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Podcasts and radio How radio can play by its own rules

Report by Annie Langston
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20,000 foot view:  Radio set the stage for music streaming and podcasts, only to watch them take portions of its audience. However, there is a clear opportunity for radio companies to assert themselves in the podcast market, drawing on decades of programming expertise to retain audiences and find new ones. It will not be easy, as radio companies will need to embrace streaming and an open podcasting ecosystem. But, if done right, radio companies can become key players in the growing podcast market.

Key insights 

  • Radio is already the basis for podcasts, music streaming, and live audio — all of which have steadily adopted radio-like features
  • Despite        of consumers listening to radio monthly, the format is in long-term, steady decline
  • From        2020 to        2022, podcast monthly active users (MAUs) have grown by        percentage points and are officially beyond niche penetration, as        listen to podcasts monthly
  • Radio’s leading audience is        at        monthly penetration, while podcasts’ leading audience is older millennials in the        age range, at       
  • Spoken-word audio has low penetration among        with only        listening to either radio or podcasts monthly
  • Radio’s future will depend on its ability to attract younger audiences, by bringing podcasts to them rather than trying to convert them to traditional radio
  • Radio programmers can wield their expertise in habitual listening, audience engagement, background listening, and curated programming to create an edge in the podcasting space 
  • Radio has a clear advantage to deliver trustworthy and timely news podcasts, which are the second-most regularly listened-to podcast genre, at        monthly penetration
  • As music is the third-most regularly listened-to podcast genre, radio can also tap into its music and live programming roots to serve this audience

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Alex Cooper, Amazon Amp, Apple Podcasts, Audible, BBC, BBC Radio        BBC Radio        BBC Sounds, Clubhouse, Drake, Global Radio, HBO Max, iHeart, Joe Rogan, KBS World, Meghan Trainer, NPR, Omar Apollo, Radio France, SiriusXM, Spotify, Spotify Live, Sveriges Radio, TikTok, Twitter Spaces, WBEZ, YouTube

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