It’s that sort of flawed logic that drives the podcast community up a wall. To whatever degree this medium ever enjoyed a meritocracy, increased monetization strips it away by default and by design. O’Brien was offered seven figures on the assumption that he’d produce a strong podcast—a correct assumption, but in sharp contrast with even the heaviest hitters of the medium, who must always work twice as hard to prove what they’ve done for us lately.
I remember when Politico launched, and everyone acted like these two plucky boys from nowhere were going to pool their milk money and start them up a gol-darn blog! They were going to make a news “site” on the “internets” and it would report on politics, which was something no one had ever heard of in the year of our Lord Jesus Tits 2007.
That there were thousands of political blogs online by then didn’t stop everyone from being like POLITICO INVENTED A BLOG and I’m not surprised to see the same dynamic at work with podcasting, which underpaid/volunteer workers have been doing for free for years only to see money and promotion lavished upon someone who doesn’t need either. Conan seems fine and people really seem to like podcasts and whatever, honestly, but acting like a successful rich person is some kind of self-made man with a microphone in his basement talkin’ hard is not helpful to the media conversation right now.
This isn’t how stuff gets done. This is why everyone’s mad all the time. Because the idea was you work hard and build something and you get rewarded for it, and instead you work had and build something and then somebody who already has a squillion dollars comes along and does the same thing and everyone is like GET A LOAD OF EINSTEIN OVER HERE WITH THE PODCAST, no one ever thought of one of those before.