This American Life is a radio program and produced by Public Radio International and WBEZ in Chicago, Ill. They are constantly a top rated podcast for both United States and Canada according to iTunes. But the popularity of this podcast has come at a price for the producers of this award winning show.
The bandwidth costs for the website thislife.org and feeds coming from the show is approximately $150,000 a year. This is a extra cost to the show that they don’t charge listeners for, they feel the show is more popular and better for it. The show is sponsored by Volkswagen and is casually mentioned at the end of the show, But according to Seth Lind, Production Manager for This American Life it is solely the users of the podcast who pay for the use of it. In his eyes it is a luxury to listen to the show when ever and where ever and twice a year there is a giving campaign by the show to collect funds from the podcast listeners.
“It’s true, last year we paid $152,000 for streaming and podcast bandwidth. The good news is, we recently added a fundraising message to our podcast, and in just two weeks we were able to raise enough money to pay for the whole year. It’s really heartening to know that listeners will step up and pay for something that they care about. We knew that with the pledge drive; that’s how public radio survives. But this shows that people value the ability to time-shift content enough to pay for the luxury. Given our podcast subscriber base, the bandwidth cost is less than 50 cents per person per year, so with any kind of serious participation, people don’t have to give much.”
~ Seth Lind, January 14, 2008 – Production Manager – This American Life ~
Part four will cover the future of podcasting and audio recording