In my opinion the word “Hobby” has done more harm to podcasting than room echo, crappy microphones, improper audio levels, and untrained hosts combined. The term hobby implies that there is not any money being made in the space and that we create podcasts instead of reading, going fishing, playing golf, or other leisurely activities. Plenty of podcasters make money directly from creating content but the percentage of podcasters making money to those who don’t is laughable. With that being said, identifying the entire podcast space as a hobby is not fair. There are many of us who have spent a good deal of time and money in order to obtain a high quality sound, grow our audience, and even connect with sponsors.
When it comes to the term “Hobby” sports, in my opinion, are a good comparison to podcasting. The guys and girls playing pickup games in the gym are doing it for fun while LeBron James is being paid a significant amount of money to play the exact same game, but at a higher level. It is my assertion that podcasting is no different. Some podcasters have more talent than others, invest more money, and go the extra mile. Should their investment be marginalized because the space is considered a hobby?
When I receive email questioning why I ask for community funding, partner with sponsors, or pull back on the number of shows I produce it really annoys me. If the value we provide “FOR FREE” is not appreciated then I’m totally fine with weeding ungrateful people out of my audience. I only want community members that respect my time, effort, and consistency. If they can’t show respect I prefer they get their content elsewhere. Not all podcasters take that approach but I certainly will not allow the 10 hours per week I invest in the pre and post production of my shows to be marginalized because podcasting is considered to be a hobby.
We live in a society that is conditioned to disrespect content creators. Sift through any site that allows people (who don’t create anything) to rate or comment on content and you should see my point. Many people demand high quality, entertaining, consistent, ad free, content to consume for free and assume content creators are greedy when we monetize our efforts.
Clumping all podcasts together under the assumption that everyone who creates them is solely doing it for their leisure is the reason the majority of podcasts won’t monetize. Until we change how the space is viewed as a whole, many potential content consumers will continue to undervalue what we provide to them.
What are your thoughts on podcasting being a hobby? Chime in below.