Modern Media: The Podcast

By John Bayko

Once upon a time, in the golden age of radio, audio programming was the most popular form of information and entertainment. Far more than just news, the radio airwaves were home to soap operas, plays, westerns, science fiction drama, situation comedies, and talent shows. However, with the advent of television in the 1950s, radio lost its dominance as a medium, and slowly transformed into the predominantly music, talk-shows, and news formats that have been popular for the past 30 years.

For decades radio broadcasting was largely controlled by major media outlets because of the high start-up costs of equipment and infrastructure, and the publishing considerations of musicians and record companies, among other factors. While amateur radio enthusiasts have always been able to send their unique form of programming out to limited audiences, those wanting to reach large numbers of people and attract advertisers were limited by several substantial barriers to entry.

Enter digital media. Presently, in the Internet age, the ability to create, edit, and broadcast audio content has never been easier and more affordable. Those with something to say, can record it, edit it, and broadcast it from the comfort of their own home, using their phone and a wireless internet connection. If only Reginald Fessenden (a Canadian who, despite Marconi’s claims, was the true inventor of radio) could see how his medium has evolved.

Why a Podcast?

Podcasts are downloadable radio programs that can be on any topic. They are inexpensive and easy to produce, and via iTunes, Soundcloud, or other distributors, are easy to share. They can be played on a phone or a computer, and enjoyed at the airport, in the car, or at the office.

For this reason, Podcasts can be a very effective communication tool for CAODC members. Imagine bringing your policies and procedures to life with not only an email or a PDF, but a spoken word explanation of why they are important to your company. Safety information could be conveyed via spoken word, with the emotion or context that a written JHA cannot provide. Operational updates or messages from management can be posted to iTunes for your employees to download and listen to when they have a chance. What else is there? The only limit is how creative you and your company can be.

Get started

Creating podcasts is easy. At its most basic, all you need is a recording app on your phone and a Soundcloud or iTunes account. If you want to bring a professional edge to your work, try picking up a microphone and using a platform like Garage Band or Adobe Audition to record. Microphones can range in price from $50 upwards; Garage Band is typically standard software on Apple computers, and a trial version of Audition is free for 30 days, after which a monthly subscription is approximately $25–$35. Not sure how to use those software applications? Search for any number of free tutorials on YouTube.

Once you get started, you’ll likely find you already have an understanding of how to structure your content because you’ve listened to so many radio programs or podcasts already. Bring in some music bumpers using royalty free music clips from sites like Bensound or PremiumBeat. You’ll be amazed at the content you can create and share to help you communicate important messages throughout your company.

If you’d like more information on the subject, or are looking for additional tips on how to get started, feel free to contact us at [email protected]