Listener Email Sparks Angry Rant About Podcasting

I received this email from Dan this morning:

“Subject: your website sucks

Message: Mostly the TRS Radio site. You had that thing awhile back where you decided it was stupid to read the “www” for a web address, but web addresses in general are stupid. Google. I google’d TRS radio, thinking I’d give you some cash (not much) but then I found this patreon thing. I don’t want to give money every month and I don’t care about voting in the awards. It should be ultra-easy (or Iron-easy…see what I did there) to donate money to you. When this gets easier, I’ll donate. Paypal would be good. thanks.”


Dear Dan,

Kindly shove your potential future donation up your ass. If you don’t want to give money on a regular basis, then don’t. That said, please don’t make believe that you’re my Daddy Warbucks. Your $2 one-time donation will not make any impact on my business or my life, so please fuck off.

Yours Truly,



The Podcast Business Model

I heard Howard Stern rant this morning about the idiocy of podcasting – a bunch of nitwits talking into a tape recorder, pretending like they’re on the radio. “You could probably get more listeners if you started yelling out your window.”

That is certainly how I feel most of the time. Who gives a shit about our dopey show where I do a bad Howard Stern impression and treat triathletes like they’re celebrities. Only 4,000 people listen to each show on average. Depending on where you live, you could have more listeners if you start yelling out your window.

Of the 4,000 listeners, 72 have decided that the value they receive from the program is equal to $1 or more per episode. These people are true fans and generous souls. I’m grateful to these donors, but let’s be honest. If only 72 people are willing to pay for your product, maybe your product sucks and you should find another business.

The listener-support model is great if people are generous. However, my audience consists of triathletes – one of the most selfish and narcissistic groups of people on the planet. How fucking stupid am I for thinking that a Patreon campaign would work? Less than 1.5% of my audience has embraced this concept.

I’m really not into the masturbatory nature of creating a fake radio show for my own personal satisfaction. Unless I can figure out a way to monetize this thing in the next few months, I’m done. I could earn more per hour bagging groceries and my wife would hate me less.

Emails like the one I just received from Dan make me want to light a match to my “recording” closet and the two thousand dollars worth of equipment creepily arranged inside. What a fucking joke it is. People come to my house, poke their head inside that closet and laugh.

He has a recording closet in his guest bedroom and 5 people listen to his triathlon podcast. If he had any sense he’d turn it into a spank closet. That’s all this is anyway.

Income Sources

The going rate for podcast is about $40 per 1000 downloads. Therefore, I can charge about $175 for a single episode. Patreon donations already eclipse what I can make from advertisers.

I can ask people to make purchases on Amazon so that I get a commission on those sales. No skin off the listener’s back, but I do have to remind people, beg and plead once again. I’d also be asking my listeners to take 30 seconds to bookmark my amazon url and that will result in nothing but complaints from assholes like Dan who think it’s too hard.

If my listeners want 2 free audio books from Audible, I get a $5 referral fee. Again, more selling, more whoring, more pimping someone else’s product. All for 15 lousy dollars this week.

The Answer

The answer might be to simply start charging for the show. No Patreon campaign, no advertisers, no Amazon book-marking, no Audible pimping, no more whoring myself.

You want to listen to the show? It’s $50 for the year.

Simple. Honest. Value for value.

Potential drawbacks?

  • Fewer listeners. I don’t really care. I’m motivated by money – not download numbers. There are plenty of cheapskates who wouldn’t pay to listen. However, if only 500 to 1,000 people listened instead of 4,000+, I’d make the sort of money I expect to make for the effort I’m putting in and the quality I’m delivering. Furthermore, I would only need to sell 250 subscriptions to surpass my current Patreon + advertising income!
  • Fewer Guests. If there are fewer listeners, perhaps Craig Alexander will decide that it’s a waste of his time to do the show. Maybe the opposite is true. Maybe he’s even more relaxed and open because it’s a private discussion. I think I can probably entice people to do the show anyway if I promise to post 5 minute clips on the website and write an article about them in exchange for their appearance. Problem solved.

Any other drawbacks? Please convince me that I shouldn’t start charging.

Visit forum thread on this topic.

About the Author

BH is Publisher of TRS Triathlon and host of TRS Radio.