There is a blurred line between podcast and radio. Both are audio content with similar styles and more or less the same genre. So, it's only natural that audio content creators can sometimes get stuck when choosing which platform to use.
Are you also struggling to answer this question for yourself? We are here to help!
Actually, we can't tell you which medium is the best for you. However, we have collected the main differences between radio vs. podcast to help you make up your mind. Before we jump into the comparisons, let's quickly define the two mediums.
What is a radio?
Radio is a live audio show. It's broadcasted with an airwave, and listeners can listen to the radio only while it's live.
What is a podcast?
Podcasts are pre-recorded online shows, and they are available to listeners as long as the podcast owner does not remove their show from podcast directories.
Scheduled or on-demand content
Radios impose a timetable on their listeners. If one wants to listen to a specific radio show, one must stick to the radio's agenda and broadcasting hours to avoid missing out on anything. As a result, if a person is busy while the radio show is being broadcasted, you lose a potential listener. Podcasts, on the other hand, are pre-recorded and accessible to listeners at any time. They can download the episode and stream it later on their computers or mobile devices anytime. It would probably be easier for you to record a podcast rather than do a live show as a host. You should be very careful not to make a mistake during the latter because there is no chance of editing what you have just said. The life of podcasters is way easier in this regard. They have a pre-written script and can record the same episode as many times as they want until they get a show ready to go live. Therefore, even if you say something wrong during a podcast, you can always use editing software to fix it.
Everyone or targeted audience
That's another critical difference between radio vs. podcast. The two shows target different audiences with differing listening habits and interests; therefore, even with a naked eye, you can identify the difference in the content. Radios are broadcast for everyone; therefore, their topics should be more general. Radio stations are divided into categories such as music, news, politics, etc. However, even those specified radio channels can't afford content for an audience that's too narrow. Radios usually pick what's trending and talk about it, making the general public relate to the show's content. Podcasts, on the other end, don't have to be bound to newsworthy topics. Podcasters choose their topics based on the interests of their niche audience. A podcast can often be dedicated to narrow topics like dog care or wooden crafts.
Regulated by the government or free to speak your mind
Radio is under strict governmental control. They can't broadcast anything that is not allowed by federal regulations or is offensive to the public. Apart from that, radio broadcasts are also restricted in time. Radio shows have a consistent schedule, and the shows are usually limited to a predefined length. It's highly unlikely that you'll come across a radio show that lasts for more than an hour. To sum up, radio broadcasting has strict limits that do not leave much creative freedom to the hosts, as they have to follow the editorial calendar most of the time. Podcasters are free to do anything as long as their audience enjoys it. If a podcast includes somewhat explicit content, but users are notified about that in advance, there are no issues. By "notifying listeners," we mean putting a short warning in the podcast introduction or podcast description so that listeners know what they are going to listen to. Podcasters are also unlimited in length. You'll come across shows that last for several hours as well as 15-minutes long microcast, and both are perfectly working formats.
Popularity among listeners
Although podcasts are growing in popularity, radio still remains a fair competitor. The public, especially the older generation, is more accustomed to radios and usually treats everything broadcasted via radio as more accurate. Podcasts still have a long way to go before being considered mainstream media. Besides, podcasts are tied to specific, usually younger listeners, who consume and trust unconventional media more than the traditional one. So, as of today, radio has more power over the larger public than podcasts. The picture can soon change, though.
Well, what should be your choice between radio and podcasting?
Choose radio if you want to avoid the headache of coming up with a new topic every time and work in a more structured environment. On the other hand, podcasts will allow you to express yourself freely without restricting your creativity in any way. To summarize, you should adhere to the format that you are most comfortable with, as both are popular media with a lot of potential and room for growth.