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PODCAST: On the Record….Online with San Francisco Chronicle Podcast Editor Marcus Chan

San Francisco Chronicle Podcast Editor Marcus Chan talks about the number of listeners who subscribe to the newspaper’s podcasts, what types of print stories make the best podcasts, how the Hearst-owned newspaper is considering making its podcasts profitable, and where he sees the daily print news publishing industry headed in the age of blogs and new media.

Hosted by Eric Schwartzman.


:34 Eric starts off interview; plays a snippet about future of newspapers as told by the San Francisco Chronicle’s podcast manager Marcus Chan; introduction to “On the Record…Online”; about Eric; past guests of OTRO, how to subscribe the feed; upcoming podcasts; suggestions for guests; posting a comment to; visit the blog at; sending in audio comments; voting on; request feedback on new logo.

6:15: Different categories of podcasts on the SF Chronicle web site; typically follow the sections of the paper; follows sports teams; Backstory podcasts—behind the scenes of stories in the paper; food podcasts; enhanced podcasts with images.

10:18: How are the podcasts being received; most popular ones are the Backstory podcasts; no studies done for different demos but “seem to be all over”; stats of podcasts; hosts the paper’s podcast files and offer daily tallies about how many times a file is downloaded and partially downloaded; Bono podcast; average 9 to 13 a day.

13:45: Where downloads originate from—local readers or elsewhere?; using Feedburner and iTunes to determine what channel people are getting the SF Chronicle podcasts from; job as podcast manager; started out as “evangelist” within and outside the newsroom; getting everyone on the same page; producing podcasts and educating people about podcasts at same time.

19:52: Has the late-1990s internet boom and subsequent bust make people pessimistic about podcasting? How are people at the newspaper and elsewhere responding?; Chan says its good for the paper to experiment and in doing so, hopes to get new readers or listeners.

22:59: What makes a great podcast?; Chan discusses different podcasts that did well; deciding what print stories get spun-off into a podcast; plans to make podcasts interactive and allow people to give feedback.

29:00: Monetizing the podcasts; conflicts of journalists with marketing and advertising; research from Pew and Intelliseek that says public is losing trust in news media; good work elicits trust; internet allows stricter enforcement.

36:54: Where are newspapers going to be in 10 years; new ways of media consumption; there will be no logging on or off to internet; Chan’s favorite podcasts; Make magazine; of the 12 years that Chan has been with SF Chronicle, “this is the most creative I’ve been allowed to be.”

42:07: Interview ends.

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