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The Adam Carolla Podcast and $$$

I spend a lot of time on the train in this city of ours and my iPod is often locked and loaded with the latest offering from Adam Carolla. He’s sharp and observant, sometimes crude, but always a provider of good old fashioned comedy.

Carolla gets millions of downloads. When he first started early in 2009 he would say “we got 200,000 downloads” and then “we had 600,000 hits yesterday” but he stopped doing it as his podcast became one of the most popular on iTunes.

When Carolla and Kimmel come together, laughs are had.

When Carolla and Kimmel come together, laughs are had.

Now he has a rapid fan base, and a vehicle to promote products and advertise from. Carolla has a noncompete clause in his recently terminated CBS contract and as long as he doesn’t make money off of the podcast he continues to get paid by them. It’s over at the end of the year and the podcast is going to make a rich man, richer as 2010 begins.

Why does this matter? We live in an era where convenience is prized above all else and where we can get entertainment for free. We don’t just like convenience and free content, we expect it. You can look at this two ways. First, Carolla is going to throw a bunch of advertisements into the next incarnation of his podcast to make money or he’s going to charge a subscription rate. In today’s internet people think that’s product suicide, but how long will artists, writers, journalists, comedians and many other creative occupations  just give their products away?

Just like with journalism, the struggle to find a business model will lead to different experiments. For now, I think podcasts are being underutilized by news organizations. Only NPR has highly rated podcasts, which are more like radio shows. Maybe a guy like Carolla will figure out a business model that works. If he does it will be because he pushed the envelope and went into something that too many people weren’t doing. News organizations should follow his lead.

Carolla, BBQ expert Adam Perry Lang, and Joel McHale in a videocast where they learn to make a steak. It looks quite tasty.

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