Slate’s Mike Pesca: Podcasts More Engaging than Radio

Mike Pesca, a former NPR correspondent and host of Slate’s The Gist podcast, was a guest Tuesday on Connecticut public radio station WNPR’s morning talk show, Where We Live, as part of an hour-long discussion about “the culture and design of podcasts.”

About two-thirds into the show, host John Dankosky broached the business model of podcasting. He asked Pesca if aligning with “big organizations” is an aspect of the model.

Pesca answered, “It does make sense. Podcasting is inventing itself, and radio has this hundred-year head start. Of course there are consortiums and all the boring stuff about how to sell ads. But without the boring stuff about how to sell ads, a lot of these podcasts are going to go away. And with ads, other podcasts will thrive.”

He then referenced Earwolf as one example of the podcast networks that are emerging, explaining that a network offers advertisers a platform where they can reach more than just the listeners to one specific podcast.

But Pesca–an experienced public radio broadcaster–also pointed out how podcast ads give advertisers even more value, compared to radio:

"I think Podcasts do a few things that radio doesn’t. One of the things they do is they really hook and really engage with the listeners.

"So we have all these stories where an advertiser will give a code. So if you want to sign up for whatever service you write, ‘The Gist,’ in the [space for the] code. And people will call us and say, ‘Oh my God. I signed up, but I forgot to give your code.’

“Like they want to credit the podcast, and that just doesn’t happen on the regular radio.”

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