One of the simplest things people don’t understand about podcasting is that it isn’t free 99% of the time. The average podcaster has a number of costs he/she must incur before attempting a venture like this.
To produce a quality podcast requires a lot of time and a fair amount of capital. The podcaster needs a decent microphone and headset combo, some good audio recording software, some audio editing software (if it isn’t the same as the recording software), and a place to host said podcast. Of all these things, the software is arguably the cheapest part of this podcasting recipe, as there are plenty of free pieces of software that let you record to mp3 or wav. The hosting I believe to be the most expensive item on this list, over the course of a year.
Now you might be arguing “but hosting is so cheap now, you can get gigs of space and gigs of traffic for dollars a month,” and this is true, but everything isn’t always as cheap as it seems. The vast majority of webhosts that run the type of operation that can sell unlimited space or unlimited bandwidth for $4 a month (just using fake numbers as examples) have to cut quite a few corners to get you those prices and still pay their staff. So what initially might seem like a great deal, really isn’t great if you are running a high-profile blog. If you are running your weekly podcast and the only listeners are your immediate family, then by all means, go and use the cheapest solution possible (why pay for what you don’t really need?). Its when you are running a podcast with substantial traffic that you need to worry about costs of hosting. You’re probably thinking, why is he blabbering so much about the server cost, well it all boils down to this one point: if your server is slow, people will just give up on downloading your podcast; if people don’t download, then how are you going to make money off of it?
So in conclusion folks: pay attention to the quality of every aspect of your podcasts, as you are trying to build a reputation. It is that reputation (influenced not only by the quality of your topics) that will help you build up a quality revenue stream from your podcast.