Recently, several longtime listeners of my radio shows — who continue to follow me on this site and via social media — have commented that I should do my own podcast. I’ve heard this suggestion many, many times since I retired in 2018 after four decades on the air. I very much appreciate their supportive words and that they’d like to hear me again.
I’m sorry to say it’s extremely unlikely, as is my return to the radio business.
I might consider it as soon as someone figures out how I would make enough money that it’s worth my while. It’s not going to be by subscription. I have several friends who tried this route and discovered what I already knew, that the public isn’t interested in paying for content they expect to be free.
The next thing I usually hear is that all I have to do is sell commercials, something I’ve never done in my life and have never had any desire to do. But if anyone wants to take on that responsibility, and can guarantee me an income commensurate with the time commitment I’d have to put in, then we can talk.
There are already literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts available, spanning the entire gamut of any area of interest you can name. Most of them are done under the auspices of larger media outlets to expand their brands (e.g. NPR, NY Times, etc.). Only a very small minority of podcasts (e.g. Joe Rogan, Brené Brown, Marc Maron) attract the huge audiences necessary to get advertisers to pay big bucks. I have no delusions that I’d draw that many listeners, nor even get noticed as the needle in a haystack of available content.
For most of the people who host podcasts, it’s a hobby, something they do because they like talking about whatever subject they cover. While I’m happy to be an occasional guest on someone else’s show, you have to remember that for all those years I was on the air, I was paid to talk into a microphone. I have no interest in turning my former profession back into a hobby. In fact, I’m a bit resentful that the massive number of free audio options has lessened the opportunities and shrunk the paychecks for radio hosts other than the biggest syndicated or satellite stars (making me even gladder I got out of the business when I did).
It’s true that I’ve never made any money from this website over the 20+ years it has existed because Harris Online has never had ads. But it’s a lot easier for me to come up with one or two items worthy of blogging about each day than it would be to develop enough content to fill a podcast — even if it only lasted a half-hour. One of the joys of retirement is that, when I wake up, I don’t have to instantly start thinking about who I’m going to interview or what I’m going to talk about to entertain you that day. I can’t explain how much happier my life is without that burden.
Again, I’m very thankful for those who want to hear more from me. But for these reasons it’s highly unlikely I’m going to reassemble the equipment from the home studio I maintained for years while doing freelance and syndicated shows for stations across the country in order to begin doing a podcast.
One last thought. For those who believe starting such a venture would be easy, I’m reminded of all the people who used to tell my father, “I have a great idea for a book. All you have to do is write it!”