Advertisements in Podcasts

As podcasting begins to mature, it is only natural that some folks will work to profit from it. I think, for the near future, the vast majority of podcasts will remain free. But for those that move into the commercial realm, they face the daunting task of finding a monetization model that will be acceptable to users who have absolute control over their listening (and viewing, for videocasts) devices.

Some profit models will simply be that you need to pay to subscribe and be done with it. This is challenging as, with so much content available out there for free, there will have to be very compelling content for folks to pay for it up front like that.

The most probable model will fall back to advertising. The targetted demographics of podcasting are astounding. An audience that has actually made the effort go seek out particular content, download it and then listen to it. TV of old with its “elephant gun” approach to advertising (we have x million folks watching our (one of three competing) station, they’re loosely in this demographic so hopefully we can convince advertisers to sell stuff with us), was somewhat successful and it was the best model available for a long time.

I was watching “Star Trek” (the ancient series) on G4 a couple of nights ago and was pretty amazed how tightly focused the advertising was.

But the thing I have been finding with the podcast advertising is that they haven’t clued in yet that the advertisements need to be as entertaining as the content. Listening to a daily show with the exact same ad every day will have you skipping the ad in no time flat. As with radio and TV, especially with TIVO, if the ads are not engaging they will not be viewed. Even if folks do not outright skip the ads with a flip of the finger – there is legislative and technological bumbling to try to prevent such making its way through their courses now – in this era of “continuous limited attention” folks will simply tune out the drivel and focus on their laptop, their blackberry, that other channel, that magazine in front of them. In short, you can no longer force folks to pay attention to content that they don’t wish to.

With more entertainment and diversions available to us than ever before in the history of this planet, people are not going to waste their time with what does not appeal to them.

Podcast – Slacker Astronomy

is a quirky, sometimes corny but always enlightening podcast. Typically 10 to 15 minutes long this is a quick way to stay up to date on those things that occupy the sky above us.

Whether it’s talking about the newest planet in our solar system (yeah, yeah I know the jury is still out on that one) or projectiles from NASA slamming into passing comets with suitably spectacular results, Slacker Astronomy will provide enough details so you can know what is going on without having to be an astrophysisist.

Podcast – IT Conversations

is a wonderful collection of interviews, conference keynote speeches and various series all under one roof. When you go to subscribe you have the choice of limiting yourself to particular series, conferences or topics of interest.

I have elected to receive "Everything!" in AAC format. My plan was to simply discard anything that was of poor quality or wasn’t of interest to me. I have to say that in the past couple of months of listening, there have only been a tiny handful that just didn’t happen to interest me (usually gaming specific or Mac specific).

The production quality of these podcasts is excellent and members can (and do) vote to indicate which they found most interesting and/or worthwhile. Everything is tied together by Doug Kaye who presents a weekly synopsis of all the most recent additions along with member ratings to help you decide which may be the most worth your valuable investment in podcast-listening time!

As someone who genuinely enjoys attending cons and listening to the keynote and topic presentations I *really* appreciate the offerings at IT Conversations. So much so that I have actually donated to the tip jar that they make available on the web site to hopefully help them continue to provide their offerings with a minimum amount of advertising going forward.

Well worth checking out.

Career Opportunities Podcast

Career Opportunities by Douglas E Welch is a 5 minute podcast that offers career advice targeted at folks in the high-tech contracting field. But the topics he covers are easily transportable to anybody in any field. Topics such as procrastination, making mistakes and even firing your client can help you to step back from your own career and maybe regard it with a fresh perspective.

I’ve been listening to Douglas’ podcasts for over 4 months now and always look forward to the bits of advice offered in his verbal column format.

This podcast comes out a couple of times a week, usually one new column and one gleaned from his extensive archive which is available for searching on his website. Or, better yet, if you enjoy his columns, pick up his book "The High-Tech Career Handbook".

