How Jon Savage Is Changing The Local Podcasting Industry From The Front
Johannesburg, 8 September 2021 Jon Savage has, for years, been at the forefront of content creation. His popular podcast ‘What’s Your Poison’ has become one of the most influential podcasts in the country and, through this, Jon continues to innovate the local digital audio media industry from the front.
The podcast has proven to be one of the most popular lifestyle and entertainment segments in the digital audio media space and conversations with Vusi Nova, MacG, Moonchild Sanelly, Kurt Darren, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and other influential guests have proven that people are hungry for honest, stimulating and raw conversations.
Along with working with many of SA’s pioneers of podcasting such as Mac G and connecting them to brands who are wanting to embed themselves in this space, Jon and InBroadcasting are about to launch a new kind of digital webinar designed to assist the corporate industry in understanding the commercials behind podcasting.
Over the past few years, Jon’s passion for podcasting has forced him to push boundaries and he has been one of the leading creators to change the nature of podcasting in South Africa. Jon explains that this form of content creation is now easier to create than ever before.
“I think the podcasting medium has always been one of the most powerful, but like all innovations that start from the grass-roots, they take time to infiltrate into the mainstream.”
“While the pandemic forced creatives to find new ways of expressing themselves (and consumers to explore more ways to be entertained in the digital space), the potential of podcasting – that it has always had – seems to be getting a lot of attention. It’s not only a brilliant medium with no barriers of entry, it has some of the best engagement metrics of any competing media! GREAT for brands, GREAT for creators (but not great for industry middle-men, which is where the speedbumps occur).”
Recently, Jon helped close a historic deal between MacG and Channel O, creating one of the most lucrative licensing deals in SA history for a podcast.
In addition, the concept behind Jon’s podcast ‘What’s Your Poison’ was used as inspiration for the popular BET Africa talk show ‘The Madness Method’, where Jon serves as director and co-creator with HaveYouHeard. Hosted by Moonchild Sanelly, the series sees the presenter speaking candidly with a slew of celebrity guests over a glass of whiskey. This marks the first time in South Africa that a television series was inspired by a podcast. However, Jon took things even further. The ‘The Madness Method’ also became available to stream on YouTube and TikTok and its companion podcast includes bits too risqué for television. This essentially saw a concept that was born out of a podcast, moved over to traditional and social media and, in turn, inspired a new podcast property.
Jon explains that the success ‘The Madness Method’ has had is only the peak of the iceberg when it comes to the potential podcasting has in the South African context. “What we are working hard on for the podcasting industry is helping build value and credibility. Podcasts have inherent value and incredibly strong audience retention and engagement. But because it hasn’t been openly monetized yet, this value needs to be recognized by brands and quantified,” he says. “At InBroadcasting, this is where we are deep in the trenches, working with brands and podcasters to define the best metric for monetization. A show like The Madness Method, or even better – the success of MacG – is so important because it brings credibility to the power of podcasting to the mainstream media industry.”
As a seasoned broadcaster and a powerful player behind the scenes, it was only a matter of time before Jon and Mac G, who hosts the biggest podcast in the country, came together to work on something special. “We have been working with MacG for some time to help create more sustainable revenue for his business and also to show the incredible value he brings to brands,” Jon says. “To showcase the power of how engaged his audience is, we recently did a campaign with an international clothing brand with Mac and delivered 16:1 return. Not only that, the client picked up the phone to say that they had an immediate response to the campaign and again, this show how podcasts can do what no other media can: talk culture to culture.”
Jon explains that MacG has built up his success from being both relatable and unapologetic. “Mac G is a visionary podcaster that has not only been in some hot water, but what drew me to him, was how he made a huge effort to understand what he had done to offend and then made a lot of bold steps to change his behaviour to make amends – to always be improving and learning from his mistakes.”
MacG infamously caused a stir on an episode of his ‘Podcast & Chill’ podcast where he offended the LGBTQI+ community after using some transphobic commentary. “He not only avoided being cancelled, he doubled his audience and has turned a lot of his critics in to fans,” Jon continues. “He went from accidentally offending the LGBTQI+ community to hosting the biggest LGBTQI+ podcast in South Africa on his network – and has become a pioneer in this space in the process.”
Jon understands that there is so much more to do in the local podcasting space and is working tirelessly to bring the medium to a space where brands recognize the potential and creators take advantage of the limitless possibilities venturing into podcasting can do. Together with his company InBroadcasting, Jon is taking action, both behind the scenes and from the front, to grow the powerful medium on the continent. “We’re just getting started – and it’s all incredibly exciting,” he concludes.
‘What’s Your Poison?’ has new episodes premiering weekly on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and on YouTube and can be found www.jonsavage.com.
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