Listener Supported Podcasting

I hinted at this last week, but here goes nothing.

As of this week’s episode, CocoaRadio is doing away with selling sponsorships to advertisers and instead will be funded by memberships from our listeners. Sorry, Squarespace.

The Backstory

When I started the podcast, I knew I needed to find a way to monetize it to justify the time and cost invested in it. The obvious solution seemed to be selling advertising, because that’s what you do. I reached out to a few of the known ad vendors to inquire about their interest and was mostly blown off saying to come back when I had actual listener numbers.

OK, fine. I’ll do it on my own.

My goal with sponsors on CocoaRadio was to always make them targeted. It’s a very targeted audience of iOS and OS X developers, so developer tools, startups looking to hire, and web services seemed like a natural fit. Every ad we ran on CocoaRadio was a product I was proud to champion because they were all things I’ve used.

The problem is that selling ads is hard, and finding new sponsors is even harder. In fact, it’s the least fun aspect of doing a podcast. Talking to people is great. Interacting with listeners rocks. Trying to haggle on the price of a 3 week run with a large corporation? That sucks.

So, when I realized that CocoaRadio has over 25,000 listeners now, it became possible to start outsourcing the ads to someone else to deal with. But then I would likely lose control of which sponsors I ran because I’d be part of a package. That goes against my first rule of targeted advertising to the audience.

That’s when I remembered that NPR is wonderful.

The NPR Model

I got my start in doing radio and podcasting at our local NPR station in Evansville, Indiana. For two years I did a show and various segments around there to learn producting, editing, and hosting a show. The station was funded by donations from listeners, grants, and funding from public broadcasting.

I always liked the idea of having my show live or die by the support of the listeners who enjoyed it calling in and contributing to the station. It made everything feel more personal and like the listeners had a stake in the production.

So, that’s what I’m going to try with CocoaRadio. To start, I’m offering two levels of support: $5 and $10 a month respectively. Each one has its own set of benefits depending on the level of support you want to offer.

And just like supporting your local NPR station, I’m lining up some giveaways, discounts, and other benefits for people who financially support the show such as exclusive members only episodes, discounts on products, and a private Glassboard to interact with me and other listeners.

Support What You Love

With Glassboard NeXT, the book, and now CocoaRadio I’m practicing what I preach by trying to charge a fair price for my work. It seems unconvential in the landscape of computing in 2014, but I’m hoping there are enough people out there in the world like me that will make this a successful venture.

If you enjoy CocoaRadio and want to see it continue into the future, please consider becoming a paid supporter. Thanks for your continued support.

CocoaRadio - Alexander Stigsen on Realm

This week Justin is joined by Alexander Stigsen of Realm to discuss their new persistence layer for iOS designed exclusively for mobile. Alexander has years of experience working at Nokia, one of the original pioneers of mobile. Using those lessons related to storing data on tiny devices like smartphones, Stigsen and crew developed Realm, the first data layer designed with mobile in mind.

Whether you’re using Core Data, SQLite directly, or some other way of saving your data, it’s worth given this week’s show a listen to learn about another option that looks really promising.

CocoaRadio is now funded by its listeners. If you receieve value our of the show and would like to see it continue, please consider becoming a paid supporter.

My Thoughts On Being Indie In 2014

My Thoughts On Being Indie In 2014 are the same as in 2013. Same year. Same mistakes.

CocoaRadio Season 1 Stats

I just wrapped up what I am calling season 1 of CocoaRadio with episode 13. What started test project at the nudging of Brent has become something I look forward to producing each week. It allows me to talk to interesting people each week, work again with long-time friend and producer Tony Voss, and indirectly market Glassboard each week.

Season 1 Listenership

  • Nearly 25,000 people are subscribed to the show via different RSS clients.
  • On average, CocoaRadio has 19,000 listeners per week.
  • Overcast is by far the most popular client already. It’s not even close.
  • The most popular episode was Isaiah Carew talking with me about Parse
  • 53% of listeners are in the United States.
  • 1% are in China.

Funding Season 2

For the first round of episodes I sold traditional sponsorship slots for each episode to a variety of different companies. I was proud of every sponsor I was able to nab, because they were targeted specifically towards developers rather than just slinging another spot for Squarespace or Netflix at listeners.

The biggest hassle of doing the podcast is selling the ads however. It’s a lot of relationship building and negotiating. Not hard work, but not enjoyable and somewhat time consuming. This is a hobby project for me, and any time I spend trying to find and secure sponsors is time I don’t spend working on my actual day-to-day work.

With season 2, I am going to try something different and offer membership levels so that listeners who want to support the show can fund it directly. More information on that will be made available next week, but it’s my hope that a small percentage of listeners find the show beneficial enough to chip a few bucks a month or year towards producing it.

Season 2 of CocoaRadio starts next week. I hope you’re subscribed.

CocoaRadio 13 - Luis Abreu on iOS 8 Privacy

An article about many of the changes coming in iOS 8 from a privacy and data protection standpoint appeared recently. It’s a tomb of useful information both for consumers interested in knowing how Apple is protecting your information, but also developers who need to be aware of the changes so they can implement them in their code.

I asked the author of the article, Luis Abreu, to join me on CocoaRadio to discuss his article and all the changes coming in iOS 8.