Podcasts are having a serious moment. Today, all a person needs is a good internet connection and a pair of headphones to access all kinds of fascinating, funny, informative, and groundbreaking podcasts that cover a seemingly infinite range of topics. This is why they are so appealing to perpetually plugged-in Millennials who don’t need an “old-school” am/fm radio to tune in to the stories and in-depth news reports that podcasts offer.
Because of the stunning success of Serial, a spinoff podcast from This American Life, in 2014, it has become clearer than ever that podcasts don’t just offer entertainment value, but dollar value, too. Serial amassed more than 72 million downloads, and its primary advertiser, MailChimp, cashed in big time. This is why three major public radio networks – NPR, WBEZ, and WNYC – recently collaborated on a podcast-focused upfront pitch to advertisers.
If you’re unfamiliar with these three major players in public radio, here is some background on each of them:
With more than 26 million radio listeners tuning in each week, National Public Radio (NPR) is one of the most trusted sources of news and insights on life and the arts. According to NPR, “great storytelling and rigorous reporting” are the passions that fuel the organization, and the things that have made NPR’s programming so deeply enriching. As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, NPR has positioned itself as one of the major podcast players out there, and is ready to show the immense benefits that public radio has to offer.
According to NPR, WNYC is America’s most listened-to public radio station, and is “reshaping audio for a new generation of listeners with groundbreaking, innovative radio programs and podcasts.” It is also home to an award-winning newsroom of 65 incredible journalists. A nonprofit organization, New York Public Radio is supported heavily by its Board of Trustees, which include influential New Yorkers like Anton Levy, Cynthia King Vance, and John Rose. If its critically-acclaimed programs were able to receive funding from major companies through advertisements, there’s no telling how much more WNYC could accomplish.
“Chicago Public Media creates award-winning content for people curious about the issues and ideas that affect our community, our nation, and our world,” describes NPR. Some of its groundbreaking programs include Sound Opinions, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, and perhaps most popularly, This American Life and its spinoff Serial. The first season of Serial left listeners begging for more, and happily, the podcast has plans to start up again with a second season soon.
According to NPR’s press room, “NPR, WBEZ, and WNYC, the major public radio players in the podcast space, will showcase the reach and influence of their podcasts at the industry’s first-ever podcast upfront this week in New York City.” The invitation-only event was held on Wednesday at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. Now, only time will tell whether major companies will want to choose podcast networks as a place to advertise, a strategy that would be mutually beneficial to both independent podcasts and brands.