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Four Ways Local Radio Can Monetize Podcasts

Four Ways Local Radio Can Monetize Podcasts

As the number of available podcasts approaches 900,000, listeners have more content choices than ever and advertisers are clamoring to test out the medium. Podcast ad revenue is expected to hit $1.1 billion this year and, by 2025, billings may surpass $3.3 billion, according to a new report by Deloitte. As radio broadcasters work to diversify their revenue amid a stagnant on-air ad market, podcasting represents a promising new source of cash.

However, while three-quarters of AM/FM radio stations are producing podcasts, only half are actually selling ad time, Borrell and the RAB reported recently. Those broadcasters are leaving money on the table and missing out on growth opportunities. 

Podcast publishers can monetize their efforts through a host of options, including advertising, sponsorships, subscriptions, events, merchandise, content marketing, contracts for branded podcasts, and individual listener donations, the Deloitte study noted.

Radio stations can use those options as a roadmap and should apply their local expertise to each one. AM/FM radio stations are well-connected to local businesses in their communities, and their hosts are beloved by their loyal listeners. These are a radio station’s strongest assets and can be applied to podcasting. For local businesses eager for fresh marketing options to connect with consumers, podcasts offer both novelty and innovation, and many are comfortable buying digital audio products from their longtime radio partners.

For stations and local marketers exploring podcast ad opportunities, here are four effective ways to partner on podcast ads:  

Host-read ads

Podcast listeners are extremely loyal to their favorite hosts, making host-read endorsements an effective way to communicate with consumers. Hosts can pre-record written spots, which are inserted into podcasts to sound like a live read, or a host can speak spontaneously about a product or service. Either way, these endorsements carry significant weight with listeners and produce a high-level of engagement and action. 

Pre-roll and mid-roll spots

For advertisers looking to deliver spots more akin to on-air ads, stations can offer pre-roll and mid-roll spots in their podcasts. Research indicates that the majority of podcast fans listen to episodes in their entirety, including ads. In today’s ad-skipping and ad-blocking environment, advertisers can take comfort in knowing podcast audiences are actually consuming their message and, therefore, more likely to take action. 

Exclusive podcast sponsorships

For advertisers looking to stand out, radio stations can offer a premium product with exclusive podcast sponsorship. As the only advertiser in a podcast, a local business can feel like the star of the show and know all of the attention is on their campaign. This also allows advertisers to experiment with spot formats, such as fewer, longer ads or more frequent short ads. 

Co-branded or branded podcasts

As the audience for digital audio grows, podcasts that feature an advertiser and their product or service are growing increasingly popular. In crowded categories such as retail, food and beverage, or entertainment, local stations can create a podcast that features a single advertiser and tells their unique story. Alternatively, a station can partner with a local business on a co-branded podcast where the content is aligned with the advertisers’ industry. These options allow sponsors to participate in podcasting and also create an intimate form of advertising.

As the Deloitte report noted, podcast listeners are active and engaged with their favorite shows, with 38%  of podcast listeners listening daily or almost daily and 66% listening weekly. Radio stations can help advertisers reach these fast-growing audiences. 

The booming podcast industry is only gaining steam and, as local experts and audio specialists, radio stations can offer some of the most innovative solutions. Federated Digital Solutions and Federated Media create digital solutions for our clients that include podcasts and our stations are aggressively expanding our original podcast production.

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Written by Paul Altman