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Skeptoid Wins the 2012 Stitcher Award for Best Science Podcast

by Brian Dunning, Dec 06 2012

Own Horn Tooted

“What is Stitcher?” I asked, in reply to the “Click here to set up your account” email. I’d gotten half a dozen complaints, via email and Twitter, from Skeptoid listeners who found that Skeptoid had disappeared from their Stitcher application. I’d had no idea what Stitcher was. My bad, it so happened. Stitcher is a free app that streams your favorite podcasts and other content, plus recommended similar content. And it turns out that, without my even knowing about it, a lot of my listeners already used it and loved it. It’s no flash in the pan; in fact, your next BMW, Chevy, or GM auto will have a Stitcher button to stream your favorite shows to your car stereo wherever you go.

So that’s Stitcher, a significant player in the Internet audio industry. This year they held their first annual Stitcher Awards for podcasts in a number of categories. When I saw the nominees for Best Science, I was intimidated to say the least:

  • StarTalk with Neil Degrasse Tyson, a commercial radio program
  • Science Friday, a radio program from National Public Radio
  • 60-Second Science, from Scientific American
  • Ask the Naked Scientists, from the British Broadcasting Corporation and Cambridge University
  • Skeptics Guide to the Universe – An independent show run by 5 people.
  • Skeptoid – An independent show run by 1 guy.

So, obviously, Skeptics Guide to the Universe and Skeptoid were at a bit of a disadvantage. In an award determined by popular votes from listeners, how could we humble independent podcasters ever hope to compete?? The disadvantage was insurmountable, by all rights. Two independent shows, against four slick, professionally produced, commercially backed programs.

This is where the nature of podcasting shines. The playing field may not be completely leveled, but it’s very close to it. Despite our lack of access to broad mainstream audiences (although both shows are syndicated on a small number of local radio stations), SGU and Skeptoid have been able to consistently stay right up there on the front page of iTunes, rolling with the big dogs — as are a handful of other independent podcasts. It’s a testament to the nature of the medium that good, consistent, quality content, produced by hard working individuals, can win over audiences and win awards like this one.

I’m proud to say that Skeptoid won the Best Science category, and Skeptics Guide to the Universe is listed at the top of the runners-up in the category, which (I hope) means they came in second in the voting (though I don’t know). I congratulate all the independent shows nominated in all the categories (especially my friend George Hrab who deserved more than a “Best Cover Art” nomination), and it was awesome and amazing to share the stage with the other winners of the evening including Chris Hardwick, the BBC, Penn Jillette, Leo Laporte, Ira Glass, Jad Abumrad, NPR, and How Stuff Works. What a night it was. Thanks so much to everyone who voted, and especially to those of you who make Skeptoid possible with your contributions.

11 Responses to “Skeptoid Wins the 2012 Stitcher Award for Best Science Podcast”

  1. Congratulations, Brian. It is great that independent podcasts remain viable competitors in a growing market.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Susan Gerbic says:

    Dito what Steve said. Very proud of you for this achievement. I’ll get it on your Wikipedia page (if someone can beat me to it, pretty please do so) tonight.

    Participating in the voting in the podcast process, I picked up 8 more shows I had never heard of that now join my iTunes downloads each week. Getting beyond the skeptical choir was my hope with this award and it seems that it will come true. I’m sure that many new people will download and then become regular subscribers to Skeptoid that may never thought they might enjoy a science podcast before.

    Wield your power well and never go to the dark side. Congrats!

  3. Ryan Johnson says:

    Congratulations! While the podcast is surely a lot of hard work, without a tremendous financial incentive -at this point at least- the information and perspective that you deliver weekly via your flagship show has educated, enlightened and touched so many peoples lives, including mine. I am proud to call you a friend, and really encouraged to see the successes that you’ve worked to create with this program! Great job! Keep up all the hard work!

  4. Lone Wolf says:

    Congratulations! You really deserve it.

  5. Kat Carroll says:

    Grats, Brian! So glad to see your loyal fans rally and hit the nominations and voting every day to propel you to a well-deserved victory.

    Whenever I meet people new to podcasting (I work in the tech field with direct customer contact), I suggest your show first, both for its quality content and its compact formatting.

    I hope you’ll find the time & energy (and donations) to keep up Skeptoid for a long time to come. Thank you for all your hard work.

  6. Susan Gerbic says:

    Your Wikipedia page is all updated now. Got the award right in the lede where it belongs.

  7. David Young says:

    Skeptoid is an excellent podcast and I listen frequently, but it’s not a science podcast. This award doesn’t make any sense. Skeptoid is rarely ever about science. I could understand being considered in this category if there was a weekly science segment but it’s only very rarely that the show deals specifically with science topics. My questions is not just how did it win the science category? but how did it ever get nominated?

  8. Phea says:

    OK Brian… Nice going. After reading the other comments,I feel my congratulations should be somewhat restrained out of concern for your health, (bigheaditus… not a pretty condition!) The only way to be 100% immune is to receive the award or honor posthumously.

    I’ve watched quite a few Skeptoid episodes, and found them overall to be informative, entertaining, and interesting. It’s quite a leap, going from writing a blog, (a solo, part time writing gig), to creating, writing, scripting, rewriting, producing, directing, editing, and staring in a video production. So many little, but important things that can go wrong…

    Seriously Brian, Way To Go, Sir!

  9. Yanis K. says:

    Congratulations Brian. I voted for skeptoid for nearly every day (I think I may have missed two chances though, there I said it. Wont happen again, u got my word). ;-) Way to go buddy!

  10. laursaurus says:

    I’m late to the party, but have to congratulate my favorite podcaster for this achievement. Being a dedicated listener, iTunes often fails to update on Tuesday morning before I’m stuck at work, my break rolls around at 10 am, I open the app, and the latest episode of Skeptoid can’t be downloaded, much less listened to, before those precious 10 minutes have passed. Stitcher streams well over 3G (no wifi at my work place), so it’s my trusty back up to iTunes. I put Skeptoid in my favorites when I first set up the app. The sound quality isn’t great. It has that metallic Skype tone quality to it. But since Skeptoid is all about content for me, I’m happy to sacrifice the polished Apple system, for the immediate gratification. I’m proud to be a supporter as well!