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May 03, 2009


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Steve (UK)

Hi Mike,
I totally agree with the overwhelming majority of comments so far. I think you are doing an amazing job with THOR - easily the best podcast out there. Thanks for inviting feedback on this issue of potential advertising - hopefully you can see from the comments that there is a huge amount of respect, affection and trust out there for you, as well as an appreciation of the amount of effort that must go in to producing something of the consistent quality of THOR (I dont know how you do it frankly). If you can make a few bob whilst continuing to entertain and educate, and if it helps ensure THOR continues, then absolutely go for it.
One thing though, a couple of times you have needed to miss a week or so - vacation, house move etc - please make sure in whatever agreement you reach with Audible that you still have the freedom to do this. No point earning a few quid if you dont get the chance to spend it. Very best wishes to you and Mrs THOR, and thanks again for your wonderful contribution to the world.


Get an ironclad contract and don't let them bully you. Make sure all issues of content control, frequency of updates, placement of ads, and duration of ads are settled to your satisfaction up front. Also the terms of withdrawal - who gets rights to what if they drive you to quit. You are in complete control of this exchange - don't sign anything away. Don't give them any loopholes that they can later close and strangle your fun.

Then, and only then, accept the offer. It's not worth it otherwise. THOR is your baby.

(Does that make you Odin?)


Mike - I definitely think you should try it out and agree with the suggestions about starting and/or finishing with the ad versus popping it in the middle.

Great job, love the series!


I add my voice to the chorus of approval for Audible ads. I'm thankful for all the pleasure your work brings me.


Go for the deal. Audible's a great service and so is yours. It'll be especially complementary if you could recommend good books to your listeners.


Mike, I listen to several podcast and all are financed in some way by ads (many of them Audible in fact). I see no problem whatsoever with you speaking a while about Audible. Just look at the fantastic TWiT, Net@Night and Diggnation podcast for example.

Richard Knudson

Hey Mike --

The way I look at it, if you don't get paid something you'll be under-incentivized for such an amazing podcast. Every Sunday afternoon my son and I start checking iTunes for the latest episode; I haven't looked forward to something every week as much since Johny Quest went off the air. Keep up the awesome work, and thanks!


Absolutely a great podcast. I look forward to it each week. As far as ads go, do what you gotta do, I'll still listen.


Hi Mike,
Thank you for such a great job correcting the Pantheon information!!! If you have never visited this building, it is truly a remarkable space. For the past 15+ years, I have had the pleasure of teaching a 2-week university course in Rome focusing on the history of its art and architecture. Visiting the Pantheon is one of the true highlights of the trip. One year, in fact, I managed to get into it just as the doors opened and there was no body else in the building...it is an experience I will never forget.

For anyone who has never been to Rome or the Pantheon it should be on the "Bucket list."

Oh, and as for the ads--for what it is worth, I agree with the prevailing vote YES! You do such a great job and I know how much work these take--you should definitely reap some reward for your labor!

Gabriel Rousseau

Hey Mike,

I've enjoyed every episode of THOR and I honestly think advertisement would in no way deter your listeners. As long as you and the podcast stay who and what you are, I say run with it.

There, I said it.


Do it! Whatever makes this easier on you. I have listened to other audible podcasts and they are perfectly fine. Thanks for asking us!


I'm still trying to get my head round the fact you're doing all this for free in the first place. Doubt many people would like them but dare say they'd have to be pretty intrusive before they put anybody off listening.

course if they're actually for something interesting (shouldn't be too hard with audible), would probably welcome them - particularly if you can keep some sort of 'editorial independence' (hey we trust you)


As a faithful listener to your podcast I fully support anything that makes producing the podcast more rewarding for you. A few seconds of commercials are a small price to pay for your detailed, humorous delivery. I cherish the hope that you will continue this podcast up to the Byzantine and beyond (a History of Carthage perhaps?), so please, make it worthwhile for yourself.
on another topic, I'd love to know more about your source material, and while I can see the value of keeping the podcast light, it would be great to get an occasional reference. Just for curiosity sake.

David Andersson

Hey Mike,

I just watched Terry Jones's Barbarian's part four of four. It was about Attila the Hun and revealed information about the warlord that I wasn't tought in school. Beware once you enter that part of the history of Rome. ;)

Looking forward to the next episode, as always.

David, Sweden


Hi Mike - the choice is yours, as only you know how comfortable you feel with the Audible offer and what they ask of you - however if it's any reassurance, another podcast I follow closely has an Audible deal in place, and it hasn't affected my enjoyment of their podcast (it's mention of Audible at the begining and end is low key and reasonable) nor the quality. Helen


Just to contribute to the love in. The podcast is amazing. Have been an avid listener for a year and a half, You must have put hundreds of hours of scholarship into it and deserve a hefty salary. I say go for it. Thank you


No doubt about what we listeners think: you would have to do something pretty radical to knock THoR off its pedestal.


