Broadcasting, Podcast, Guide, Getting Started

Broadcast or Podcast? How to Pick a Medium for Your Show Idea

After hours of brainstorming, you've come up with a brilliant idea for an audio show. You've bought a fancy microphone, some editing software, and you're ready to start recording bits. You've even worked on your broadcasting voice! You can't wait to share your idea with family, friends, and any stranger willing to listen!

But there's a problem: You're not sure if your new show would work better as a podcast or a radio broadcast.

In the world of audio media today, it seems like podcasts are all the rage. Almost anyone can start one, and there's a bigger market for them. You probably have a friend who can recommend three good new podcasts to you.

But what if you want to stand out from the crowd and make your talk show a live experience instead? Broadcasting can be just as easy as creating a podcast. And besides...there are ideas better suited for internet radio broadcasting anyway.

Well, have no fear. We're here to help you figure out which medium works better for your shiny new audio show idea. There are three decisions you must make before knowing whether your show should be a broadcast or podcast. Think about your idea and answer these three questions in your head...

Pre-recorded or Live?

Podcasts are like movies while radio broadcasts are like theatre: one is pre-recorded and heavily edited while the other is live and unfiltered. If you're the kind of person who doesn't like too much pressure and would rather spend a few hours editing your talk show rather than stumbling in front of a live audience, a podcast is the way to go.

With a podcast, you can trim the fat of your raw recording: all the awkward pauses, fumbling over words, and chatting that takes up too much time. Because podcasts are pre-recorded and made to be on-demand, they also have a longer lifespan than radio broadcasts. Where a live radio broadcast can be done once (unless it's recorded and distributed), a podcast can be replayed several times.

However, if you're a person who would rather skip the editing and get right into the challenge of keeping an audience's attention, you'd be much better suited for radio broadcasting. Because internet radio broadcasting events are live, there's something far more exciting about them. They can only happen once, at one specific time. And if your audience doesn't tune in, they're going to miss the experience.

Also, while both podcasts and radio broadcasts can feature guests, each medium offers a different guest experience. While two hosts can go on air, it's also enjoyable for an audience to hear guests call in and out of your station for a certain amount of time. (Think of trivia games or call-in contests on your favorite radio shows.) With podcasts, it's more common to center episodes around one specific - and planned - guest. Things don't get too chaotic.

And again: with podcasts, the guests must be pre-recorded. With radio broadcasting events, the guests must also be okay with talking live!

Variety or Niche?

Think about the format of your new show. Do you see yourself playing music, news, or other fun segments in between bits, or is your show solely focused on one specific topic and more talk-based in nature? If your show revolves around variety, you should probably turn it into a radio broadcast. If it caters to more of a niche and is 100% talk-based, go with a podcast.

Remember: when you broadcast with Live365, you get licensing for music you want to play on your show. With podcasting, playing music is much trickier. Your tunes are not allowed to be copyrighted, so you can only play music that is non-copyright or public domain in nature. In fact, it's common for podcast intros and outros to feature a few seconds of royalty-free music.

What Platforms Are You Using?

Some internet audio platforms are better tailored to radio broadcasts, some are better for podcasts, and some can be used for both. If you're starting a new show, you'll likely want to develop it for what you're most comfortable with as a listener - and that could mean changing it to a podcast or broadcast if you're not familiar with other platforms.

For example: if you enjoy using services like Live365 or iHeartRadio, turn your show into a radio broadcast! As a listener, you’re probably pretty familiar with radio broadcasts, meaning you might have an idea that’s already well-formatted for radio. If you're more familiar with podcasts generally, then your idea might be naturally suited for a podcast. Also, if you have an existing following and you know they prefer certain platforms to others, consider turning your show into a broadcast or podcast depending upon what they like. That way, you'll have a guaranteed audience.


"But wait!" we hear you cry, "is it possible to have both a radio station and a podcast based on a single idea?" The answer is ABSOLUTELY! If you feel compelled to make a radio station and podcast out of your show idea, go for it. It's more work, but you'll get double the exposure, as well as more room to create.

You can even pair the two and have both shows work together in a symbiotic relationship. You can give behind-the-scenes secrets about your radio show in your podcast! You can talk about music in your podcast and then play that music on your radio station! The possibilities are endless.

We hope this article helped you decide whether you want to pursue a broadcast, podcast, or both. If you need more help deciding, check out this article on the differences between live radio and podcasting.

Happy broadcasting and podcasting!

Ready to start your own station? Contact one of our Product Consultants today.

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Article Image: A man thinking at his desk. (Jason Strull via Unsplash.)

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About Kathryn Milewski

  • New Jersey