As of 2011, roughly 25 percent of people in the United States reported listening to podcasts in the past. That's a lot of potential listeners, and one of the main reasons why advertisers turn to podcasts as yet another media outlet to hawk their wares. In fact, the earnings of many podcasters come directly from this source, and, for the fortunate few, can reach as high as seven figures.
In 2012, announcers earned an average of $40,070 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Podcasters made just over half this pay. On average, salaries were roughly $26,000 in 2013, notes the jobsite Indeed.
Generally, podcasters earn money based on advertising dollars. As the number of subscribers grows, the more money the podcasts can earn from selling ad space. In fact, companies exist that help pair more established podcasters with advertisers. Of course, the podcaster no longer earns the full advertising rate, collecting a portion once the podcast company takes its cut, which can be upward of 50 percent. Mevio, one such company that helps podcasters land sponsors, had three in their network who were set to earn anywhere from $500,000 to $1,000,000, as of 2009.
While advertising dollars are the most consistent source of income, it’s far from the only method of payment. Some podcasters benefit from donations, while others charge a subscription fee for their podcasts. There are others still who give away their podcasts, but charge a one-time fee for an app that allows listeners to access the information. There’s also the possibility of selling products or services through the podcast to supplement income.
A seven-figure payday is more of an exception than the rule, but you can still make a decent living if you become an established podcaster. Marc Maron, a comedian who launched the WTF podcast, earns anywhere from $1,300 to $15,000 per podcast from advertising dollars. Dave Rubin, a comedian who launched The Six Pack podcast, landed an advertising sponsorship worth $65,000 from just one company.
The BLS expects employment for “other” announcers, such as podcasters, to grow by as much as 5 percent through 2020. This is much slower than the national average for all occupations, a projected 14 percent. Internet radio has positively influenced jobs prospects, but expect competition to be strong for actual positions.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Announcers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Public Address System and Other Announcers
- Indeed: Podcaster Salary in United States
- Mashable: 9 Successful Techniques for Making Money from Podcasting
- The New York Times: Clever, How They Earn That Laugh
- PBS: Turning Panic Into Money
- The State of News Media: Audio - By the Numbers
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images