There are so many ways in which people can listen to audio content these days. From smart speakers or computers at home. On the radio in the car. Through headphones at work, on the go, or while exercising.
With greater listening options available, there are more people tuning into audio programming like podcasts, vlogs, and radio shows every day. The only problem is that discoverability can be tough when a program is new and entering a jam-packed field like true crime, pop culture, or talk radio.
While there are popular podcasting and streaming apps that can take care of hosting your content, marketing and selling it are up to you. The most effective way to do this is with your own WordPress website.
If your goal is to grow an audience of devoted listeners and subscribers around your content, then look no further. Below we’ve reviewed three awesome WordPress themes — for podcasters, vloggers, and radio stations.
Why Should You Use a Premium WordPress Template for Audio Sites?
It’s a similar argument business owners make when it comes to marketing their brands. Why build and pay for a WordPress website and premium theme when you can just use free social media platforms instead?
It’s because that “free” model of content hosting and marketing comes at a price.
It’s great that there are so many platforms to host your audio content with, like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. However, there are a number of reasons why it’s difficult to succeed there alone.
- The distraction of the competition. It’s like trying to sell your ecommerce products on Amazon vs. on your own website.
- You don’t get much control over how many people find your programming or who they are. Only a properly optimized website can do that for you.
- A third-party platform won’t enable you to build a relationship with your listeners the way you can with a dedicated show website.
In order to drown out the noise caused by other content creators and talking heads in your space, you need to create an audio site of your own. Not only that, it’s best to build it with a premium WordPress theme that will enable you to:
- Embed audio and/or video of episodes or entire playlists.
- Give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show.
- Introduce the hosts.
- Sign listeners up for a newsletter or push notifications.
- Provide paying subscribers with exclusive content.
- Sell merchandise or tickets to live events.
- Display translations and transcripts of the recordings.
- Share links to your social media and grow an engaged following there.
On ThemeForest, there are dozens of podcast and radio themes for WordPress. To help you find the right one for your website, we’ve reviewed three standout options below.
3 WordPress Podcast and Radio Themes: Our Top Picks
If you want to build a digital home for your podcast, vlog, or radio station, start by checking out these WordPress themes:
Podcast websites aren’t like other websites. While they might look similar on their face, they require a special set of tools in order to provide listeners with a great experience.
Because Roogan has been built specifically for podcasters, most of the tools you’ll need are built right in from the start. In addition to equipping your site with a high-quality audio player, the site’s demo content and multitude of layouts include podcast features that will help you increase listener engagement.
Ease of Use
Setting up a podcast website can be difficult with a general purpose WordPress theme or even a free podcast theme. With Roogan, most of the work is done for you in terms of designing usable page layouts and adding features that are critical to the success of a podcast.
It starts the second you activate the plugin and enter the setup wizard. In two steps, this premium podcast theme will take care of installing all the plugins you need along with a demo site:
Setup is quick and painless and will leave your WordPress dashboard as clean and easy to use as it was on the day you started using it. There’s a tradeoff though.
Roogan requires a lot of configuration before you can get your podcast site off the ground. One of the major reasons for this is because the demo comes with no actual content — no images and no text. You’ll have to create and upload everything from-scratch and, depending on the size of the site, it might take awhile.
That said, this is a good thing. One of the biggest issues with uploading demos from a theme is how many files comes with them.
With extra weight comes slower loading times. While visitors might be a bit more forgiving when images take a couple extra seconds to load, they won’t feel the same way when their listening experience is interrupted that frequently. So, the developer of this theme knew what they were doing when they created a trimmed-back theme and demo for it.
When you work hard to record high-quality audio content for your audience, you need a website that will allow you to present it to them in the most user-friendly fashion. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this, which is why the extensive customization capabilities you get with Roogan are so great.
Podcast Page Design
One of the best things about using this WordPress podcast theme is how much control you get over how your site looks.
As I mentioned before, Roogan requires quite a bit of configuration. Most of the settings live under the WordPress Customize tool and Roogan’s Theme Options:
That said, you don’t need to code anything nor do you have to make complex edits in order to get the theme to work for you. However, it does require some decision-making regarding how it’s going to look and work.
When you’re trying to put the best digital face forward for your podcast, that’s what you want — complete control over the experience. One way Roogan enables you to do this is by selecting the optimal layout for the various podcast pages on your site:
There are various layouts available for single episodes, featured episodes, and sets of episodes grouped into shows. In addition to choosing a preferred layout for each type of page, you get to decide which metadata is shown to listeners. For instance:
- Episode number
- Excerpt vs. full description
Theme Options also give you control over the content on the home page:
Rather than build it out on your own, all you have to do is enable the sections you want and fill in the content in the relevant fields.
With Roogan, you have a lot of flexibility in how you add podcast episodes and shows to the website. One option is to use the player provided by Roogan.
