As Christian communicators, the most important message we have to share is the message of the gospel—the message of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. And it’s so important for us to get the message right. But the medium we use to distribute the message is also important.
Different media reach different audiences. Media is constantly evolving. New media are always emerging. Sometimes a new medium is better than its predecessor, and sometimes it’s just different. It’s up to us as communicators to know media, understand how to use media, and select the right medium to reach our target audiences.
The United States’ first commercial radio broadcast was made on November 2, 1920. Over 100 years ago, radio changed the way that we communicate using audio. In 2004, podcasting was developed. And over time, this new medium once again changed the way that we communicate using audio. Podcasting didn’t replace traditional radio broadcast though. Even though radio broadcasting and podcasting are both means of distributing audio content, they don’t function in exactly the same way.
So which is the right medium for you and your ministry?
First of all, it’s important to recognize that both radio and podcasts are great opportunities for ministry. But there are a couple of things to consider when selecting how you want to distribute audio content to your audiences.
Radio and podcast were designed for different things. Tara-Leigh Cobble, CEO of D-Group International and Creator and Host of “The Bible Recap,” describes this saying that whereas radio was designed for “in-the-moment” communication, podcast was designed to be on-demand where people can listen at any time. Podcasts are stored on a person’s device and are easily accessible at any time. It also takes time to produce a podcast. This can be good for some types of content, such as storytelling content, but it wouldn’t be good for distributing breaking news, for example.
Partly because podcast and radio function differently, they also appeal to different demographics. Cobble said that radio tends to appeal to an older demographic—specifically to people who drive a lot or who spend prolonged periods of time in a stationary place. Podcasting on the other hand tends to appeal to a younger generation—to people who are always going or on the move.
“Know your audience and choose the option that works best for who you’re trying to reach, where they live, and how you can meet them where they are,” Cobble said.
Radio and podcast each offer unique opportunities for ministry. The option that is right for you is the option that reaches your audience.
“If you think it would serve you well, you can choose both,” Cobble said. “You can serve one audience in one way and serve another audience in another way.”
Whichever medium you choose, as you distribute your audio content, you have the opportunity to meet people where they are with a message of hope—the message of the gospel. So where are the people you are trying to reach? Meet them there.