Friday, September 2, 2016

Internet Radio by the Numbers

People—prospective guests and their publicists in particular—often ask me how many listeners their podcast interview will reach. It’s a logical question, and I wish I had a clear answer to give them. I don’t, for the simple reason that I don’t administer the New Books Network (NBN) and therefore have no access to its statistics other than the intermittent messages sent around by the founder and editor in chief, Marshall Poe. Most of those relate to the network as a whole, not to individual channels.

What I do know is that the growth in listeners is steady and ongoing. In January 2015, five years after inception, the NBN posted its 2,000th interview; since then it has added 60 podcasts a month, for a current total of 3,200 episodes split among about 80 channels with twice that many hosts. These days, we get about 20,000 downloads a day, double the number at this time last year (and that followed an unexpected jump in August 2015). If even a hundredth of those are for New Books in Historical Fiction, then we are polling in the neighborhood of 6,000 downloads a month or more than 70,000 a year. Comparable numbers for the NBN as a whole would be 600,000 downloads a month and 7.2 million for the year.

Not all of these are unique users: that is, 7.2 million downloads doesn’t translate to 7.2 million listeners. But after almost four years of chatting with fellow historical novelists about their books, it’s encouraging to know that somewhere out there, people are listening. And if you haven’t joined them yet, why not give it a shot? The podcasts are free; we have a brand-new website; and here’s a chance to find out more about your favorite authors—or just new books to read. My next interview—with Linda Kass about her lyrical debut novel, Tasa’s Song—should go live in the next few days. More about that next week.

While you’re there, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Follow me, too (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus). That way, you’ll always hear when new episodes go live.

Microphone ©, #1658905

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