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'Mainstream Media,' Redefined
Holland Cooke -- Talk Radio Expert Holland Cooke -- Talk Radio Expert
Block Island, RI
Tuesday, July 7, 2020


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — I'm hearing from lots of podcasters reacting to "Mainstream Media, Redefined," the TV segment I did with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. ICYMI: https://youtu.be/HpE_iwSvIYE

They're enthused, but frustrated. A common concern is "How do I get more downloads?"

I tell them they're asking the wrong question, for reasons broadcasters understand.


Pareto Principle prevails.

Heaps of ratings data affirm what's also called "The Rule of 80/20," something radio's retail advertisers know well: 80% of sales come from 20% of customers.

  • Ditto audience measurement, which tells us that 70-some percent of a station's Average Quarter Hours come from 20-some percent of Cume.
  • The quickest way to move the ratings needle is NOT running TV commercials or buying billboards. Yes, we should constantly invite new sampling, our version of the clicks podcasters crave.
  • But – and this might sound like consultant double-talk — we grow Share quicker by getting people who listen to your station most (so-called "First Preference," or "P1" listeners) to listen even more (occasions per day and per week).

Podcasters' goal should be getting those who already download (Cume in radio lingo) to actually listen, and listen to the entire episode (AQH).

  • Admittedly, podcasters don't have both sets of numbers. They can know how many downloaded, but not how many listened, or for how long. If you subscribe to multiple podcasts, look at your phone. Have you listened to everything your app caught? And of the episodes you have listened to, did you hear the whole thing?
  • And as a broadcaster, do you occasionally wince at amateurish production values? Do you grow impatient when the podcaster rambles? Techniques that are second-nature to us are often unknown by podcasters, who didn't have to pass an audition and don't have Time Spent Listening estimates we do.
  • What podcasters do have is the Share button that's not built-into radio receivers. And what could recommend a podcast more than a friend? So effective technique can only help.

Stop reading this, and read that.

When podcasters ask me for coaching, I say "not until you read this:"


It's "1,000 True Fans," by Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly, who explains why and how "a creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, video maker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living."

Try this. It works.

About that Share button: Typically, a form pops-up, and you enter the email address of the friend you're sharing with. It may or may not allow multiple email addresses separated by commas; and if it does it might not explain that conspicuously. If you can rig the Share form on your podcast (or web page posts or blog) to do so, present THREE boxes, inviting friends' email addresses. Often, the referrer who had one friend in mind might think of one or two others. ??

Stay safe.

Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of the e-book "Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits" from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner in the right-hand column on this page for an instant download.  And he hosts "The Big Picture" TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America.  Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Dateline: Block Island, RI United States
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