New Media and the Future of Radio

In addition to covering changes in social media and digital publishing, I have an active interest in radio and internet broadcasting. Radio and television are both undergoing huge transformations, as live broadcasting becomes something we can all do sitting in front of our computers, or even using our smartphones. The technology is affordable, the platforms are multiple, and several emerging players are establishing their own “networks” to take advantage of this levelled playing field.

In order to understand the changes in broadcasting and get a clearer picture of the opportunities available for independent radio voices today, I have embarked on a series of interviews with industry leaders. The first of these took place in April, at the TWiT-TV studio in downtown Petaluma, CA. TWiT founder and new media advocate Leo Laporte has built his internet broadcast network from a single audio podcast to 40+ hours of live streaming video and audio shows per week. Here is the podcast of our talk:

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TWiT’s advertising revenue exceeds $4 million per year, and every show has hundreds if not thousands of live viewers. Leo’s own signature show, “The Tech Guy” is syndicated on many AM as well as XM/Sirius radio stations. That may be small potatoes compared to the size of the “Big 3” television networks, but internet broadcasting as an industry is still in its infancy and the potential audience is growing exponentially, as internet radio becomes accessible in the car, on your phone, and through every imaginable handheld device.

In June, TWiT hopes to move into its new 10,000 sq. ft. studio space, being built just down the street from its current home, a cramped cottage where every room is bursting at the seams with employees and gear. Leo and I met in his small attic office, the room where he was initially that one guy in front of his computer, broadcasting over the internet to anyone who wanted to listen.

If you are interested in the future of radio and broadcasting, I hope you will take a listen to the podcast. You will learn a bit about my own radio show, but mostly you will hear Leo talk about how he got where he is today, and what he sees happening farther down the road. Enjoy the podcast, and stay tuned for more as my research unfolds.

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