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The Blog Podcast

As most of you may be aware, the “Bart Ehrman Blog Podcast” began six months ago.  John Mueller, who has been a blog member for many years but doesn’t comment much, reached out to me last summer and offered to create the it.  His idea for the podcast was simply to read some of my posts, each week. He hoped that the podcast would attract more people to the blog, which in turn would increase membership in the blog, which in turn would raise more money for the charities supported by the blog, which in turn would help eradicate poverty, hunger, and homelessness, and hence, he would feel good about himself because he did his part to help the World and the Universe as we know it.

John gave me an offer he hoped I “couldn’t refuse.”  He offered to set up the podcast, fund it, choose what is read each week, narrate it, publish it, keep me updated on its numbers, and scrap it at a moment’s notice if I so requested. My obligation was, well, nothing really, except give it my blessing.  He pestered me for a couple weeks while I was thinking about it, and when he started emailing me pictures of horses, I told him to “go for it!”  That’s what I get for asking people to come forth with ideas to help increase blog membership.

I must confess, I am not very familiar with the whole podcast scene, but it seems that everyone is doing it. My biggest worry about the podcast was that it may do more to decrease membership than increase it. As I already publish a free post each week, and now the podcast is giving another two free posts, that would leave less incentive to join the blog.  I mean, how much Bart Ehrman thought does a person really need each week?  (Don’t ask my wife.)

The way we eventually worked it out is that each week, John would read a recent free post  (i.e., one that is already available to everyone without belonging to the blog – I post one of these about once a week to get people interested) and a members-only post from several years ago.  If you haven’t listened to the podcast, this is its current format. Every Sunday morning, a new episode is published. John spends the first minute or two of the podcast pointing out what will be read and telling the listener that in order to get more, the listener must become a member of the blog. He then points out some membership benefits and notes that the entire cost of membership goes to charity. He then reads the two posts, and usually between posts, and always at the end, he tries to steer listeners toward becoming members of the blog. Each episode is roughly 20 minutes. John tries to pick posts on different topics and ones that are part of a thread, teasers essentially, so that listener will crave more and of course, the only way to get more…join the blog!

We decided to give it a go for 6 months and then re-evaluate.  We are now at the 6-month mark.

As we all know, numbers can be tricky. While “numbers don’t lie,” the interpretation of numbers can certainly take on lives of their own. And apart from a book in the Old Testament, I would be hard pressed to call myself a Numbers guy.  But here are some podcast numbers:

– 26 episodes have been published and there have been more than 17,000 downloads of these episodes;

– The most downloaded episode? “The Origins of Heaven and Hell; Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians,” published on August 6.  It leads the pack with roughly 1,000 downloads;

-The most recent episode, released last Sunday, has already been downloaded about 400 times;

-Each week, there are roughly 1,000 total episode downloads;

-Every episode released since November already has over 500 downloads, but none have more than 700.

-Total weekly downloads are increasing by roughly 25% each month.

I am inclined to keep the podcast going for at least another 6 months. But I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you listened to the podcast? What do you think of it?  Did you join the blog because of the podcast or have you left the blog because of the podcast? There has been no marketing of the podcast, at least that I am aware of, yet, hundreds of you are listening each week, how did you come across it (word of mouth, visiting the blog, random searches)?

Also, how can the podcast improve, from both a blog standpoint and a podcast standpoint? For what it’s worth, John is not a religion scholar.  While he does have a degree in Philosophy, he does not know Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Coptic, German, or any of those other languages antiquity geeks have to learn. He asked me to let everybody know that he sincerely apologizes for the times on the podcast he “incorrect grammatically something says or when he disprounces words wrong.” He is doing his best.

