T-shirts, advertisements, and why I feel like a sellout.

Hey all! Just thought it was about time for another blog post to talk about a few things. 

I know that - if you've been a listener of the podcast for more than a month or two - you're wondering why I decided to start taking advertisements. After all, I already have a Patreon... right? 

Yes, I do have a Patreon. But, unfortunately, the podcast hasn't become self-sufficient enough with Patreon to make the next necessary steps. And, of course, those steps are to make the podcast a regular thing. 

When I made the podcast, I honestly expected twelve people to listen and to make it a one-and-done kinda thing. I just wanted to get the story of the EAR/ONS/GSK out to others, because it seemed like such a widely under-discussed story. Thankfully, that seems to have worked a bit. But, to my surprise, THOUSANDS of people checked out to the podcast. To this day, that first ONS episode has been listened to close to 100,000 times. 

That's HUGE. I expected to get MAYBE 1/1000th of that. 

Ever since then, people have urged me to make the podcast a regular thing. To get episodes out with regularity, to become a frequent member of the podcasting community. 

And ever since then, I've DESPERATELY wanted to, but kept getting held back by certain things (work, moving, depression, etc.). 

However, now I seem to be in a situation where I CAN make the podcast a regular thing. But, of course, to do so, I need some funding. After all, I can dedicate time and effort to the podcast, but if it can't help me pay the bills, it's just a hobby. 

The truth is that every episode of the podcast requires a lot of reading, scouring the internet for sources, fact-checking, a lot of writing, recording, editing, buying equipment, etc. It's a pretty timely process that can be exhausting at times. However, I truly enjoy making the podcast, I would just like to do it more frequently than I have before. 

So, this means advertisements. I know that they can ruin the flow of episodes, and may sound out-of-place, but they will hopefully help the podcast get to a point where I can make this a "job" of mine. 

Trust me, I know ads can suck. I've been listening to podcasts since I was fifteen years old (which was, sadly, a half-a-lifetime ago), so I know that advertisements are usually the sound of a podcast "selling out." However, I hope that I can be one of the occasions where that's not the case. 

The system I've signed on with, BlogTalkRadio, doesn't have any oversight of the podcast. They haven't given me any notes on the podcast, whether to say this or that. It's simply a service where I now host the podcast, and I choose where to insert the ads. Now, I've decided not to air more than one commercial break every 25-30 minutes, because I don't want the podcast to become so watered-down, but BTR has proven to be a great resource for me to utilize in my effort to make the podcast a regular thing. 

So, why do I still have the Patreon? Well, honestly, because it allows me to reach other supporters of the podcast in a more personal way. You can choose to donate a dollar to get advertisement-free episodes of the podcast (which is the exact same product, minus the ads), early releases, bonus content, etc. It's just a fun way to help support the podcast; at least, that's how I think of it. 

And now we've finally arrived at the T-shirts, which I just started selling. These are T-shirts that my wife bought for me as a gift not too long ago, since she knows how much I adore making the podcast and interacting with all of you. This isn't me wanting to start peddling merchandise, it's just another cool way to help support the podcast. 

So I hope that this helps explain a few things; namely, why I feel like such a sellout at the moment. I also hope that all of you listening to the podcast know that I do so because I'm genuinely interested in the stories being told, and want to do my best to get them out to people that may be unaware of the stories themselves (or simply details within). I don't want to get rich or famous because of the podcast, but if I could end up doing it full-time, I'd have a hard time saying no. 

This is why I've been so enthusiastic about the podcast recently. I'm almost to a point where I can treat the podcast as a job, with episodes coming out every week or two. I hope that I can count on your continued support as I launch this endeavor, and I hope to have many more episodes out for you over the coming months! :)