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Podcasts vs. Live Radio?

Podcasts v Live Radio (Don't worry the Afkloud App Has Both)

With all the hype around technological advancement and podcasting, one wonders whether the future of mainstream radio is being threatened. Or, is all this excitement over podcasts much ado about nothing and will at some point fizzle out?

Of commonality, both mediums produce audio content for the information, education or entertainment of listeners. In definition, a radio show is a live recording (although a few shows are pre-recorded) which is produced by a radio station or an individual and transmitted by airwave. A podcast on the other hand, is a pre-recorded and edited audio file which is sent out to different directories through an RSS feed, and listened to on demand.


On radio, shows follow a particular schedule as prescribed by the station manager. The usual format is that the day starts with a breakfast show, then other programs are slotted in relevantly during the day, with the ever popular request shows and a handful of conversational topics. One setback about scheduling is that listeners may miss out on particular shows because of personal commitments. Having realized the possibility of their listeners missing out of some popular shows, radio stations are now recording certain shows and podcasting them. Maintaining a schedule is not such a bad thing, once you know the regular programming for your preferred radio station, you can easily tune into your favorite shows. When it comes to podcasts, selection of shows is on a “on demand” basis, which allows for flexibility for the audience.


While the Generation X (born early 1960s to late 1970s) are motivated by familiarity, the Millennials (born early 1980s to mid-1990s) are driven by convenience in their choice of medium. The former grew up in a time not dominated by technology and therefore prefer the good old tried and trusted radio to inform and entertain them. The latter, on the other hand, have experienced a lot of technological advancement during their time, and constitute the larger audience of podcasts.

Still on appeal, radio is designed for mass appeal as it broadcasts a wide range of contemporary content which is considered newsworthy, making for easy listening. The ever popular music chart shows also make radio quite entertaining. With podcasting, the content is designed to attract a niche audience (with podcasts focused on specific topics, like astronomy or even dogs), thereby attracting an engaged audience.

Live versus Pre-recorded

One of the defining differences between radio and podcasts is that radio is dominantly a live recording, plus or minus one or two pre-recordings, while podcasts are pre-recorded. Because radio shows are live, no editing takes place, and this may result in some embarrassing bloopers for the presenters (which can also make for great humor for the audience). Because podcasts have been edited, there is less room for errors in the final product. Having said this, live shows have the competitive edge of being spontaneous, which makes them more exciting and fun to listen to. Podcasts are unfortunately lacking in spontaneity as the show is scripted, edited and pre-recorded.

At Afkloud, they have taken the extra step to replay recorded podcasts and interviews on their live radio (Afkloud Live Radio is currently only available in the Afkloud App), this means Podcasts that are recorded are now available in a more spontaneous way.

For instance, Kampala Breakfast Sqoop dedicated to the Ugandan Audience in Uganda and across the entire diaspora, streams from 9am - 12noon EAT (East African Time: GMT+3) everyday on Afkloud Live Radio.

Life Span

Once a live show has ended, that’s it, it’s gone. Such is the ephemeral nature of radio shows. Podcasts are available online, and will therefore have a longer life cycle, provided the content remains relevant. At Afkloud, they consider what is deemed Live Radio as Live Podcasting. When the show is aired Live on its in-app radio platform, it is also recorded and made available later as a Podcast or as a rebroadcast at a different time slot on the live radio (the episodes are not in sequence to create the live effect)


While podcasts enjoy a greater level of freedom of speech and content as shows are at the discretion of the podcaster, radio is governed by more stringent regulations relating to content and language. With a lot of content online that may be too much for the sensitive ear, regulation is not such a bad thing after all.

Internally, radio stations are regulated by time. Most shows are limited to 30 minutes in order to cater for other programs to be aired and also to be digestible to a manageable size (lest the audience get bored from rambling speakers). This is in contrast with podcasts that range in duration from as short as 5 minutes all the way up to the length of an audio book.


While both mediums are likely to contain advertisements, radio will likely contain more adverts than podcasts. This is because a large chunk of their income is derived from advertising. It should be noted that adverts are also becoming popular during podcasts (who doesn’t want to make some extra income where possible?)

The Verdict

When all is said and done, statistics show that radio still enjoys more listenership than podcasts. From an objective perspective, it just depends on the listener’s preference. One could choose radio for particular shows whilst subscribing to podcasts for topics of interest. There is enough room on the media market for both mediums to co-exist without the existence of one affecting the presence of the other.

This is why Afkloud App is different and is still the best choice, because you can have the best of both worlds! Live Radio via Afkloud Live Radio and Podcasts via Afkloud Podcasts.

Download the Afkloud App Here and see more content and listen to live Radio. (You can even chat with the radio hosts in real time during the live shows)

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