Direct Line Blog

How long until podcasts supplant radio?

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After his morning radio show was canceled, Adam Carolla launched a free, homemade podcast. The first few have seen more than 250,000 downloads and a high level of engagement.

During the podcasts, Carolla has called terrestrial radio a "dinosaur" and believes that podcasting is the future, especially if cars come with the Internet. He also noted the creative freedom involved in podcasting rather than the regulated terrestrial airwaves — something that popular hosts have always lamented when switching to satellite.

As a pizza delivery driver in suburban Rochester, NY, I spent many a late night driving around listening to the radio and hearing direct response radio ads for products such as the SunSetter Retractable Awning. Sure, I could flip around during commercials, but often didn't, and these "Call Now" ads stuck in my mind.

But, if as Carolla believes, more people turn to podcasts for their long-form listening, what will happen to ad placement? Are people more likely to fast-forward through ads than flip from station to station and potentially miss something? This has been considered with regards to TiVo, but not radio.

But following TV's example, it's likely that radio will be around for some time. The user-generated content on YouTube has yet to fully supplant television, and the success of Hulu has proven that people may want to watch their favorite shows on their computer — but they still want to watch those shows. For his part, Carolla isn't as worried about the prospects of traditional TV and its ads as he is for radio — he recently signed on with CBS for a pilot.
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