184 Podcast Answer Man – Leo LaPorte Says Audio Is What People Really Want!

by Cliff Ravenscraft on November 4, 2010

Topics Covered In This Episode:
– Episode 130 was titled Leo Laporte Makes 1.5 Million From Podcasting – Link Here
– Episode 133 was titled Leo Laporte Admits That Nobody Cares About Video – Link Here
– Episode 180 was titled Why I Prefer Audio Over Video Podcasts – Link Here
– Leo Laporte’s thoughts on the Heil PR-40 Microphone.
– Jeff wants to know if I would listen to a podcast with his Shure SM-58 audio quality.
– Steve wants to know my thoughts on stats for his website and podcast episodes.
– Why are only ten podcast episodes showing in iTunes?
– DropIO is shut down, now what?
– Podcast Ethics – Giving Credit To Your Sources!
– Power of Podcasting For Your Business Video – http://podcastanswerman.com/business
– New Studio Redesign: http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/studiosetup
– Equipment Setup & Podcasting Workflow Webinar: http://studiosetup.eventbrite.com
– Thesis Webinar: http://thesis-setup.eventbrite.com
– Mindmapping Webinar: Discount Code “GSPN” will get you 10% off! http://gspn.tv/mindmaptraining

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  • Too funny. I am who I am.. What can I say?

  • Hey Cliff,

    Love the show, listen to all the episodes, and of course you need to do what you want/need to do with your show.

    But I personally think you should start a “Conversations and Rants I Want to Have With Leo Laporte” podcast that’s separate from PodcastAnswerMan. 🙂

    I’m not sure why you seem to have such a hate on for Leo trying to do video in addition to his audio. I don’t hear him saying he won’t do audio anymore, he’s just trying to add video because he knows it’s a great way to interact with a community – particularly as we progress to a more knowledge worker based society (everyone sitting in front of a computer for their job all day).

    My coworkers and I love to have shows from http://www.5by5.tv playing while we work, video or audio. Same goes for some of the Twit shows.

    We’ll see what happens, but I can see a time in 1-2 years when someone is doing a video show pulling quotes from the infamous Cliff Ravenscraft talking about how video podcasting will never take off. 🙂

    All the best!

  • Chris, Podcast Answer Man is one of 24 podcasts that I produce and is the perfect place for me to have my three rants about Leo Laporte’s thoughts on podcasting.

    I am CERTAIN that there are THOUSANDS of people out there, Heck… I’ll given you TENS OF THOUSANDS, of people like you and your co-workers who really enjoy talking head video podcasts.

    However, if you check out the video I did at http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/business you’ll see that there are MILLIONS of people who commute to work and work out at the gym or go running/walking that can and will listen to audio podcasts and would not be able to watch a video.

    I know Leo didn’t say that he was going to give up audio. However, more and more, ON A WEEKLY BASIS, I am hearing Leo say. “Folks, if you are listening to the audio, you simply must check out the video of this episode to see what you are missing.”

    If you listen to that interview, he’s talking about turning TWiT into a CNN for Geeks and it sounds like he may not offer Downloadable Video. He says it’s too expensive and to hard to pull off. He obviously prefers LIVE STREAMING VIDEO.

    Not only that, but he’s looking forward to the day when we will all prefer it as well.

    I’m sorry if my passion frustrates you. I hope that three our four episodes out of 184 isn’t too much.

    Thanks for listening and thanks for leaving the feedback!

    Have a blessed weekend!

  • Cliff, I’m curious how you rectify YouTube having billions of downloads with ‘people don’t want video’.

    I never thought it had to be a choice between one or the other. I prefer audio for all the same reasons you do – but you seem to have a real… well, not *hatred* per se, but you do get very sarcastic and antagonistic toward it and people who want to promote it – like Leo Laporte. I know you’re passionate about podcasting, and so am I, but I don’t understand the ‘us vs. them’ mentality when it comes to audio vs. video.

  • Daniel, thanks for the comment on the site here. I’ll do my best to share my thoughts here.

    For the record, I want to point out that I’m not ani-video. I have no hatred for video at all.

