TGA Podcast: Episode 313

TGA Podcast: Episode 313

This week, a shocking announcement as The Good Atheist hangs up his hat, and also takes the time to discuss some of the challenges of the future.

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Comments (10)

  • avatar


    Hi Jacob. I, like many other fans, am very sad about the news.
    Heres how i took the news. Being a school custodian, i was sweeping my classrooms. I received the email from dan drew on my phone and
    I had to take a seat on one of the desks. I couldn’t believe it. Coincidentally I was listening to my podcasts and your podcast was up next. However, it was the second to last podcast you had uploaded, the one with the interview(that’s how far behind I am on my podcasts and how many I listen to). Anyways, I just skipped it and went straight your latest podcast. Bummed out that you were actually confirming what the email had read.
    I listen to somewhere between 5-7 atheist podcasts. And of them all you are the only one i am a paying hardcore member of. And now that i hear that the podcast is done for I was wondering why was it that this podcast wasn’t having the success you were expecting. And I think I know why.

    You didn’t give you fans a voice. That is the difference between this and all the other podcasts I listen to. They reach out and have a phone to call, either live or by voicemail. And all they use is Skype or google voice. They, have live chat rooms going on during their podcast, they welcome their listener’s emails and reply back on the show. They even let callers give advice to previous questions or problems other atheists had from previous podcasts. And correct me if I’m wrong but don’t really recall you opening up on such a away to your listeners. The interviews you were having more often were fantastic and I bet we all welcomed that. I really think you have a gift, you are a great podcaster. You were meant for this. But you didn’t really allow us listeners to be an actual part of the show. As awesome as your voice is, even though you have so much to offer, as gifted as you are in expressing yourself so well, as passionate as you are, as great as you are in editing you podcast, you need to connect with us. When I became a hardcore member almost a year ago that’s what I was hoping would happen. I should really have said it then, though. Please consider doing what I’m suggesting. I hope it doesn’t raise costs for you if you do.

    Of course I could be completely wrong. Maybe there is another reason for the failure of the podcast. But that is all I could come up with. And I hope you consider inviting us listeners to be a part of the show with you. I’m hanging on til the last podcast, just so you know. Maybe soon the podcast will be called “the good atheists”. ;)

  • avatar


    Hi Jacob,
    Please don’t give up!! Your podcast is the reason why i am atheist. Give yourself bit more time i am sure we will help spread the word :) I dont know how many of fans is from europe but there is the way to get another few, just dont stop!

  • avatar


    Firstly I’d like to point out that I am a fan (especially loving the interviews) and I’m a past donator.

    However frankly there was a lot in this podcast that pissed me off…

    It’s not the first time you’ve compared tithing to atheist financial support of you and its frankly stupid. Firstly imho the main reasons the religious give is for guilt, fear of hell, bullying, greed (seed a gift and God will reward you ten fold), desperation (it’s like buying a lottery ticket for hope will make your life better) – I really think very little is comparable with the support money you get. Secondly I would have donated again but for someone who is so short of money and whines about how shit the community is at giving I’d like to point outyou don’t have a fucking donate option! Thirdly you assume people have the money, you said (I think) “if you earn $30K” (btw $5/month is 0.2% not 0.002%) – you damn well know atheism is youth dominated compared to religion, so no wonder the kids/young don’t have the money the old gits have to give to the churches. Plus the religious tend to give to a single church/ministry etc where as atheists probably spread the same giving across many atheist, humanist, secular, scientific people/groups etc. Personally I regularly give to 6 charities plus double that in ad-hoc support, then I also donate to some people like you.

    You said you have 5000 listeners then work out your 2% give… but its the damn internet man! Lots of people will be downloading your podcast with loads of others and never listen to most. It’s like people on YouTube who say they have xxx,000 subscribers but you look at there videos and they’d be lucky to get 5% watch enough of a video just to even generate a view.

    You needed to generate more listeners not whine that the ones ones you have are tight. You also needed to be more consistent, its been way too up and down, too many excuses, too many shows with lengthy sections on personal stuff that I’m sure put many off. You have the ability, the co-hosts, and do fantastic at finding people to interview, you just needed to be a bit more professional (especially as this is apparently your full time job)

    As for more listeners what have you done to get more, I found you by chance and I’ve never seen TGA anywhere else. In comparison The Thinking Atheist is on iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, YouTube and stitcher. If like TTA you put your podcasts up on YouTube you would have benefited from ad-revenue, people would have a place to comment, discuss, share, like, etc, and most of all you would have opened up your audience. I listen to TTA on my iPod but I still sub on YouTube as well and like all his videos as it helps them get seen and help with revenue.

    In fact lets compare TTA more with TGA – Seth has a full time job & family but still gets a podcast out every week (with research), sometimes extra podcasts, also produces fantastic videos (time consuming and expensive), speaks at multiple events a year and each is new content, and he recently did a book as well. TTA also has apparently active chat room, facebook page and forums. He recently suggested some wanted to help so asked for $10 sub per year (I don’t do subs so donated $25). Jacob you do this apparently as a full time job but have nothing like like the reliability of output, less professional/on topic, moan at/about your listeners/the community, you don’t do talks or videos or run forums and then want $60/year (and have no basic donate option)

    I really believe you have the ability and if you had actually put a bit more effort into pushing your content you would have had much much more money coming in – as someone who works 60 hours a week, then spends a lot of time reading and watching religions, political, scientific information I really wonder what you do all week?

