After being dethroned from talk radio, Adam Carolla becomes podcast king

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Posted by on March 24, 2009 at 14:23:30:

After being dethroned from talk radio, Adam Carolla becomes podcast king

By DERRIK J. LANG | AP Entertainment Writer

6:02 PM CDT, March 23, 2009

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Sitting inside his palatial Hollywood Hills mansion, Adam Carolla and his talk show host pal Jimmy Kimmel chat candidly - in a frenetic, almost stream-of-consciousness way - about pornography, Siegfried and Roy, the modeling industry, gay rodeos and the children's book "Where the Wild Things Are."

The former hosts of Comedy Central's "The Man Show" are comfortably slouched on brown leather chairs inside Carolla's office upstairs, where a pink box overflowing with childrens' toys sits in the corner. A totally casual affair, it seems - except that each is wearing a bulky headset, making them look as if they're monitoring air traffic or playing "Gears of War" online.

The headsets are, in fact, recording the uncensored conversation for Carolla's daily podcast, an endeavor the 44-year-old radio and TV personality launched last month after his popular syndicated morning radio show was canceled when CBS switched the format of KLSX from talk to pop music.

"They didn't cancel KLSX and my show because we weren't popular," says Carolla. "I didn't feel an ounce of 'I'll show you! I'll go and do a podcast, and you guys will rue the day!' I understood they paid us a lot of money, and if they just play Justin Timberlake and Rihanna, they'll save themselves a few bucks. That's the climate we're living in these days."

If large audience for his long-form rants was what Carolla was after, then not even he is rueing that day.

Since launching Feb. 25, "The Adam Carolla Podcast" has frequently been the No. 1 podcast on iTunes, which doesn't release download numbers but ranks its offerings according to popularity. The show has consistently charted ahead of such staples as NPR's "This American Life," HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," ''The Ricky Gervais Podcast" and President Barack Obama's weekly address.

Carolla was surprised as anyone else by the sudden success of his minimalist venture.

"Last week, we had over 3 million hits, and I don't know exactly how those work, but we have a system that measures your hits, and I've seen them steadily going up," says Carolla. "Whatever it is, it's new. It's exciting. You don't get 'The Tonight Show' kinda numbers or audience or whatever. We're doing well for a podcast. If we were a TV show, I'm sure we'd be pulled off the air."

The bare-bones production is recorded in real time in his home and has no music, commericals, sound effects or editing. Each episode features just one celebrity guest, and thus far has attracted the likes of Tom Arnold, "The Soup" host Joel McHale, "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane and comedians such as David Alan Grier, Dana Gould and Aisha Tyler.

"We haven't missed a day yet," boasts Carolla. "It's like dating. If you like me, I'll like you back. I'll keep growing the show based on other people's commitment to it. If people find the show, like the show and want more of the show, then I'll oblige. If they taper off and don't show an interest anymore, then I'm not going to show an interest in it anymore."

The podcast has been part of an unexpected evolution for the season six "Dancing with the Stars" contestant, a radio veteran best known as the co-host of "Loveline," the syndicated radio show and MTV series featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, and as the disc jockey who replaced Howard Stern in 12 markets after the shock jock departed for satellite radio in 2006.

Carolla, who is currently working on a CBS comedy pilot, is still mulling how to monetize the production, which he estimates cost him $3,000 a month to produce. He would prefer to charge a subscription fee than woo advertisers, so that he can continue to liberally rant and use whatever explicit language he deems necessary. For now, there's no turning back.

"This feels really good, and it would feel really hard to go back and do terrestrial radio or even satellite radio," says Carolla. "I don't think satellite is in any position to hire new talent these days, and terrestrial radio would feel very limiting after this. My wish, hope and goal is to grow this, so that we have our own show and our own community."


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