The Public Radio Content Conference is a big event, but the issues are common.
Sitting in sessions at the Phoenix gathering, it was clear all stations, from the big-market NPR station to the small-town non-commercial outlet, are contending with the same problems. Community radio is facing the same challenges, although the Public Radio Content Conference brought them strongly into focus:
Podcasting’s still a thing, excuses are not. One of the dominant threads for many organizations was podcasts. Podcasts present many opportunities, including growing listenership, creating relationships with youth and revenue. The conversation is shifting as well to one in which failure to get into podcasting is a leadership issue, not a money issue. Equipment, software and tools are cheap. Assigning staff to new areas is not unheard of in media. Stations are quickly running out of reasons why they don’t podcast.
Millennials may be better than your current audience. How to appeal to younger audiences was an ongoing dialog. A big takeaway is that millennials, in fact, have a greater sense of fairness and commitment when it comes to giving back to media organizations they learn from. And learning is the big reason they tune in — 84 percent listen to learn, compared to the rest of the audience, which hovers in the low 70 percent range. Millennials are also excited about the medium, moreso than traditional audiences.
Stations need to think of how they’re accessible on mobile. There’s plenty of startling data — how people are phasing out clock alarms for their phones, how many are streaming stations versus joining in via a radio box, how many donate via mobile. Needless to say, every station needs to consider their mobile presence. How does your website look? Are you easily accessible on Android and iOS? How does your stream sound? Is it available on TuneIn and other big platforms?
Stay interesting. There’s much optimism for radio’s potential to stay relevant to listeners. As Ira Glass remarked, it is really about continuing to make interesting media. His contention? There will always be an audience for interesting radio.
NFCB shared many photos and videos from the Public Radio Content Conference on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.