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Radio Survivor without affiliate ads: why it matters

Dear Radio Survivor reader:

I am writing this post in my role as Radio Survivor’s Business Manager, offering some very unbusinesslike observations. The re/code technology site reports that the rapid pace of technological change “continues to drive media fragmentation, muddying the once-simple world of TV, radio and print.” Advertisers now have to split their budgets between many mediums. Content providers scramble to provide ad companies with the return they expect for their money. Nobody really knows how this uncertain new marketing environment will play out.

What a rat race. How are we at Radio Survivor dealing with this? Simple. We are getting rid of our affiliate ads as fast as we can. Thanks to your initial response to our Patreon campaign, we have surpassed our first milestone goal: $100 a month in support. In response to your response we have dumped all our Google Adsense display and banner ads. That’s what we promised to do and it’s done. They’re all gone. Kaput.

Full disclosure: I love it. I love not having any of those stoopid squares and rectangles for casinos and dating services.What’s the next affiliate ad-related milestone goal? Once we reach $500 a month in support we’re going to pull down all of our Amazon ads too.

Matthew Lasar

Me at the 2015 SXSW conference, looking discombobulated after the umpteenth panel discussion about money money money money . . .

Why does this matter? First and foremost: online affiliate advertisements influence content for online sites. Anyone who tells you that this isn’t true is blowing smoke in your face. Now to be fair, no advertisers call us and complain about Radio Survivor content. But once a site takes its revenue from affiliate banners, its content producers must confront the obvious: the more page views a post gets, the more revenue the site generates. Bottom line: stories about Sirius XM, Apple stock, and the latest wireless gadget generate ad clicks. Stories about wonderful new (or old) community radio stations don’t. Stories about interesting chapters in college radio history don’t. Stories about unknown but brilliant podcasters don’t. Stories about improving the Federal Communications Commission’s Low Power FM rules don’t.

That’s why I hate online affiliate ads.

Here’s another thing. Every year we run a bunch of stories about cool radio related items to buy for the holidays. How do we decide what to recommend? Bottom line: we pick stuff that’s on When you follow the link and click the ‘buy’ button we get a little piece of the sale. To be fair to us again, Amazon has a lot of stuff to purchase. It’s not like we can’t find good products there: great books, great DIY kits, cute radio related toys. But I despise the whole ritual anyway. I don’t want Radio Survivor to be part of the hyper-commercialization of Christmas, Hanukah, and the New Year. So I can’t wait until we reach our $500 milestone so we can yank Amazon off our pages once and for all.

And here’s yet another thing: an affiliate ad banner free Radio Survivor empowers us to speak out against the over-commercialization of media generally and in the radio sector in particular. I am really concerned about the proliferation of “enhanced underwriting” spots and the efforts of some public and college broadcasters to turn them into full blown ads. But how can I effectively speak out against this when our site is stuffed to the gizzards with affiliate spots, too?

As any self-respecting adolescent would say, it’s ridikalous.

In conclusion, thank you—all of you who have contributed to our Patreon campaign. And for those of you who are still thinking about it, first of all, thanks just for thinking about helping Radio Survivor. The more Patreon contributors we have, the more coverage we can provide for college, community, and indie radio in all its myriad forms. If you are digging our podcast, please know that we’ve got all kinds of ideas in the hopper: live conference coverage, webinars, the works.

So here’s the last thing: even a little help gets us closer to our goals. We have supporters contributing one, two, and even $1.67 a month, which is awesome. We know lots of you don’t have a lot of cash. Heck, we’re all in community media right? That’s one of the reasons we went with Patreon—to create an easy, affordable support vehicle for our readers and to become a reader supported media source. Slowly but surely, we are moving towards that goal. Thanks for helping us get there.

Matthew Lasar
Business Manager

Just one dollar a month makes you a patron of Radio Survivor. Help us through our Patreon Campaign!


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2 Responses to Radio Survivor without affiliate ads: why it matters

  1. RK Henderson June 25, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    I hear you about “click-bait” topics vs. meaty radio articles. Net Radio Blog, with its station recommendations and editorials on developments in the radiosphere, typically gets a click or two per day; maybe 20 when a new article uploads. And even though NRB is just a hobby site, with no advert revenue to worry about, one is tempted to post on sexier topics, just to boost the old ego…

    But that’s not what NRB does. If I get one real-actual Internet Radio Listener per day, and that person finds the information worthwhile in his or her own hobby, well, that’s what it’s for.

    Respect for standing firm, Radio Survivor! It’s not the easy road you’ve taken, but your reasoning is sound.

    Net Radio Blog

  2. Alex July 4, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    This is a no-brainer in this day and age. It’s not so much a matter of revenue generation as it is business ethics. By taking money from your listeners and only your listeners, you can minimize the self-censorship so prevalent at PBS, NPR, and even local community radio stations. Bravo and welcome to the brave, new, Value for Value world. It’s beautiful here. I should state that it was Adam Curry, John C. Dvorak, and their No Agenda Show which first turned me on to this concept — the concept of EXCLUSIVE listener support. Cheers!

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