I forgot to blog this, but I’m on the most recent episode of G’Day World. It was stand up of Cam to invite me on to, basically, criticize his network. He in turn criticized my efforts at speaking the titular phrase, but all in all it is fun. It was kind of an uncomfortable premise for a show (I asked him, are you booking me in the “Barnako chair”) but it came out alright I think. Interestingly at least one of their buddies found the conversation useful.
I’m not trying to put myself on a pedestal as if I’m somehow the moral compass for this medium, but I do think it is important to understand your own values and act according to them. I’ve been taking money through multiple channels with my show for almost a year, yet my show isn’t about bringing in that money, that’s just a thing that happens. In fact, I’ve never realized a cent of that back in my pockets, all of it has gone to expenses or equipment or to charity which is why I don’t consider my show incompatible with the noncommercial creative commons license. I don’t begrudge anyone the ability to make money off this, but I do think we should strive to make it in different ways and to keep the economic pressures away from the content of our shows as much as possible. I try to do that with a little judo, by making my sponsorship announcements actually part of the show. I won’t take one from someone that won’t, for example, allow me to make fun of them or swear in the spot.
All that said, I see that the TPN landed Motorola as a sponsor. Good on them, I hope that keeps them able to keep trying. I do think Cam is a little off the rails in a subsequent post where he says:
Until now, the advertisers supporting podcasting have been minor-league advertisers… software companies, hosting companies, perhaps a beverage company, etc. Motorola is a major-league player and hopefully their entrance into podcast advertising signals the beginning of the big guys taking an interest in reaching out to the podcast-listening audience. Hardcore nutters that you are. 🙂
Personally, I find a lot of the value of what I do in the fact that I can keep this show afloat without “major league” advertisers. It’s hard to imagine one of them allowing me to do the ridiculous things I do in my announcements but which I think overall actually increases the affinity of my listeners for the sponsors. IE, by not being such tightasses they get a better karma bounce, that’s my operating theory. While I’m happy for the TPN boys getting money in, I don’t know if this is an unambiguous good. If the “major league” advertisers treat this medium as just another one to do their same old thing on, then at best the whole thing has been lateral move, a Vizardian “pointless exercise.” Is it a good thing that the “big guys are taking an interest?” Is the sense of community going to continue when you know that helping someone else get a show started might actually cost you money in the long run? Are the big guys going to put pressure on the shows themselves? Don’t stop thinking about these core values and how you can keep the influx of money from altering them.