James Cridland on Tech and Dynamic Content Driving Podcasting's Future
Play • 53 min

In today's episode, I chat with James Cridland, founder and editor of Podnews, the leading industry publication and newsletter.

Change, or Lack Of, in Audio?

James has a long history in the audio space, with over 20 years in radio and online business. I asked him what changes he's seen since then, and he shared why he's actually surprised at how little has changed in that time, and longer. He does see a lot of opportunity in podcasting, which can only be good news for people that love audio.

Where Next for RSS?

There's a lot of talk in the industry around the role of RSS as the default podcasting distribution method. However, as Apple Subscriptions and Spotify's changes show, there seems to be a move away from this method. James predicts where he sees RSS going beyond just delivering audio, especially with the work the Podcasting 2.0 community is doing.

Why Transcripts Need to Improve

One of the areas where James feels there's a big opportunity to stand RSS apart from what some platforms are doing is in the transcript space. There's a change for app developers to really make this a more interactive medium, as well as podcast hosts, through transcripts. But the problem is we're not close enough with accuracy, at least with the automated transcript services, and this is something that drastically needs to improve, not least for accessibility.

Respecting What Creators Want

While larger podcast platforms may be looking to wrestle some control from podcasters, James shares why he's so supportive of what the Podcasting 2.0 community are doing when it comes to namespaces, and that's respecting what creators want, as opposed to platforms dictating what they should want.

We should be pressurizing companies a little bit more to respect what creators are doing.

How Culture Differences Impact Advertising on Podcasting

As someone who grew up in the UK, lives in Australia, but works with several companies in North America, James has a unique perspective as to how the different cultural approach in these places impacts podcast listening behaviour. This carries through to how ads are seen in podcasting, and why there's a reticence on the behalf of some podcasters when it comes to asking listeners for money.

Podcasters Should Get Their Hands Dirty with Code

Since Podnews is a daily publication, and it's all put together by James himself, he's had to learn how to automate the process as much as possible. This has resulted in him coding things from scratch, so feeds and stories can be pulled automatically by tags and filters. It's one of the things James feels creators can improve at - understanding the tech behind the medium.

What Big Money Means for the Podcasting Industry

With so many big money acquisitions and what looks like a consolidation of apps and platforms in the space, James shared his take on whether this was a good or bad thing for the industry. 

The Problem With the Term Indie Podcaster

With the recent Ambie Awards nominations drawing ire because of an indie podcast nomination not actually being indie, there's a lot of chatter online around what defines indie podcasting. For James, though, it's the wrong conversation as this immediately devalues what podcasters are doing, and instills an excuse mindset that we don't really need.

I don't feel we should be backing indie podcasters into some form of protected silo or anything else.

Why Advertisers Need to Get Better with AdTech

James shared an example of how he heard the same ad eight times while listening to a podcast, and how that's a perfect example of where a lot of advertisers are missing the boat when it comes to adtech. Given the tools advertisers have when it comes to DAI and SAI, there really should be better quality control, and James advises how that can be done.

Key points:

02:28 The Biggest Changes in Media Broadcasting from 2004 to 2022

04:01 The Impact of RSS on the Podcasting Industry

05:59 The Benefits of Podcast Transcript Tags

10:53 The Importance of Transcripts for Podcasts

11:58 The Differences in Advertising Acceptance Between Countries

16:30 The Impact of Advertising and Listener Support on the Podcast Industry

19:50 The Process of Publishing a Daily Newsletter and Podcast Episode

30:59 The Future of Podcasting: An Industry on the Rise

38:46 The Impact of 'Indie' on Podcasting

41:55 The Benefits of Dynamic Programmatic Advertising

Connect with James:

Contact me: danny@dannybrown.me

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Pod Chat is sponsored by Podnews - get a daily email with all the latest news about podcasting. It's free at podnews.net. From jobs across the industry to events and conferences, you'll find the latest podcasting info in the daily newsletter. You can add podnews.net to your daily briefing on your smart speaker too - just search for it in your smart speaker app.

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