One-third of radio personalities say they’re currently podcasting and according to a survey conducted by Jacobs Media that group is most likely to work at a spoken word-formatted station like news, talk or sports. Among air personalities working in these formats, half said they’re currently podcasting. That compares to 32% of air personalities working at music stations.
The data comes from Jacobs Media’s Air Talent Questionnaire, an anonymous online survey of more than 1,000 on-air talent and producers at commercial radio stations in the U.S. The survey also reveals that younger air personalities are more likely than radio veterans to be podcasting. While less than a quarter of Baby Boomers are, nearly four-in-ten Gen X and Millennial air personalities are producing a podcast. The survey also shows that hosts working in larger markets—those measured by Nielsen using its PPM technology—are more likely to be podcasting than talent working in smaller and mid-sized markets.
The data shows a lack of time remains the biggest hurdle to getting the two-thirds of air personalities who are not producing a podcast to make the move into on-demand audio.. The survey found 45% of air talent doesn’t have the time to expand into podcasting—and things don’t seem to be getting much better. That’s on par with the 44% reported in last year’s Air Talent Questionnaire.
“A plurality here is people who say I wish I had time to do a podcast but I don’t. That’s 45% of our survey,” Fred Jacobs said Wednesday during a webinar. “There are a lot of people crying about a lack of time being the impediment to launch or maintain a podcast.”
Some air personalities may be simply not interested in adding to their responsibilities. Nearly six in ten report at least some level of job stress, with personalities in diary markets and at music stations describing higher levels of stress than their counterparts in PPM markets and at spoken word stations.
But with podcasting emerging “as an important audio platform, not just today but in the future” according to Jacobs, he urged air talent to make the time to start one. “We see a number of podcasts forming around the country done by air personalities that are great outlets to try long form programming, especially for music talent,” Jacobs said. “We think this is an area that’s going to become increasingly important to many companies. So why not at least stick a toe in and try to make the time to make this happen.”
Even as podcasting is slow to expand among air personalities, many are putting a lot of their time into social media. In fact, nothing scored higher among “very important skills for being successful on air” than social, selected by about two-thirds (65%) of those who participated in the survey. But personalities feel they could do better work in this area with just one third (32%) rating themselves as having “excellent” social media skills. And while a clear majority agrees it’s important, more than one third (36%) feel social media takes time away from doing their shows, morning talent in particular. The belief that social media can be a time suck is a pretty common sentiment across different segments of air talent in the survey.
The online study was sent via email from June 13-July 18 to the databases of Jacobs Media and “Jockline Daily,” augmented by “lots of word of mouth.” Of a total 1,035 responses, 988 were from commercial radio air personalities and 47 from commercial radio show producers in the U.S. More than eight in ten (82%) work on air fulltime, 14% part-time and 5% were producers. Among formats, 84% work in a music format while 11% for spoken word. Just over half work in markets 51+, 23% in markets 21-50 and 20% in top 20 markets. Nearly half (46%) work for a medium size company, 17% for a “mom & pop” outfit, 13% for a small company and 12% for “one of the big ones.”