The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced on July 11th it awarded two key grants for podcasting-related projects. The Public Radio Exchange (PRX) will receive $1.5 million to fund a second round of its podcast development initiative Project Catapult [link]. WNYC Studios will receive $200,000 to continue its Women’s Voices initiative and fund Werk It: A Women’s Podcasting Festival [link] in New York and Los Angeles.
CPB awarded $1 million to PRX and seven CPB-funded stations for the first round Project Catapult in 2017. The funding made possible the PRX Podcast Garage, a training project, and a live showcase of new podcasts in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Participants learned about digital content development, audience engagement and monetization of podcasts.
Monetization is particularly important to CPB. In a press release, CPB said: Stations bear considerable risk in the current podcast environment. Even the best intentions around new talent and topics can fail if marketing, promotion, staff expectations, and sponsorship efforts are not mastered. Project Catapult will address these challenges head-on.
The new grants are intended to bolster podcasting at a diverse group of public radio stations. Activities will target stations in rural areas and stations in Southern and Western part of the country.
Applications for the new round of Project Catapult are expected to open in August 2018 and March 2019. Interested public media stations will be invited to submit podcast ideas and demonstrate management support for the program. More information is available here.
KEN SAYS: There is no doubt the public radio is the leader in podcasting. Shops such as NPR, WNYC Studios, PRX, American Public Media, WBUR, KCRW and others publish podcasts that are heard by millions of people. Podcasts are an important way for stations to expand their audiences via digital platforms.
However, podcasts are not “radio” and often compete with stations for listeners and support. Monetization of podcasts, a stated goal of CPB, is most often accomplished by selling commercial advertising within podcasts. As such, podcasting might be considered a for-profit enterprise. We intend to ask representatives of CPB whether the mission of CPB has expanded to include ad-based media.
READER QUESTION: HOW IS STATION STREAMING AUDIO MEASURED OUTSIDE OF THE USA?
Last Tuesday, we published a story about the dearth of people listening to station audio streams [link]. Niko Batallones, based at De La Salle University in Manila wrote to us and asked:
QUESTION: A bit of a stupid question, but -- with regards to measuring audiences for online streaming, does this cover everyone around the world, or just those in the markets?
I’d imagine KCMP is ahead of WXRT because of a large number of listeners from outside the US (me included), not to mention how most, if not all, commercial stations block streams to international listeners. I mean, I’d love to try WCBS-FM once again, but I cannot.
KEN SAYS: This is good question and is something we’ve also thought about. We asked Aaron Read from Rhode Island Public Radio for his perspective. Our answer includes Read’s perspective:
ANSWER: The overall problem is that PPM tracking of streams is far less accurate than what most server-based data tracking/analytics can provide. Nielsen Audio can only track what PPM meters “hear.” Nielsen’s PPM devices are only used in the United States.
Server analytics can tell you with high precision about listening to audio streams both inside and outside of the United States. However analytics can't tell you jack squat about WHO is listening. Heck, it's not very good about telling you whether or not a HUMAN is listening, instead of a bot.
Regarding why you can hear KCMP The Current’s audio stream in Manilla and you can’t listen to oldies on WCBS-FM, is because of music rights. The rules are different for noncommercial stations via CPB’s blanket agreement with SoundExchange. Commercial station rights issues are covered by different agreements that either prohibit streaming audio or make it extremely expensive.
NIELSEN AUDIO PPM RATINGS FOR ATLANTA, BOSTON, SEATTLE & MINNEAPOLIS