Exploring a new radio audience : a podcast case study in public radio’s conversion from analog to digital audiences

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Avila, Alexander James

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This thesis began as an audience exploration into early adopters of “podcasting” technology through the journalistic radio program Latino USA, distributed by National Public Radio. An explosion in the use of this new media has changed the way radio networks distribute programming, yet little communications research has been done about the audience. This examination documents how podcast audiences are significantly younger and are both substituting and supplementing traditional media. The study also determined that iPod users are significantly more likely to abandon CDs, listen to less radio, and watch less television as the industry converts from 20th Century analog to 21st Century digital technology. Qualitatively speaking, the podcast audience is highly regarded, but quantitatively small. Despite producer expectations that podcasting is the digital mass media of the future, the data shows audiences to have interpersonal connections to podcasting. As such podcasting remains niche programming and not a true mass medium.



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