The Great Courses

The Sponsorship Situation

Jun 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM

I got this response on the latest podcast, "Counter-Apologetics Part 1," which said: "I hate Nature Box now. Every fucking TTA video now. Early videos were so much easier to listen to with little to NO interruption."

When it comes to the podcast sponsorships, the vast majority of people totally get it, but I hear enough bitching to warrant a response, which goes like this:

Does a single show sponsorship (2 tags and a single commercial) really make it impossible to enjoy the 60-90 minutes (sometimes longer) of free podcast content every week? The long-form, conversational format, the letters and calls, the professional production values, and special guests like Carolyn Porco, Lawrence Krauss, Peter Boghossian, Valerie Tarico, Richard Dawkins, Robert M. Price, Greta Christina, Matt Dillahunty, AronRa, David Niose, Andy Thomson, James Randi, etc?

Do you hear long commercial blocks (in my FM days, we played 15 units an hour and stopped three times per hour)? Are you being peppered with sponsored elements every show ("Today's caller segment is brought to you by...WRIGLEYS!")? Is the sponsorship poorly delivered or produced? And as it almost always happens near the top of the broadcast, does it interrupt the flow of the actual show topics we're discussing?

I realize it's the internet, where most of the people who criticize produce nothing themselves and contribute approximately ZERO to the causes they're criticizing, but with almost 170 podcasts in the can, and with the literally thousands of hours and dollars I've personally invested in TTA videos and broadcasts, I think it's time these armchair quarterbacks see the larger picture.

Does every sponsor who approaches me get on the air? No. Have I turned away opportunities because I felt that the organizations were a poor fit for me and the TTA audience? Yes. Am I genuinely operating with the desire to respect both the audience and the advertiser? Of course.

Will I apologize for working within that framework to make TTA a self-sustaining and successful endeavor, including financially? Hell no.

Sponsors get a lot of value, NatureBox included, but they also bring value and help to create greater opportunities for TTA to have more resources and a broader reach. They haven't shied away from the controversial subject matter, and many in the audience have been happy to support the entities which support this show. For that, I'm hugely grateful.

If having a sponsor is enough to send some short-sighted hipster into orbit, I'd wager that he/she isn't a good fit for this audience and community anyway.

For those that do get it, who see the benefit that The Thinking Atheist radio podcast provides every week, and who cheer for its successes as they come, I thank you.

-Seth Andrews

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