Former WIP Boss Andy Bloom Did a Q & A with PBJ and He Doesn’t Understand How Podcasts Work

Recently let go WIP Operations Manager Andy Bloom – can I call him Andrew? – did a Q & A with Jeff Blumenthal of the Philly Business Journal, the publication you do Q & As with when you badly need a job. Bloom talked a bit about his career, how sports talk radio has changed over the years, and explained why he didn’t always discipline hosts for saying something that was just stupid but not spiteful. It’s not incredibly long or in-depth (it seems like Bloom just wants to sharpen his interview answers), but there is this part where Bloom, a former radio executive in a major market, displayed a fundamental misunderstanding for the medium slowly encroaching on his chosen field– podcasts:

Are podcasting and satellite radio existential threats to terrestrial talk radio, like the stations you ran at WPHT and WIP?

“There are all sorts of alternatives now. It doesn’t mean that radio is dead. If radio dies, it will be because of suicide. It has to respond by being platform agnostic and trying to deliver the product in the way people are using it. On-demand is a way of life for TV. The measurement of how much programming is being DVR’d is a big issue for TV right now. They want total viewership to include DVR and there will be the same issue with radio and streaming. I think eventually they will be counted together.”

Do you think podcasting can become a really profitable business model?

“Serial, the podcast on NPR, is very successful, though I am not sure how they monetize it or if it would work for a company like CBS or one of the other major networks. Adam Carolla also has become very successful with it.

I would say very few of them are making significant amount of money because there are so many of them and the cost to buy them is so little. So I think they need to figure out a better business model.

But people want to listen to what they want to listen to when they want to listen. And podcasting can micro-target, where radio is largely macro-target. Overall what it’s doing to radio is essentially death by a thousand little cuts. It’s siphoning away listeners because there are so many of them now.”

Few things:

  1. He’s spot-on with regard to radio needing to be platform agnostic [meaning: it doesn’t matter where or how you listen, just that you’re listening]. But the fact that his go-to analogy is the DVR, and not Netflix, YouTube or whatever, gives you a little glimpse inside the mind of a career broadcast media man. DVR is a challenge for TV, for sure, but the extension of that format is on-demand streaming content and services. From a business standpoint, DVR is sort of like the infant version of Netflix– both allow you to watch what and when you want, but streaming services allow you to choose who your bill comes from and typically subscriptions, not advertising, are the core business model. To understand the struggle of on-demand content, you need to understanding streaming, not the DVR.
  2. “They want total viewership to include DVR and there will be the same issue with radio and streaming. I think eventually they will be counted together.” ??? I find it delicious – DELICIOUS! – that Bloom, who along with former underling Josh Innes was so eager to dismiss the combining of over-the-air and streaming ratings because they weren’t in their favor, thinks they should be combined. But, of course, this makes sense, and it meshes with what I’m hearing that Nielsen, the company that estimates radio audiences, will begin combining the two perhaps as early as this year.
  3. How, on Earth, does Bloom, who reiterated his belief that ratings are the sole determinant for what makes a good show, not understand how they monetize Serial (or any podcast, for that matter)? Same as radio: ADVERTISING. Have you ever listened to Serial? There’s an exclusive Mail Chimp spot before the music even starts. You know how expensive that thing is when there are hundreds of thousands or millions of listeners? Ditto for Bill Simmons’ podcast – let me tell you about – and countless others. Of course this would work for a company like CBS. It’s the same model. The difference between podcast and radio advertising, working in podcasting’s favor, is that advertising on podcasts is more organic, more natural, and substantially more effective. Why? Because podcast listeners actively choose to listen to a given host or show, not passively by virtue of it playing in the background in the car. When someone stops listening to a podcast, typically, they press pause, which means there is likely much more attention being paid whens ads pop up. And since listeners are going through the two-step process of choosing a show and downloading it or otherwise seeking it out, the ad read, coming from the host they implicitly trust, makes the message that much more effective. This isn’t me spitballing, there have been countless articles written on this. Podcasting doesn’t need to figure out a better business model– radio does. Radio relies on archaic estimations of audience and tricks to keep listeners tuned in for an extra 15 minutes in a constant effort to game the system and therefore advertisers. Podcasts can report much more precise listener data and deliver way more bang for the buck to advertisers. Podcasting’s biggest problem is scale and finding a way for smaller shows (like ours) to make money. It needs a solution like the web had with ad networks, which allowed independent websites to begin monetizing 10-15 years ago. It’s not hard to make money, but it is harder to find an audience. Seems someone working in the field should know all this.

