Back in October of 2015, I was in kind of a weird place in my life as far as my frequent hobbies or things I enjoyed doing outside of school and work. I was in a band that was in the middle of a little hiatus. For a very long time, my band took up almost all of my extra time. So, with that being put on hold for a while, I had nothing to do. I was bored all the time. But rather than sulk and lay around and do nothing all the time, I decided to take on a new task. That task was starting a podcast.
I had no experience in podcasting or in radio and I never even listened to podcasts regularly. It just seemed like something I could take on and accomplish myself. I felt that I couldn’t just make a show for just myself where I would produce and host and everything else podcasting requires. So, I approached one of my best friends, whom is a big basketball / sports fan. Sports just seemed like the simplest entry into the podcast world. I specifically remember asking him on a Tuesday to start this thing with me. He was immediately on board and after classes, he came over and we started with some of the essentials, such as show cover art / thumbnail, intro music, etc. I already had all of the equipment needed for a basic podcast setup, such as Logic Pro X for my DAW, a USB microphone and headphones. I also figured out how to distribute to iTunes fairly quickly. Once we got everything in place that we needed, we recorded the first show.
The first episode was just my friend by himself talking about basketball. We felt that it was a decent step into the podcasting world, but I knew we could improve. Eventually, we got another close friend to join. This was a huge step in improving the show because now an actual conversation was able to take place rather than someone talking to themselves, which is much harder than it may seem. We eventually added a third host, which really helped branch out to other sports. We had predominant mind in basketball, football, and baseball.
The show ran this way for quite a while, and then it eventually was put on a stand still because of conflicting schedules between the hosts, among other things. There was a break from shows for about a month and a half.
During much of this hiatus, in the spring, I was an intern at ESPN Cleveland. One of the main tasks for the internship was to work on one of the radio shows. I was to work on The Really Big Show every Friday morning. Until this internship, I really had no clue what I wanted to do with my future and what direction I wanted to take my career. Working on these radio shows basically opened my eyes and showed me something that I thought I could really enjoy.
Working on the radio was exactly what I needed to figure out how exactly to go about producing this podcast. Once my brainstorming finally started to take shape, I revamped the recording space with several new microphones, and other tools that really helped the show’s execution. I also figured out how to get a phone to come through the mixer so we could have guests call in. Working at ESPN Cleveland really helped inspire the content we produced as well. I was able to produce custom Segway’s to transition from the different segments of the episodes, along with coming up with different content to implement into the show itself, such as our “Game of the Week”, a lighthearted, non-sports related game the hosts play at the end of each show just as some comic relief, “Stat of the Day”, which is simply an impressive sports stat to make note of during the show, and “Prediction Period”, which is a rundown of questions to which the hosts will make their predictions. All of these elements have lead to where we are now, hosting a very professional, successful, entertaining podcast. We’ve been able to interview notable guests such as NFL prospects and notable college football players among others. The success of this podcast also led to me branding my abilities and studio space into one package that I could then sell to anyone that wanted his or her own show. I called it “CapezStudios”, playing off of my last name.
I feel that with everything I’ve accomplished so far in the podcasting world, I’m able to provide some advice to significantly help or improve anyone trying to start a podcast studio or show of his or her own. The following are my personal tips to a successful podcast:
· Decent equipment
You do not, I repeat, DO NOT need to break the bank to get the necessary equipment for starting your own podcast. There’s free programs and inexpensive equipment out there to give you enough of a professional sound to meet your needs as a podcaster.
· Interesting content
This is probably the most difficult part of producing any form of entertainment. You need to produce content that people will go out of their way to make sure that listen to it. However, it also needs to be content that you yourself find interesting. If you’re going to be hosting the show, you need to sound passionate about what you’re talking about, or else the people listening won’t be sold on what you’re saying.
· Upload, upload, upload, upload…
Consistent and frequent uploading is the biggest key to organically growing your audience. You can obviously pay to advertise on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, but if you are frequently posting links to your show with fresh content on a regular basis, people will follow. The more content the better. Just be sure you’re not sacrificing quality for quantity.
· Guest speakers
If you’re able to get guests on your show, this will prove to be an immediate boost in listens, especially if you’re able to get someone notable. If you can stick a well-known name into the title of your show, people will click or tap and listen in. In my show’s case, we interviewed an NFL Prospect before the NFL Draft, and a notable Ohio State football player prior to the playoffs. These shows, because of the names in the title, garnered the most traffic to our show and gave us a significant spike in subscribers and listeners.
These are the basic steps that I’ve picked up on from personal experience to which anyone can use to produce a moderately successful podcast. Hopefully this blog was able to provide you with a little boost or inspiration in starting your own show.
You can listen and subscribe to my podcasts called “4th Quarter Cast” and “Mike’s Minutes” on iTunes, GooglePlay, and SoundCloud.
THANKS FOR READING!