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Hyper-Local Podcast Festivals Drive Regional Discovery, Like the Philly Podcast Festival

Hyper-Local Podcast Festivals Drive Regional Discovery, Like the Philly Podcast Festival

As people incrementally continue to discover and embrace the podcast industry, we’re seeing events and festivals pop up all over the country. These ‘localized’ events provide an opportunity for those that have never listened to a podcast to learn what all this podcasting fuss is all about.


The publicity that comes with regional festivals helps drive localized discovery, filling one of the voids currently thwarting the industry. In Philadelphia, there’s a hyper-local podcast event currently taking place that highlights just how relevant the podcast industry has become. It’s called The Philly Podcast Festival, which features 55+ podcasts recording live shows at 8 venues across the city between July 14th and July 23rd, 2017.  VIEW EVENT SCHEDULE HERE. In addition to featuring local podcasts making their mark, the most impactful element impact may be demonstrating how podcasts really are ‘experiential’ via live events. That caveat is now drawing the attention of big brands.

As someone that follows the industry closely, I often find myself frustrated how many podcast events are gatherings where the industry talks to one another. Too often, there’s little expansion beyond the core participants of those currently utilizing the medium. But the uniqueness of the Philly festival should drive ‘newpods’ (newcomers) to explore on-demand audio, and it turns a listening experience into a full-fledged scheduled event. Meanwhile, the local publicity it’s receiving has been tremendous.

As Jonathan Takiff, of Philly.com wrote:

For clues on how big and lucrative the world of podcasting is getting, consider the Philadelphia Podcast Festival, planting flags at nine area venues this Friday night through July 23. At the first fest five years ago, organizers had to dig to find a dozen local podcast creators to record shows before a live audience, said Teagan Kuruna, host of the podcast “Teagan Goes Vegan” and festival coordinator with her husband, Nathan. Last year, the festival made room for 30 podcast sessions. And this year, there will be 55 sessions hosted by locals, with many more who “couldn’t be accommodated,” Kuruna said. All will be recording hour-long (max) episodes of their internet-streamed programs before a live audience, schmoozing about everything from books to pop music to Philly sports to serious social issues.


TopPodcast.com was also quoted in the article, highlighting how Philly sports podcasters are aligning with the fervor of die-hard local sports fans…and these shows are taking off. Here’s what I mentioned:

Philly sports podcasters are gaining the most traction here with per-episode listenership in the “tens of thousands” for Spike Eskin (son of Howard) with his 76ers-themed “The Rights to Ricky Sanchez” and Kyle Scott with CrossingBroad.com. (Neither is in the festival.) “Spinning off his big sports blog, Scott launched a podcast he records Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6 a.m., then puts up  online by 7:30 a.m, going up against the morning sports talk on WIP and The Fanatic. He’s really disruptive, really innovative.”


In order to continue to break through as an advertisers option, one of the last hurdles the podcast medium needs to overcome is promoting local shows in regional markets. Discovery is still burdensome, particularly in localized communities. When the industry finally masters that aspect of distribution and discovery, by zipcode, it will finally be able to effectively go after local radio and print advertising dollars.

To align with digital buyers, ‘geo-targeting’ podcasts are a must. Yes, it’s possible to do it via ad-insertions, device id’s, IP addresses…and the technology is available and many are doing it. However, the limitations are real due to the lack of inventory in certain geo-graphic regions.


But, if the industry is able to have a more effective way to discover local podcasts, and better yet, have them do live broadcast on-site at events, it may just be one of the missing links to take podcast advertising to $1 Billion within 5 years. It’s local advertising dollars that are missing from the current $220 million podcast advertising market…and it’s time to change that.