Community Radio, Podcasts, Religion, and Money (Yowza)

I have been trying to figure out the direction for Progressive Spirit in terms of making it sustainable and connected with the two entities that make it possible, my congregation and the radio station where it is produced. The content of the show is mine. It serves a niche. Progressive, sometimes radical, politics, values, education and activism.  The tagline is spirituality and social justice.

There are a number of interesting complications to all of this. My congregation and I are working out a “memorandum of understanding” between my show and the church. In essence, the show is supported by the church but is distinct. We are working out the details of that and I am exploring the option of a non-profit board to support the program.

On one hand, the show is part of my job as a minister. I fund books, equipment, websites from my professional expense, a budget item for the show from the church, and my own personal expenses.  At this point, to run the show takes probably $2000 a year. I want to add transcripts and other things to make it more accessible.

But, I have studio time at KBOO to interview guests, produce the podcast and my monthly show, Beloved Community, that airs every second Friday at 9 am. In addition to my own website, KBOO posts my podcast on its website.  I do have a home studio, and I do a lot of production from it, but it isn’t at all as cool as the radio station is for recording interviews. The radio station is an important part of this. I am indebted to it and happy to be so.

I also support the radio station with volunteer time and membership and I serve on the KBOO board until my term expires September 2018.  For the next few weeks, I will be working on getting restaurants to supply food for the station for the volunteers during the upcoming fund drive.

I really love the vision, work and mission of KBOO and want to do my part to make sure it is running and healthy and providing access to many diverse voices. I also love the work and mission of my congregation and I think it is great to connect these communities.

But it can be tricky. We have a religious institution, a community radio station, and me.  And not just one community station. Progressive Spirit currently airs on six stations weekly and others sporadically. It is a podcast and radio show. When we bring money into the equation, it gets way more tricky.

I was exploring at the suggestion of a friend, Patreon.  Out of curiosity, I set it up. So far I have one patron, my beloved wife who pledged a dollar an episode.  She hasn’t paid. Obviously, I haven’t done much with that. It seems complicated. I think it would be fun to set up Patreon and have the money go to KBOO. Would that work?

Even if that were possible, I still need to fund the show.  Frankly, I don’t like asking for money. I have a service that is worth something to others. It is cleaner on one level to sell advertising. Since my podcast is on Podomatic, they have some kind of offshoot thing called Advertisecast. So, I set it up to see how it works.

I sold one ad. It was an app for Simply Zen. The ad was for $5. Advertisecast took $1. Then I went and purchased the app for $2. It is pretty cool, actually.  I made a $2 profit. I will donate it to KBOO.  I was curious how it all worked and how podcasts get monetized. I went and talked to some folks at KBOO about this and then decided to put the Patreon and Advertisecast accounts on the shelf.

I don’t know how to do all of this and do it correctly and legally and with love and peace and justice for all parties.  I would love to share the wealth of my vast media empire with my two favorite non-profits, KBOO and Southminster as well as fund and improve the show. My guess is that a separate non-profit entity to fund the show is the way to go, perhaps similar to the way New Dimensions works it out.

Anyone else traversed these murky waters?

(Cross-posted at Shuck and Jive)

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