Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Ad supported media continues to be detrimental to free speech

Watch what you say. Be careful who you offend. Someone is always out there looking to boycott the people that advertise with you. Podcasting, the last bastion of free speech in media, is now going to be under the watchful ears of Madison Avenue and “The Media Roundtable”. They will be the arbiter of what is ad safe. If you have to question if you’re ad safe… well, then, you’re not.

The Media Roundtable, a group of organizations that aims to promote civility and stronger dialogue in media, is launching a chart of what it considers to be the podcasts that display the most and least bias. The debut of the chart, prepared by the research organization Ad Fontes Media, is part of a bid to get advertisers to support content of a better quality in an era when the proliferation of niche outlets makes such stuff more difficult to track.

“Oftentimes, the best performing programs for an advertiser are the ones that have the strongest opinions and often can be very polarizing. It’s very alluring. There are a lot of businesses that have built their companies on the back of polarizing personalities,” says Dan Granger, CEO of Oxford Road, a media buying agency that does a lot of work with podcasters and is a member of the Roundtable. “Then you wake up one day and you see something trending on Twitter because the host of one of these shows said something controversial and all of a sudden, everyone freaks out.”


These assholes want to be the gatekeeper for your ad dollars. After reading this article I can see a podcast rating system coming down the pike. This will give big advertisers the buffer they’ve been looking for so they can deny advertising without looking discriminatory. Don’t be the equivalent of Rated R or brands won’t touch you with a $10.00 bill. TMR rates you as too polarizing for Proctor & Gamble. No cash for you!

The goal of the organizers is to help advertisers find a way to monitor content and avoid boycotts launched by activists and consumers, who often call out sponsors on Twitter and other social-media outlets. The National Institute for Civil Discourse and the Cambridge Negotiation Institute are also involved in the Roundtable.


The advertisers already treat podcasters like the red headed step-child of media.

These advertisers include companies that go on to become the next Warby Parker, Purple or Casper and generally graduate to TV and video advertising after spending several years employing direct-response techniques.


The only way a podcaster will be free is through the Value For Value model pioneered by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak on the No Agenda Show. They take zero ad dollars. They analyze and cover the news like no other podcast. The money isn’t as big as what’s being pushed through the large podcast networks. But, how much is the freedom to say what they want worth? To the listeners it’s priceless.

Image by Falkenpost from Pixabay