banner image
No data available.
Please log in to see this content.
You have no subscription access to this content.
No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
A History and Informal Assessment of the Slacker Astronomy Podcast
Rent this article for
Access full text Article
1.Apple. 2006, “Apple—iTunes—Podcasts,” January 20, 2006. http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/.
2.BBC Radio Channel Five. 2005, “Five Live,” August 8, 2005.
3.Bloom, B. S. , & Krathwohl, D. R. 1956, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals, by a Committee of College and University Examiners. Handbook I: Cognitive Domain, New York: Longmans Green.
4.Boyle, A. 2005, “Cosmic Log,” March 2005. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7047215/#050302a.
5.Brissenden, G. , Slater, T. F. , Mathieu, R. D. , & NISE. 2002, “The Role of Assessment in the Development of the College Introductory Astronomy Course: A “How-to” Guide for Instructors,” Astronomy Education Review, 1(1), 1.
6.Cohen, L. 1995, Quality Function Deployment: How to Make QFD Work for You, New York: Addison-Wesley.
7.Creative Commons. 2006, Creative Commons Deed, April 4, 2006. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/.
8.Curry, A. 2005, “Daily Source Code,” February 24, 2005. http://www.curry.com/DSC/DSC-2005-02-24.
9.Curry, A. 2006, Podshow, Sirius Satellite Radio.
10.Gay, P. L. , Price, A. , & Searle, T. 2006, “Astronomy Podcasting: A Low-Cost Tool for Affecting Attitudes in Diverse Audiences,” Astronomy Education Review, 5(1), 36.
11.Jupiter Research. 2005, “Jupiter Research Forecasts Portable MP3 Player Shipments to Achieve lsquot;Critical Mass’ Reaching 18 Million in 2005.” Press release. http://www.jupitermedia.com/corporate/releases/05.04.13-newjupresearch.html.
12.Kahn, T. 2006, “Morning Stories,” WGBH Boston. January 20, 2006. http://www.wgbh.org/schedules/program-info?program_id=1434912.
13.Koschat, M. , & Putsis, W. 2000, “Who Wants You When You’re Old and Poor? Exploring the Economics of Media Pricing,” Journal of Media Economics, 13, 215.
14.Kratwohl, D. R. , Bloom, B. S. , & Masia, B. B. 1964, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, the Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook II: Affective Domain, New York: McKay.
15.Likert, R. 1932, A Technique for the Measurement of Attitudes, New York: McGraw-Hill.
16.Montagne, R. , & Narr. 2005, “Come One, Come All: The Rise of Podcasting.” All Things Considered. National Public Radio, May 25, 2005.
17.Rainie, L. , & Madden, M. 2005, “Reports: Online Activities & Pursuits,” Pew Internet & American Life Project. April 3, 2005. http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/154/report_display.asp.
18.Sirius and Podcast Inventor Will Bring the Best Podcasts to Satellite Radio.” 2005, Sirius Satellite Radio. Press release. http://www.shareholder.com/sirius/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=161996.
19.Slacker.” 2006, Merriam-Webster Onine Dictionary. Merriam-Webster.
20.Zeilik, M. , & Mathieu, R. D. 2000, “THE FLAG: A Web Resource of Innovative Assessment,” Bull. Am. Astron. Soc., 32, 1552.


Image of Figure 1.

Click to view

Figure 1.

A Clip of the iTunes Top 100 Podcast Listing on October 17, 2005. (Slacker Astronomy is 28 out of 25,000. Notice the type of the other podcasts, all commercial.)

Image of Figure 2.

Click to view

Figure 2.

A Clip of the iTunes Top 100 Podcast Listing for the Science Category on January 4, 2006

Image of Figure 3.

Click to view

Figure 3.

Average Categorized Attitudinal Survey Scores (right) Placed into the Context of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Affective Goals (left)

Image of Figure 4.

Click to view

Figure 4.

Percentage of Correct Answers to Two Knowledge Surveys. (Red represents listeners to the show, and blue represents nonlisteners.)

Image of Figure 5.

Click to view

Figure 5.

The New Slacker Astronomy Mission Statement


Generic image for table

Click to view

Table 1.

Choice answers and responses to the survey questions, “How would you describe your interest in astronomy [prior to∕after] listening to astronomy related podcasts?” We received 232 responses to this question out of survey downloads.

Generic image for table

Click to view

Table 2.

Questions and average scores from the attitudinal survey conducted from December 27, 2005, to January 25, 2006. A total of 465 responses were received out of an estimated 592 downloaded surveys. Responses were on a Likert scale of 1–6, ascending from strongly agree to strongly disagree, except when the scale ascended from always to never, indicated by an asterisk. Scores to † were reversed for placement on the same ascending scale.

Generic image for table

Click to view

Table 3.

The first knowledge survey, 197 responses out of an estimated 592 downloaded surveys, was about a show that we aired approximately one month earlier. Although one cannot assume that subscribers listened to it then, feedback suggests that the majority typically listen within a week or two. Answers are asterisked.

Generic image for table

Click to view

Table 4.

The second knowledge survey, 126 responses out of an estimated 478 downloaded surveys, covered a show that we aired approximately two weeks before publication of the survey.


Slacker Astronomy is a weekly podcast that covers a recent astronomical news event or discovery. The show has a unique style consisting of irreverent, over-the-top humor combined with a healthy dose of hard science. According to our demographic analysis, the combination of this style and the unique podcasting distribution mechanism allows the show to reach audiences younger and busier than those reached via traditional channels. We report on the successes and challenges of the first year of the show, and provide an informal assessment of its role as a source for astronomical news and concepts for its approximately 15,500 weekly listeners.


Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
752b84549af89a08dbdd7fdb8b9568b5 journal.articlezxybnytfddd
Scitation: A History and Informal Assessment of the Slacker Astronomy Podcast