Read the full thing here.

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43 Responses

    1. They did. Temple did as well, to greater success. I imagine if CSN or 97.5 had done a pre-game show for Temple, or if Villanova hadn’t blown it, they might’ve registered on your radar.

        1. I will be in command of the Enterprise when the they win a Super Bowl. The team will have long since left Philly as the Federation deemed Philly void of intelligent life.

  1. Providence – 82
    Villanova – 76

    Not that there will be any post about Villanova losing to another good ranked team. They will finish with 20+ wins….yet, none will be against a very good team. They why they do not win in the tournament….

    Lets travel down Broad Street….where Temple defeated the previously undefeated #8 ranked SMU Mustangs. Now that is a WIN

      1. Because Episode IVa was crap – the new heroes and villains were lame, and the old characters’ appearances were merely tacked-on fan service.

  2. CBS already has a podcast network . I doubt they would do it if they couldn’t make money. There were ads for it on CBS stations.

  3. SCOOOTTT!!! Get in Here!

    Monday morning, day after championship Sunday for the NFL, lots of local college basketball, top 5 ranked teams, undefeated teams all playing over the weekend. Top seeded NBA team firing their coach, Snowpacolypse. Got it? Now forget all that. We’re going to run your article on some out of work radio programmer. I’m talking front page ABOVE THE FOLD! Got it? Now get out there and bore everyone to death with some lame ass vendetta you have.

  4. Kyle – Question for you about those podcast ads (i.e., Mail Chimp). Because of the 15 second FF button I don’t think I’ve ever heard one of them all the way through. Do you see the podcast providers going the way of VOD where you can’t FF through the ads?

    1. podcast advertising is just simply not worth as much as the other advertising you are comparing it to yet…you can harp on this all you want right now, but there are very few podcasts making money and you simply just touched on the few (and those are the few that everyone mentions when they try to say podcasts make money).
      All the ‘podcasts’ that are making money are from people who left terrestrial radio with a following and that’s the only way it’s going right now.

  5. Kyle,

    One of the most important steps in monetizing podcasts is, you know, actually recording podcasts. You’ve recorded 2 in the past 7 months, no one is paying to advertise on that. Gotta be consistent

  6. No one that buys things that advertise on radio … or your website for that matter.. know how podcasts work. they are stupid.

  7. The most successful Radio Personality Howard Stern also says podcasts are a waste of time and stupid. Guess he doesn’t know anything even though, you know, he’s grossed well over $180 million in 2 contracts with Sirius.

  8. bloom has a nice haircut and yah, podcasts are stupid. they arent that successful and only cater to a small group of people who specifically listen to you…never understood why people would limit themselves rather than actually get on the radio and speak to the population

  9. Hey Kyle, remember when you called the Broncos defense overrated? Lol.

    How’s the Apple Watch popularity these days? Lol.

    1. I am really predictable and obvious.

      I claim internet victory again. Guy with no life is bothering me. I wish he would just let me stalk and stop pointing out that I do the same thing all day, every day.

  10. A podcast on this site?? What do you offer? No insight to the teams, or players, no relationships, no resources, etc. Most of your site, like the majority of blogs, is a negative hole of opinion, mostly responding to what someone else did wrong. There’s no real interaction with readers as most of the comments are fake names and nonsense.

    Your podcast would fail because you’re not adding much value other than an alternative to something else for a moment. Serial and Carolla are professional outfits. Your show would not be. Josh Innes could have a podcast and maybe do well. Mikey Miss could certainly. You can’t.

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