Turns out we’re not just vapid and superficial.
Turns out we want more than 280 characters.
Turns out we like complex stories with lots of characters and plot lines.
Turns out we like interviews where people talk about philosophy, life and meaning.
Turns out we’re smarter than the media people thought.

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I remember the school run fondly. My mom would load me, my brother, and sister into the car and take us on the 30-minute drive to school. The journey had a familiar routine – passing by the same places, chatting and laughing. Someone else was always in the car though – the radio. There was a DJ cracking corny jokes at the same time every morning, making a predictable prank call, playing the number one song on the charts for that day (in 1992, it was Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’, which meant that we all had to hear that song every day for months, so that it was tattooed on the inside of our skulls and infected our dreams), and someone reading the news headlines. Those morning drives were the context for my teenage years…

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Online media was in its infancy in South Africa when we made the giant leap from terrestrial radio to start CliffCentral.com. Podcasting was almost unknown in South Africa and the naysayers predicted failure. Now, five years later, podcasting is the fastest growing medium in America (70% growth year-on-year for the last three years according to Edison Research) and gathering momentum in South Africa. We’ve been collaborating with Brain and Brand expert Timothy Maurice and actuary Ernest North to assess the qualitative and quantitative effect of podcast audiences…

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There aren’t a lot of ways we can still exercise our imaginations. So much of it is done for us now… great TV series like Game Of Thrones or movies like Lord Of The Rings do most of the imagining for us. People don’t read fiction like they used to (or they just don’t have the time to). Instagram makes it unnecessary to imagine what the person you met last Thursday looks like naked – just scroll down and there will be some kind of revealing selfie…

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CliffCentral.com turned five on May 1st, a milestone for a small start-up that is now the leading podcaster in Africa. It’s amazing how quickly we incorporate new habits into our lives…

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How do you measure podcast audiences? The existing metrics don’t make sense. Soon we’ll be sharing some powerful thoughts and insights on why podcasting is different, and it won’t just be me talking – it will involve both actuarial and behavioural science. Before we go down another new road, and just ahead of CliffCentral.com’s fifth birthday, I thought it might be interesting to talk about podcasting by numbers…

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Should you vote? The truth is, I don’t know. That might sound surprising coming from someone who has always been a vocal supporter of democracy – so much so that for the last four elections I carried on like an unpaid employee of the Independent Electoral Commission, on radio, TV and in person…

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These days we reserve our praise and surprise only for the madmen – people like Elon Musk who want to venture into space. They go where there are no milestones and they discover things we didn’t know we wanted along the way. In some small way, that’s what I feel audiences are discovering about podcasting and content in general…

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I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Everyone is now in the media business. Every business is now by default a content creator and every business also has an audience – clients, customers, suppliers, international partners and their competitors. The content you serve them can be specific, targeted and relevant (and it should be, to make an impact) and doesn’t need to be mainstream.

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Imagine leaving your doctor after receiving the dreaded news that you have cancer. The sinking feeling, the anxiety, the loneliness of that moment. If it hasn’t happened to you, then chances are that it has happened to someone you know and love. Some people don’t have to imagine. It’s gut-wrenching, terrifying, too much to bear. But you don’t have to go through this alone.

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