Podcasting Tips

Talking about Radio Reborn: Q&A with Olivia Collette

Today we are proud to interview Olivia Collette, who has recently given an interesting analysis on the radio renaissance of the last few years.

Hi Olivia, do you mind introducing yourself?

My name is Olivia Collette and I’m a freelance journalist and copywriter. You can see some of the things I’ve done on my blog.

How did your start your work experience in the media field?

Since 1998, I’ve always worked in communications. I started out as a journalist and moved to advertising and PR. I’ve always oscillated between both, and I’ve written about a lot of different topics. Most recently, I was the Communications Manager at Spacial, the people who created SAM Broadcaster, a popular radio automation software.

We really loved your post on Sparksheet, and I’d like to focus on the concept of Radio Reborn. In regards to user generated audio content, when do you think it tends to be best? (does it shine in sports, journalism, local radio etc)

When I interviewed Mark Ramsey for the Sparksheet article, he talked about how you don’t need lots of money to make something work. What you need is “the passion of people in the presence of their own idea.” At Spacial, our software was very popular with people who wanted to start their own independent online stations, and I consistently found that because they specialized in content that they loved, their stations were amazing. For example, I was a big fan of Codebass Radio (a programmer-run and -themed station), Deeper into Music (alternative music) and Tamil Mel Isai (music from Tamil movies). You can always tell when someone is enthusiastic or when they’re phoning it in. To me, content shines when the people creating it are passionate about what they’re doing. The Internet is a great place to reach out to niches. Masses are bigger than niches, but niches are more loyal. Be consistent and they’ll stick around.

Totally agree! We notice it here at Spreaker, too. How do you think podcasters should approach monetizing their content?

I’m a journalist and I write about things that interest me, so I get to study certain subjects for small, concentrated stretches of time. But I don’t consider myself a radio expert or consultant by any means. I love radio, and it was a pleasure to write about it for Sparksheet. But that would be a better question for, say, James Cridland or Mark Ramsey. That said, if we follow This American Life‘s model, they have a certain amount of content available for free (the most recent podcasts, for example) and charge a relatively low cost for the archived content ($0.99 per episode). That model has always worked for them. Then again, that show has really strong content that people are willing to pay for. That’s probably the most important part of the equation.

We did have the pleasure to talk to Mark as well last month. Radiodays Europe is coming up shortly. What are the current hot topics that you think might come up?

I suspect people will be interested in the popularity of music services like Pandora and Spotify, who are reshaping the way people experience radio. I also hope people will address the issue of music royalties versus online streaming fees. There’s a lot of imbalance there, at least in the U.S., and it would be great to hear some new ideas on that. I’m glad Ira Glass will be there because he’ll be able to talk about creating strong content, which is often lacking in this “anyone can do it” age that we live in.

Absolutely, having Ira Glass in Barcelona is a great plus. Anything you’d like to share with Spreaker’s community?

Be passionate. Be consistent. Repeat.

Thank you so much Olivia for your kindness and your really interesting interview!

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