When investing, your capital is at risk.
You’re feeling curious, so you go on the hunt for a podcast. You spend the next hour browsing content, listening to snippets here and there. You’re eventually frustrated and no longer curious.
It’s called choice paralysis, and it happens to the best of us – especially in a day and age where there’s more content to engage with than ever before in history.
Podcast Radio has developed a solution, by marrying radio broadcasting with podcasting. They’re on a mission to become the ‘trusted guide’ to quality content using a medium that listeners love now just as much as they always have – radio.
We sat down with founder Gerard Edwards to get the full story.
What is Podcast Radio’s mission?
We’re creating a global network of Podcast Radio stations, allowing listeners to discover new podcasts using our digital broadcast radio channels and our online tools such as mobile apps, website and smart-speakers.
How did the idea for the company first come about, and what was the first course of action to bring it to market?
Podcast Radio was created as a Bootstrap, which I initially incorporated myself as founder.
I had previously designed two UK radio stations from scratch, and also managed the funding, budgeting, programming and staffing of each. After creating my own early side-hustle version of a podcasting company, I realised there was a huge hole in the podcasting market for discovering new content, as well as a missing link for the marketing of podcasts.
I spent over a year researching and developing the idea, as well as connecting with networks of podcasters. The final pre-market stage was negotiating transmission contracts, developing our own audio-tech platforms (app, website, smartspeaker), and flicking the ‘on’ switch on the 11th February 2020.
How has your professional experience, and that of your team, helped the company achieve growth?
After connecting with a Fellow of the UK’s Radio Academy (Paul Chantler), we worked on the design of the platform. We also became well connected with the fast-paced podcast ecosystem after Podcast Radio’s launch was announced at the International RAIN conference in London (bringing together global specialists in radio and streaming audio).
Further team members, who were brought in early, had plenty of success and experience in audio-technology, podcasting and the launching of broadcast channels. We snatched up incredible staff members who range from Hall of Famers in US broadcasting to a UK Head of Sales who has sold and excelled in various digital platforms, including both visual and audio.
Personally, I have overseen two broadcast channel launches, managed the programming and growth of various radio stations, and have experience as a top 10 ranked podcaster in the UK Apple rankings. This career history has placed me in the perfect position to drive the platform forward, but has also given me the contacts to ensure we have built a fantastic team from the very start.
What problem is Podcast Radio trying to solve for consumers?
Our solution to the podcasting discoverability problem is twofold.
Firstly, listeners trying to discover their next podcast are frustrated by the huge pool of podcasting content. That is, there are simply too many podcasts to choose from, and a near impossible task of sampling them in their audio format. Yet we know that there is an insatiable demand for podcast content.
Secondly, Podcasters are feeling frustrated at the lack of marketing cut-through, especially in making their content available to new listeners. This goes for both independent podcasts and full-blown networks (think of Spotify and Amazon’s Audible now creating new, original content).
Podcasting has seen incredible growth and listener demand, but the low cost of entry has seen an over-saturation of podcast content. Podcast Radio is the world’s only radio-driven promotional tool for the global podcasting industry.
Are there any competitors in this space? How does Podcast Radio differentiate?
When it comes to ‘finding’ a new podcast to listen to, listeners have relied on word-of-mouth from friends and family, or read written reviews of podcasts.
Before Podcast Radio, there had been no marketing platform with the ability to broadcast podcasts in mass media format. Further, our platform allows listeners to sample a 24/7 curated linear platform in the medium podcasts were designed to be sampled: audio.
Where traditional radio may have seen podcasting as a competitor, our independent Podcast Radio platform has been able to harness the strengths of both the radio and the podcast industries, allowing them to complement one another.
Radio brings mass-media marketing reach to podcasting, while podcasting brings an ever-increasing pool of fantastic speech audio content.
Who are Podcast Radio’s target listeners and how do you reach them?
Absolutely every single podcast listener in the English-speaking world can use and engage with Podcast Radio’s platforms. No other audio-based podcasting product has a potential broadcast reach of over 15 million adults in the UK alone, while the platform is also available globally via app, website, smart-speaker integration, and our own unique online search/discovery tool.
Any listener who wants to try podcast listening for the first time, or the many millions of listeners already consuming them weekly in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, can use Podcast Radio for free, any time they like, 24/7.
We have been very pleased with the amount of early and engaged monthly active users of Podcast Radio, from all over the world. Our broadcast channels have already expanded to include Greater London, Surrey, Manchester and Glasgow. Our marketing plans for 2021 are set to build on this incredible first year of operation.
What is next in the pipeline for the business, in terms of partnerships, product releases etc.?
Where do I start! We already have several international content partnerships ready for announcement in the next quarter, as well as original content to be launched, along with an ad-technology partnership that will allow us to open several more revenue streams.
We are in discussion with digital broadcast networks overseas that will see our first international expansions, and we have a team developing further Podcast Radio channels to introduce across our own subscription-led tech platform.
But most importantly perhaps, we are always negotiating further UK-wide expansion to our broadcast reach city-by-city, to add to our potential reach of 15 million adults in London, Surrey, Manchester, Glasgow.
What has been the greatest success so far?
Although it can often be overlooked, I would argue that our greatest success to date has been the time spent effectively in research and development pre-launch. This hard work and early team-building allowed us to ensure no other company could catch up any time soon.
Through the building of our intercontinental network of podcasters, our vast relationships with media partners, our transmission contracts, licence applications, and successful execution and expansion has made Podcast Radio a truly unique platform that is now tackling the global podcast discoverability problem.
What’s your favourite podcast?
My favourite podcast is Alan Alda’s Clear and Vivid podcast. This podcast merges science, world issues and celebrity status in one place. The podcast is based around exploring, explaining and defining what it means to communicate. The best part: Alan was happy to connect with Podcast Radio and we now carry many of his incredible episodes, introducing them to a brand new audience via our own platform.
Give it a listen.
What’s one piece of key advice you’d give to an entrepreneur in the media space?
Surround yourself early with team-members who both inspire you and challenge you.
When you’re not bringing content to audiences around the UK, what are you doing?
For sanity and health, I make sure I run, walk or exercise – whilst listening to podcasts! In my spare time, I like to read books and articles on the human mind, space and history. However, I always make time to watch my beloved Everton Football Club and also spend time with nieces and nephews when I get the chance.
Podcast Radio’s campaign is closing soon. To find out more, check out the pitch now.