    If you listen to Podcast Answer Man long enough, you’ll hear me say, over and over again, that I believe that every audio podcaster should be doing written blogs and should also be doing things with video as well, and that you should at least have a YouTube channel, if not syndicating your “video” content to tons of other video channels.

    I have a YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/cliffeotc

    You say that I get sarcastic and antagonistic toward “it” and people who want to promote it – like Leo Laporte. I will only agree with part part of that three part statement.

    I can not recall a time that I’ve got sarcastic or antagonistic toward anyone other than Leo Laporte when it comes to this topic. Why do I feel so passionate about what Leo says? it’s because I look up to him so much. I believe nearly a million people take Leo very seriously when he says things like “Podcasting is Dead” or “Podcasting is stagnant.”

    If folks, who love video a great deal more than I do, can get passed feeling offended by my words about video. I believe they would hear that this really is not an attack against video. It was a passionate defense for audio.

    Where does Leo’s $2,000,000.00 a year come from? It’s not video. Leo has a YouTube channel.

    In fact, here… check it out…..

    Do me a favor and look at the number of subscribers. As I am writing this, it is 11,876. This is for the entire TWiT Network. Now, the single podcast, This Week In Tech, had MORE THAN A HALF A MILLION SUBSCRIBERS last time I heard him say the number, which was about a year ago. And if he is still getting a meager 1% growth each month, that means that he’s only added a measly SIXTY THOUSAND NEW SUBSCRIBERS since then. Which is nearly SIX TIMES the number of subscribers that he has on YouTube.

    And let’s not kid ourselves.. Leo has special privileges that you and I don’t have. He can post 2hr videos to YouTube and you and I can’t.

    Also, Leo has spent WELL OVER $100,000 dollars to make his video content LOOK AWESOME! And his Twit Podcast shows rarely get over 1,000 to 2,000 views, even with his 11,000 subscribers.

    This is why he’s not been able to “cash in” on his video content. Leo said it himself. “Audio is what people really want, because it’s convient and they can take it in the car with them.”

    I’m not saying it’s us v/s them. I’m a video content producer as well. In fact, I’d say that as far as independent content producers go, I’m probably in the top ten as far as the number of hours of live streaming video content that I put out each week. I do at least 8 hours a week and have done that for the past three years. That’s well OVER ONE THOUSAND HOURS of video content.

    However, I rarely record that video for consumption later. I think my video and audio quality that I personally have only makes it good enough to engage a live audience. It simply is not of the quality that I want to represent my brand to the world.

    Now when I spend the money to get lighting and four or five HD cams, etc etc etc, perhaps that will change. But I’m not in a hurry to get there.

    I am speaking as someone who has left a very lucrative career in insurance and started a business from scratch from audio podcasting. My second year in business, I doubled my income from what it was the first year. I am just now about to complete the third year of doing this and I’ve made DOUBLE this year, from what I made last year.

    In only three years of doing audio podcasting full-time as my career, I’m already making more money that I’ve ever made in my entire life. That includes more money than I was making in my career as an insurance agent. It took me 11 years in that industry to earn $87,000 a year and I’m doing much better off than that.

    I am on target for doubling my income again in 2011, Lord Willing.

    I’m quite satisfied with my 1% growth in my audience every year. Actually, my percentage of new listeners is a good deal higher than that. So no stagnation of audio podcasting over here.

    I guess my biggest point that I wanted to point out in episode 184…

    1) Leo started out with SUPER CHEAP audio equipment and built a large following
    2) Leo upgraded his audio gear and had excellent audio quality and that earned his netwrok 2 to 3 MILLION a year.
    3) You could EQUAL Leo’s AUDIO QUALITY with as little as $1,500 to $2,000.
    4) If you want to equal Leo’s Video Quality, it will cost you about $100,000 or more.
    5) Leo is NOT MAKING MONEY FROM HIS VIDEO! (Those are his words)
    6) Leo sees his focus on video as a “bet” or a “GAMBLE” (Those are his words)

    I could go on and on. But I’m not against video. I’m just pointing out that a year ago, Leo said that Video was going to change things and that I’ve found an update where Leo states that the opposite is true.