Re the ads - go for it! I trust your judgement to keep them unobtrusive and THoR is easily of sufficient quality that it should be actively earning you some income.

Yanni Cotis


What you are doing is truly incredible. Every week you sit down and deliver an interesting, complex and humourous analysis of an important part of world history. FOR NO MONEY. That you have done this demonstrates your intellectual integrity and your commitment to spreading knowledge. As long as they aren't allowed any control over the content of your podcasts you deserve to make some money. Hell buy yourself some more computer equipment, buy Mrs History of Rome a present or a great night out for you spending all this time on podcasting. In short you have already demonstrated your integrity, allow yourself to be rewarded for your good deeds.

Cheers from London

Timothy J.

I think it is clear that most people support the ads. I certainly do. This is one of my favorite podcasts (the day that itunes automatically and unexpectedly downloaded your newest episode after I thought the podcast was gone for good was a GREAT day!) and the quality certainly warrants paid ads. Further, I found it very touching that you would ask your listeners for input, and that you put the quality of the content before monetary considerations. I suggest that you get other sponsors too. Short little podcast ads are not very intrusive (especially compared to radio and TV), and most mp3 players can easily skip ahead for those people who desperatley need to get directly to the History of Rome. Keep up the great work.

Eric Herboso

Yes to the audible ads. You gotta eat.

Susan Houston

I have been listening to your podcast from day one, and considering the obvious amount of work you put into each episode, it would be criminal for you NOT to take advantage of some kind of compensation! This is one of the stronger historical podcasts out there, and is certainly worthy of being sponsored.

That being said... if you are going to become "commercial" in that sense... then I would advise you to consult with an expert on proper Latin pronounciation. Your way of pronouncing Antony ("ant-knee") and plebian (before you corrected it back in the day) was more than a little jarring, and Marcellus is said with a soft C, not a hard C. Being a Roman history junkie who's listened to dozens of audiobooks and seen "I, Claudius" a dozen or more times, it can be very distracting for me. You're doing quality research; your pronounciation should help reflect that.

Even if it just means listening to Colleen McCullough's Rome series on audiobook... that would help polish your Latin vocab!

Keep up the good work - I'll keep listening, regardless!

Atsuko Kohaku Tomomi

go for it!

Danny Hellman

Take the money, Mike; you've earned it! I won't mind listening to an ad, especially if it's for Audible, (and not Cialis).

Mattehw Searing


I am not sure there is any more to say, but as long as the deal works for you and doesn't compromise your integrity in any way (is there an out if you say yes and then change your (our) mind?). You deserve compensation, I have referred many a friend, colleague and student to your work. I was happy to pledge a couple of bucks when the link went up for paypal. So, whatever keeps it coming is fine with me.

Brian Sample

We are getting an amazing product for free. As long as you are happy, you keep editorial control.. Why not make a little $$$. Keep up the GREAT work.

Ron Kugler

Hi Mike,

Thank you so much for asking your listener's opinion, it says a lot about you as a person in that you genuinely care - about people you may never meet! You have my blessing (as if you needed it). History - especially Roman - has always been a hobby of mine and you bring it to life within a time period that I can afford to sacrifice as a busy father.

Thanks and please go ahead!


Ads sound okay if necessary, but it seems that they would be less intrusive if spoken at the end of the program.

Bob A

The above comments would seem to indicate it being all against one in favour of your gaining sponsorship. Obviously it is ultimately your decision, and from your stated thoughts on the matter I sense that you wouldn’t take any crap from the sponsors. So go for it I say.


Hi Mike,

I say yes to the ads. Thanks for the great podcast!


I actually WANT you to run ads. I love this podcast, and I would love to see it become so profitable for you that you would be able to make podcasting your primary source of income. Maybe if it was your primary source of income, you could do a few more episodes per week, or launch another podcast (The Imperial Presidency) or two.

Don't fear capitalism. You are creating value. There is nothing wrong with you receiving value in return.

Matt in Japan

As long as I don't have to go to audible to hear your podcast, if you want to spend a minute talking about an advertiser then you should probably do it, especially since it will encourage to do the episodes and give you a bit more motivation to see the history of Rome to its conclusion.

absolutely amazing podcast by the way. got into it at episode 5 a long time ago. I know you took a long break last summer. maybe getting some money from adds will get you to keep it going all year long?