So please leave your thoughts.  John will be reading all of your comments.  And if you are not a member of the blog and want to leave a comment, the best way to do so is to join the blog. Cost of membership is minimal, less than $25 a year, and your entire cost of membership goes to charities that fight poverty, hunger, and homelessness.  It is well worth giving $25 to charity so you can comment on this, and then have access to the blog for the next 12 months!  However, if you are so inclined, you can also reach out to John directly at JMueller@OMGamesLLC.com

 

 


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Comments

  1. noyatin  January 11, 2018

    I love the podcast! I think I have only skipped one since I first found it. I often listen to it on Sunday night as a way to cap my weekend. Please keep it going!

  2. bknight  January 11, 2018

    Bart, like you I’m not all that familiar with the podcast scene. it would help if you’d explain how to access John Mueller’s podcast. Can you give us a link?

  3. jbskq5  January 11, 2018

    I haven’t listened to the podcast; I prefer to read new blog posts as soon as they become available. I do think it’s useful to have the podcast available as an option to recommend to a friend, though! Many interested friends and family would prefer to listen to something rather than read a post, and the podcast is a good way to whet their appetites. After listening to the Thessalonians cast mentioned above, a friend of mine became interested in buying your forthcoming book on the subject, and I also suggested he subscribe to the blog!

    • tcasto  January 15, 2018

      jbskq5 sums it up for me. I prefer to read the blog at my own pace rather than listen to a podcast. Never the less, I think it has value for others and should be continued if possible, and without impacting the blog!

  4. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  January 11, 2018

    What about a membership specifically for the podcasts? Keep what John is doing the same (or only offer the freebies you offer…wouldn’t all of the posts end up being free if he keeps pulling one from the past?), but offer full access to your posts via podcast. Not sure if John has the time, but it would require him to narrate all of your posts. Since there’s no commenting or interaction on your part, maybe offer it at a lower price than the blog? Could it also be offered as a per podcast type of thing? Like a $0.99 download for each post a listener is interested in hearing more abou— if that’s even possible. It may attract those who don’t have time to read, or enjoy listening rather than reading, and those who have vision issues. It’s hard to tell how it would affect membership to the blog though.

    I listen to podcasts maybe once a year if I’m on a long drive somewhere. Most of the time I listen to radio shows through XM.

    • Pattycake1974
      Pattycake1974  January 11, 2018

      Something else I just thought of, I wonder if the blog can be turned into an app? I don’t know how costly that would be for you. I was just thinking how easy it is to hit the Apple Pay button, as I do more often than I should!

    • Bart
      Bart  January 12, 2018

      Interesting idea. Yes, John is already devoting a massive amount of time to this, so it would, I’m sure, need to be someone else.

  5. DavidBeaman  January 11, 2018

    No offense intended to John, but as I said in my original response to this, strictly speaking for myself, I prefer reading. I have never availed myself of the podcast, nor do I ever anticipate doing so.

  6. Wilusa  January 11, 2018

    Truthfully, I still don’t understand what a podcast is! If I was really interested, I’d ask how to access it – whether it requires something other than a desktop computer. But the blog itself is enough for me.

    (And I’ll admit I haven’t been interested in the recent topics. Sometimes I don’t even read the posts.)

    Just read this post more closely, re the podcast – I certainly wouldn’t be interested in downloading things!

  7. Nichrob  January 11, 2018

    1). Did not know the blog existed

    2) I do not know how to find it or log onto it……

    3). I value your time so I will donate 24 irrespective of the platform used to distribute the information.

    4). Thanks for yours and John’s hard work!.

  8. Mark57  January 11, 2018

    I wasn’t aware of it. Then again I’m not sure I know what a podcast is or where it is. Sounds intriguing but I don’t think i t would affect my membership.

  9. Lev
    Lev  January 11, 2018

    Off topic question: Have you been to see the Bible Museum in Washington yet?

    • Bart
      Bart  January 13, 2018

      I’m going in a few weeks!

      • doug  January 13, 2018

        The Bible Museum could be an interesting topic to blog on. I’m curious as to whether it is a scholarly/critical museum or a devotional conservative Christian type museum or something else.

  10. RevJoni  January 11, 2018

    How do I find these podcasts?