G’day World Podcast

G'day worldHot on the heels of the SlashdotReview podcast, I started listening to the "G’day World podcast" featuring Cameron Reilly and Mick Stanic. These two Aussies live far enough apart that they maybe get to see each other about once a month, but through the wonders of technology (read "Skype") they pull together this podcast on a pretty regular basis.

Both have extensive backgrounds working in tech-related fields and they come to the "podcast table" with a wealth of insight and connections that they employ to great effect in both retaining interesting guests and offering commentary on current trends both within the blogosphere and in the tech world at large.

Beware, this is one of the longer podcasts. Typically each one is about an hour, but I enjoy them from beginning to end.

The presentation is very much as you’d expect (hope!) an Australian production to be. I’ve enjoyed the Aussie perspective and flavor ever since I visited Australia back in 1999 and G’day World doesn’t disappoint on this front.

They originally began the podcast with this site but, entrepreneurs that they are, they have since formed "The Podcast Network" and have plugged their podcast into a growing infrastructure of podcasts. As of this writing there are about 15 podcasts offered at the podcast network. I am listening to one other one so far – “The Tablet PC Show" – which I will discuss at a later time.



This is the first podcast that I started listening to back at the end of 2004 (maybe October or November). At the time I had just heard of SlashDot and was intrigued. The problem was that I already read a lot of stuff on the ‘net and, interesting as SlashDot looked, I was going to have to pass on it.

But I had heard about this cool thing called podcasting and, having started a new job with a 40+ minute commute, I was looking for some variety over the audio books that I was listening to.

Slashdot Review

Enter Slashdot Review, the host is Andy McCaskey. He promises and delivers:

SlashdotReview is a ten minute audio podcast summary of recent technology news items from

I enjoy being able to listen to the "cream" of Slashdot’s content each day.

As an added bonus, Andy is quite the fan of and posts a track by a featured artist in each podcast after the news. I must admit that I did not think that I would find much to like in the usually non-commercial music being featured here. My musical tastes are pretty banal, but there have been a couple of tracks that I must confess took me by surprise and I’m now keeping an eye on this feature to see if any more gems come up for me.

Doppler Podcast Client

Doppler button   I am using Doppler as my podcast client. This mini-review is for version

I like my podcast clients to be relatively lean but still have enough features to simplify the process of keeping up with my feeds.

I use the scheduling feature of Doppler to seek out new content from each of my feeds once a day at about ten to seven in the morning. It downloads them into iTunes for me and I usually attach my iPod to the computer to synch up just before I leave in the morning. (I allow the iPod to recharge in my exercise room where I can listen to it if I wish while working out).


  • Just need to type in the URL for my podcast and Doppler gets the rest of the info for me
  • Ability to preview the podcast before I commit to downloading the whole thing on my iPod
  • Ability to retrieve only a single feed if I want
  • Intelligently designed "Catch Up" ability that allows me to set up new feeds without needing to download every podcast that has been posted to the current feed
  • Intelligently designed "History" that allows me to quickly see what has been downloaded and, if I want, I can blow away history entries to have them download again. Again very useful for picking and choosing podcasts in a newly set up feed.
  • When I delete a feed, it also offers to clean up all the associated files from that feed to.
  • I like the fact that when I sort a column it stays sorted. I sort by "Last Updated" so I can always see which feeds were most recently downloaded.



  • The Bittorrent implementation is a bit of a nuisance. I realize it was set up that way so that I could plug in any bittorrent client I want, but for some reason I just can’t seem to configure bittorrent to work well on my machine. Probably a combination of blocked ports and the dreaded MPAA and RIAA closing down all the bittorrent resources in sight that is complicating this for me…

I recognize that there are scores of client features that I haven’t mentioned, but frankly I just don’t use or need them.

The podcast client is free, the podcasts are free, much of the content is kind of amateurish, but there is a lot of really good stuff out there too.

I’ll be posting separate entries for my favorite podcasts over the next couple of days.