Just don't want to have to pay for it from audible

L Anvik

Anything you need to do to keep this story going is ok by me, including brief advertising. Some other suggestions:
1. Let people know they can support your efforts directly through contributions via your THoR web site;
2. Put an address on the website to send checks to. I for one will send a check, but have hesitated to donate so far from fear of using a credit card on the internet;
3. If you do use audible.com, put your own stuff up there. Then only give away the most recent (10 or so) episodes. This is the HBO model (e.g. Soprannos, The Wire, ROME!! etc.) and they make a lot of dough off of their old shows. And let's not forget that your stuff will never ever get old.

Best of Luck Mike, and keep up the good work (don't forget the PO box for donor checks)

Mark Mullen, Liverpool, UK

Hey Mike,

First up thanks for all your hard work on all these podcasts so far. You break one of the most intertesting times in History into nice bitesize chunks and you do so without a bias typical of modern day media and with a little pinch of dry humour which is always a bonus.

You mentioned that you're planning to go back and add maps to old podcasts. Well not that I want to add to you work load but a the sound on a couple of the podcasts was faulty. I can't remember the humbers but it might be worth re-recording those just to have everything fixed up.

With regards to adding adverts/sponsorship to your podcasts, I'm really not a fan. For a start I'm from the UK so I doubt whatever you're promoting will have any relevance to me. Also I'm keeping these on file for future listening and to have adverts in them will take away the timelessness of them. But that said I understand you see a commercial oppurtunity here and you deserve to reap some reward for all you hard work. I'll still be listening regardless. I just hope they don't interfere too much. Put them at the end so I can skip to the next episode at that point. Haha.

greg bailey

thank you for asking about the advertising. shows you're integrity and makes your listeners feel like stakeholders in your podcast. very clever PR.

go for the advertising.



One more person had to say it. Go for the advertising. Its almost unfair that I get this for free.


as long as it doesn't interfere with the quality of the podcast its okay I'm fine with it as the others said it should only be at the end or beginning or end of the show and you deserve it .

John Aldeborgh


Your show is truly enjoyable so if accepting ad revenue help keep the program running on a steady basis I doubt anyone will mind too much. Please try and not change the format of the podcast too much - I for one like the length, level of detail and style of the current show.

Best of luck and keep it coming.



I have enjoyed your podcast since it began. If ads bring in some income to help you continue this project, you should definitely go forward with them.

Thanks for asking for our input.


Dear Mike,
Thank you for the countless hours of entertainment/enlightenment. If advertising will allow you to spend even more time on THoR, and the installments will be longer and/or more frequent, please do succumb to the almighty buck.If advertising is to pad the existing length/frequency, I'll be annoyed at Audible; frankly, if possible, I avoid products with huge ad budgets or piss-off factors....
Your podcasts are wonderful, and the highlight of my week.
If advertising intrudes without a "pay-off", i.e. more THoR, I'll avoid the bastards like the plague, but not you, you wonderful man.
Many thanks,

Andre Torrez

Hooray for ads!

Niall Blehein

Mike - the quality of your podcasts is head and shoulders above most professional broadcast work. The only history podcast I know of that is of similar quality is the 12 Byzantine Rulers series - which I assume you've listened to many times.

Get thee an agreement with Audible and while you're at it explore any other commercial possiblities. Given the number of fans you have I think its quite logical to assume you have an inbuilt market that would check out whatever you did next.

I dont believe many people just listen to the occasional podcast of yours. From what I see, people discover it and commit. And thats a sign from the gods that you deserve to be paid !

chris johnson

Mike, It's great your podcast is so good! By far the best on the web. You should go for it and buy something lavish!

Felicia Kenney

As others have said, go ahead with the ads. Other podcasts I listen to are sponsored by Audible and it isn't too intrusive. Also as others have said, I love the podcast. Thanks!


Brilliant show, thanks for all your effort putting it together, a true highlight of my week.
In some ways it would be a shame to include adverts. One of the many beauties of this podcast is its generosity of spirit, the feeling you are doing this to for no other reason than to share your knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject. However just reading that back sounds ridiculously pompous and a man cannot live on praise alone. If it means you can keep on producing the show as well as worrying less about funding it then sod it, take the cash. Just make sure they don't start trying to contract you into specific deadlines, if you can't have a few weeks off now and then what's the point?


check out dancarlin.com's podcasts, he does the audible thing. Works pretty well.

Cameron Hunt

Hello Mike
Your podcast is of such quality that I will continue to listen despite advertising. I hope you will consider another series of podcasts after Rome and get very rich in doing so.
Sydney Australia

Pastor Jason

Hi Mike,

Just another vote in favor of the ads. The quality of THoR is outstanding. You should receive some compensation for it. Thanks for the great work!



