The interview was recorded either at or shortly after TAM 10, and the interview delved into her talk at the time on how regular old science advocates can do more than just whine about the problem du jour, but also do some manner of positive good. The interview also touched upon how to deal with trolls on websites. Dr. Gay also discussed how to pay for science and skeptical outreach, and she noted that when asked to either donate or hear an ad during a podcast some listeners get a bit upset.
There is the completely free model and the host/producer of the show do not want a nickel from the listening audience as done by Karl Mamer on the Conspiracy Skeptic podcast. There is the free, but please donate money to pay for this operation which is what Brian Dunning does on Skeptoid. (Me. Dunning often asks his listeners to enroll in the micro payment program.) There is the advertising on podcast model which is done on the tech podcast Talk Show by John Gruber. Finally, there is buy our swag so the benefits can benefit the show model as done by The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. Yes, there are variations of the above, and the SGU does have a donate page, but that appears to focus on selling swag. The most restrictive is the podcast behind the paywall.
|An example of Skeptical swag|
Advertising, if it is not intrusive, is fine, but I suspect this model is restricted to a podcast with a large audience that an advertiser might find useful. If a podcast can turn a dollar with advertising as long as the advertisers aren't selling homeopathic supplements I cannot complain. For some of the more popular podcasts, such as the SGU or Skeptoid, that they do not go down this route I find a bit surprising. As a listener if a podcast accepts ads, I think it is fair to expect the podcast to be produced to a higher standard. (I suppose the advertiser has an expectation of quality too.)
The more a podcast requests money either through donations or by reminding the listeners to go to store to buy swag, the higher the standard of the production a listener ought to expect. At the far end, if a podcast would go behind a paywall, then the podcast ought to be done to a studio quality and release schedule ought to be regular. The less than skeptical, but highly produced and entertaining, Mysterious Universe had a extended portion of the show behind a paywall. The show during its initial run ran into problems getting episodes out and the paying listeners were none too happy.
Listeners ought to donate to the shows they enjoy on a regular basis. I am seriously guilty of not being generous enough in this regard. It is a balancing act. I listen to a lot of podcasts. Right now on my smartphone of choice, I have 28 podcast feeds on my podcatcher app. Not all are skeptical podcasts, but nearly all do request listener support of some sort (other than CS and Exposing PseudoAstronomy.) If I would go the micro payment route with all them, it could reach $150 per month. (Ed. note. Unacceptable; we are on a budget.) I doubt this is realistic for most people. However, I do think it is reasonable that each month a podcast or blog should be singled out for a donation. I am not saying if you don't follow the above you are a morally depraved person, but I do think listeners ought to give from time to time.
Most of the skeptical goodness I listen to is not the day job of the podcasters. They do it for the love of the art, a desire to entertain and educate the public. It costs money, so give a little monetary love from time to time.