As the writer of the article, Adam Ragusea, began discussing Michigan Radio Program Director Tamar Charney’s perspective on the relationship between podcasts and radio shows, I myself, began to wonder what the differences between the two could be. Initially i didn’t put much thought into it and I figured the two were synonymous. After all, I had never been exposed to podcasts until recently, hence I was only familiar with radio shows. In my eyes they both involve people broadcasting conversations of the topics of their choice, but then I told myself to think deeper. Interestingly, I thought of many of the points that I would find Ragusea had discussed.

I am not here to say one is better than the other, but like anything, they both have their pros and cons. For instance, one of my first thoughts was that radio shows are so chopped up, that it is often hard for radio show hosts to discuss meaty conversations in such short time spans. As Ragusea mentioned, radio show hosts often have to recap to catch listeners up on what they may have missed which ultimately cuts down the time that they have in each interval. Namely, I used to listen to the Steve Harvey Morning Show on my drive to school every morning in high school, and they always discussed great topics in numerous parts of their show. However, I noticed that there were many moments where Steve Harvey or any of the other hosts would engage in intense conversations that were cut off by the time constraints. Often times, these were inspirational or informative conversations that aimed to help listeners all over, and many missed out because of these strict time barriers. So in this case, a podcast would be different because it would allow listeners to know what they are getting themselves into, and know what transpired from start to finish.

Leading me to my next point, which is the fact that radio shows and podcasts are similar in the way that all listeners, for the most part, know what they desire to hear. As for podscast viewers, they often see a title and know that they are about to tune into in a conversation. While on the flip side, radio listeners often listen for whatever is gonna be the topic of discussion that day or for music, but are interrupted by commercial breaks. It’s like the radio shows have to constantly multi-task and go back and forth to, as Ragusea said, “please many people all at once.” In fact, this leads me to believe that this is why the content of podcasts has a more natural conversational flow than radio shows do at times. Having the freedom to begin discussing conversations and allow new, sporadic ideas to lead into deeper conversations with more ideas and perspectives, is more prevalent in podcasts than radio shows. Let’s be real, radio shows stick to a specific script that cannot be deviated from which further convinces me that this is what hinders radio shows from having that same touch as podcasts do.

Thus far in this post, my opinion may seem biased or that I am bashing radio shows, but I assure you radio shows also have differences from podcasts that work in its favor. Of course as Ragusea said, “people with the same peculiar interest or taste,” listen to podcasts of their choice, if the content is not what they expect or does not hold their attention for long enough, their attention could easily be lost. In reality, most podcast that are made, are pretty lengthy. While on the other side, radio shows have the option of playing a good song or two just to regain the listener’s attention before they change the station. In other words, it gives you a little taste of everything–some good conversation, the jam of the week, and an announcement for the sale at Ikea that came at the perfect time. That being said, I did not agree with the fact that Ragusea omitted that part of how radio shows work.

Of course, I believe he was right in mentioning the fact that it is a hit or miss with radio shows, but he left out the fact that different radio shows also present specific areas of interest. For example, they have radio stations that listeners know will contain content specifically concentrated on sports, or pop culture, or hip-hop culture, or gospel, or everything under the sun. So in that case, viewers have some sense of what they “opt-in to.” Needless to say, they are not the same and is their differences that are the main reasons why we need them both.


By Victoria Robbins


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