Starting in the mid 1980s, TechByter Worldwide was simply known as "that 15-minute segment Bradley and Blinn sometimes do on Sunday mornings." Over the years, it grew to consume one third of Joe's Sunday morning program. That continued until sometime in 2006, when it became a podcast and thus available to listeners not just in Ohio and parts of the surrounding states, but to anyone with a computer anywhere in the world. Cool!
I don't remember whether Joe invited me to be a guest on his show or whether I muscled my way in. At the time, I was working for WTVN when it was the voice of news. For several years starting in 1982, I worked Sunday evening and Monday evening. Occasionally I was called on to work morning or afternoon drive, but that was rare because it interfered with my day job. Then I was assigned to Saturday mornings because WTVN's management wanted a consistent sound in that time period.
That continued through the Taft years, Great American, and Jacor. Clear Channel is another story.
Technology Corner (the name the program segment attracted early on) grew from being 15 minutes every few weeks to half an hour every other week, then half an hour every week, and finally to an hour every week. Of course, in commercial radio, an "hour" equates to about 20 to 25 minutes when you take out the time occupied by the commercials, news at the top and bottom of the hour, the weather every 15 seconds, and two sportscasts per hour that were logged as 90 seconds but rarely took less than 5 minutes each.
When Clear Channel entered the picture in the 1990s, I was asked to do news for Toledo on Saturday morning in addition to two newscasts per hour for the Columbus market. I have been in Toledo twice in my life—just passing through both times. Asking someone in Columbus to prepare and deliver two 7-minute newscasts per hour might be all right, but adding responsibility for another city was pushing things too far. I handed in my resignation. Since then, the news director at the time has been fired. His successor has been fired. And his successor's successor has been fired. This might suggest something to the astute reader; I will leave it up to you to determine what that something might be.
But Technology Corner continued until sometime in 2006 when a combination of factors combined to end it. Joe was getting tired of working 6 days per week and Clear Channel wanted to save money. It was a good run, but it ended.
Because I felt the end was near, I had already registered a new domain name, TechByter.com, so I was prepared. Prior to 2006, my feeling about podcasters was typical of those who work in broadcast: We looked down our noses at them. If you're so good, we thought, why aren't you working in broadcast?
Well, as I've discovered, things are changing. Podcasts, XM radio, and even alternate channels on HD radios are attracting ears that used to be owned by broadcast radio stations. At first, I thought I had taken a step down when, after 16+ years on WTVN Radio, Technology Corner became a podcast and changed its name to TechByter Worldwide. That turned out not to have been the case. In fact, it's been just the opposite.
When Technology Corner was on the air, we had maybe 25,000 listeners. Many of those listeners had the radio on for background chatter. They were getting ready for church, preparing for a drive to grandma's, packing fishing gear, or loading the car for a trip to the zoo. Some people actually listened actively. I know because Joe and I received e-mail messages every week from people who had been actively listening. The Technology Corner website hosted about 150 visitors per day on average.
Now that the show is a podcast instead of a broadcast, I receive e-mail messages every week from people who listened actively and the website hosts about 150 visitors per day on average.
In other words, the program is reaching about the same number of active ears and active minds by directly involving a few hundred podcast listeners and about 1000 website visitors every week as it did when the program nominally reached 25,000 listeners, most of whom weren't really listening.
Live and learn, I guess. The podcast allows me to record the audio at my convenience and it allows you to listen at your convenience. And there's something else: Instead of having to pick the 20 to 25 minutes worth of useful information out of the chaff that is broadcast radio, when you listen to the podcast, you get the entire "hour's" worth of information in about 20 minutes.