A Westport Window On The Podcast World

Podcasts are everywhere.

You can’t read a newspaper, listen to the radio or talk to a friend without hearing about this podcast “you have to download.”

So although cyberspace seems saturated with podcasts, Chris Peterson says there is room for many more.

The Westporter has spent his entire career in audio, on both coasts. Working in the Bay Area, he landed a new job at a New York investment bank, Westport was the only town he and his wife Christy looked at.

Years earlier, while single in New York, a friend had invited him to his home here for Thanksgiving. “They spent the next decade talking about how much they loved the place,” Peterson says. “How could we live anywhere else?”

It felt like home quickly. They enjoy raising their 2 daughters here.

For years, Peterson focused on podcasts — both on the network and investment banking sides. He’s bullish on its growth potential, and with his two-pronged background realized he could help audio-focused companies grow with capital, as well as experience.

Branching out on his own to work full time on podcasts was an easy decision.

His new company, DWNLOAD Media, will make “significant investments” in networks, producers, and any business focused on growing the podcast space.

His goal is to find companies to help by streamlining areas like sales and marketing.

In addition to increasing profits quickly, those companies will have more power when negotiating deals with platforms, agencies and media buyers.

His firm is in discussions with companies across the US, and overseas.

Peterson’s wife works remotely. He could have started DWNLOAD Media anywhere. But they love the schools and the community, so they never considered moving.

Commuting to New York every day was not appealing. So although DWNLOAD Media has an office there for meetings, most of his time is spent in a co-working space here — after dropping the girls off at school.

Also, he says, “Westport has such an interesting mix of media and finance, both people living here and the companies based here. It’s the perfect home for DWNLOAD Media.”

Though the podcast industry has seen exponential growth in both popularity and revenue over the last few years, most people still don’t listen regularly. Radio is still king.

However, like all media — though at a slower pace — radio is moving to digital.

A large part of the reason is that most cars still don’t have CarPlay or Android Auto. Without that, listening to anything on a smartphone is “a clunky experience — like trying to listen to CDs in the car back when you needed that little tape adapter,” Peterson says.

But as more cars with phone interfaces hit the road, “it almost becomes easier to listen to content via your phone than on a more traditional method.”

Another area for growth: podcasts for kids. They’re a great way, he thinks, for youngsters to not only take a break from screens, but also use their imaginations.

He cites “Wow in the World” and “Story Pirates” as excellent kids’ podcasts. But there are opportunities for more.

Cocomelon (“which any parent with young kids surely knows”) signed a podcast deal last year. He looks for more larger kids’ brands to join the podcast world.

And, he adds, “if anyone knows anyone at Bluey, I’m more than happy to help create it.”

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One response to “A Westport Window On The Podcast World

  1. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    The only thing worse than being a couch potato at home is being a couch potato in your car. Especially given the traffic situation in Westport.