Podcasting and Model Airplanes

Post ImageI have written quite a bit about what I call “Average Joe Podcasting“, or podcasting for normal people who don’t want to turn it into a business. I have also mentioned that I think the most common form of podcasting will indeed be this kind of hobby podcasting, not radio-style business podcasting. Unfortunately, it seems rare that someone else understands this, but today I found another person who does:

Rob Walch, a podcasting consultant and host of the popular 411 interview podcast, says he’s bombarded with questions from people looking to strike gold with podcasts. His advice? “I tell people that over 80% of podcasters will never even break even,” he says. “This is a hobby. You don’t expect to make money from flying model airplanes, and chances are you aren’t going to make money from podcasting.” Still, for trailblazers like Curry who are quickly forging links to one another, it won’t be for a lack of trying.

Well said, and in a way that I think a lot of people will be able to understand. Not that it’s bad for people like Curry to try and make some money from it, every industry needs that, I just feel that it won’t overshadow the rest of podcasting for very much longer.

Read: BusinessWeek

Average Joe Podcasting

Post ImageIt seems that big media has decided they want to get into the podcasting game, with everyone from MSNBC to Fox to BusinessWeek announcing podcasts in the last few weeks. I think that’s great! You know what they say, the more the merrier! And let’s be honest, no matter how much you like listening to an American couple talk about their sex life, you probably wouldn’t mind adding some news or commentary to your daily playlist.

Unfortunately, now that big media (or mainstreamedia) is on board, there’s a good crop of pundits and critics who seem to think that podcasting is over, because the average joe won’t be able to make any money podcasting. The big media players get all the coverage, and thus the advertising dollars.

Except that average joe probably doesn’t want to make any money from his (or her) podcast! Not everyone who starts a podcast is going to want to make money from it, just like not everyone who blogs does so with the intention of making a living. I read a lot about podcasting – news articles, blog posts, etc., and I can’t help but feel that far too many individuals and organizations focus on the “making money from podcasting” idea. Sure, there will be some podcasts that generate revenue, but I don’t see any reason that podcasting should be different from blogging: there are a lot of business blogs, but there are far more personal, average joe, I do it for myself/my family/my friends kind of blogs.

As soon as starting and maintaining a podcast is as simple as starting and maintaining a blog, I think we’ll see the same breakdown in podcasting. Lots of average joe podcasts, and far less big media or big business podcasts. Podcasting is not radio! You can decide what you want to listen to, whether that’s corporate marketing podcasts, flashy radio sounding podcasts, or something more real.

And one last clarification: just because I call them “average joe” podcasts, doesn’t mean they have to suck or sound bad! There will probably be some professional sounding average joe podcasts produced. All I mean by the term is podcasts not created for the sole purpose of making a monetary profit, but more as a labor of love. Or maybe even just ’cause it’s the thing to do 😉