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UWS podcasts. The future.

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    UWS podcasts. The future.

    United We Stand podcasts. An important message.

    Put 'Unfinished Sympathy' on by Massive Attack on long play and read this.

    We've run the United We Stand podcasts through the Mirror for two years. In that time we've had 80 different guests from Rio Ferdinand to Tony O'Neill, Diego Forlan to Paddy Crerand, Gary Neville to Hayley McQueen. Plus loads of diehard MUFC fans at games from Yokohama to West Ham, Old Trafford to Athens.

    We put a lot of effort into getting guests on the podcast. We don't just turn up at the football agents’ offices and press record - we build trust and we try and interview face-to-face as it makes for a better interview. We've had some of the best journalists around on them - specialists on their field from far and wide. Remember the Greek presenter who had to get out of Piraeus? Jim White from Gothenburg? Or the AIK Ultras near Stockholm, the Disabled Reds at Reading away? Real people with real voices who don't always get heard by the mainstream media. Or choose not to. Where else have you heard Ed Woodward but on our podcast?

    Guests don't get asked the questions we ask. How many people have been told to 'fuck off' like we were by Diego Forlan in his brilliant podcast, recorded in his house?

    How interesting was Neville Southall (who donated his fee to the Association of Former United players), Ben Turner, the man behind the Class of '92 film? How fit, sorry, friendly, did Kay Murray sound? Ben Thornley was close to tears as he spoke about his injury, Chris Casper too. Remember Quinton Fortune on Mandela, Bojan Djordic being Bojan, Danny Webber on his time at United? Or Dean Holden in a podcast nobody will ever forget? Who else? Pete Boyle, Mark O'Brien at Everton, Sid Lowe on Spanish football, Willie Morgan, Ronnie Reng, Martin Samuel...

    Paul Parker was a great laugh, Norman Whiteside was in superb form, Graham Hunter is always engaging. Peter Schmeichel, Duncan Hamilton, Eric Steele, Colin Blaney, Henry Winter, Mikael Silvestre, Lee Boardman, Terry Gibson, Lars Morten Olsen, Terry Christian, Phil Chisnall, David Meek, Brian Glanville, James Scowcroft, Andy Cole, Ian Hawkey, Alex Stepney, the donkey and cart in Brazil, David McDonnell, the Paris Angel and Gary Whelan from the Happy Mondays were among our other guests.

    Did you ever expect to hear "Pierre" van Hooijdonk on a Manchester United podcast? Or Peter Hooton from The Farm? We had Red Issue lads on the train to Swansea, the Red News editor celebrating a quarter of a century publishing a mag and David May not shirking anything that he was asked - by you, the readers. And nor did John Gidman. Oh, John Gidman…
    The podcasts are popular. They average 11,000 downloads a week. If all those listeners paid £1 per year we'd have enough to fund them. £250 a week, that's it. But they won't. Life doesn't work like that. People hoover up free content - they’ve come to expect it.

    The podcasts lose money. We're thankful that the Mirror funded us for two years, but now that funding has stopped.

    We've looked for alternative forms of funding this summer. We've had offers to pay us for video diaries and other work, but not the podcasts in the audio form - though we had offers from companies who would want to take editorial control. How the can we ask someone about being bummed by a horse if we don't have editorial control? We can't.

    As we're not willing to do them for free or even at a loss as was the case before the Mirror stepped in, we have a couple of options.

    Stop doing them: which would be a shame, but if that's how it is then that's how it is. We've got enough on our plate.

    Somehow get new funding: so that they can pay themselves.

    People mention advertising when we tell them the podcast situation. We were all ears. With a sponsor we won't need to charge, but we've needed action, not words. We're told we can get serious advertisers at 50,000 downloads. We get 11,000 - or up to 20,000 for a big name.

    We've had a few offers from kindly United fans with their own companies to sponsor individual episodes. Great, we appreciate that. But we need funding every week if we're going to do them regularly, not as an occasional item.

    We put these options to people on uwsonline.com, who very much want them to carry on.

    We looked at crowd funding them like this podcast did when the Guardian stopped publishing it.
    http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/axed-g...r-long-funding

    Impressive, but here's what we'd like to do. We'd like to start doing the podcasts again next week in America on the pre-season tour. I'm flying there tomorrow, initially to stay with a former United player. We'll walk down West Pico Boulevard where they filmed the video to the song you're hopefully listening to, we'll get you the interesting voices we've always got. But we need support. We need money to do them.

    We'd like to offer the podcasts as part of the £10 annual subscription fee to uwsonline.com.
    We realise there's a lot of goodwill towards the podcasts from people already on there and many have offered to pay more money.

    We appreciate the sentiment, but we don't want to increase the subscription costs from a tenner a year. If you're already a subscriber and want to contribute extra to the podcasts then great - send us money to [email protected] via PayPal and mark it 'podcast'. A pound, a fiver, a tenner. It will all go into the podcast pot. We want to offer all the professional guests an appearance fee for their time. It's not a lot, but that's not the point.
    Most will laugh and ask us to pass it on to charity, so that's what we'll continue to do. If they don’t, it’s generally because they need it.

    We'd also like to offer the podcasts as part of the UWS channel on PlayUp, which will be subscription based once the season starts. It's free until then.

    Each week, we'll put a password on UWSonline.com and Play Up so that you can download the podcast in the manner you usually do. If you want to download an individual episode on i-Tunes, we'll try and offer them for 79p a go, but we'd rather you didn't go down that route. Apple would hammer us for charges.

    If we do what we intend, we need a massive upswing in subscribers to join here
    http://www.uwsonline.com/forum/payments.php

    Or on PlayUp once the season starts.

    If you're not already a member of uwsonline.com, then there's loads of other content on the site including RedsAway with vital information for match going red, original web only articles and the Groundside messageboard.

    We don't want them to finish.

    Over to you.

    Andy Mitten
    Editor, United We Stand.
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