Saturday, May 21, 2011

Adam Carolla turns down 7-figure radio deal to continue his successful free podcast

Podcasting is an interesting new media outlet. Everybody is jumping on the bandwagon—comedians, radio personalities, professionals and amateurs alike—but no one knows where the format will lead or what implications it may have on the whole of the entertainment industry. Struggling with legitimacy in the face of traditional media, podcasting has yet to be seen as a great money-maker beyond modest advertising dollars and its uses as a practical marketing tool for artists and entertainers. But that hasn't stopped comedian podcaster Adam Carolla who has found a large, devoted audience.

While podcasts are inherently 100-percent free, how does a professional entertainer capitalize on this exciting new medium? That is the question facing Carolla, the voice of the number one downloaded comedy podcast on iTunes, The Adam Carolla Show.

Recently on his show, Adam revealed a surprising revelation about turning down a radio deal that had been in the works for over a year. Soon after Adam as well as many other top radio personalities were let go from their jobs in in early 2009, Adam and a couple of his old radio buddies decided to embark on the podcasting venture. From its start, the podcast steadily gained momentum. During that time, he was approached with a possible deal for his own syndicated radio show—one that included a guaranteed three-year, seven-figure salary in a time where Adam says, "Radio jobs are gone... You may as well be in the saddle-making industry." About a year later, the plans and paperwork were finally put in motion, and the radio gig looked like it was sitting on go. Recently, however, Adam was faced with an internal struggle on what to do with his successful podcast almost two years after its inception. Would he take guaranteed money and security of radio and possibly forsake his audience and the podcast format? Or would he continue what he had started and see what the future holds?

Since starting the podcast in August 2009, the show has garnered a large and loyal audience willing to support it. Adam cites a recent business deal with that made a profound impression upon him about his fans and the opportunities the podcast may hold in the future. Just by clicking on an banner on before they buy something, listeners have been supporting the podcast in droves.

Adam's decision to continue podcasting is step #1 in the paradigm shift from traditional media. Podcasts, in part, feed a pervasive hunger for more on-demand content, which in turn gives more power to consumers as well as producers of media and entertainment. As the podcast's sound engineer "Bald" Bryan said on the show after this revelation, "You know, years from now, this could be a watershed podcasting moment... 'A-list radio star turns his back on golden offering.'"

I agree. It's sort of a historical moment. As a fan of Adam myself, I'm proud of his decision, and I wish him all the best in the future.

In another one of his famous/infamous analogies, Adam sums his decision up in true, Ace-Man fashion: "It's like when a guy says, 'I like fat chicks.' You didn't walk past Uma Thurman to get to the fat chick. You're fat yourself, and that's about all you could pull at this party. But this is me parting the supermodels to get to you—the fat chick, the podcast listener."

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