Podcasting has arrived at the mall. With Rosedale Center focused on providing experiential opportunities, and the audience for podcasts continuing to skyrocket, Fluence Media has partnered with Entercom Twin Cities to open a radio and podcasting studio in the new mall food hall where several WCCO Radio podcasts will now record their shows. Fluence Media founder Blois Olson, a longtime WCCO Radio political analyst and on-air contributor, leads the initiative. He will record his own podcast, Beers with Blois, at the mall and will staff and schedule the studio, which is located within Rosedale’s recently reinvented Potluck Food Hall featuring local food vendors.
“As you look to the ways radio is changing and media is changing, this really allows people access to a front row seat to how this popular channel of podcasting is produced,” Olson said.
The Radio.com Podcast Studio marked its soft launch at Rosedale over the weekend.
Rosedale Center plans to launch its own podcast in the next couple of weeks, Olson said. Other WCCO podcasts including Real Leaders with Roshini and Two Haute Mamas with Sheletta Brundidge will record in the mall studio. WCCO Radio and other Twin Cities Entercom radio stations 102.9 The Wolf, and 104.1 Jackfm will operate live programming out of the studio space too, he said.
“We would expect to partner with some of WCCO’s partners whether it’s the Twins, the Timberwolves, or major sponsors and advertisers,” Olson said.
The podcast and radio booth will expose Entercom’s radio stations to potential listeners, Entercom market president Shannon Knoepke said.
“In this rapidly evolving media landscape, I think that consumers have more choices than ever to stay connected to what’s important,” she said. “By having this live radio and podcast studio at Rosedale Center, we’ll be able to touch them more in a face-to-face type of setting,”
The company plans to produce many of its live radio programs from the Rosedale booth, and looks to reintroduce itself to local audiences through the platform, Knoepke said.
As a high-traffic area, the food hall location provides audio creators a new platform to engage with listeners. And the Rosedale Center receives 14 million shoppers a year, noted the mall’s director of marketing and experience, Sarah Fossen.
“We’re such a hot spot for Millennials and Gen Z,” she said, which are the age groups listening to the most audio, revealed a 2019 study commissioned by iHeartMedia. “It’s kind of this new type of entertainment.”
Last year, there were an estimated 86 million podcast listeners in the United States, according to market research firm Stastista, with that number expected to rise to 132 million people by 2022.
With retail ever changing, Rosedale Center has tried to be flexible and adapt to the market, Fosen said.
“This podcast booth is the latest in a series of innovative and kind of disruptive new initiatives,” she said. “We really wanted to be on that leading edge, and bring that experience of watching people broadcast their podcast and record their podcast right in a public space.”