The emergence of new broadcast mediums are often met with equal parts skepticism, wonderment, excitement and trepidation. Will it work? Is it a fad? Do we need it?
During golden age of radio – between the early 1920s through the 1950s – people experienced storytelling in an entirely new way. No longer was it necessary to go out to the theatre or rely on traditional pursuits to pass time. With a flick of a switch and turn of a dial, all manner of performance was immediately available via an easily-accessible electronic device. From mystery serials to soap operas to situation comedies, not only did the radio offer storytellers a new avenue for creativity, but it also cemented the idea of broadcast entertainment into the American psyche and beyond.
However, as with any new technology, something bigger and better was looming on the horizon. When television superseded radio as the medium of choice for scripted programming in the 1950s, many believed the once-indispensable device would fall into disuse. Though radio programming didn’t have the same pull it once did in the years following mass adoption of TV, adapting to shifting preferences and technological updates kept the medium relevant.
In fact, in many ways, the rise of the podcast is considered another turning point in radio entertainment. Though not exactly the same thing, both mediums are often likened to each other because they lack the visual component of storytelling. While the podcast has been around for more than a decade, and has, in that time, been steadily and stealthily growing, people are finally beginning to take notice of the medium, which boasts 57 million monthly listeners in the US.
While virtual reality (VR) doesn’t quite follow the same trajectory as the podcast, its potential as a new form of visual storytelling is just now being realized. To better understand the developing prevalence of VR, and why this is important to the podcast industry, look to the numbers:
Considering the above, the opportunity for creativity, growth and revenue is huge within both industries. By adding the missing visual storytelling piece to the podcast puzzle, the potential is limitless. Recognizing this potential, the nation’s largest advertiser-supported podcast network, PodcastOne, has implemented this visual component in its new app, offering listeners unparalleled immersive experiences. Instead of passively listening to favorites like Adam Corolla, Shaq and Dr. Drew, podcast enthusiasts can now essentially watch off-the-cuff talk shows in several formats – standard, 360-degree and VR – bringing them closer to their favorite stars than ever before, creating an unmatched sense of actually being in the studio with them.
While visual storytelling was once seen as the end of the radio era, marrying the worlds of VR and podcasts creates an entirely new and exciting immersive environment, which does not, as the Buggles said, kill the radio star, but rather, enhance it.