🎙The Waveform is a newsletter from Red Cup agency about the next edge in podcasting. In each issue, I’ll stay on top of things for you, writing about to look for next in The Lookahead. When we launch a new show or post an episode that stands out, I’ll drop that into the newsletter.
I’m Lee Schneider, founder and lead producer at Red Cup Agency. Did someone forward this to you, or are you reading it on the web? You can subscribe for free.
Global Witness is releasing a new episode of the Defenders of the Earth podcast every week. This week, we’re posting an episode about activists fighting coal plant development in the Philippines. Last week, we covered climate activists in Russia who are inspired by Greta Thunberg. Next week, we go to Honduras to cover a mining project that is destroying a river that people depend on for water.
Back in the summer, Clubhouse claimed that 700,000 new sessions (known as rooms in Clubhouse-speak) were added to the platform each day. Since, it has added “spatial audio” — for iOS users initially — to make speakers sound as if they’re spaced throughout the room. You can also record your room or capture 30-second shareable clips from your speakers. The Verge has a good explainer about how to record in Clubhouse.
Is Clubhouse dead yet? Doesn’t look like it. But what does the continued popularity of Clubhouse mean for podcasting?
Media essayist Ed Zitrone wrote that he didn’t think Clubhouse would steal podcasting’s thunder. The platforms have different audiences and different purposes. Sometimes people don’t want to talk — they want to listen and immerse themselves in an audio world. And, he reminded us, sometimes you’re doing the dishes, and you can’t talk. (Exactly what happened to me the other day when I was invited to speak in a Clubhouse room.)
But Clubhouse does pose a threat to traditional radio, the medium it most resembles. Here I must quote the brilliant Nick Quah, who wrote the paragraphs below when he was still writing his Hot Pod newsletter. (I miss his insights, but hope that his new newsletter for Vulture will make him the signature critic of podcasting as Andrew Sarris or Pauline Kael were signature critics for indie movies.)
Here’s what Quah said about live audio apps like Clubhouse:
It’s been my sense that there continues to be a lot of faith that traditional radio will persist in current reach, strength, and form over the long term. After all, broadcast radio still reaches the vast majority of Americans – 83% of people over 12 in 2020, though that’s down from 89% in 2019, per numbers collected by Pew Research. (But as Fischer points out, radio revenues dropped by 25% over the pandemic, so cracks are already clearly evident in this particular narrative.) Podcasting may not have ended up being the thing that tips traditional radio off the ledge, but I’m getting more of a sense these days that this whole live audio thing could very well be just that.
Expect live audio to stay alive and continue to find its audience. Clubhouse might not define the medium, but people are using Twitter’s app called Spaces. LinkedIn is in on the game, as is Facebook.
Working with teams large and small, I take podcasts from the glimmer of an idea into production and distribution. We make trailers, ad spots and promos for your podcast, and we find new audiences for you work with cross promotion.
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