You’ll be able to customize the player’s design and features from the Customize tool. For instance:
- Change the player’s height
- Edit the background color or gradient
- Show or hide features like Subscribe, Share, and Download
- Adjust the listeners’ controls
Another option is to embed podcast episodes from external platforms like SoundCloud, YouTube, or Spotify. You won’t have as much control over how the player looks or works, but that might not matter if all you want to do is get your content online as quickly as possible.
Roogan looks and feels like a lightweight WordPress theme. This is important whether you’re hosting the podcast files on your server or embedding external content from other platforms. A lightweight theme won’t get in the way of performance either way.
What’s more, the theme comes with performance optimization tools built into it:
Under Theme Options and Performance, users have access to CSS and JS minification settings. In addition, you’ll be able to deactivate any image sizes you don’t need. By freeing your server up from dealing with excessive file processing, listeners should be able to stream your audio content without any bumps or buffering.
Pros and Cons
By far the best thing about this premium podcast theme is how good of a job it does in laying out and presenting audio content. While it’s up to you to customize the styles and add your content, the hard work is done for you. Nothing needs to be designed from-scratch.
What’s more, this theme has been designed for top performance. When your entire business model rests on your audience’s ability to quickly find content so they can listen to it, there can be no compromise when it comes to website performance.
One drawback to keep in mind is that managing your podcasts can get somewhat confusing if you’re also going to have a blog on your site. That’s because both types of content get managed from the Posts section of WordPress:
The theme is set up to pull in “Blog” categories into the blog and all other categories into the podcast page. If you don’t remember to do this when uploading new podcasts, then the content may show up in the wrong area on the site.
One way around this is to use a separate podcasting plugin. For instance, Seriously Simple Podcasting creates a separate podcast area in WordPress. It also allows you to add extra episode details in the WordPress editor, like:
- Audio vs. video content
- Episode image
- File size
- Date recorded
This isn’t an argument against using the Roogan WordPress theme. It’s just something to keep in mind if you want to create less headaches for yourself and your team when uploading new episodes.
One other thing to mention is that there’s some cleanup involved. If you open the site after installing the theme, you’ll see a navigation full of pages.
These templates will help you see the different layouts available as well as help you create other kinds of pages. However, if you don’t end up repurposing any of them, they’ll need to be deleted so they don’t show up on the frontend of your site.
Vlog is an interesting theme as it can be repurposed — with the help of demo content — for different kinds of media. Video blogs. Podcasts. Magazines. Personal blogs or diaries.
That said, this WordPress theme really shines when users use it to add more context to their video or audio content. Like a short blog post to elaborate on the points covered, a list of shownotes for each episode, or even a full transcript of the audio.
Ease of Use
Vlog is made by the same developer as Roogan, so you’ll get access to the same quick and mostly hands-free setup wizard.
The only thing different about is that you have four demos to choose from. Preview each of them from the ThemeForest link above, so you know which style and layout to import.
Where Vlog and Roogan differ is in the next stage of setup: Theme Options. You’ll find Vlog’s Theme Options in the WordPress sidebar and you’ll use it to do everything from setting up your branding to configuring header and footer styles:
What’s more, Vlog’s Theme Options enable you to set up different layouts and features for various page types. Single posts for audio. Single posts for video. Categories. Series. Authors. And so on.
These Theme Options streamline the setup of the key pages on your website. Set them up once and your settings will automatically apply to any kind of content you add to the site.
Whether you’re creating video or audio content for your audience, you want it to be easy to find and easy to interact with. Vlog has taken care of a lot of that for you in terms of laying out the pages and adding user-friendly features around the embedded multimedia content.
Home Page Design
The home page is arguably the most important page on a website. For podcasters, vloggers, and other content creators, this is your chance to get your latest and greatest content in front of your audience — both new and old.
This is what the home page looks like in Vlog’s podcast demo:
The layout looks great, from the full-width media banner at the top to the Trending and Latest Podcasts sections below. Once you start uploading your own content to WordPress — along with attractive thumbnail imagery — all the visual details will fall into place.
While Vlog’s developers have really nailed the home page layout, you may feel like something’s missing. Or maybe you want to explore what else you can do with it.
If that’s the case, then you’ll need to get acquainted with the Redux builder:
It makes sense why the developers would use a page editor like this. It can be difficult and time-consuming trying to create multimedia-friendly layouts with the regular WordPress editor.
Redux enables you to customize the page, section by section. The Cover Area refers to the video/audio player section at the top of the page. Modules are the sections that appear below it:
After clicking the “Edit” button beside each module, a modal appears with preset options and clear visual examples to choose from:
- Appearance allows you to change the layout
- Selection updates the sorting and order
- Actions enable you to configure settings like the slider and autoplay
While you can add text-based sections with the Redux editor, it’s best to follow Vlog’s lead and keep the home page focused on content and then you can call on visitors to subscribe or buy from the internal pages on the site.
