Technology and Innovation

26Sep11

As with a lot of media industries, the radio business is not fairing well.  This is all too apparent for Steve Dahl, a Chicago-based radio personality.  Dahl has been sharing his wit, life struggles, and successes; through the frame of comedy for over 30 years. 2 years ago he was taken off the air due to poor ratings.  He decided to try something different: to go into paid subscription podcasting.

Robert Feder (once of the Chicago Sun Times) writes of Dahl’s decision in a recent blog post on Timeoutchicago.com. Additionally, Dahl appeared in a panel discussion about himself and a few other media players switching over to new platforms of content delivery.  The panel members obviously see new technology platforms as “nondisruptive”.  In fact, Dahl discusses many benefits of listening to podcasts compared to radio like portability, it starts and stops when you want, no commercials, etc.

Dahl has decided to charge $9.99 for about 20 podcasts a month.  It’s not clear how well he is doing.  He still maintains a staff of about 7 people.  They all have other jobs from working on terrestrial radio to dog sitting, and some rely on the income of a spouse.  So, it seems they are not paid a similar salary to their counterpart on the radio.

However successful this may be for Dahl, as it was discussed in the panel, there may be difficulty for a person starting in podcasting to follow the same path.  He has a loyal fan base that followed him across platforms.  A new entrant would have to build their following from zero.  This may be difficult on the Internet.  But, it isn’t uncommon for enterprising, web-savvy, people to gain prominence through the web.  For example, take Justin Bieber.  He made his meteoric rise through posting videos on YouTube.

-Charles Palys

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