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For a while now I've known a major decision point was approaching. Our current service (e-junkie) is reaching a point where we are going to need to rethink where the files are hosted, and while they've been fine to work with- I think it's time to move forward. There are a number of concerns that we've heard from you all, such as:
1) clunky interface. No good way to buy more than one episode that isn't a royal pain.
2) lack of meta data means the MP3s never show up as podcasts, putting additional work on you
3) you have to manually go download the episode which is inconvenient
So that leads us to...
SO we will be switching to a subscription based model. This offers a number of benefits.
The episodes will appear in line with our regular podcast but only be available to users who have upgraded to a premium account. Thus, you will be able to get the episodes when they appear. This also means we will no longer stagger the release- as soon as the (Still free!) episode of "News From the Front" goes live, the After Hours will be available so you can listen through all at once. In the past I've shied away from any kind of subscription model because I've been scared we wouldn't be able to deliver. So I am giving you my word that barring anything catastrophic, we will be releasing 2 episodes every month. This is in-line with our recent Studio move to the city, making scheduling much easier for all of us.
The plan is to offer a YEARLY subscription for $19.99. A 6-month subscription for $11.99, and a 1 month subscription for $3.99.
As long as your subscription is active you will have access to every single premium episode, meaning you will no longer need to purchase them one by one.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!
Once we hit 100 paid subscribers we will be producing an app on iOS and Android that will give you instant access to stream every episode from anywhere with a connection! This means you'll be able to listen to your favorite WWPD episodes without having to store the gobs of them on your device (which, by the way, account for several days worth of recorded audio at this point!). The app is great- you can either stream them whenever OR "star" them, which will download them to the device and store them until you "un-star" them. Thus you could pick and choose which episodes to listen to on a car trip or something without having to dig through iTunes. You will also be able to search on show notes so you can remember which episode it was where we introduced the panzer IV H dance!
WILL THERE BE MORE PREMIUM CONTENT BESIDES AFTER HOURS?
This is something we talk about a lot. We have a lot of great ideas. Suffice it to say, without having the added stress of worrying about how to shoe horn it into the current paradigm, it's quite likely we will now seek to produce more premium content, while ensuring that News From the Front remains as high content as it is now.
In fact, I can tell you right now there are show notes floating around for a new series called "Know the Mission." This is happenin'
There's no good way to approach this situation. Do we A) leave them as they are now potentially frustrating new listeners? Or B) include them in the new subsccription model, potentially angering our loyal listeners.
The short answer is- in the near future we will leave them as they are EXCEPT for the last 4 episodes of After Hours which were required to begin the premium service. As soon as sales through the current AH methodology begin to drop off, we will likely add them as "After Hours Classics" or something along those lines into the subscription service. So in the immediate term Episodes 16-19 will be available to all new subscribers. In the future all new content will be as well. Then in the longterm we may reintroduce the classic episodes.
which leads me to...
THE EPISODES WILL NO LONGER BE REFERRED TO BY AN INCREMENTAL NUMBER
Instead, After Hours will be clearly linked to the NFTF episode they came after. Thus, the next episode will be called "Episode XX: After Hours". Where XX is the News From the Front episode- so you know exactly which one the AH episode follows on from.
Guys, I want to make one thing clear. This is for you, our awesome friends and fans. We will absolutely be taking a much smaller cut from these subscriptions, and we're totally okay with that to ensure that your experience is as good as we can make it. And that's cool with us! We think it's going to continue to be a lot of fun, and we hope you will all subscribe and get in on the action!