Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Studies


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Scott Kushner


This study uses the fan podcast, MuggleCast, to examine how podcasters use crowdfunding platforms to engage with listeners and encourage them to donate to the production of the program by appealing to their target audience as members of a communal group. Another goal of this study was to provide new evidence of the role that empathy and group connection play in appealing to the target audience.

A general inductive content analysis of selected Patreon messages within both episodes and social media posts of MuggleCast was conducted in order to explore podcaster use of communal appeals. This method was chosen because it allows researchers to condense data into a brief, summary format, and establish clear links between the research objectives and the findings (Thomas, 2006, p. 238).

The exploration of how podcasters fund the creation of their content, while also engaging with the fans of the media that they are creating, is beneficial in helping to find an optimal way for podcasters to fulfill both needs. The existing literature has not explored how media producers phrase these appeals, or how these methods are meant to influence the target audiences to contribute to these campaigns. The present study has explored these methods in order to provide an understanding of how podcasters appeal to their audience by advertising that, when listeners become a Patron, they are also joining a group.

In the end, the findings of the linear regression and general linear model tests suggest that appealing to followers and listeners to join a communal group is only one part of a larger story of how media content creators interact and gain support.



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