While most of us hibernated, NPR continued its press push around the Remote Audio Data (RAD) initiative… with mixed results, I think. A cursory survey of the generated headlines suggests a tension between a desired “NPR wants to help advertisers become more comfortable with podcasting” frame (see here) and a more pointed “NPR wants to track your podcast listening behavior” frame (see here).
That tension is something NPR will have to navigate if they are to get where they want to go. And for the contingent that’s ideologically opposed to listener tracking of any kind — a contingent exemplified, perhaps, by Overcast’s Marco Arment (see here) — that tension represents a viable pressure point if they are to stymie any momentum behind the initiative.
As a side note, some Apple blogs have glommed onto the fact that NPR has been in contact with Apple in a bid to get them on-board the RAD initiative. If I’m remembering correctly, this isn’t a particularly new development, but it continues to be interesting.
So… look, I know this isn’t the sexiest of topics. The last time I wrote about this, quite a few readers told me they simply couldn’t get worked up about it. I totally get it. On the one hand, it’s fairly wonky stuff, and on the other hand, whatever happens with RAD will happen on the platform level, so most podcast publishers might not feel it’s directly within their control (or concerns).
That said, I do think this is probably going to be one of the more important stories as we kick off the year. In the future, I’ll try to break down further developments in more accessible ways.
On a completely separate note: If you’ve been seeing a tweet about Joe Rogan’s podcast downloads and revenues floating around… I wouldn’t put any stock in it. If you haven’t seen it, don’t bother.