Opportunity knocks for a good UK business podcast

podcastgenrespart One of the things that continues to surprise me is the lack of niche business podcasts in the UK.

I don’t mean the slickly-produced offerings from mainstream media organizations, of which there are many. By ‘niche,’ I mean podcasts like IABC Cafe2Go, the show from IABC, a professional association (and which I occasionally produce on a volunteerism basis). Or Media Bullseye Roundtable, a discussion podcast on social communication.

Then there are PR- and marketing-related shows such as Donna Papacosta’s  Trafcom News, Eric Schwartzman’s On The Record Online, CC Chapman’s Managing The Gray, Marketing Over Coffee from John Wall and Christopher S. Penn, and Anna Farmerey’s The Engaging Brand.

Plus, dare I say, the For Immediate Release podcast series from Shel Holtz and I.

All have in common a certain informality and genuineness: some of the traits that characterize social media and which, for many people, make such podcasts compelling listening.

With the exception of FIR and The Engaging Brand – the sole example of a niche business podcast wholly produced in the UK – podcasts like these are all produced in North America, either the US or Canada. No others out of the UK that I’m aware of.

Is it lack of good content here? Far from it: Anna Farmery is testament to that. Or perhaps business radio is so good, people are satisfied with that. (Do I really believe that? Nope.). Maybe it’s just lack of interest. Certainly, lack of interest in business podcasting.

Which brings me nicely to the topic that prompted that retrospective on the dearth of UK business podcasts – the latest survey data from RAJAR, the audience measurement organization, on radio listening in the UK that also includes podcasting.

RAJAR’s PDF news release on July 14 summarizes some terrific metrics about radio listening, especially on the use of radio apps on smartphones and how many people listen to internet radio.

But it’s the metrics about podcasting that interest me mostly. And unfortunately, RAJAR’s news release goes into little depth. I imagine you need access to the full research results for that.

Or, an excellent post by Adam Bowie of Absolute Radio in London that includes not only metrics and charts but also comparative stats.

Getting to the heart of the matter, Bowie’s post takes RAJAR’s data and shows the state of podcasting in the UK by genres and who subscribes to what.


It’s no surprise that comedy, music, TV and film are the top three genres that attract most subscribers. Business podcasts are way down the long tail, accounting for a bit over 10 percent.

The most interesting aspect of Bowie’s analysis is on podcast listening as opposed to MP3 downloads. Understanding how many people listen to podcasts, and where they listen, is a tricky topic as downloading a show doesn’t necessarily mean anyone actually listened to it.

Sometime you won’t know unless you ask your audience (as we did in the FIR listener survey last year).

Bowie presents data on where people say they listen:


An interesting chart. I wonder what differences there might be by specific genre. For instance, in the case of FIR listeners – largely a business audience – listening at work is high up on the list.

Now some numbers:

76.4% of people listen to half or more of the podcasts they download, with 25.0% of people diligently listening to every single podcast they download.

And once people start listening they tend to listen to the whole episode. 85.9% of people listen to most or all of every episode they start to listen to.

What’s more, people are happy to listen to older podcasts, with 82.6% of podcast listeners saying that they listen to episodes that are over a week old.

69.1% of podcast listeners listen on their computer while 64.9% listen on a portable mp3 player such as an iPod. 17.0% listen via their mobile phone.

Predominantly, people listen to podcasts at home, although listening while travelling is popular with a combined 44.6% of people listening as they travel.

Such useful information.

With the barriers to podcasting entry so low – all you need are a computer, microphone, audio recording and editing software (the free Audacity would do just fine), a place to serve the MP3 files from plus some imagination – you’d think that there would be a plethora of great business podcasts.

Someone else in the UK surely must have some ideas.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. tinnion

    Please add Small Biz Pod to your list of UK business podcasts. Alex Bellinger (the host) was one of the first podcasters in the UK to have a show of this kind. The podcast is still going and is popular because it's very good.


  2. Anna

    Neville – thanks for the vote of thanks! I listen the most whilst driving for some reason I just can think when travelling – no matter the mode of transport….slightly worrying for other road users:)
    The reason I most find is one of time – most people seem to say they haven't got the time. But for me it is not just a podcast for others – it acts as my stimulus and actually my personal development, so to me it saves me time?
    Maybe our paths will cross again one day
    Not only a UK podcaster but someone who doesn't live in the south….yikes! :)


  3. Joe Walton

    Hi Neville,

    The real shame is the lack of B2B podcasts outside of the comms or tech arena.

    Niche content can be perfect a perfect way to reach and engage the with right audience, if done in the right manner.

    It is probably more of a challenge to get non tech and comms professionals to download and listen to podcasts but there is a great opportunity for the first to make it work with a UK Podcast about their chosen sector.

    It didn’t make the article but http://quietnewsday.co.uk about social media, PR and the news industry in Scotland and beyond is well worth a listen. Just wish I had thought of it first.

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