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Four Ways Live Radio and Podcasts Differ

With each passing week, a new podcast is released into the world. These shows are incredibly popular, especially among people who commute or enjoy listening to long form content.

Since listening to a podcast and the radio can feel like a similar experience, many start to associate them with each other. And some radio stations do expand into doing podcasts.

But there are critical differences between the two forms of content. Here are four ways that live radio and podcasts differ.

  1. Scheduled vs On-Demand Content

Radio stations have a schedule. They will play specific shows during certain hours. These shows are usually live, while some may be pre-recorded.

A podcast is an entirely pre-recorded segment that can be consumed at any time. Podcast episodes are available 24/7 for users to access whenever it is convenient for them.

Someone who is in the car going to work has to make do with the content a radio station is airing at the moment, while a podcast can be enjoyed anytime!

  1. Mass Appeal vs. Targeted Productions

There are some podcasts that go beyond their niche audience to a mainstream level. But most are targeting a niche audience that enjoys such content. In numbers, the audience for individual podcasts can be small. But it is often a dedicated audience.

Radio stations are different, as they need to get as many viewers to keep advertisers happy. And it means producing content that has a lot of mass appeal. And that can be very appealing to some people.

When someone wants to unwind and listen to something for 30 minutes, the radio is a great option. It is simple, easy to consume and entertaining content. A podcast can often seem too serious or in-depth for such occasions.

  1. Podcasts Have No Constraints

When a radio show is created, it has to fill a specific time slot. Every aspect of the show must work within that structure. The number of songs played, informational segments and ads are all decided beforehand.

Podcasts have a lot more freedom, as there is no clock holding them back. An episode could be 30 minutes, an hour or 90 minutes! And each episode can vary in length, depending on the topic(s) discussed.

  1. Tuning In Anytime

One aspect of radio that is superior to podcasts is how a person can tune in at anytime to a show. Even if someone has missed the first 30 minutes, they can still enjoy the last 30 minutes without a problem.

It is often not possible with podcasts. To get the true experience, the listener must consume the entire episode. Skipping through or stopping halfway results in a diluted experience, which is not necessarily the case with radio!

While many people have started to see radio and podcasts as the same form of entertainment, they are very different. Both have positive and negative aspects to how they are structured.

Whether someone listens to a radio or podcast can depend entirely on the type of content they wish to consume and the mood they are in!