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Here at Hook we are fascinated with all things audio. Most recently we have been looking into emerging apps set to shake up the traditional role of podcasts.

We spoke to Jonathan Wilson, the creator of Podcast Alarm, about the challenges that come with creating an app, the benefits of engaging with podcasts and the future of audio content.

Waking up with podcasts – Jonathan Wilson, Podcast Alarm

Hook Research: There are many brands hopping on the podcast train right now – in your opinion, why are podcasts getting people so excited?

Jonathan Wilson: Podcasts are the beginning of an on demand radio, it is a very provable model with the popularity of TV/movie streaming services highlighting its potential. Easy to digest episodes that stream to mobile devices are perfect for peoples busy lifestyles.

“What makes this better than radio? You pick what’s relevant to you. Movie streaming services have proven this is the future, why waste your time listening to something you don’t like?”

The vast selection of topics and genres gives them unlimited choice. Businesses particularly find it lucrative as marketing is working well within episodes, 76% of UK podcast listeners say they have acted on a podcast advert. Not to mention both Apple and Google have made big plays in this space recently, further adding to the hype. Google have pledged to double the amount of listeners and Apple has split Podcasts off into a standalone app in the new MacOS Catalina.

HR: What’s your elevator pitch for Podcast alarm? How does this improve on a more traditional radio alarm?

JW: Podcast Alarm helps you wake up inspired and find something that motivates you to start your day the way you want to go on. Find a show that helps you learn a new skill or a drama that makes you think – any topic is available.

Specifically to Podcast Alarm, we have built in every aspect of a player as well as an alarm.

Every show is searchable and there is also a ‘discover view’ which shows you podcasts that have been recommended in blogs, which makes finding new shows easy. You can also ‘stream now’ or ‘queue’ your episodes and have them play every morning sequentially.

“Playing audio is easy, keeping users engaged is much harder, and a more lucrative goal.”

A popular feature is being able to pick a daily show and have the latest episode automatically streamed every morning, this is great for staying up to date on the latest news.

HR: What inspired you to create Podcast Alarm?

JW: I wanted to squeeze in a little more value to my morning routine, I have speakers around the house and I thought it would be great to wake up to an entrepreneurial podcast and continue listening while I got washed and had breakfast.

When I began the project there was nothing like it, so it felt like others would like it too.

Podcast Alarm - Hook Research
Podcast Alarm - Hook Research
Podcast Alarm - Hook Research

HR: What was the most challenging part of the process? What’s been the most rewarding?

JW: It’s hard to get time to work on Podcast Alarm. When I began I was also a full time software developer. Now I have moved to a four day working week so I get more time to work on my own side projects.

Technically the alarm aspect is a hard one. Apple do not provide a way to simply make an alarm which does not make my life easy at all, but I got there in the end.

I also really enjoy hearing all the feedback from the users of the app. Lots of people have been waiting for an app like this for years, it seems, so its good to help them out. I love discussing other people’s ideas for the app, it’s great for sparking my imagination.

HR: Any podcasts emerging as clear favourites for waking up?

JW: ‘The Daily’ by ‘The New York Times‘ seems to be a very popular selection. It falls into the daily news category which I would expect to be a popular alarm choice.

It’s also one of the most popular shows currently, so that probably helps too.

“It may sound obvious but I think the podcast platform winners will be the ones that can show the most relevant shows and episodes to their users”

HR: What do you think the future looks like for podcasts and platforms that podcasts live on?

JW: Podcasts are just starting to take off, I would expect them to be much more popular in the next few years.

In terms of content, I would expect news to be big player, it could be a successor to the newspaper or news on the radio. Podcasts also seem to be a great supplementary media, there is a lot of movies etc releasing ‘in the making of’ type shows.

What I wouldn’t like to see is all the independent producers being pushed out. One of the great things about podcasts today is anyone can grab a mic and start creating.

In terms of platforms, it may sound obvious but I think the winners will be the ones that can show the most relevant shows and episodes to their users.

Enjoyed reading this interview? We have loads of interviews like this in our Creator Conversation series: check out our interview with creator of What If podcast, Eric O’Keefe, or our round up of the Top Podcasts Out There for Kids.

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