Paying for podcasting? Listening to London’s LBC

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Since I have been listening to podcasts, I have noticed that the vast majority of podcasts are free. Sure, some sites ask do ask for donations but that is optional. Most of these podcasts/sites that ask for donations (or offer you the option to donate) seem to be from America.

For a few months, I have been listening to podcasts from London radio station LBC 97.3FM. This FM station is mostly a talk station and this is how the new Australian radio network Vega (currently broadcasting in Sydney and Melbourne) was going to be – less music and more talk. However in Vega’s case this has not happened but in LBC’s case, it is definitely true.

LBC actually offers two subscription models for their podcasted programs. The first is known as LBC Bitesize. Bitesize programs usually last between 5 and 20 minutes and are completely free. Most LBC presenters can be heard this way however there is one exception. When I first started listening, you could hear then afternoon host Anna Raeburn for free via Bitesize. Then Alison Bell took over the show (very quietly in my opinion, but that’s another story) using Anna’s feed and that was free. But for some reason, Alison’s Bitesized feed is being shown as not free anymore.

This brings me to the next subscription model – the paid podcast. If you pay coin, you can hear the entire program for each presenter. The only things that you miss are the news, traffic reports (or as LBC calls them, travel news), ads and songs. In some ways the audio reminds me of what I’d do a few years ago by recording a radio show on a tape recorder but of course the podcast is in MP3 format. Occasionally you hear a snippet of an ad or the traffic reporter but apart from that, you hear what I imagine to be the entire program. Out of a 3 hour show, you get around 2 hours per podcast episode. Obviously it is a large episode but that is one of the attractions of the LBC paid subscription model – if you want the whole program, you can get it if you pa y for it. You can also get other LBC podcasts that are not available on the free feeds such as “Vintage LBC”.

Now I’m not sure about the conversions but you can get a month’s subscription for 4 pounds but you can also get a 6 month subscription for 12 pounds which works out as 2 pounds a month. This 2 pound a month figure is often quoted on the Bitesized podcasts.

I have paid for a 6 month subscription and I am now never going to be short of podcasts to listen to. What I do now is to listen to the daily Australian podcasts first. I have listened to some of the LBC podcasts and I am enjoying listening to them which is one of the attractions of listening to podcasts in general. The LBC podcasts are not time sensitive to me as far as I am concerned so if I don’t listen to Nick Ferrari’s Monday breakfast show on Monday, it does not matter to me.

Having said all that, I am not going to make it a habit to pay for podcasts and I do not expect people to pay or donate in relation to Erk Pod. LBC is an exception to the rule because of the vast amount of material. Obviously it would be better if I didn’t have to pay for it but sometimes it is better to pay.


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