Kevin Allison does not know if he can pay next months rent. Still he works full time with the Risk Show, and makes his podcasts available to everyone for free.
WORKING FOR BUTTONS: Actor, comedian and Risk founder Kevin Allison. Photo: Unknown/Wikipedia
The Risk Show started in 2009. Previously Kevin Allison has written for MTV, following that, starving as an aspiring comedian. Then, as he almost hit his 40th birthday, he realised he had to take a risk, and created a unique show and podcast: Risk. The show takes up all his time, and the lack of income has cost him his marriage, however he strongly believes that as long as he keeps up the work the mainstream will one day see what value the show possesses.
«The dream is that some philanthropist will discover the show, and keep it alive,» Allison tells me on Skype from New York.
The Risk podcast have had over 300 000 downloads from iTunes in one month, in addition to that you have all the listeners streaming online. If you subtract roughly that 50% of the downloaders don’t listen to the podcast, you will still remain with over 150 000 listeners. Allison assumes they get about $60 in donations from their listeners per week.
«The idea of optional payment was based on the NPR (National Public Radio) method, where listeners could get quality content based on crowd support.»
Watch an excerpt from my interview with Kevin Allison
«I think that the future of the show depends on the storytelling school» Allison tell me.
The storytelling school is a project where Allison teaches others how to perform a good story.
«It’s something I enjoy, and is one source of income for the show».
In addition to the donations and the storytelling school, the Risk-show have stage shows that provides an income, and some advertisers. Kevin Allison does not believe that the optional payments methods will work for them in the long run, but thinks that one day, when the show has a stabile listener group, it can start charging per episode. Ideally keeping the latest episodes for free, and charging something like $0.99 for old episodes.
Kevin Allison is working from a studio built in his apartment, and has about five professional employees working with him, in addition to all the volunteers helping out.
«Right now there is a huge amount of free podcasts out there, so its hard to get listeners to pay, when they can listen to other shows for free. But I believe in the show, and that people will be willing to pay for it.»
According to Allison there’s about 250 000 different podcasts available on iTunes.
The Risk Show is not a family gathering podcast. It’s a podcast where real people share stories they “don’t dare to share”. Everything from sexlife to crimes. Something that you won’t get from a commercial or public broadcaster.
«I believe that there is a need for our podcasts. About two times a month I get emails from listeners, thanking me for the show, telling me that it made them continue their life, because they got to know that there are others out there like them.»
You can read more about optional payment here: Should I Pay or Should I Go #1: «I want to provide ad blocking to everybody»