I was contacted by Mark Glaser of the Mediashift blog for PBS the other day about the food fight brother Gillmor and I had over the Earthlink ads. He published his final piece today, and I’m extensively quoted. In fact, I’m probably quoted too much. Some stuff that was kind of silly that I was giving for background ended up in it verbatim. That’s all my fault, not Glaser’s in any way. I haven’t quite learned only to say things to reporters that I’m happy to see in the final piece. Note to self – keep mouth shut more.
Here’s part of what he quoted that I think is pretty sensible:
“Podcasts work because they are economically viable to create without requiring large audiences. Because the denominator gets raised and the interests more rarified and less general, it gets more possible to have sponsorships and ads that hit the Holy Grail: giving the audience the ads it actually wants to hear…I think the value that the medium brings is increasing the odds that the sponsorship will have that kind of relationship to the audience.
Now, if only I had stuck to that, I would have had a much better batting average.
The last part of the piece is about quitting day jobs. Dear lord I’m getting tired of hearing about this. As much as I love the form, I don’t think that a new economy has been created that will support thousands of people as a sole source of income. Not today, maybe not for a long time — if ever. Only about one in twenty of the published novelists I know make their living solely from writing, for pete’s sake. I’ve written about this before and I think almost a year later I still feel exactly like I did then, perhaps even more strongly (although I have undoubtedly slid down the revenue list since.) On this subject I always go back to Hugh Macleod’s Sex and Cash Theory.
I say don’t worry so much about making money or getting “big”, worry about getting good. That doesn’t mean start out perfect day one, but focus on making every show better than the last. If you reach the point of consistently putting out a quality show that really speaks to people and entertains or informs them, the money and the “bigness” will come. If you are good enough, you’ll have to work to keep them away.