Enter the Podcast – another option for chapter events

Do you listen to podcasts? Well 1 in 4 Americans are active podcast listeners. This channel is reaching peak popularity for businesses and audiences alike. And during this time of meeting cancellations, the popularity is posed for another growth spurt.

Podcasting isn’t new to associations.  Mark Athitakis shared the lessons from 3 early association podcasters including thoughts on length and success metrics back in 2016. Tim Ebner’s 2019 post Reach Members on the Air with Podcasts shared how associations use podcasting to engage. One association began with essentially phone conversations with a host and subject-matter expert, followed by live Q&A from ACA members who dial-in as listeners.  You can find a host of posts on the topic.

So, its popular. And podcasting ticks off so many of the must-have characteristics for learning: convenient, on-demand, bite-sized, driven by active conversation. At it can be a revenue stream as WBT Systems highlights in their post on podcasting.

And now, it may be an answer for chapters looking to find the alternative for in-person events to engage members locally. Think about it – we’re all homebound but not necessarily sitting comfortably in front o screens. Earbuds and you are ready to go.

I reached out successful association podcaster Ernesto Gluecksmann Through the Noise (listen into my interview with Ernesto) for advice on how a chapter could get started.

Why is a podcast a terrific substitute?

  • Salvage that work speakers have already put in with an audio podcast – and benefit from the conversation format that will likely drive more active listening. It helps your speakers reach your attendees.
  • Creates on-demand learning. Some groups are scheduling webinars in response to cancelations but may be overlooking the fact that attendees are also busy mitigating changes to their work-life as well. Why limit your reach with a scheduled presentation?
  • Keep the momentum and expand your reach (we know not every member was going to attend). There is no doubt that attendees will be disappointed, but you can reach them through audio media now when it matters more than ever to them.
  • And there’s the safety angle. People will listen to the podcasts in their own home, car, or office, and will get the information they want while following guidelines from health officials.


What’s the start-up time if someone contacted you today and wanted to turn a 1-day event into a podcast series instead?

Our team can tape right away. If you have people in town, or if your canceled event happened to even be this week, our team has the capacity to set things up. But given the number of groups that are in a similarly tight spot regarding their event, I wouldn’t delay reaching out.

Ballpark, what budget do I need?

These project budgets typically fall between $5k-$25k, with many of them at the lower end of that range. We understand these are unexpected expenses, often pulled from reserves or emergency budgets. But if you were ever thinking about investing in a podcast, now might be the best opportunity: people are looking for ways to connect while staying safe.

Is this even possible for a group that doesn’t have a podcast with an audience already?

Yes. Absolutely. There are lots of innovative arrangements in this space. If done correctly, it can be a wonderful, powerful, and intimate way of reaching your community. But you must be willing to take a chance with a podcast. Since we understand there are always complexities in organizations to navigate, we always provide options so that you can select what would work best for you.

Where do you start? If this is a first foray and you are a small chapter, maybe think about this as Zoom or Skype call with speakers. If you are just trying to convert one event and not sure where this will go long-term and have some money (or sponsors), best option is to reach out to podcasting services like Through the Noise. As an association exec for a larger association, this is a little R&D, so reach into those innovation funds. Use as an opportunity to BETA test a concept with one or two chapters. Or maybe help a chapter create a podcast that can serve members in a region, overlapping chapter. Your investment goes farther.

Game to build on your own? Consider checking out Podcast Insights or the Podcast Host or reach out to the ASAE community for advice.

Is podcasting a solution for your chapters?