Learning Waves Podcast Day: Bridging Worlds - Radio meets Podcasting.
On Wednesday 25th October 2023, Learning Waves hosted a Podcast Day that brought together industry luminaries, successful podcasters, and radio professionals. This event was a unique opportunity for members of the radio industry to explore the world of podcasting, discover innovative strategies, and gain insights into the international podcasting landscape.
Patrick Haughey, Founder of AudioBrand, hosted the event. Patrick is no stranger to the podcasting world as he has worked on various successful projects such as the Mario Rosenstock Podcast, The Happy Pear Podcast, and The History of the Future Podcast. Opening the event, Patrick reflected on the growth of podcast listenership in Ireland, “Podcasting has evolved so much in the last number of years. 5 years ago, I worked on a similar Podcast Day event for Learning Waves. Back then, radio stations weren’t really making podcasts to the extent that we’re seeing today. We have a category dedicated just to radio station podcasts in the IMRO Radio Awards. Ireland has become one of the biggest podcast-listening nations in the world.”
Jarlath Regan, Comedian and Creator of the Irishman Abroad Podcast, was the keynote speaker of the event. Jarlath guided the audience through the story behind his podcast, including the highs and the lows. Jarlath explained that, when this all started, ‘Podcasts’ were a new phenomenon, especially in Ireland, “I do remember the time before where we’re at right now. I can literally remember saying ‘I’m doing a podcast,’ and people saying, ‘a what?’”
Podcasts face the unique challenge of demanding attention in a crowded digital landscape. Speaking on finding your listeners, Jarlath said “Thinking about what a listener might like is completely wrong. Think about what you like, what makes you laugh. You must think what makes me hop out of the bed and think ‘I need to turn this up, I have to hear that.’ That’s passion. That’s the centre of podcasting. Wondering what other people like is an answer you can’t have.”
Radio Stations Making Podcasts
The first panel of the day kicked off with a lively discussion led by Aisling Moore, Senior Producer at Newstalk and Producer of the Inside the Crime Podcast, Liam Thompson, Programme Director at Ireland’s Classic Hits and Co-Founder of the Smart 7 Podcast, Ian Doyle, Head of Podcasting at Wireless Group, and Darren Cleary, Managing Editor at Bauer Media Audio Ireland. Sharing their journeys, they highlighted how they embraced podcasting to diversify their content and engage with audiences in new ways. The main takeaways from this session were;
- The Difference between Radio and Podcasts: Podcasts offer a niche experience for listeners. There was an emphasis on the importance of making podcasts based on the creator’s interests and passions. Aisling said, “It’s the on-demand element. It’s also about the niche areas that you can go into in podcasts. Radio is much more general; your audience is broad. There are different demographics, and they are listening at the same time every day, unless they are listening to a podcast.” Speaking on the Inside Crime Podcast, Aisling said “I think your podcast must be something you are passionate about. To touch on Inside Crime, we didn’t want to make just a true crime podcast, we wanted to make a podcast that had a purpose. The podcast tells the person’s story, you get to know the victims in that story. Ultimately there is a goal at the end of it.”
- Podcasts are an opportunity to reach audiences that aren’t already engaging in the Audio World: The discussions held during this panel highlighted the potential for integration of podcasts into radio, where they compliment each other without direct competition. Darren said “We would try not to compete. We’re not looking to canabalise the same audience. One of the main areas we focused on very early on was Youth-Focused Audiences. We had to go to the platforms that the younger audiences were on, take creators that were engaging those audiences and bring them into the audio world. The Talking Bollox Podcast is a great example where we took an approach of developing a platform that brought people who, 10 years ago, may not have had any opportunity to engage with mainstream audio. It’s been an area where we’ve been able to see that youth audience increase. Particularly from a commercial perspective, it’s been heavily beneficial.”
Achieving World Class Sound Design in your Podcast
Sound design is the heartbeat of any podcast, and this panel delved into the art of creating immersive audio experiences. Led by Niall Breslin, Creator of the Where’s My Mind Podcast, and Lochlainn Harte, Imaging Editor at Newstalk, this panel revealed the secrets behind achieving world-class sound design for podcasts. The main takeaways from this session were;
- Use Filters in your Podcast: A piece of advice given to the audience to achieve high quality audio for their podcasts is to use filters to reduce any unwanted noises. Niall said “The biggest mistake you hear, even on top quality podcasts, is they don’t put filters in. You hear these pops and loud bangs in the base frequency that really irritates the ear.”
