Steve Dahl to his podcast listeners: pay up

THIS was the announcement fans of Steve Dahl have been waiting for weeks?

Speculation on “the big news” to be announced Monday at 12 Noon ranged from Dahl heading to Merlin Media to host a talk show at WKQX, a return to WLUP, or even a gig at WGN Radio.

And when noon hit, this was “the big announcement”: if you are a listener to his podcasts, you’ll have to pony up some dough. 

Seems like a cruel April Fools joke to play on someone in July.

Announcing the news on Twitter, the 34-year Chicago radio veteran plans to charge listeners $9.95 a month beginning August 1 to listen or download his podcasts, which he has been doing for nearly two years.

As you recall, Dahl was dumped from CBS’ WJMK-FM (then branded as Jack FM) as morning personality in December 2008 after 13 months due to poor ratings. With a long contract and basically nowhere else to put him, Dahl was shifted to Jack in November 2007 from his longtime afternoon slot at CBS’ WCKG-FM when the bosses decided to shift the station’s format to Adult Contemporary. In order to reach out to his fans in his absence from radio, Dahl started original podcasts in 2009 with CBS, whom he was still under contract with. Those agreements and contractual obligations came to an end on July 9.

According to a spokesperson for Dahl, his daily podcast has been downloaded nearly 7.5 million times since its inception. 

More details are available at Dahl’s website.

This isn’t the first time a well-known radio personality has decided to go the pay-model route. After WLUP-FM canceled his show last year, Dr. Demento took his long-time radio show out of syndication and moved it to an Internet-only paid-subscription model.

Dahl’s decision has been panned on Twitter, Facebook, and various message boards, with many indicating they won’t pay to continue to listen for him. But there are others who would gladly pay $10 a month because they believe the content is really that good. With this logic, it separates the hardcore fans from the causal ones. On the other hand, Dahl greatly reduces his reach beyond the hardcores. And isn’t asking fans to pay $120 or so a year a little bit steep? For that price – and his sake, he’d better be putting out the best content in the world.

Wait a minute…you all are laughing at what I just said, aren’t you? Oh well. Welcome to The Island of Obscure Radio Personalities, Mr. Dahl. And you can forget Rudolph rescuing you – he won’t pay the $9.95 to do so because he has that red nose to maintain. But for the price you’re charging, I hear Gilligan and the Skipper are available.


2 thoughts on “Steve Dahl to his podcast listeners: pay up

    • As a lifelong Radio fan, I am going to add my two cents.

      I love how Steve's Facebook is labeling those who speak out about the "fee" as "complainers".

      Steve could go "get a paying job", at a radio station, but he took a buyout, and is under contract for some amount of time. And a paying job you have to "work for someone", and who wants to do that in America???

      It's not about complaining about something we already like, as Steve puts it. The fans could call Steve a greedy bastard, but then we would be in the wrong. Instead, we followed on facebook, retweeted him on Twitter, and stayed loyal fans as he was enjoying his severance pay.

      He has a large following. If Steve chooses to reapply for radio jobs, he has a fan base to entice the station to hire him.

      Asking his fans for money, because he doesn't want to give up his severance, or attempt to work at a radio station again is okay. But to call us "complainers" is ridiculous.

      Who wouldn't want to get paid, working from home, double dip on severance pay, charge for appearances?

      We get the concept, not the namecalling!

    • Steve had a contract with CBS. The station changed format and had no place for him, but they still had to pay him. Instead of sitting poolside he decided to keep in touch with his fans by putting out a podcast, AND keeping his staff of five plus employed. Now that his contract is over he's decided to once again blaze a media trail and begin charging for his content. If advertisers would wise up to the far reaching access podcasts provide for their ads, perhaps he won't have to charge as much.
      I relocated out of range of Chicago airwaves 20 years ago and have not heard any radio personality who entertained me like Steve had. His song parodies and characters stayed with me all these years. When I discovered his podcasts I was elated. He's gone from a bad boy shock jock to a mellowed but still irreverantly funny and thoughtful personality. He and his quirky staff make me laugh every single day. Do I agree with everything they say and do? Of course not, but I do laugh out loud at least once every time I listen, and that sure as heck is worth 50 cents a day. I don't understand the snide remarks about double dipping. Do the math, if he gets his goal of 10,000 subscribers, that's $100K a month. Great money, sure, but he's got to a staff to pay, and other overhead, plus a grandson to spoil. He's not asking for a long term commitment. Buy a couple less lattes or two packs less of smokes, or one less Cosmo and give it a try. I've been saying this ad nauseum and will continue to everywhere I can. I think it's a good value and I'm all in.

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