present Moment

If ‘normal’ continues to mean ‘the way things were before the pandemic,’ we’ll never feel normal again. Podcast audiences have changed, just like the rest of us. To accept is to evolve, says Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. “We can strategize about the future, but we need to create content for the present moment.” 

From the way we work to the media we consume, certain new(ish) habits have stuck. Audiences have discovered lasting needs: “Podcast listening, it turned out, went up a fair amount by the middle of last year.” Remarkably, “Podcasting's Share of Ear climbed to 6% in the heart of lockdown. And it has stayed there.”             

Times like this are ideal for checking in with your listeners, Webster says. “For some of you, your audience is not going to change because they never have. For others, your audience changed, and this might be who they are now, going forward.” Edison’s Podcast Listener Survey template is a valuable resource — just saying.

With New Branding, NPR Reinvents Its Podcasts

Yesterday the #2 podcast publisher in the US unveiled a nationwide marketing campaign for its roster of shows. NPR “has lately struggled with the need to bolster a listenership that is rapidly aging,” wrote Elahe Izadi of The Washington Post back in May. With its brand identity on the line, how will NPR reinvent itself?

At first glance, the bold, all-caps typography looks very unlike NPR. That’s the point, according to Chief Marketing Officer Michael Smith. The organization’s podcast audience is far younger and more diverse than its radio listeners. To balance appeal with both groups, they hired an agency with clients like ESPN and Justin Timberlake.

The declarative new messaging tries to leave ‘NPR voice’ — an often-mocked icon of whiteness — behind: “This week, we tell this story to America in four simple words: More Voices, All Ears.” Individual creators know that packaging can make or break a podcast. With massive resources, NPR is betting on massive change.

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Red carpet: Two podcast award ceremonies will take place this weekend. The Latin Podcast Awards will celebrate multilingual creators on Saturday at 8:30 pm ET, and the inaugural Paranormal Podcast Awards, hosted by artist and storyteller Sam Shearon, are on Sunday at 9:00 pm ET. 
  • Help desk: The third issue of “Starting Out” offers more inside tips for people entering the industry. Producer and reporter Alice Wilder discusses burnout and starting over with Keisha “TK” Dutes (Life Kit), an executive producer at Spoke Media who made the leap from nursing to audio.
  • Rocket launch: “Boy, I think we grew way, way too fast earlier this year,” said Clubhouse CEO Paul Davison on Wednesday. “What we really want to do is be on that path of steady, gradual growth.” Priya Anand of Bloomberg reports on the app’s meteoric rise and plans for sustainability. 
  • Writers’ room: The 2021 Shore Scripts Podcast Contest is underway. Two winners will have their scripts produced into pilot episodes on $5,000 budgets. November 16 is the early deadline; be sure to check the Podcasting, Seriously Awards Fund for possible application fee reimbursement.

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