Mike Francesa Says The Podcast Industry Is Broken And He Knows The Secret To Fix it
The Ringer – Mike Francesa has never listened to a podcast. “Never turned on one,” he said in his office last week. But ask any WFAN caller — Scott in Hicksville, say, or Chris in Florham Park — and they’ll tell you this stubborn fact would not prevent Francesa from having a slashing opinion on the subject. “Problem is, they’re handing out podcasts like they’re Pez, OK?” Francesa said. “Right now, my producers have a podcast. No offense, but they have a podcast. If you showed up here as an intern, they’d give you a podcast. … They give everybody a podcast. How can that work? Can you give everybody a show? If you can’t give everybody a show, how can you give everybody a podcast?!” What interests you about podcasting as a medium? I asked. “Right now, nothing,” Francesa said. “It’s a folly. They’re doing it so wrong.” What are they doing wrong? “I’m not telling you yet because I know how to fix it,” he said. If you’re thinking this much about podcasting, is that a hint about your next professional act? “Possibly,” Francesa said.
If everybody has a show, nobody has a show, OK? Mikey Podcasts is comin down the tracks and he aint stoppin. About to fuck up the whole industry with his secret business acumen. He aint joining the podcast game to be just another Numbah. Hes here to be Numbah One.
Mike is absolutely not wrong. The podcast industry is saturated. Everyone with any following at all has a show. Shit, anyone withOUT a following still has a show. The beauty of the podcast game is there are no barriers of entry, but thats what also makes it a total mess. If you’re taking a step back and looking at the industry on the whole, its technically a wrap for podcasts. The media world moves so fast that starting a strictly audio podcast now in 2017 is passe. Podcasts started around like 2003, they were popularized and truly blew up when Serial dropped in 2014, and now the world is moving towards short form content and video. Shows like KFC Radio are still going to thrive (I hope) because we were ahead of the curve and are kind of grandfathered in now. Shows that are established and a part of people’s routines are still gonna be successful but trying to break in now is a waste of time and effort.
Unless you’re a name like Francesa. Francesa can drop in from the clouds and shoot to the top of the charts. I dont think he’ll be a titan of the podcast industry the same way he was radio, but that initial burst will be big. His audience isnt tech savvy enough to keep him number 1 the way Pardon My Take does week in and week out. And I think this is almost like a golfer on the Senior Tour for Mike where he’s going to take it seriously but its also like semi-retirement. I’m sure the same advertisers from WFAN will want in on the Mike Francesa podcast, and I’m sure he’ll do numbers at least to begin. But the sky is the limit once he unveils his secret Francesa Knowledge. Who knows what happens to podcasters all across the world once Francesa flips the game on its head.