The home page is the only one where you’ll have to use the Redux editor. For the rest of the pages, use your editor of choice.
That said, Vlog won’t leave you to create all of this content from-scratch. For starters, you’ll find a number of templates that demonstrate how to maintain the integrity of Vlog’s media-first layouts. Each includes an embedded file from a different hosting or streaming service, too.
For instance, here’s the Spreaker example:
The audio player gets embedded into a dedicated section at the top. It’s followed by the post title along with some metadata and Add Comment and Listen Later buttons. Social media “Share” icons have also been included.
When you look at this post template on the backend, though, you’ll see barely any trace of the visual elements shown on the page:
These details get sorted out under Theme Options. All you have to do is paste in the player’s embed code from the source and then write any content you want to appear below the episode. The theme will do the rest.
One of the problems content creators often experience with their sites is discoverability. New content will always be easy to find as it sits at the top of every page and usually gets a front seat on the home page. Older content, however, loses visibility as more content gets added to the site.
With a well-designed navigation, though, this problem can be mitigated.
After importing your Vlog demo, you’ll find a navigation menu that looks like this:
What may surprise you, however, is that there aren’t Pages created for Entertainment, Fashion, Food & Drinks, Sports, Technology, and Travel. Vlog’s developers created this navigation with nothing more than links to podcast categories.
Not only will this navigation strategy mean less work for you, but it’ll be great for the user experience. Your website visitors won’t have to sift through page after page of podcast episodes or vlogs. Instead, they pick a category and will have fewer but more relevant posts to look through.
Pros and Cons
Just like the other Meks-developed theme on this list, Vlog is a lightweight theme. The importable demos don’t bring too much excess content with them, which means your site is optimized for performance straight out the gate.
What’s more, this theme is built around embeddable audio and video files. If you can free your site and server up from hosting those large files, you’ll keep your multimedia loading fast for visitors.
Another advantage of using this theme is how great the content ends up looking on the frontend. Like this embedded podcast player from Podbean and the user-friendly features built around it:
This is built into the theme out of the box, saving you time trying to figure out what to include and how to organize it on the page.
Something to keep in mind with this theme, however, is that it’s mostly dependent on embedded content from external platforms. While that’s useful for performance optimization, you’ll be limited in terms of designing the audio or video player.
Another drawback is that it’s designed like a blog or news site. That’s good in the sense that your content will be placed front-and-center. However, there are no templates for other pages.
If you want to tell visitors more about your show, invite them to subscribe for updates, or buy merchandise, all of that will have to be built from-scratch. The good news is that Vlog comes with an Extendify integration:
If you don’t have a page builder plugin with page or section templates that you like, use Extendify to quickly piece it all together.
When we talk about "radio" today, it encompasses a lot more than terrestrial radio stations. That's why the Onair2 WordPress theme is a bit of a misnomer.
Today, radio stations can center around music just as much as they can talk programs. So, if you're looking for a theme that will help you build and manage a vast network of radio shows and podcasts, then this could be a great option for you.
Ease of Use
After activating this theme, you’ll be prompted to install over a dozen required and recommended plugins. Allow the installation process to run for a few minutes. Then, turn your attention to Appearance > Import Demo Data:
Here is where you’ll find the two demos for Onair2:
Although it might look like the difference between them is a dark and light theme, the content differs greatly, too.
Demo 1 would be useful for content creators, talk radio stations, and podcast networks. It’s set up to primarily showcase content — blogs, vlogs, video news, podcasts, etc — and to advertise its on-air schedule.
Demo 2 would be useful for a music station. This template includes music videos, celebrity gossip, top 10 pieces, and so on. You can still publish your on-air schedule and upcoming events with this demo, but the primary focus is on music content.
Pick the demo that most closely matches the type of station you want to set up and import it. Once it’s done, you’ll use the regular WordPress Customize tool to adjust global settings for colors, typography, logos, and so on.
Onair2 has additional settings in here, too. For example:
- Add a custom background image for the 404 page
- Connect your social media networks
- Customize the footer content
- Adjust how events and chart listings appear
We’ll discuss some of what the Radio settings allow you to do in the next section.
With a station, you’re not just concerned with managing a single show. You have a network of shows, talent, and schedules to wrangle. Onair2 users shouldn’t have many problems showcasing their content and managing it all thanks to these features.
When people visit your site, it’s going to be because they’re interested in listening to your station. So why make them wait until they can turn it on from their radio, smart speaker, or mobile app?
