CBC Radio Podcasts
The CBC Podcasting Study

In December 2005, CBC Radio did an online survey about podcasting in Canada. We wanted to know who listens to podcasts, how you listen, and what you want to hear from CBC’s programming.

Podcasting has exploded in popularity in the last few years and as the national public broadcaster, CBC wanted to know more about the culture of this medium so that we could best serve the needs of our audience.

If you want a public broadcaster that goes where you go – we want to deliver.

How We Conducted the Survey

We ran the survey using a pop-up invitation that appeared on CBC.ca and on cbcradio3.com asking online visitors to participate.

We were thrilled when more than 10,000 of you responded to the survey. You gave us a strong and stable sample, and certainly one of the largest and most reliable podcasting studies ever undertaken in Canada.

What did we learn?

All kinds of stuff!

From that survey we learned that most podcasters are men under 40 who have high levels of education and work full-time. Interesting information to be sure, but with so much room to grow! CBC Radio is enjoyed by all kinds of age groups, and by people of diverse backgrounds – what the survey told us is that there is an untapped audience out there who might become podcast users if we provided the content they already enjoy.

We also discovered that people who listen to podcasts prefer to get their podcasts through subscriptions rather than searching for specific podcasts and downloading them one by one. Easy to satisfy that preference – all the podcasts we offer from CBC Radio are available through subscription AND by single download.

The time of day people listen to podcasts was also a neat piece of information we got from our survey. Most respondents seem to enjoy their podcasts in the evening – after 5pm, and most like to listen at home. Our podcasts can be downloaded onto your home computers or onto your personal MP3 players so you can listen wherever you want.

Not surprisingly, the major reason people said they would want to download CBC podcasts is that they want to be able listen to our shows whenever they want. We are catering to that on-demand ‘demand’ by offering a new CBC podcast EVERY DAY of the week – check out our schedule to see what shows are published on what day. In addition, we are happy to provide a special daily podcast called “Editor’s Choice” – that will highlight the best of CBC Radio every day.

When asked what kind of content Canadians want from CBC Radio podcasts, the overwhelming response was for national news, current affairs and music. We heard you loud and clear which is why our trial podcasting line-up includes As it Happens and Dispatches and many other award-winning programs.

CBC Radio 3’s podcast of independent Canadian music is one of Canada’s most popular podcasts. While rights issues make additional music podcasts a challenge for now, we asked survey participants what kind of music they’d like us to podcast when the rights issues are resolved. Most of you told us you look forward to more music of independent and unsigned artists.


We are very grateful to have received such useful feedback from the more than 10,000 people who spent time filling out the survey. We’ve spent many months getting this next phase of our podcast trial ready and we are very excited to offer this set of podcasts for your listening pleasure! Let us know what you think.

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