Local News Needs to Podcast

By Daniel Anstandig, CEO & Co-Founder, Futuri Media

A major broadcast television group recently announced that it’s added a VP of Audio Programming, to its executive team. The company says that he will be focused on growing its news and sports business in podcasts, audio device platforms, and other areas of audio distribution. Like many radio groups have embraced video content, local television brands have a major growth opportunity in front of them if they simply embrace audio.

One thing we sometimes hear at Futuri when we talk with television executives is that they’re interested in podcasting, but at a time when many stations are short-staffed, they just don’t have the time or resources to do it right. However, not only is the audience and revenue opportunity undeniable, but there’s a way for local television broadcasters to embrace podcasting in a crawl—walk—run fashion that will set them up for success without a major lift.

One major reason local TV should embrace audio is the opportunity — and necessity — to align its content with the way audiences consume information today.

Think about their habits. Your daily habits are probably one of the many things that were changed by the pandemic. Although COVID-19 restrictions have largely eased around the United States, many workers who shifted to working from home still have no plans to return to the office. In fact, the workforce now teleworking is so large that data from the Pew Research Center suggests that it may never go back to what it once was.

More people are working from home now than ever, meaning that consumer habits have changed significantly in as little as two years. Changes that once took a generation of technological development—like shifting from CD to MP3—only took months. Consumers no longer have to cram in the morning news in just a few minutes before they head out the door to stay informed. And although we have more devices than evercable TV and television sets in general are among the lower priority subscriptions and device purchases in consumer budgets.

An estimated 2 million subscribers cut their cable subscription in Q1 of 2022, while annual revenue on television sales has decreased by about 15 percent since 2014. Today consumers want Smart TVs—affordable products that come ready to connect to their favorite streaming subscriptions.

Today’s consumers listen to audio segments on their commute or while they work from home. With more connected devices at our side than ever, adding a podcast to your routine is much easier than spending time sitting in front of a television.

Yet looking at the podcast landscape, there is a noticeable lack of daily podcasts focused on local news.

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