:30cast NPR

Podcast Movement 16 Comes to the Windy City

Sunday, August 07, 2016 Louis Vasseur

Whether it being during your workout at the gym, commuting to the office, or walking along the Lakefront, the chances are pretty good you have listened to a podcast.  According to Edison Research, 21% of Americans ages 12+ have listened to a podcast in the past month. In addition, 64% of podcasts are being listened to on smartphone or tablet.

Recently, Chicago became the focal point of the podcasting universe when the Windy City served as host to the Podcast Movement, the premiere international gathering of podcasters.  The third annual podcast conference originates in a different location each year.  Over 1,500 attendees from 47 states and 15 countries descended on the Hyatt Regency to listen to presenters on a variety of podcasting topics. “Chicago is one of the best podcast cities in the world,” says Dan Frank, founder of Podcast Movement. One of the reasons for this reputation, is that WBEZ, Chicago’s premiere public radio station, was one of the first terrestrial radio stations to see the value in creating podcast-first original programing and to invest heavily in the medium. WBEZ and National Public Radio were well represented among the conference presenters and moderators.

Sessions and workshops were geared towards aspiring podcasters and industry veterans alike. Topics ranged from promotion and monetization of your podcast; being confident behind the mic; strategies for getting advertisers and listeners; diversity in podcasting; and behind the scenes stories by industry professionals.  One popular theme was strategies for driving traffic to your website, podcast, and blog via livestreaming apps like Blab, Periscope, MeVee, and Snapchat.  As with any conference, networking opportunities are key.  Attendees could be seen meeting along the hallways and in every nook and cranny sharing tips, ideas, and techniques, or taking the opportunity to interview other attendees as guests on their podcasts.

The exhibit hall offered attendees access to over 40 podcast specific hardware and technology companies from across the globe.  Attendees were able to pose specific questions directly to industry experts, discuss advertiser and listener strategies, as well as try out the latest podcasting technology. A sampling of the exhibitors include:

Podfly Productions,LLC- a boutique podcast production company providing a collaborative team of audio engineers, radio producers, writers, and professional voice actors to help create professional style podcasts easily.

:30 Cast- a new Nashville-based startup that provides affordable, pre-cleared music clips in production quality format.

Samson – An industry leader in professional audio solutions, Samson offers a wide range of audio equipment to support the podcaster. Samson XPD Series USB Digital Wireless System gives podcasters the freedom to wirelessly capture audio on laptops, tablets, or smartphones. 

Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 to 2016 and Frank see a comparable growth in the Podcast Movement Conference.  “Each year, Podcast Movement gets bigger and better. We work hard all year to provide our presenters and attendees the best experience possible so they can improve their craft.  We try to learn from each year’s event in order to better serve the podcasting community.”  The 2017 Podcast Movement will be held in Anaheim, CA. To learn more, please visit www.podcastmovement.com.

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