Thursday, January 12, 2006

Meet One Of The Podcast Of Characters

Overheard in the Raleigh-Durham airport while waiting for a flight to Baltimore, “Have you ever downloaded a podcast from NPR?”

I’m now in eavesdropping mode.

After a listening for a few minutes, curiosity gets the best of me and I introduce myself to Monica from Nashville. She has three wirelessly connected computers in her house, all her husband’s, she says. He is always on the cutting edge of technology.

Monica listens to WPLN in her car. She loves Car Talk, The Splendid Table, NPR News, and classical music. She is a contributor to the station.

A Terry Gross fan, Monica started downloading (and paying for) Fresh Air from about two years ago. As evidence, she scrolls through a few screens of Fresh Air segments on her iPod. These are not podcasts in her mind because she had to pay for them. She continues to get them through a gift subscription.

Monica has been getting podcasts for four months. She gets them through iTunes. That’s important to her because iTunes makes it easy to find podcasts of interest and download them to her iPod. Downloading occurs each weekend, when she reviews and chooses from all of the podcasts delivered to her playlist during the week.

Traveling four days per week gives Monica plenty of opportunities to listen to her iPod. She last listened to the "Knitting Newscast." She subscribes to the “All Things Considered, movie, and book” podcasts from NPR. Of her public radio choices, she last listened to “Story of the Day.”

Monica appreciates podcasts because they are “free, organized, and not long.” Also very important, they are advertising free.

It took about a minute of questioning for Monica to recall that there was, in fact, a sponsor mention at the beginning of each NPR podcast. One of the car companies, she thinks. Monica puts on her headphones to listen. Acura! She really had not paid attention to that. She says it doesn’t bother her that the sponsor message is there. It is not intrusive or inappropriate.

I thank Monica for her time. She wishes us all good luck.


Blogger Aaron Read said...

Doesn't this sort of indicate that the sponsorship mention at the beginning of the show is kinda worthless to the sponsor? Bodes ill considering how dependent NPR, and member affiliates, are on underwriting these days (30-40% usually, isn't it?)

10:37 AM  
Blogger RadioSutton said...

Not necessarily. First, it's just one person not a scientific study. Second, the messages did make some impression on her. She knew it was a car company. It certanly wasn't top-of-mind, but then again, perhaps she's not in the market for a car right now.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear God! What have I done. She's become a podcast junkie. The reason my wife doesn't "hear" the sponsorship voiceover is due to her having "tuned out" commercials years ago (except the nextel one with the dancing workers in the office).

I on the other hand look at almost all advertising solely to see what's hip/hot and what new products are out there. As a matter of fact, I will watch the Super Bowl this year for the ads...I'm an ad execs dream.

I feel that there are three types of consumers as far as advertising is concerned; the one that will see or read any ad, the consumer that ignores or "tunes out" any ad, and the consumer that will notice the ad if the presentation catches his/her eye.

By the way, great blog.

9:13 PM  

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