Entering the friend zone: An empirical analysis of CEO podcast appearances

55 Pages Posted: 11 May 2022 Last revised: 16 Feb 2024

See all articles by Nathan T. Marshall

Nathan T. Marshall

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Accounting

Jackie Wegner

University of Colorado at Boulder, Leeds School of Business, Department of Accounting, Students

Sarah L. C. Zechman

University of Colorado at Boulder - Leeds School of Business

Date Written: January 11, 2024

Abstract

Research highlights the importance of communicating material, non-public news via broad, non-exclusionary channels and the benefits of increased dissemination via complementary channels. Recently, however, a growing number of CEOs are communicating via a channel that achieves neither of these well: podcasts. We conjecture that the distinguishing feature of podcasts is the opportunity to form and capitalize on para-social relationships (i.e., listeners perceive a one-sided friendship with the CEO). We predict and find evidence supporting two non-mutually exclusive hypotheses: CEO podcast appearances (i) dampen the effects of bad news and (ii) heighten brand awareness and customer loyalty. We first provide evidence using annual and daily data that CEO podcast appearances are more likely at firms facing bad news or stronger brand awareness incentives. We then show important consequences associated with podcast appearances including stock price reversals after bad news, increased firm and CEO Wikipedia search volume, and greater future sales growth.

Keywords: Podcasts, CEO, disclosure, para-social relationships

Suggested Citation

Marshall, Nathan T. and Wegner, Jackie and Zechman, Sarah L. C., Entering the friend zone: An empirical analysis of CEO podcast appearances (January 11, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4104922 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4104922

Nathan T. Marshall (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Accounting ( email )

419 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0419
United States

Jackie Wegner

University of Colorado at Boulder, Leeds School of Business, Department of Accounting, Students ( email )

419 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0419
United States

Sarah L. C. Zechman

University of Colorado at Boulder - Leeds School of Business ( email )

Boulder, CO 80309-0419
United States

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