  11. ardeare  January 11, 2018

    I was not aware of the podcast. The link doesn’t work. After a brief search, I could not find the podcast. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

  12. talmoore
    talmoore  January 11, 2018

    Dr. Ehrman, off-topic question. I just re-read Hebrews and at the end the writer talks about being “restored”. Is it possible that the writer knew he was going to die soon?

    • Bart
      Bart  January 13, 2018

      Sorry — I’m out of town without any books. Which verse are you thinking of?

      • talmoore
        talmoore  January 13, 2018

        Hebrews 13:19 περισσοτέρως δὲ παρακαλῶ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι, ἵνα τάχειον ἀποκατασταθῶ ὑμῖν.

        • Bart
          Bart  January 15, 2018

          I think since it says “restored” specifically “to you” that it must mean something like “so we can come see you again soon.” But it’s pretty vague in the context….

  13. Seeker1952  January 11, 2018

    Do you have a view of how good of a job Jefferson did of editing the gospels into the Jefferson Bible. By a good job I mean leaving in only and all those things he thought went back to Jesus himself–which I think was his intent. Or can you suggest a book or author from the mainstream of NT scholarship that assesses that question?

    I read the Jefferson Bible a number of years ago. As best as I can recall I think Jefferson leaves in most of the moral teaching and leaves out the supernatural and punishment parts.

    • Bart
      Bart  January 13, 2018

      That’s right: he kept the moral teachings but eliminated the miracles. You can still buy a copy: it’s been recently reissued.

  14. 4Erudite  January 11, 2018

    Sounds interesting…this is first I have heard it…only a blog member less than six months. Maybe it is accessable on this blog website and I am overlooking it…can you tell me more, how and where can I find it?

  15. Sahansdal  January 11, 2018

    This is my third attempt to comment. Haven’t seen one posted yet…..

    • Bart
      Bart  January 18, 2018

      For some reason your comments didn’t appear until this morning. I don’t know what the glich would be, but it appears they were flagged as spam.

  16. wiseenka  January 11, 2018

    I didn’t know about the podcast, but now that I do, I will certainly be listening in. Prof. Erhman, I hope you’ll consider going live on the podcast as a way to mix it up with the blog! Why not take a blog break from time to time and be pod person!
    Thanks
    Enka

  17. Tempo1936  January 11, 2018

    I find the podcast valuable as it helps me remember the great written blogs.
    Also I Enjoy the new material from the older blogs Which are not listed/referenced in the written blog. Yes, You can retrieve those blogs with the search function but you first have to know they exist. Newer members are probably unaware of many of the subjects covered in the previous blogs.
    I hope the podcasts continue and result in the success of the Erhman blog.

  18. smitch2010  January 12, 2018

    Bart, just started listening, thank you. The reader has a nice mellow voice. It would be nice at some point to hear your voice more. Not sure what format that could take. Maybe its a once a month answering some of the questions you receive over a course of a month or even past questions. Your scholarship of information will always be fresh to new ears and a reminder for old ears who are trying to stay current with your information.

  19. RonaldTaska  January 12, 2018

    Pretty amazing! I recently asked my 12-year-old neighbor what he wanted for Christmas and his answer, he talks rather fast, had something to do with getting tickets to see two guys at the downtown Durham Carolina Theater who have made a fortune doing silly Youtube videos and my young neighbor wants to do the same when he grows up. I also read a recent article about the best dozen podcasts out there and saw yesterday that Meet the Press is now available as a podcast. There is a whole new world out there. For those new to the blog, I recommend working your way through all of Dr. Ehrman’s Youtube videos. I did one each Sunday morning. while my wife was in church, for just over a year and in that way worked by way through all 60 or so of them.

  20. PatrickRN  January 12, 2018

    I prefer to read the blog, but in addition to that I also listen to the podcast. My wife, who does not read the blog, listened to a podcast with me while on a drive, and now she downloads and listens to every episode. Thanks John for the great work on the podcast.

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