    He sill just “hopes” that people will want live streaming video. There are no numbers to back that up anywhere! Otherwise, he would have shared them and he never has.

    I’m not anti-Leo either. Trust me. One my greatest honors in life would be to get to meet Leo Laporte. It’s almost creepy, but in the past year, I’ve had no less than three dreams about me meeting Leo.

    However, no matter how much affection and respect that I have for Leo, if he goes on telling the world that podcasting is dead, I’m going to continue to point out that he’s wrong.

    I hope you don’t find this response sarcastic and antagonistic response. It’s just from my heart. That’s all. Nothing more than that. Not a me v/s them.. Just my passion for audio podcasting.

    I love video.. I just dont’ subscribe to it. Don’t have much time to watch a screen for that type of content. If I have time to watch a screen, I’d prefer watching HIGH QUALITY STUFF. I would consider Leo’s stuff to be HIGH QUALITY. However, his show is “talking heads.” And even with 100,000+ spent, it isn’t compelling video. I’d stil prefer that content via audio. And when I consume that audio content, I don’t want to be told that I’m a 2nd class citizen in his community because I’m not getting the full value of what he has to offer b/c I’m not watching the video stream.

    That’s all.

  • Esbjorn Larsen

    I am torn between audio and video. I have far more subscribers to my audio feeds and I produce my shows in three formats. Audio, video hi-res and video lo-res. That said, my download hits are growing more and more for my video formats and will soon be higher than my audio format. Personally, I prefer video over audio but I download both the audio and video formats from shows I listen to so I have a choice in case I’m very busy driving, working, taking walks etc.

  • Anonymous

    1. Telegraph will end postal-mail.
    2. Television will end radio.
    3. Internet will end (printing, television, radio, postal-mail, magazines)

    Seems like the same issues. The reality is that:
    1. Environmentalism will end printing.
    2. Digital will enhance analog
    3. People like the medium that works for them.
    4. Video is great when you want to tune out and absorb.
    5. Audio requires more thought than Video
    6. Reading requires more thought than Audio
    7. Direct discussion is harder than all of this.

    And all of that is debatable…

  • Steve

    Wow! I enjoyed the episode, but had no idea what it would create either. I was all set to enter my opinion, and Esbjorn beat me. I am primarily Video as I have been doing it since the early 90’s. Yes, that was using Tape and VCR’s!

    I also thoroughly enjoy Youtube, and Video, but have far more subscribers to my audio. But oddly enough, I get more feedback from my youtube subscribers… go figure.

    Esbjorn – looks like it’s you and me buddy!


  • I prefer audio over video as well, but I do think that Leo is taking a jump into a market that is not yet firmed up yet. He’s moving into video hoping that it will take off. He’s spent his 100’s of thousands on a gamble that I think will ultimately work. I mean look how much we are moving away from Cable boxes to set top boxes that have the ability for you to choose your content in what way you want too. I personally download (and would do it for GSPN.tv if they offered it)both the video and audio version of TWiT, TWiG, and MacBreak Weekly each week in the event that I can’t listen to it in the car or want to pick it up when I get home on my new Apple TV.

    I think what we need to realize is that Leo is jumping into a market that’s cost base is high because most people haven’t jumped into it, but then again, he’s known for being a pioneer, right? I think he’s making a great choice, but he’s just having to brunt the financial load, where as 2-3 years from now if Cliff wanted to do the same thing it might only be 10K or so do it.

    Just my .02 cents

  • That’s a very, very detailed reply, Cliff – thank you (and no, I don’t think it was antagonistic or sarcastic 😉

    I get where you’re coming from, and I agree with you in the broad strokes. I don’t know where video is going *for podcasters* – because you have a point about the talking heads… I’m willing to bet that the most successful videos aren’t the ones that just show people looking into a camera talking.

    (and it does annoy me when the TWiT crew forgets that not everyone is watching the video or when they flat-out say that we should be watching the video to really “get” what’s happening on the show)

    On a side note – looking forward to the equipment webinar on Saturday. I’d encourage anyone who’s curious about getting better equipment to do what I’ve done and sign up!

