Adam Weiss at Podcamp Boston 2

Adam Weiss, creator of the excellent Museum of Science podcast, estimates there are about 200,000 podcasts currently, and an audience of about 8 million. The first podcast was published on July 9, 2003. A survey from Pew/Internet showed the percentage of internet users who have downloaded a podcast increased from 7 to 12 between February and August of last year.

The Museum of Science
in Boston gets 1,000 listeners a day for its podcast for a total of 600,000 downloads since Adam created the podcast. It takes about half his time, and very little cost to the museum. The museum has been around for 178 years. Subscribers to the podcast come from all over the world. “It’s not much trouble, and you can do some really cool things.”

Audio podcasts have some advantages over video podcasts. You can listen while doing other things, like working out or driving. The bandwidth requirement is less. The formula: MP3 + RSS = podcast feed. Getting the MP3 is the hard part, because it has to sound good, make sense, and be engaging. The easiest way to do this is to plug a good USB microphone, like a Blue Snowball, into your computer and record.

The average number of subscribers to a podcast is 80.

Good places to host audio podcasts are Liberated Syndication (which is what I use) and Internet Archive, which is free but you give up the copyright.

There are three types of podcasts or radio show: Radio Show, Interview, and Lecture. Examples from “real” radio: Radio show style: “This American Life” has about 4 million weekly listeners, always near the top of the iTunes directory. Shows are highly edited. Interview style example is “Science Friday” from NPR. Lecture show example is BBC’s “From Our Own Correspondent.”

How much time does they take? Radio Show style takes 1 hour for each minute of show. Interview style, 3 hours for 10 minutes. Lecture, 15 minutes for 10 minutes.

Adam recommends this one as a good interview podcast: CBC Radio’s “Quirks and Quarks,” a science podcast.

Lectures make difficult podcasts. You can use excerpts and then link to the full lecture. An alternative is to interview the lecturer, for a lively conversation, and then offer the full lecture.

He plays two clips, one edited and one not. The edited one sounds much better. That takes time.

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3 Responses to Adam Weiss at Podcamp Boston 2

  1. Chris says:

    Where did you get the stat about average podcast listeners is 80?

  2. Adam Weiss says:


    Thanks for the overview. Did I really talk about all of that stuff in 45 minutes?!

    I did want to make a couple of quick corrections, if I may (mostly to what I said, not what you wrote):

    1. The Museum is 177 Years old (did I say 178? Oops!)

    2. My comments about how long it takes to get a lecture-type podcast up were really about how long people think it will take to do one. I didn’t have a slide for it, but I put out these numbers: It takes 30-90 minutes to produce 1 finished minute of the “Radio Show” type, 5-15 minutes per minute of an interview show, and 10-30 minutes for a minute of a “Lecture.”

    3. I think I said that there were an average of 75 subscribers (not listeners) per podcast, but I slipped on that. The actual number is about 55. See my answer to Chris to see where I got that.


    I got these numbers from FeedBurner yesterday (10/26):

    About 8,000,000 subscribers to the podcast and videocast feeds they manage.

    142,532 podcasts and videocasts feeds on FeedBurner.

    A little math, and you get 56.1 subscribers per podcast. Because the number of subscribers FeedBurner sent me wasn’t exact, I’ll say 55 or so. I think that a sample of around 3/4 of all podcasts is good enough to make that claim.

    Adam Weiss

  3. Chris says:


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