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Pattiz & Carolla "On Steroids"

6-6-14

PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz and his best-known employee, top podcaster Adam Carolla, delighted the Convergence crowd with a lively (and at times profane) conversation. Carolla gave some background on his move from broadcast to podcasting, saying he initially moved from the successful syndicated Loveline, with 125 outlets, to just a dozen or so at CBS Radio. He said even then, he understood there were potential streaming listeners, but at that time, it didn't matter very much.

When a format flip was in the works at CBS in 2009, Carolla was the only station employee who knew, since he was told he'd be moved to the New York market, noting – drawing a big laugh from attendeed -- "You don't tell radio people they're going to get sh*tcanned, because they'll start burning the place down." But the proffered move to New York – which Carolla said he was uncertain about accepting in any event – never materialized, and, Carolla said, "I felt like the audience I had spent the last 15 years gathering in terrestrial radio, I was going to lose track of, lose touch with, if I let them all go." So on his last day on the air, he announced a one-hour daily podcast.

Pattiz pointed out that Loveline shows are also available on demand through PodcastOne, noting, "The audience for Loveline on Demand as a podcast is three times the audience for Loveline the radio network."

Asked about the patent trolls who are now suing him and other broadcasters over common playlist-building technology, Carolla said, ""You know you've arrived when you're being sued by a patent troll.It's very expensive litigation. it's well over a million dollars to fight these guys. And we have no choice but to fight these guys." A legal defense fund has raised about $750,000 so far.

After Pattiz noted that podcasting was initially seen as a promotional tool, he asked, "When did you realize this was a business?" "When you told me," Carolla responded. He went on to say he was not doing standup and had nothing to promote when he began: "Here I was, the only schmuck in town doing a five-day-a-week podcast with nothing to sell." At the time he started the podcast, he did the one-hour show at night, with guests coming over, and working on a sitcom during the day. "Do it if you're passionate about, and if the money comes, it comes. And if it doesn't, you just spent time doing your passion."

An audience member asked how to make money from podcasts, Pattiz responded, "The first thing you can do is stop giving it away." Podcasts are already being presented to advertisers by local stations, "but they're not being charged for it." As a practical matter, he suggested stations first approach direct-response advertisers, who are a natural fit for podcasting. Carolla said later that he tries to make advertisers part of the show, so it's not a "break" in the usual sense. "It's a chance for content, if advertisers will play along" – and increasingly, they do."

Asked where the radio talent of the future is coming from, Carolla joked, "Argentina," and Pattiz said, "Wrestlers" – PodcastOne has half a dozen pro wrestlers hosting shows. More seriously, Carolla observed that podcasting has opened the door to talent, especially comedy talent, beyond the traditional career "broadcasters."



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