Roman Mars is a hard man to find on the radio.
Only ten terrestrial stations regularly broadcast his Public Radio Exchange–distributed program 99% Invisible, a weekly 15-minute show that explores the world of design through unusual topics such as escalator noise and Trappist beer. His home station, San Francisco’s KALW, slots truncated segments into its Morning Edition broadcasts.
But go online, and Mars is a superstar. The 99% Invisible podcast has been downloaded more than 4 million times since launching in September 2010; it peaked at second place on iTunes’ overall chart in December 2011 after being featured on the Radiolab podcast. It’s attracted big sponsorships from companies such as Facebook. And early this month, the show wrapped a 30-day fundraising campaign for its third season. The goal was $42,000. The final amount raised? North of $180,000.