  • I’m glad that I had a chance to further flesh out where I was coming from. Thanks for the push back! I’m sure that many other people have the impression that I’m anti-video as well. I’ll forward those people to this discussion thread.

    It’s funny, but I was actually thinking about this conversation as I was laying down to go to sleep last night. This whole concept of Audio Podcasters turning into Video Content Producers reminds me of the days of Jack Benny, when TV first became popular…..

    It looked like this: (See YouTube Clip With Link Below)

    When TV first came out, they tried taking what had been working for radio and simply made the video of them recording their radio show and put it on TV. You don’t see a lot of this type of television happening today. I believe that if you are going to create content for video, then make it COMPELLING VIDEO CONTENT. Build a decent set. Get an Oprah couch or something. Ditch the headphones and microphone from the shot.

    I’m just of the opinion that “most of the time” that compelling audio does not make for compelling video and that the opposite of that is also true.

    That’s how I see Leo Laporte’s TWiT and the Skype in video guests. They are talking heads. Sure, the “quality of the video is amazing. However, myself and 400,000+ other people simply don’t see his video offerings as compelling video content. We’d prefer the convenience of getting that content via audio.

    Thanks again everyone for allowing me to share my thoughts and my passions. I don’t ask anyone out there to bed their own opinions to match mine. However, I appreciate the fact that you allow me to sare my thoughts each and ever week.

    Ps… Daniel, I’m looking forward to seeing you in the equipment and podcast workflow session on Saturday!

  • John from the Poi

    Hey Cliff – Thanks for your note to me today, I should have posted here originally. To recap my point (for the benefit of others) there’s a need for video if the visual is necessary. It would be more effective to see a podcast on art than to try to describe it. My podcast is a video podcast to show my viewers where I am running and the beauty of what is out there, as well as to document my running adventures. But, to watch “talking heads” as you say would not be interesting and would be better left as an audio format imho.
    Keep your great podcasts coming and if you cause a little controversy that’s OK, that means people are engaged! Good job!
    John Vaughn
    AKA John from the Poi

  • Thanks for the comment here on the post John! I agree that video is great when the content works better or is even required for it’s ability to share the visual elements to convey the message.

  • As a video guy I can tell you it’s a lot of work to make video interesting to watch. I love listening to podcasts and radio. I’m not against video because an image can be a quick and powerful way to communicate information. But talking heads, is like death!

    I listen to NPR while in the car. I’ve enjoyed the storytelling on the This American Life radio program. They’re good at what they do with radio. They tried to produce a TV show version but in the end it was too much work to do both. You can read about their TV experience here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/about/about-our-television-show/

  • Spencer, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. And you helped me make my point perfectly. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

  • Good grief!

    Can we please sum up what video podcasting should and should not be?

    This is video podcasting.

    I’m sorry but a web cam in the face of a talking head is not a video podcast.

    I listen live to you Cliff when I can. I still have the screen minimized while I do so. I’m cool with having a web cam going while you are recording a podcast. I like the interaction and the personal connection with you and the other members of your community.

    I just don’t see how you can be running a web cam and call that a video podcast. It’s live streaming of your studio while you record and audio podcast. I guess from time to time the do something in the studio that requires video to see what is going on. I’m sorry but that’s gimmicky and anyone with a brain can sniff that kind of stuff out.

    I get that Leo is some kind of podcasting guru. The truth is I had never heard of him till finding your stuff through Justin Lukasavige. I don’t think Leo has as much influence on the podcasting industry as you give him credit for. Guys like you and VanOrden have A LOT more influence in the circles that matter. You also can’t compare his success with any of ours. None of us have a huge mass media audience we’ve drug over to podcasting.

    He should be asking to be on your show, not the other way around. :p

  • Too funny.
    http://SkitGuys.com/vidoes is a perfect example of a video podcast!

    Thanks for the addition to the conversation James!

  • Matt

    It’s very clear that whenever someone so adamantly attacks another medium it’s because they feel threatened in their own. Take the RIAA for example. They think they can preserve their old and dying business model by suing their current customers rather than adapting to new technology.