- The Resources for Good Quality Audio are Available to Radio: There is no better place to start a podcast than within a radio station. Niall and Lochlainn encouraged attendees to use the resources around them, whether that’s using equipment, seeking advice or brainstorming with colleagues.
- License your Podcast: The importance of licensing your podcast was highlighted in this panel, especially when it comes to using music and sound effects. Niall said “One of the first things we did with the Where is My Mind Podcast was getting a license from IMRO. Any legal issues were sorted. People out to get us didn’t realise we have a brilliant musical rights organisation in Ireland that will help you.”
Fireside Chat with Doireann Garrihy: in conversation with Patrick Haughey
After lunch, attendees gained an insight into the life behind one of Ireland’s most successful podcasters, Doireann Garrihy. Being a Content Creator, Breakfast Presenter, TV Personality and Creator of the Laughs of Your Life Podcast, Doireann had invaluable insights and advice for attendees. The main takeaways from this session were;
- Structure is Key: The Laughs of Your Life podcast has a structure that makes it so successful. Every guest is asked the same questions in every podcast. Doireann highlighted the importance of having a structure to each episode.
- Don’t miss the Golden Moments: Doireann spoke on the importance of avoiding small talk before an interview. She encouraged attendees to press record as soon as possible as you may miss some candid moments that make the podcast authentic. Doireann said “I only go into the room and sit down when we’re ready to do the interview. The number of moments you miss in the small talk before the interview is unbelievable. It takes a while to set up my podcast. I get in early to get ready, I leave the room, let the guest get set up, and then I come in and we’re ready to go. Even something as simple as a guest saying, ‘I missed the train’, it adds to the intro. It warms them up for the episode.”
- Video as Promotion for your Podcast: One of the main topics that came up in almost all the panels is the growth in video advertising for your podcast. As the podcasting landscape continues to expand, podcasters are recognising the power of video to augment their reach and impact. With the surge in video-sharing platforms and the prevalence of visual content in our daily lives, podcasters are using this trend to create video trailers, highlights and promote content for their audio shows. Doireann said “Instagram reels are great. The videos show up on peoples discover pages. For example, we had Greg O’Shea on the podcast. He was a contestant on Love Island. He spoke about being on television and the effect it can have on your mental health. Posting videos from this episode tapped into his following and brought his audience over to our platforms.”
The International Perspective on Podcasting
The final panel transported attendees to the international landscape of podcasting. The discussion explored international trends, insights, and the ever-expanding reach of podcasts. Led by Meera Kumar, Award-Winning Podcast Producer and Creator, and Martin Liss, Audio Management Consultant, this panel gave attendees a broad perspective on the unique approaches adopted by podcasters worldwide. The main takeaways from this panel were:
- Be where your audience is: To gain a comprehensive understanding of your podcast’s target audience, it’s crucial to actively participate in the platforms and communities where they congregate. Meera said, “If you think ‘I could probably make content that could appeal to Gen-Z', you need to be on TikTok. Consume the content they consume. Understand what it is that makes them laugh, what they’re interested in, what angle do they want to take on the news. Interact with them in the comments.”
- YouTube in promoting your Podcast: Leveraging social media is essential for podcast promotion, and this panel delved into the impact of sharing bite-sized podcast slips on YouTube. Martin said, “YouTube is being underestimated in podcast advertisement potential. Spotify is number one and YouTube is number two. Us audio people tend to forget about YouTube. I wouldn’t recommend putting the full show on YouTube. A podcast is very hard to make visually interesting. Use it as a teasing platform. Post a highlight from the podcast where someone makes a really good point. Then direct the viewer to the full show.”
The Learning Waves Podcast Day served as a bridge between radio and podcasting, showcasing how these two mediums can coexist and enrich each other. This event highlighted the incredible potential for collaboration between radio stations and podcasting, forging a path toward dynamic, diverse, and engaging content.