With Onair2, you can add a radio player directly into the header of your website. To enable it, go to Customize and Radio settings:
When the Player design option is set to Header bar, a red “Play” button will appear in the top-right corner. If you’d like to make the radio player even more obvious, choose the Open option under Header bar player initial state:
Depending how you configure your radio shows, podcast episodes, or other station content in WordPress, this player may look a bit different. If your station will play a variety of content, configure these settings to automatically switch the player based on the page that’s open so the audio playing matches it.
Another setting you may want to configure is Autoplay, which you can also set up from Customize. While autoplaying sounds and music on most sites is considered a no-no, visitors to a radio station site will probably love it.
Although Onair2 might look like it’s only for radio programming, it does have a dedicated area in WordPress for podcasts:
Managing podcast episodes is a bit different with Onair2 than it is with the other themes we’ve looked at today. It uses the basic WordPress theme editor to add content to the page. However, there are additional settings at the bottom of each podcast page that’ll enable you to add relevant details for each episode, like:
- Artist Name
- Date published
- Source link
- Related show
You may also want to add a custom header background so that the top of the episode page looks like this:
With a custom background, your podcast episode info won’t just be set against a boring or unoriginal design.
Another cool thing about the way the Onair2 podcast editor works is that you won’t have to stress over details like this:
Aside from writing up a description or adding shownotes to the page, and adding a link to the episode, the rest of the design is taken care of. There’ll be a social share bar along the left rail and a sidebar featuring a search form and links to other episodes along the right.
By the way, the Videos pages work similarly. Onair2 will ask you to fill in a couple fields, add images, and configure a few settings. But the layout and user-friendly features will be good to go.
Station Management System
If you’re thinking about using Onair2, then you’re probably not a solo podcaster or vlogger. You have your eyes on this theme because you want to create a scalable station of radio programming or a network of podcast shows.
As such, management capabilities are going to be very important to you. The team, sponsors, shows, events, podcast episodes, video files, ad banners, and the schedule all need to be carefully set up and closely monitored.
With Onair2, you’ll find that each has a well-organized and dedicated space within WordPress:
In addition, each of these components of your network come with an intuitive and dynamic editor. So, just as podcast creation has been simplified, the same has been done for everything else. This includes giving you custom, relevant fields to manage each area of your station.
For instance, this is what the Schedule editor looks like:
The editor looks similar to the one you’d use to edit podcast episodes. However, the settings are specific to scheduling, which means you won’t have to scour through the settings to find the ones relevant to what you’re working on. Each editor is tailor-made for each component.
Pros and Cons
Onair2 is a well-thought-out WordPress radio theme. Everything you’d need to launch a radio station or podcast network is there — from the attractive and usable website frontend to the intuitive backend controls.
As a bonus, the tools provided by Onair2 should allow you to manage your station without the need for too many other management systems. You’ll still need apps for human resources and finance management — a WordPress theme will never replace that. However, when it comes to coordinating team members, schedules, and content, it can all be done from within WordPress.
As for the cons of using this theme, you’re going to have a bit of cleanup to do before you can go live with your site.
For instance, let’s say you’re building a network of podcast shows. You’ll be able to use the Podcast, Team, and Schedule tools. However, if you’re not hosting Events, running ad Banners, or adding Places, you should remove the irrelevant template content that comes with the demo site. You won’t want to keep irrelevant pages in the navigation either.
In addition, the home page looks great right now for a radio station. For a podcast network, though, you might not want to feature blog highlights or events and instead get people to subscribe and pay for exclusive access to your network.
To edit the home page or any other on the site, you’ll have to be comfortable using the WP Bakery page builder plugin:
If you’ve never used a backend editor like this before, it’s going to be another layer of complexity added to the management of this theme.
Which Multimedia WordPress Theme is Right For You?
As of 2021, there are more than 237 million people who listen to radio every week. And of the 116 million people who listen to podcasts every month, 40% listen to 1 to 3 podcasts every week and 19% listen to 11 or more.
There’s little point in creating high-quality audio content if those millions of listeners and fans can’t find it.
Roogan is a great option for podcasters.
Share your latest episodes, give listeners access to behind-the-scenes video clips, and monetize your podcast by collecting donations, getting paid subscribers, or selling merchandise. This is the theme to use if you want to improve podcast awareness and level up your marketing efforts.
Vlog is a good option for vloggers or anyone else who wants audio or video content to be the main (or only) focus on the site.
The theme comes with high-quality demos that will make light work of getting your site up and running. All you have to do is add your content to WordPress and let the theme pull the data into the right spaces for you.
Onair2 is an excellent choice if you’re looking to launch a radio station or podcast network.
With so many moving pieces — from on-air talent’s schedules to the content they create — managing a station or network on top of a website can be a lot of work. This theme streamlines station management so you can focus on creating high-quality content to put out there.
If you’re interested in exploring other options, here are 20 WordPress podcast templates to design audio sites with.
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