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Who cares? Plus, Audacy's 350 new stations

Who cares? Plus, Audacy's 350 new stations

· 3.4 minutes to read

I’ve been enjoying a podcast from an (Australian) radio company for a while. The ads are produced by the same company, read by one of the personalities on the show, but slotted in later using dynamic audio insertion.

Above is what an ad looks like.

If you set the show audio to be -16 LUFS (which is what it ought to be for a podcast), then the advert is -29 LUFS. The ad is 13.8dB quieter than the show audio.

The effect is, when driving, you hear “Let’s hear from the sponsor - off you go, Jim” and then Jim reads an ad in his cliché Aussie DJ voice which is almost entirely inaudible. To make things worse, Jim is introduced earlier in the show as “We’ve got Jim here for any technical stuff”. In the words of the internet: “He had one job”. (His name isn’t Jim).

The question really here isn’t whether the digital audio insertion is bad (it is), but we’re in July, and this podcast has been going since October last year. It’s a top 20 podcast, according to the Australian Podcast Ranker. Yet, every single time I’ve heard it, it has an ad in it which you can’t hear.

If you don’t care about something enough to listen to it, why bother making it in the first place? If you’ve no passion in the product, and don’t care about how it sounds, what are you doing? If this has been an issue for nine months and nobody has noticed - or they have but think it sounds fine - then are those people the right people for the job?

This podcast isn’t alone. There’s plenty of output which sounds as if nobody cares, too: automation systems going haywire, broadcast clocks set to fade into news bulletins 30 seconds late, online streaming with the same ad repeated twice, and sometimes three times, in every break, or, my personal favourite, the radio station in the capital of the United States which didn’t care so much, it broadcast the same traffic bulletin for eight years.

In the UK, Global used to have an obsession statement, which I was rather a fan of. They now have a simpler statement: “People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”

If you don’t care about your output, your listeners will feel that you don’t care. Is that wise?

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