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Welcome to Behind the Scenes

This is a podcast site, home of free MP3 audio shows that you can listen to now on your computer by clicking on the MP3 icons below. Or, using podcasting client software such as Apple's iTunes, you can subscribe to our shows and have them downloaded automatically to your computer and optionally to your portable MP3 player whenever new shows become available.

Start by exploring the shows from Behind the Scenes on this page or explore other shows using the links on the left. When you find a show you want to subscribe to you have two choices. If you're using iTunes, simply click on the iTunes 1Click button on the upper left of the page to take you to the appropriate subscription page in iTunes and then click on the Subscribe button. If you're using another podcasting client, right-click (Control-click on the Mac with a one-button mouse) on the RSS Podcast button in the upper left and select "Copy Link" from the popup menu. Add a new podcast subscription in your client software and paste the link into the RSS field.

If you have questions feel free to use the email link on the left to contact a show host or TGN founder Craig Patchett. Thanks for visiting and God bless you!


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Monday, April 4, 2005

As you've probably heard already, according to a new survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project more than 6 million American adults have downloaded podcasts from the web. To anyone involved in podcasting this number seems extremely overinflated and it doesn't take more than a quick glance at Pew's survey results to realize that it is.

To begin with, Pew's survey only included 208 owners of iPods or MP3 players, which results in a margin of error on the survey results for this group of plus or minus 7.5 points. That means that when the report concludes that 29% of iPod/MP3 player owners have downloaded podcasts from the web it could be anywhere from 21.5% to 36.5%, or from roughly 4.7 million to 8 million people. (Assuming that you can extrapolate with even this degree of accuracy from a sample size of only 208 people, which i still find suspect, especially considering that the podcast numbers are based on a response from only 60 of these 208 people.)

Even 4.7 million is still high, given that Adam Curry's Daily Source Code (one of the most listened to podcasts) is only reporting a listener base of 80-100K, but if you look at the actual question that was asked in the survey then the high number starts to become more plausible:

"Have you ever downloaded a podcast or internet radio program so you could listen to it on your digital audio player at a later time?" (boldface mine)

In other words, this question is not limited to podcasts at all and therefore even a figure of 4.7 million, were it accurate, would not represent 4.7 million podcast listeners, despite the fact that Pew quite clearly claims that it does. Let's assume, however, for the sake of argument, that it did.

Obviously people aren't just listening to one podcast apiece, so assume even a conservative average of four shows per listener. With just over 4,000 podcasts in's directory, that would mean each show would have to average 4,700 listeners in order for the numbers to work out to 4.7 million total listeners. In February, the average number of listeners for the 1,750 podcasts hosted by popular RSS syndication service FeedBurner was 14-15. Has the listener base grown 31,300% in the past 60 days? I seriously doubt it. Let's assume for the sake of amusement that it has grown twenty-fold. That would put the current number of podcast listeners, still assuming each listener subscribes to an average of four shows, at a mere 300,000.

The bottom line is that no matter how much you manipulate the known numbers within the realm of reason, it is impossible to come up with anything that comes close to supporting what Pew is reporting. Not yet anyway. The time will come when the numbers ARE there, but how will the media respond then when we proudly present the same numbers they're trumpeting now?

Update (4/5): Others are also starting to question Pew's results, and Pew themselves are hedging against their original statements. See this article at Engadget, for example.

Update (4/9): Pew is now retracting their hedge statements. See this article at Podcasting News for details.

| | Posted at 11:37:58 AM | Entry #917 |  

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