When I listen to my favourite podcasts - Slate Culture Gabfest, 99% Invisible, NPR Happy Hour - I feel bad when the sponsored ads come on. Not bad because I don't want them there - bad because 90% are products I can't use (stamps.com, anyone?) and therefore I feel like the hard-won sponsorship dollar, based on listener numbers, isn't being followed through on by this particular listener.
In the Kickstarter-environment, I've come to see these sponsored ads as a way that I can support the podcasts I enjoy. I donate my ears to them. I never skip them, because I appreciate that these businesses are helping make sure that something I really enjoy continues to exist. It is unlike any other advertising relationship I can think of in my own life.
So on that note, this article on The Awl is fascinating: Podcasting and the Selling of Public Radio.