KCRW and podcasting: it’s all about the underwriters

kc.jpgI’ve often wondered how KCRW’s giant podcasting initiative related to their overall fund-raising strategy. (By ‘overall fund-raising strategy,’ I mean the pledge drives in which all of Los Angeles is cajoled / flirted with / buttered up and/or guilt-tripped into donating money twice a year.) Wired looks at how podcasting is changing the economics of public radio, and, lo, quotes KCRW general manager Ruth Seymour implicitly commenting on her station’s podcast play:

KCRW general manager Ruth Seymour disagrees [that podcasts increase revenue for programming producers at the expense of local affiliates]. Seymour’s Santa Monica, California-based station was the first NPR affiliate to leap into podcasting a year ago with such programs as To the Point and Left, Right & Center. She says she’s seen few new donations from out-of-market listeners but that the expanded audience helps her sell larger underwriter sponsorships.

She also insists podcasting levels the playing field between big and small stations: “Suppose down there in Las Vegas, they created a smart show about gambling and they put humor in it and it was really interesting and entertaining. And say this thing becomes hot because everybody’s interested in gambling these days. It becomes a podcast and it takes off. It can take the Las Vegas station out into the world in a way that was never possible before. Suddenly, certain businesses may want to underwrite for them. You can go around and say the sky is falling, or you can see it as an opportunity.”

Cool! So if all these KCRW podcasts increase corporate sponsorship, does that mean I can feel less guilty about not donating?