A happy ITunes subscriber here to say, a little advertising is not a bad thing. Get yourself a little coin of the realm.


I listen to many podcasts, and always wondered why yours had no advertisements. I've never found the beginning, midpoint, and end ads to be very distracting. I would keep listening to your podcast, as I have been, with or without ads. And you'd get supported for the great work you do.


Hi Mike!

I've just caught up to the present on the Podcast, and its among my favorites. Thanks for the work you put into it.

I'm not a huge fan of ads for this particular Podcast. I think the episodes are very much of one piece now, with the unobtrusive but effective musical intro and outro, and no delay in getting to the goods. Audible ads are not to bad, but I think they would harm the artistic integrity quite a bit. I'd still listen, and I'd still appreciate the Podcast even with ads, though.


I would not be angery about ads.
Go for it ads are fine with me!


Go for it Mike! I listen every week for several podcasts with limited advertising and find them still pleasurable. Your work is excellent and I will continue to come back & recommend it.

BTW, thanx for the maps addition. Can you try to do "enhanced" podcasts (embed the image), for those of us who listen while on the treadmill? Maybe, get Audible.com to pay for that....

Dave McMurray

In stead of advertising, do it the Roman way. Invade and conquer smaller and weaker neighboring podcasts. At CNET, spread rumors of sale and they will destroy themselves from within their own ranks! Attack any PBS podcast for their supply lines are weak!

The Silent Hero

I'm not fond of advertising, but really I wouldn't mind that much. If it's a little extra money for your glorious efforts then I say go for it. It certainly wouldn't impose on the podcast.

Galen Bowen

I think some advertising is not only tolerable, I think it's a good thing, and I'm wholeheartedly in favor of it. In the long run, that's what keeps great things like the History of Rome going. A person needs some reward (beyond just a warm and fuzzy feeling inside). As long as it is kept in its place and doesn't adversely affect the quality of the material, I think it's a good thing.

Matthew L. Kelley

Do some advertising at the end of the show. Nothing wrong with that!


This podcast is one of the highlights of my week. You clearly put a ton of work into it and if you can make some cheddar (not the Tillamook kind but enough to by some of the Tillamook kind and perhaps even some crackers) go for it! You are offering a free killer oral history of Rome. One little ad at the beginning or end won't bother me at all and I would feel better knowing you got some spending change. I am flat ass broke most days since I got laid off and I sure as heck don't want you to be.


Do it, Mike! If Dan Carlin is willing to risk his finicky fan-base on Audible ad revenues, you're well in the right to as well. Thanks for such an entertaining podcast.

Steve Mastny

Ads - go for it

Ryan C.

I agree that 1-3 ads at the beginning of your podcast and one at the end would not be at all objectionable. You deserve to monetize this hobby if for nothing else than to defray your costs. Personally, I find ad copy read by the host to be more agreeable than prerecorded segments.

Even if someone says that they would stop listening in protest of advertisement, I doubt that they would actually follow through, as hypocrisy can not be determined.


Mike, you are doing my very favourite podcast and anything that keeps you on the air is fine by me. Quite a few other podcasts that I listen to are sponsored by Audible - some manage the advertising of Audible significantly more subtle than others (compare Hardcore History with Slate's Political Gabfest). Keep up the good work.


Great contents, I read about the byzantine history at http://crusades-medieval.blogspot.com/2009/07/divisions-of-byzantine-history.html

Jeff Deal

If We catch you in the treasury too often, we'll hail you Caesar!


Seriously - no problems with the ads - I hope you can make/help make a living by your very fine efforts.

...don't forget the Legions when you make it BIG.


I agree--put in ads. (I know this is a bit late).


I have to drop a line to say without doubt this is at present the best pod cast to while away those long hours in traffic to and from work. It riveting and read exceptionally well. I look forward to listening to the end of this great empire. And once over, looking forward to what will the next long running history epic. I actually sometimes end up sitting in my garage until the episode I am listening to ends, not wanting to stop half way through.
Keep up the good work, excellent all the way.

Val in Vancouver

Well Mike considering it's your show and we plebs are living at your whims I'd say having the loyalty of the troops is just nice.
My favourite comments are the ones that refer to the show. We do hail you Augustus!
The ads are absolutley fine. My comment is tv is run on the ads. It was soap that paid for all the best in US entertainment first radio then tv.
As well I like your audible ads. You recommend reading material I'm interested in therefore, I listen to the ads. Once I get used to the idea of using a credit card on-line, well then I will here and there.
It would be a good idea for you to have a PO Box though for cheques. You've told the world the city you live in so, I hope it's not that you are worried about stalkers.
Val in Vancouver

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