How I Fund The Things I Do
Before I write this, I want to say that I am writing for ME only. I have no problem with anyone doing whatever they want on their shows.
Are we cool?
I was sent an e-mail a week or so ago asking if I would be setting up a Patreon for my podcasts. I have also been asked if I will be selling merchandise. My answer to both is no, and I want to explain why.
I listen to a lot of podcasts. A LOT. And there are some I used to listen to that I don’t listen to any longer because they became more about making money than entertaining people. I don’t have a problem with anyone wanting to make money. Hell, I want my podcasts to make money. But the reason I don’t listen to NPR or watch PBC during Pledge Month (they say it’s a week, but….) is because they may pull out the big guns entertainment-wise, but the endless begging for money and going on and on about how “We Need Your Help To Bring You This Fine Programming” chaps my hide and makes me want to quit listening.
I DIDN’T ASK YOU TO BRING ME THIS FINE PROGRAMMING!
I tune in because it’s there, but I didn’t call you up and say to do this. I take advantage of it when it is there and I listen through the “This program is brought to you by” ads. Yes, they are ads. But when you say that without my help you may go off the air…well, that’s not a threat to me.
Especially with a podcast. Trust me, if you go off the air, I’ll find something else to listen to. Even if I love your show, all things must pass. Just ask Infected with Martin Sargent.
So, I get very tired very rapidly when a podcast starts constantly pushing their donation button or their Patreon or they fundraising drive, etc… There are a few that do it discreetly or don’t hammer you with it, but when you have a nearly five minute pitch at the beginning of the show and also bring it up again during the show, then forget it. I’m done. I don’t want to pay for your equipment, your travel, you convention tickets, your whatever. I want to listen to the show.
I don’t want to do that. It doesn’t fit what I do and the vision I have in my head of what a good interwebz radio show should be.
There are also people who go the Rush Limabugh route and have TONS of Merch. Mugs and shirts and necklaces and on and on and on…gotta be blunt, not only will I never buy the merch for a podcast, I will never SELL merch for my podcast. If you want to buy a piece of a show and your life is made better with a Bill O’Reilly inflatable chair, have at it.
I am old school.
I like ads.
I only have ads for things I use. I try to make the ads fun and short (on Kray Z, you get 90 minutes of podcast with 90 second of ads, sometimes shorter). You can buy the stuff or not. I also know not to overdo it with ads. When I listen to some of the bigger podcasts, I get tired of wading through the long ad copy, the barrage of ads and there was one interview podcast I listened to when I clocked that 1/3rd of the show were ads and plugs. I removed it from my feed and wished them well in what they are doing.
Less is more, in my opinion.
Why do I like ads? Because it means I am not asking the listener for money. I ask the advertiser for money, and that pays for the show. Just like network TV and over-the-air radio. I don’t ever want to ask the listeners directly for money unless it is for some sort of artistic thing where I would be buying an ad from myself. AND I put it in the ads, which was clearly labeled. We may have fun with them, but I will never do the Paul Harvey thing where I tell a story that turns out to be an ad. Ick.
When I interview peop0le, I tell them to plug their work. Why? Because I am having them on to promote what they are doing. Much like how Tom Hanks shows up on a talk show to tell people about his new project, and it’s part of the give and take of things. If I get interviewed on a podcast, I am doing to have a fun conversation and to let people know about what I am doing (by the way, want to have me show up on your podcast? email@example.com. I’ll talk your damn ear off about things). It’s a funny line when I try to explain it, but it’s clear and stark in my head.
When I have novels available, I will have ads for them. That’s me selling entertainment, and I will also make sure not to have them be any longer than an ad for Dreamhost or Bombas socks.
A lot of great people are using Patreon. They offer up art they wouldn’t have created otherwise, can fund on-going projects, and I am more than happy to support them. But for ME, I don’t want to do it.
Are we cool?