Tom Webster, SVP of Edison Research, describes his job as “telling the stories of numbers.” He definitely make numbers come alive, and he’s a great storyteller overall. So you’re generally okay with Tom as your guest if you didn’t discuss podcast topics in advance.
My industry acquaintance may be self-effacing, but he has a steel trap mind for the insights Edison regularly uncovers about all things audio, and he shared quite a few in our ad hoc but fascinating conversation for Insider Interviews.
The custom market research company helmed by Larry Rosin may be best known as the sole providers of exit polling data during U.S. elections, but Tom is best known for his big research reveals on webinars (now Zoom presentations) or at conferences. Research junkies lean in to hear which platform has the biggest “share of ear” and how differently are consumers engaging with Alexa. Basically, he’s the go-to guy for sharing and interpreting our evolving involvement with radio, podcasting, voice…even IoT and our social media habits.
As Tom describes it, “I make sure that the data that we collect on behalf of our clients is understood contextualized, put into action and valued, and that people come back for more.” Here’s what’s “more” about Tom and a topline of our discussion: Little known fact? Tom likes words as well as numbers. This former English Lit professor is also the principal author of some widely cited studies and the co-author of The Infinite Dial, America’s longest-running research series on digital media consumption, and The Mobile Commerce Revolution.
In Episode 16, Tom shares some insider scoop from Edison’s audio research – and his considered POV on the current state of radio broadcasting and the growth of podcasting (including some tips that can help you grow your own podcast).
[00:01 – 03:25] Opening Segment
- More about Tom Webster, his role in Edison Research and a moving from academia to a marketing career
[03:26 – 17:20] The Insider Scoop on Audio Research
- About Edison Research’s broader offerings – like that exit poll and vote count data – and Tom’s area of focus: Audio
- More insider scoop from Tom WebsterVoice vs. Audio
- The growth of “smart speakers.”
- Where are we – if anywhere — with an FM chip for mobile phones?
- The general state of radio
- The uptake on podcasting (Joe Rogan notwithstanding)
- Tom talks about some Edison partnerships (and E.B. held back “insider” jokes about her old boss, John Rosso of Triton Digital!)
[17:21 – 25:40] Diverse Voices
- The diversity in podcast listeners and podcast content
- Growing your podcast in today’s competitive market:
- Having a distinct voice
- Showing your unique, distinct point of view
- How Tom is sharing HIS unique POV, via his own newsletter I Hear Things
[25:41 – 31:27] Closing Segment
- Tom’s go-to resource gathering platforms
- The Tom and Tamsen team: “freenoting”with his wife, Tamsen Webster
- Final thoughts
E.B. and Tom on the first (last?) VOICE panel at CES 1/20
- Find Your Red Thread with Tamsen Webster
- The Top 30 U.S. Podcasts Q2 2020 article by Edison Research
- Podcast Consumer Tracker
- The Joe Rogan Experience
- National Public Radio
- The Infinite Dial
- Triton Digital
- The Smart Audio Report
- The Spoken Word Audio Report
- Latino Podcast Listener Report
- Lake Wobegon Effect
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And reach out to be considered for an episode — or suggest questions or a guest — or to have your own bespoke podcast series produced and/or hosted by E.B. Moss, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m “hear” for you!