WNYC experiments with social-friendly “audiograms”

WNYC canvasAudio doesn’t go viral much. We’ve heard from the industry that the platform and product limitations of social networks make it harder for audio to take off in the same way as viral videos or images. Some are tackling this problem by working on alternative audio-centric systems. Some, like New York Public Radio, are trying to eke out solutions within the existing services.

WNYC Studios is testing out Facebook as a distribution channel. This week, it published a new, full-length episode of its Here’s the Thing show to the podcast’s Facebook page. The 48-minute episode was uploaded as a native Facebook video since the social network doesn’t support direct audio uploads. The show audio plays over a static image of guest Jimmy Fallon. WNYC is calling this odd hybrid an audiogram.

So far, the video has more than 40,000 views, but there’s no way to tell from the outside how much of the episode any of those people heard. “We’re taking a lot of cues from the TV industry,” WNYC social media director Delaney Simmons said. “How can we forward-promote our episodes? Can we upload audio sneak peeks, bonus clips, and Facebook exclusive episodes?” Simmons also highlighted the importance of making the audiograms native, using the social platform’s own video player and uploader rather than linking to a third-party site.

It’s an interesting experiment from the public radio outlet, but not necessarily a surprising one. Now that WNYC has a dedicated podcast division that will handle creation and distribution for popular shows, we can probably expect to see the station trying lots of interesting ideas in the near future.

Anna Washenko