Before I start this post, let me say that there is no rule that you have to earn money with your podcast. If you're doing it as a hobby because you love to talk about your subject that is perfectly fine by me. What makes me upset is when I see people like Pat Cook post things in a ayahoo group like this:

Besides, no offense BUT let's face facts – NO ONE will make huge amounts of $$$ off a podcast (Be it audio OR video).  Those who think this NEED THEIR HEADS EXAMINED !!!!!  Those who DO make huge wads of $$$ are both EXTREMELY lucky & eventually become media stars (The Young Turks come to mind here)


Cheers 😀
  Pat Cook
HOST – The Political Rewrite Podcast –
BLOG – The Political Rewrite –

SIDE NOTE: Um…..I can't help but notice that Pat is using a free hosting service and he has a whole TWO episodes.

My first reply told Pat that my friend Cliff Ravenscraft got a $12,000 donation from a listener. Can you stop a second and think about how you would feel if you opened a piece of mail and found a $12,000 check addressed to YOU?

To this Pat brought more of his opinion:

Yeah……Keyword is DONATION !!!!!  That means someone GAVE him that money.  He didn't EARN it

Receiving money by donation IS NOT the same as EARNING it.

Not earning it? In the immortal words of Cee Lo Green,  “Ain't that some Sh*t.”

This seems like an uneducated response so I'm taking this blog post to educate the world on something. I think we can all agree on something. When you go to your job, you provide a service of some sort. The company you work for then GIVES you money in return. This is how most people EARN a living.

Podcasters Sweat For Their Art

I just downloaded Spotify and put it on my computer. WOW. It's WAAAAY Cool. That's the good news. The bad news is this is SERIOUS competition in the “attention span” market. There are only so many hours in the day to listen and watch a podcast, and we need to provide quality content or we don't keep our audience. In the same way that you get to keep your job by providing quality service, only we get to keep our audience. When we provide exceptional content we are rewarded by having the audience tell a friend, write a review, or even – donate, buy, hire, money or services.

I recently did an episode of Weekly Web Tools where I spent time reviewing different scheduling packages for solopreneurs. It took about 90 minutes to create a podcast that was probably about 15 minutes long. If it was Summer out, I'd have to turn off the air conditioning. I'm sure many podcasters follow this practice of turning off the cooling/heating system to provide the quietest environment possible. Finding great content is work. You can use tools like Google alerts (See mine below), and RSS searches but in the end, you still have to READ this stuff and determine if it interests you. It takes about four minutes for every minute of podcast produced (so a 15 minute podcast takes an hour – that's work).

Marc Maron podcasts out of his garage. He is sweating. He is creating GREAT content.

Value For Value

In my book More Podcast Money I talk about how the No Agenda Show received  $2993.49 from 14 different contributors on their 200th show. Why did the audience GIVE the money? Because they receive a valuable service. The No Agenda Show covers stories American should be caring about instead of Chaz Bono's beard length. You can't get this information organized and delivered from a main stream source, so this is why people give a valuable token (money, donations) for the valuable content they receive.

It's All About Luck – Wrong

In regards to Pat's comment on all big podcasters are lucky I want to make this point. It's probably true at first. For example, Cliff Ravenscraft launched a podcast about the TV show Lost right before the television launched the “official” lost podcast. When people looked for the “official” Lost podcast, they found Cliffs. Lucky? Sure. However, Cliff now had to KEEP that audience by delivering great content. Content that moves people. There are just too many options and choices to listen to something that sucks. Why would you listen to mediocre content when there are so many options available? Another example from Cliff is that he was lucky enough to have someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew Dan Miller (famous Author). That's lucky. Cliff's TALENT, and work secured Dan as a client and friend.

Back in the day the Mommycast secured one of the first (if not THE first) six figure podcasting advertiser deal. Where they lucky? Sure. But it was their hard work that KEPT that sponsorship for a few more years. If they were not providing a value, the sponsor would not have renewed their contract.

Spome might say I was lucky to have the first podcast about podcasting. It's easy to be number one against a test pattern, just ask Milton Berle. However, the reason I have people who are listening six years later is because I deliver good content. They ay not all be golden episodes, but for the most part I provide value.

Big Money No Whammies

Quick Glimpse of Dave's Google Reader

Quick Glimpse of Dave's Google Reader

The other area that will cause an issue is Pat's phrase “huge $$$.' Are we talking four, five, or six figures? I received a $100 donation to one of my podcasts. Right now, I count $100 as huge. If I had more money in the bank, maybe I wouldn't. My Logical Weight Loss podcast inspired someone (a service) to lose weight. She values my content and wanted to say “thanks.” Do you have to make six figures to consider your podcast a success? I know of a podcaster who had done a music podcast for years. I explained and Linkshare (iTunes) affiliate linking and he now pays for his hosting and then some. What does he consider his true payment? By being able to interview his heroes. It's not always about the money.

Are there LOTs of podcasters who have quit their day jobs to do this full-time? Lots? Probably not. Some? Sure. Are their people who could make up their hosting fees, and then some? Yep. That's why I wrote the book.I'm not hear to tell you to quit your day job. I'm here to say quit losing money on your podcast (again – if you want to).

Creating good content is work. That's why you have to be passionate about your topic. When your job is something you love, every day is a vacation. So when we are scouring through your topics in Google Reader, or watching our television shows with paper and pencil in hand (or iPad), we are “working” with a giant smile on our face.

So Pat I want to tweak your original statement.

let's face facts

Like the facts I presented today?

– NO ONE will make huge amounts of $$$ off a podcast (Be it audio OR video). 


Those who think this NEED THEIR HEADS EXAMINED !!!!!  Those who DO make huge wads of $$$ are both EXTREMELY lucky & eventually become media stars (The Young Turks come to mind here)

Wait you just said NO ONE makes huge money…


My New Version

let's face facts – people CAN make amounts of $$$ off a podcast (You get out of it what you put into it).   Those who DO make huge wads of $$$ are both EXTREMELY dedicated, hard working, and talented and more than likely spend just as much time promting their podcast as they do recording it.