Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Back when radio was fun...
Podcasts are growing. Yes, they don’t have the reach of terrestrial radio – YET. But they will.
And a big reason? They’re communicating. They are hosted by people who are talking right to you. Listening to a few of these podcasts, I'm reminded of something else that was great and now abandoned by terrestrial radio.
The live-read is a commercial but read aloud by the show host or (back in the day) the disc jockey. It’s not produced. If there are commercials in podcasts they’re usually live-reads. Who has the time, money, and studio facilities to produce spots when the host can just read the copy?
And here’s what great about live copy: If the host can goof around a little with the copy and make it entertaining the commercial suddenly becomes programming. What’s the biggest gripe listeners have about radio? Too many commercials. Live-reads can turn a negative into a positive.
And ad libbing around live copy doesn’t have to be funny. People are mesmerized by a good salesman. Again, I have to go back to another era (since no one today is doing it) to Paul Harvey and Arthur Godfrey. Hey, even I wanted to buy a tractor when Paul Harvey was selling them.
It’s a win-win for all concerned. The listener is entertained, and the sponsor gets more recognition.
So why doesn’t terrestrial radio do this anymore? Two reasons: It means they have to employ actual live announcers, and secondly, they don’t give a shit if their programming is better or the sponsor is happier or the ratings go up. They just care about making as much money as they can – until they go bankrupt… which is coming and soon. But by then, more people will be listening to podcasts so whatever.