Exploring a New Radio Audience:
A Study of Early Adopters
of Latino Podcast Media
Alex Avila, Journalism Masters Student,
University of Texas at Austin,
College of Communication
Submitted March 22, 2007.
PODCAST: A Podcast is a converged medium that
combines audio (or video), the Internet, and
portable media devices.
IPOD: The iPod™ is a personal audio player
introduced by Apple Computers™ in 2001 using
mp3 digital audio technology.
RSS: Rich Site Summary, also known as Really
Simple Syndication, is an XML program for sharing
Internet content from a variety of websites.
In order for a Podcast to exist there
must be the following:
• a content provider (producer)
• an audience
• a means of distribution (the Internet)
• access to software (RSS 2.0)
• the technical tools to take Podcast feeds
(the computer or mp3 player).
Apple Computers™ introduces the iPod™ in
When iPod sales hit the million-unit mark in
2004, the iPod spawns an unexpected
development that came to be known as
The “Podfathers” are software pioneer Dave
Winer and former MTV vee-jay Adam Curry.
iPods continue to diffuse: 39 million unit
sales in FY 2006; 21 million unit sales over
Podcasting grows from less than 1000
podcast programs in December 2004 to
65,000 in November 2006
All major public radio entities podcast in
National Public Radio’s LATINO USA
• Weekly Program distributed by NPR and NFCB.
• 132 NPR Station & 52 NFCB Stations nationwide.
• Approximately 400,000 weekly listeners.
• NPR Demographic
- 74 percent “White” listenership
- Median Age 56 years
- College Educated
- Majority earn over $75K annually
National Public Radio’s LATINO USA
• National Podcast launched Sept. 2005.
• More than 1000 weekly downloads first month.
• Average 2500 weekly downloads as of Jan. 2007.
RQ1: Who is downloading the podcast? How does
the podcast audience compare to the traditional radio
audience of the program?
RQ2: Where geographically are podcast listeners
located? Are they focused around major markets or
spread out across the country?
RQ3: Why do they subscribe to an online podcast
when a radio broadcast and online streaming is
RQ4: Do audience members actually listen to the
podcasts that are downloaded?
• Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation
• Fichman & Kemerer’s Assimilation Gap
• McCombs’ Media Substitution
• Katz’s Uses & Gratifications
• Web-based survey located at latinousa.org.
• 43 mostly open-ended questions about
podcast usage, public radio consumption and
• 12 second “call-out” before and after
podcast directing listeners to the online
• 143 responses to the online survey between late
November 2005 and early January 2006.
• 25 respondents indicated they had never
downloaded a podcast, leaving 118 valid responses.
• average podcasts downloads in December 2005
were 1835 weekly downloads.
• response rate 6.43 percent.
56 percent Hispanic
4 percent Black
34 percent White
70 percent age under 45
12 Percent Hispanic
11 Percent Black
74 Percent White
63 percent age 45 and over
RQ1- Who is podcasting? How different from regular radio?
Education levels & Income Levels Are similar; Podcast listeners are 2-to-1 male over female.
RQ2- Where are Podcast listeners located?
Chart 2: Regional Clusters
13%NEW YORK TRI-
NEW YORK TRI-STATE
FLORIDA, GEORGIA AND
• 131 zip codes
• 8 podcast
lived outside of
• Similar to
RQ3- Why subscribe to Podcast v. Regular radio?
Out of 115 valid, open-ended responses 57 percent indicated some
sort of “convenience” reason as their first response.
The other first responses were:
• “Staying Informed” 12 percent;
• “Interest” 11 percent;
• “Quality” 10 percent;
• “Other” 10 percent.
RQ4- Do audiences listen to podcast downloads?
• 68 percent listen to between 80 and 100 percent of podcast
• Mean number of podcasts downloaded weekly was 10.76
• 88 percent were interested in listening to the entire 30 minute
broadcast of Latino USA v. listening to just one or two segments.
The Question of Audience
If 1835 weekly downloads, but only 118 valid podcast
survey responses, then 6.43 percent response rate.
Begs the question, how many automatic downloads are
actually listened to?
The Podcast Assimilation Gap
Currently unable to
Source: Fichman & Kemerer (1999)
Arbitron-esque “online diaries”
• De-emphasize “downloads” “hits” and “links” as
measure of online-based audiences..
• Arbitron model of media diaries used in radio since the
• Online diaries would give a more realistic view of digital
media audience size based on Internet distribution.
Alex Avila, Senior Producer
2609 University Ave. #3.108
1 University Station #A0704
Austin, TX 78702