    I couldn’t care less if you want to attack Leo or anyone else, that’s your prerogative. (Do unto others.. right?) There are some types of content that makes more sense delivered as audio but there are some that are better delivered as video. Do you want to listen to an audio version of a cooking show? Doubtful. Honestly, most of what Leo produces is just fine as an audio podcast.

    Leo, and others, are just being sensical. I would also be looking at new ways to expand my audience if I was only seeing 1% growth. If you only grow at 1% and you think this is good for business then I don’t understand business. It’s clear you can’t do math (like you always say) when you look at Leo’s numbers and question why only seeing a growth of 2,500 people per month is a bad thing. If you are small time and you have 1000 subscribers and you add 1% then that is only 10 people. Sure it’s a start but if you are charging advertisers CPMs (which fortunately you’re not) then you would want to see higher growth also.

    Adding video WIILL payoff in the future. Thinking that audio is the only medium is preposterous. As more and more devices, such as the Boxee Box or Apple TV, make their way into living rooms I am sure video podcasts will be watched as a viable alternative to TV.

    My long winded point is that you shouldn’t be so critical of other mediums. If you feel threatened by them then join in. If you don’t think you should then did go ranting about it.


  • Matt, I’m curious as to whether you even read any of the previous responses above. I’m not against video and I’m not attacking it. I’ve shared additional thoughts above that more clearly articulate my sharing what I shared.

    I agree that, in looking back, I seemed to be a bit personal and attacking toward Leo. I was wrong in that way. However, I think my points were made in the other comments on this post.

    I have successfully held sponsorships of various podcasts now for three years straight and maintained them with relatively small audiences. In fact, I have one podcast with only 500 subscribers that has generated such a response to my sponsor that there were six weeks where they had to develop a waiting list to take on all the new clients that my podcast was driving to their business.

    I’m not a fan of CPM in niche podcasting. The relationship that I, as the host, have with my audience in a niche podcast is far too valuable when you consider standard CPM payouts.

    I know that I’m small time compared to Leo. I didn’t mean to attack him personally.

    I’m not attacking video either.

    I’m just saying that when a man has built a business out of nothing and just a few short years later is earning between 2 to 3.5 MILLION dollars a year from an audio podcast, I just don’t understand how that same man can proclaim that “audio podcasting is dead” and that “it’s always been dead.”

    Perhaps it was wrong of me to point out where someone else is wrong. However, I was just pointing out that a year ago, Leo said that audio podcasting was dead because it is so complicated and that video was what people really wanted.

    Then, in this interview, he says the opposite, that “audio is what people really want, because it’s easier, it’s convenient, and people can listen to it in the car.”

    I guess I may have made a fool out of myself by pointing out Leo’s inconsistent view on the state of audio podcasting. But so many people took Leo so seriously when he said that podcasting is dead. And I just don’t see that. Everyone I know is seeing massive growth in this area.

    I’m working with hundreds of clients who are launching audio podcasts and many people who had been laid off are building their own independent online businesses successfully where their audio podcast is their number one driving force of traffic to their brand.

    And yes, I do coach all my clients to use video and text based blogs, social media and a great deal more.

  • Wow Cliff – only just got through this episode. You had me laughing so much – I love your delivery style.

    Heard you first via Pat Flynn and have been hooked ever since!


  • Kevin, Thanks so much for the feedback and the comment here on this post. Glad you found the podcast and that you are enjoying the content here. You may also enjoy http://BusinessTechWeekly.com, http://SocialMediaSerenity.com, & http://VirtualAssistantPodcast.com. And if that’s not enough I have a “few” other shows at http://gspn.tv/shows

  • Thanks Cliff – will check those out too!

  • Cliff, thanks for this.
    I made a google search “podcast vs video site:podcastanswerman.com” and this is what I found. I had a pretty good idea of your opinion, but I didn’t have any numbers, and I wondered why you didn’t simply put up your shows in youtube as well. Now I know a bit more.
    Thank you for being you in everything you do.

  • @Anna Charlotta Thank you so much. I’m so glad that this older content is still valuable to those who are searching online. Happy new year!

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