Internet Radio vs The Podcast, The Difference

Internet Radio vs The Podcast, The Difference

Can you discern the difference.

Podcasting continues to experience growth among Americans. According to a PEW research as of 2016, 21% of Americans age 12 and older say they listen to digital audio entertainment other than music. A staggering increase from 2015 where only 12% said they did.

I beg to question, what kind of entertainment are they consuming and do they know and/or recognize the difference between a podcast and an internet radio show. Believe it or not there is a difference. Even thought its all internet based.

Internet radio shows are most often hosted by former terrestrial broadcast radio personalities. These shows have a solid consistent format, a high quality sound and follow FCC broadcast rules. They often experience immediate success based on the host previously installed fan base that followed them over from broadcast radio or other mediums of entertainment (i.e. TV, Movies, Stand Up, etc) to the internet.

Podcast are shows most likely hosted by amateurs with little to no experience in a professional broadcast environment. Or a group that has gotten together, purchased a few pieces of recording equipment and designed a unique concept they believe is entertaining and engaging. The production level of podcast are of a lessor quality but produced to the highest ability of the novice host(s).

As every internet user knows, the internet hasn’t any rules or governing body. Podcasters often take this freedom and do whatever they so desire on their shows. This includes loosened spurious commentary on major news topics and constant uninhibited profanity. As with many things, there is an audience for it.

Internet radio shows have a higher probability of becoming broadcast programming. Known as syndication. More and more broadcast radio networks are beginning to consume internet radio shows. The shows and its producers know and understand FCC guidelines, and it’s cheaper for the purchasing station. That may seem counter-intuitive on the basis that internet radio shows are hosted by previous broadcast radio professionals. But from a financial standpoint, it’s cheaper to syndicate a show than to own a show and all its personalities. In addition, this gives smaller market radio stations an opportunity to have a well-known radio talent on their airwaves without the huge overhead.

As an internet radio talk show host, I personally avoid listening to podcast that are riddled with profanity. On my show, yes we’ve been known to use profanity, however we honor the FCC guidelines. If there is a slip up; which often is the case – it’s bleeped or dumped. However shows that are filled with every other word being a curse word, I don’t find entertaining. There is a science to using profanity and keeping it entertaining. My personal experience, not many podcast have discerned that science and just let it rip. Even referring to the listeners as a profane expression. It’s a no go for me. However, if I choose to purchase a show that is marketed as a no-holds-bar show – I go in with the expectation of profanity. Yet that science still exist or it’s a one and done purchase for me. [The Science of Profanity a future post]

Many internet radio show personalities would say podcasters will be the death of internet radio. Because of their unwillingness to refine their craft. To the response of the podcaster, it’s the pro radio personalities that failed in broadcast radio so their only option is to over complicate podcast.

At the end of the day the new and growing medium of internet radio and podcasting is as art, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And there is a lot of art to behold.