Podcast Magazine – A Combination That Makes Perfect Sense

I am always fascinated when seemingly disparate elements come together to form a perfectly logical result.

The latest example I have seen is the recent launch of Podcast Magazine.

The publication’s title combines two formats centuries apart in terms of birth, but they are cleverly combined by Steve Olsher, Founder and Editor-In-Chief.

I had a chance to recently chat with Olsher about the how and why of Podcast Magazine.

He clarified that the magazine is a lifestyle magazine, for fans of podcasters. “It is not a business to business play. We are like the Sports Illustrated of the podcast world. Forbes likened us to magazines like Wired and Fast Company.” Olsher’s goal is to explore the podcasting culture and lifestyle in a publication that goes “beyond the microphone” and into the lives of the leading podcasters that fans love.

Presently, Podcast Magazine is distributed digitally, with a limited print run. Olsher’s objective is to get on newsstands, and perhaps partner with the likes of Condé Nast, for points of distribution.

When I asked about the seeming irony of his publication’s title, Olsher pointed out that “the irony is less important than the discoverability. The celebrity factor is like an anchor store. We want to help people find that which they did not know they would like.”

Olsher pointed out that if he asked Katie Couric to appear on his podcast, he would not get very far. But it was easy for Couric to say yes to a cover spot on his second issue, discussing her podcast.

“When Will Ferrell launched season two of his Ron Burgundy podcast, he was able to land appearances on all three major late-night TV shows (Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Steve Colbert) on the same night. The algorithms of discovery are skewed against the average podcaster.”

Olsher and his team have helped solve this conundrum with a fan-created chart of favorite podcasts, based on votes received. “The chart is chock full of shows you had not heard of. We believe this is the perfect medium to introduce shows and to take fans deeper,” enthuses Olsher. The layout of the magazine is classic, with easy on the eyes layout and graphics.

Steve Olsher, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Podcast Magazine.

At the launch party for Podcast Magazine.

Podcast is a pull media, as Olsher explained. “The fact that people choose a podcast is like a 100% click through rate.” With huge companies betting big on podcasts (Spotify, iHeart), Olsher is confident there is still room for the lower budgeted little guy. “The highly produced shows can be targets for old media companies looking to enter new media. Not everyone cares how polished and produced the show is, the listener wants the ability to dive deep into a topic. Compare true crime podcasts versus shows on photography tips, in terms of production needs.”

As to some early entrants into the podcast business, Olsher has an intriguing perspective. “Gimlet and Barstool had nice exits, and that is a good thing, as it will spur further innovation. There has been about $300 million of venture capital investment this year thus far, with a 10% expected return. That leaves plenty of incentive for folks to generate innovatively in the podcast sector.”

As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Olsher how he got the idea for Podcast Magazine.

He was refreshingly candid. “I have been a podcaster since 2009 with Beyond 8 Figures, I love having a microphone. I took to it early and went deep in 2015, and then I realized my goal is to be the hub at the center of the wheel, as opposed to being a spoke. I can’t compete with Joe Rogan, so if I want to be in the conversation about podcasts, it wasn’t going to be via a podcast, it needed to be another way. I was surprised that nothing existed like Podcast Magazine. The interest was there and we launched the first issue in less than 100 days.”

Judging by what we have seen so far, Olsher will be seeing a rapidly increasing readership.

Subscribe for the digital version of Podcast Magazine here.

 

Here are Steve’s top predictions for the industry in 2020:

1) The charts will be dominated completely by ‘brand names’ and deep pockets in 2020. Independent shows will find it nearly impossible to gain visibility.

2) ‘Gaming’ the system whereby podcasts have artificially inflated metrics will become more commonplace and, eventually, exposed.

3) Niche shows will increase in popularity and, subsequently, profitability for relevant offerings.

4) The ‘Business of Podcasting’ will become a more commonplace approach to leveraging the power of the medium as opposed to podcasting as a business.

5) Ad rates will soar in 2020 as podcasters begin to better recognize the value of each listener and the value of the relationship with the audience.


Brad Auerbach has been covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.

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