    What could you do (should have done)?

    1# Publish the podcasts on YouTube, and maybe other places. Either as plain audio and static image as per TTA or use your artistic abilities to enhance with images. The interviews would be great with some images, with key sentences being written up on the screen as said. You can also attach/mention your videos than on other peoples videos to get new viewers. Maybe best to only put up the interviews, bible stories, and more on-topic (more edited) versions.

    2# Have a damn donate button here and link on facebook, YouTube etc (maybe mention its your only income)

    3# Treat it more like a job: keep on schedule, don’t bring too much personal life to the product (i.e. a couple of minutes not half and hour); don’t moan/blame your customers; and market your product..

    4# Don’t rely on others to publicize – go make posts on reddit, stumble-upon, wherever especially when you have interviews – people will come to hear an interview with someone they think sounds interesting more than just to hear a strangers opinion on a topic. or get one or more of the 300 to help with the marketing.

    5# I never understood the DVD idea as to me that was all past content, the world in changing and people want new content. I’d pay $20 for you to just do one or two good shows a month for another year, but have no interest in hours of old stuff. You’d have probably got more from YouTube ad-revenue by putting them up there than trying to sell on a DVD

    6# Many people don’t like to commit to things long term, instead of such grand plans like the 300 why not have a simple goal for a month every month – Show how much you need to continue, and how much you have and allow people to subscribe, or donate for the month, or several months (1,3,6,12) up front.

    7# Don’t just dump TGA – consider a balance between the TGA podcasts, the book and other work. If you had a plan to just do one, sometimes two shows a month till the books done you probably wouldn’t loose much support, then afterwards you could continue. Also why is it TGA or a full-time job, why not maybe just get a part time job and do the podcasts.

    I hope you take this as honest constructive criticism from a fan, and consider if you really want to give up (I hope you don’t). If this is what you like and want to do I really do think you can certainly get more support from growing your audience, and having more revenue options.

    Good luck in whatever direction you take

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    Hi Tim,

    Well, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think they display a lot of the problems most people have with properly understanding the differences between a business and activism. I’m no longer going to make that distinction, but it also changes the way the content is managed. So, I’m going from producing content to consolidating it.

    I suggest you talk to other people who have listened to the DVD so you could have a more informed opinion. I plan on using the skills I learned producing and managing content to now make more money, and actually use real money to affect change in the scene, and also “evolve” past atheism, which I find a little limiting.

    I’m taking my new role in publishing seriously, and I think if you were impressed by my activism, you’ll be much more impressed by my professionalism and hard work. The difference is how much it’s going to cost to get it.

  • avatar

    Dan Drew

    Hey Tim,

    Great ideas, I never really got into TTA myself. If you don’t mind, can you email me at I would like to pick your brain.



  • avatar


    You have my email. If Ryan, Jeff and/or yourself, Jake, ever get together in a room with a microphone, email me the link to the mp3. Atheism related, or not, I don’t care.

    Other than that, I wish you luck with whatever you decide to to, knowing full well that my wishes have absolutely no bearing on the outcome of future events.

  • avatar


    I listened to one of your bible stories on youtube and it had really good responses. I don’t know who posted it or uploaded it, but I had to agree with the other’s great.
    I think your book has amazing potential. I think the reason people gave was not so they could get a physical thing in return (as you stated) but because people could envision it being great and wanted to support the project.
    One thing in one episode you called fans that donate “low hanging fruit” and that made me feel weird. I am anything but low hanging fruit. I’m not going to call the hsn at five in the morning. I made a conscious decision to support the book.
    I’m sure many people, like the guy above who mentioned that your podcast is the ONLY one he supports, are very thoughtful and even reserved with how they spend their money.
    Not trying to make you feel bad. Just please don’t call people who donate low hanging fruit. We are most likely not. We support you when we give.

  • avatar


    Another thing that bothered me.. sorry.. was when you said you appealed to peoples vanity by offering to draw their faces in your book.
    I’m sure you just meant this in a light-hearted matter, but when I heard that I was thinking the people who chose that option might not feel very good hearing you say that.
    Those are obviously big fans who bought that option and maybe it just means something to them or maybe they wanted to chose the highest level of support.
    I guess I don’t know if I’m conveying this properly but you just might want to think about how this sounds to your listeners.
    You should assume people chose that option because they wanted to support you.
    Not for some selfish weird motivation and actually you should maybe thank them.
    Sorry, don’t mean to be rude.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    No need to apologize, TM. I want people to tell me what they think, so I can know more about everything I do. I’m not a mind reader, and people rarely speak out in this community unless they are angry. I’m used to it, and I’m taking the things you say seriously. I’ll address them in the next podcast.

  • avatar

    Scott John Harrison

    I am only about 7 minutes into the podcast so I am unsure where you are going to decide to go next but I will say something as an on again off again podcaster: I have never thought that you could make a living off podcasting (which is why my podcasting is just a hobby) unless you are someone who can get to the Leo Leport level and I don’t think a minority activism podcast can do that outside of it being funded by as part of an actual charity organisation.

    I am surprised you have lasted this long as a full time job (About 5 years or so.) off of this to be honest. I am going to finish listening to the podcast and see what your future plans are later but for tonight this is slightly too depressing.

    I am one person who was planning of joining the 300 when I actually have an income coming in. I decided when listening to the episode before hand talking about the idea for a half-way house for abandoned people.

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