Where does my money go?

Posted by Maximum Fun on 5th July 2006

I’ve had some folks wondering where donations go, and about long-term plans for the show, so I thought I’d break it down. I’m using approximate numbers here, for no reason other than that I’m at work right now, and I don’t have the exact numbers.

First of all, I don’t get any income from any of the stations that carry the show. This is unfortunate, but it’s pretty standard in the public radio world. Only a few shows get what are called “carriage fees,” and those are the big BIG names (Car Talk, for example). I was a volunteer at our former home, KZSC, as well.

Right now, listener donations are bringing in about $200 a month, maybe $250. This number has been growing very slowly but very steadily. Thanks to all who donate. We’ve gotten a few hundred dollars in one-time donations (about $400, total). I’ve generally been asking for the small-amount subscriptions because they afford both a relatively stable level of income and require much less administrative and fundraising time on my part.

That’s about it on the revenue side of the equation — basically a couple hundred bucks a month. Which is awesome.

What about costs?

Our total hosting costs are $35/month. This includes both our web hosting, and the seperate hosting of media files (the bandwidth on those is huge, but our very nice host Libsyn gives us unlimited bandwidth).

Expenses for equipment have been about $50 per month since I started taking donations. In the past month or so, I’ve purchased a much-needed USB audio interface, a new mic stand, and some cables. Much of the equipment I use (the main microphone, the mixer, the telephone hybrid) I bought with money I got from selling my car six months or so ago.

The rest of the revenue ($150 a month or so), I’ve been plowing back into marketing. In an endeavor as modest as this one, that means stickers and postcards and Maximum Fun Club cards (and soon, t-shirts). All of that stuff I’ve been trying to spread around as broadly as possible to both listeners and potential listeners.

I think the show has the potential to be interesting to many more listeners than already listen, and I know that getting more folks to listen is going to be vital to the long-term viability of this operation. I think it’s really cool to be able to get stuff like stickers that I’ve always wanted to make for the show, but was never able to afford out-of-pocket.

And that’s about it. In short, right now, it’s all going back into non-me parts of the show.

That said, in the medium- to long-term, I hope to be able to pay myself enough to… you know… eat. As I see it now, this income would come from two sources: listener donations and underwriting sales. (Underwriting, by the way, is the sort of sponsorship you’d hear on your local NPR station). For that to be viable, the show would need a lot more listeners (tens of thousands more, probably). So for the time being, my plan is to keep paying the costs with donations, and promoting the show to the best of my ability.

I’m also pursuing more radio carriage of the show, which could also help our prospects for increased listenership. Hopefully some of that will come to fruition, if it does, you’ll be the first to hear.

If you have any questions about any of this, please feel free to email me and ask. And thanks to everyone who’s been listening and donating and telling friends and all of all of that.