Who has the final say for your podcast?
In this miniseries, I'll explore the different labels used to describe podcasters and encourage you to own your label with pride!
An aside before diving in, I never liked the term “procasters” because it made it seem like indie podcasters couldn't be professionals at what they do.
How are independent and corporate podcasters similar
Independent (or “indie”) podcasters and corporate podcasters share the same similarities I shared in my previous episode about hobbyist vs. professional podcasters. Here's that list for your convenience.
- Both can have excellence
- Both can have passion
- Both can have audiences of any size
- Both can “PROFIT”
So let's jump to what sets them apart!
What are indie podcasters?
1. Indie podcasters make their own decisions
“The buck stops here” for an indie podcaster! They make their own decisions, big and small. They might involve their cohosts, community, or other collaborators. But everything about their podcast is their own to choose.
2. Indie podcasters are agile
On a whim, indie podcasters can change technology, launch a donation system, create a new product, redesign their branding, and much more. There's no approval process and usually the only delays are in how much time it takes to implement something, or how long it takes for that delivery to arrive.
3. Indie podcasters made the podcasting industry
Don't let anyone mislead you! No broadcast company or executive invented podcasting—it was indies: Dave Winer (who created RSS) and Adam Curry. And the foundations of podcasting are very much “pirate radio.”
4. Indie podcasters are resourceful
Indie podcasters are used to working with what they have or very limited resources. They're well-acquainted with recording in a closet or under a blanket, using pantyhose for a pop filter, or hacking things together.
5. Indie podcasters are the majority
Of the nearly 1.1 million podcasts at this time, I estimate there are only a couple or few thousand podcasts (under 1%) are hosted by corporate podcasters. The rest are the indies!
6. Indie podcasters reach the niches
There's almost no niche too small! You can find a podcast on almost anything and usually hosted by people passionate about and highly experienced in those topics.
7. Indie podcasters want (and deserve) to be involved in the podcasting industry
No matter the direction the industry goes, I think no one cares more about it than the independent podcasters. Sometimes, it even seems like podcasting is a way of life to an indie.
If you're an independent podcaster, please get involved in The Podcast Academy to ensure the indie majority is represented.
What are corporate podcasters?
1. Corporate podcasters are subject to external oversight
“Design by committee” is a phrase that makes almost any designer cringe. Corporate podcasters have committees, executives, corporate interests, sponsors, and even legal regulations often dictating what can and can't be done.
2. Corporate podcasters move slowly and deliberately
The oversight in corporate podcasting slows things down. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. This slow and intentional movement often results in a more successful product and launch.
3. Corporate podcasters brought the podcasting industry mainstream
Podcasts would not be anywhere near as popular as they are now if it wasn't for corporate podcasters. They brought and continue to bring mainstream attention and large audiences to podcasts.
4. Corporate podcasters have powerful leverage
Because of the much larger audiences and bigger relationships corporate podcasters have, they can move things in much bigger ways than indies can. This could mean bringing major brands to podcasting (through content or sponsorship), inspiring majority actions in the audience, and more.
5. Corporate podcasters are the popular minority
Yes, corporate podcasters often dominate the charts and publicity. That's a benefit of their mainstream audience and powerful leverage. But compared to the bigger world of podcasts, I estimate fewer than 1% of the current 1.1 million podcasts are from corporate podcasters.
6. Corporate podcasters reach the broad masses
Big broadcasters literally can't afford to go super-niche. But what they can do, and that they often do really well, is appeal to broader audiences. And their experience and connections help them do this.
Even when a corporate podcast gets niche, such as hosting a podcast about their own product, it's still intended for the larger audience.
7. Corporate podcasters use the podcasting industry
I believe that corporate podcasters see podcasting as simply another tool to reach new audiences and grow their empires. (There's nothing wrong with using podcasting for that!) The investments they make and changes they want in podcasting are usually motivated by these corporate interests.
For example, an indie podcaster might want things to be easier, but a corporate podcaster might want more data on their audience.
What do you think of these labels?
Don't make this an “us vs. them” battle
Although it seems corporate podcasters often ignore and even metaphorically spit on the foundations indies have built, I think the indies can learn a lot from corporates.
Also, I would like to see more corporate podcasters recognize and take advantage of the niche and highly skilled experience of indie podcasters. One initiative that I attempted to start was to help local broadcast stations connect with their local podcasters to use as subject experts. After all, podcasters have the gear and usually the communication skills broadcasters want!
Need podcasting help?
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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.