Creating a Bingeable Podcast as an Art Form with Will Armstrong & Wendy Rosoff of the West of Broadway
West of Broadway is a celebration of musical theater on the west coast. . . It makes us so happy that we are appreciated for creating something that lifts people up and celebrates musical theater!
On the West of Broadway podcast, they discuss the vibrant musical theater scene on the West Coast, covering movie and television musicals, digital content, regional productions, national tours, and more with the cast, creative team, producers, and supporters who make it all happen. If you want a lighthearted celebration of musical theater, you can find it West of Broadway!
Can you tell us the “backstory” about why or how you got started as a podcaster?
Will: The West of Broadway Podcast is a celebration of musical theater on the West Coast. We were cast members in the revival of 42nd Street on Broadway. Both of us had careers that lead us out west. Wendy, to pursue professional performing opportunities in film, television, digital and stage. Additionally, Wendy is a teaching artist at AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts where she trains the next generation of professional performers, as well as holding master classes both in the US and internationally. I had a different path. I found that the skills he developed in the performing arts made me uniquely qualified for a career in public relations. My creative abilities are put to good use on a regular basis and my relationships in the entertainment industry prove a useful asset when forging opportunities for his various clients.
I and Radio Host Lara Scott created The West of Broadway Podcast. Lara being a member of the Los Angeles media was always invited to Musical Theater premiers and she often invited me to accompany her, since she knew I loved the shows. Lara and I wanted to help their publicist friends who invited them to the shows by creating a platform that featured the best parts of the performances we so enjoyed. West of Broadway, the labor of love was born. After 50 episodes, Lara’s schedule became too demanding for her to dedicate the time required so Wendy, a regular guest of the podcast was asked to step into the role of a co-host. Wendy’s expertise and a lifetime spent in the theater makes her the perfect addition to the show.
Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?
There is a podcasting network dedicated to Musical Theater called The Broadway Podcast Network and they feature an assortment of fantastic shows hosted by some of the most influential people working in professional musical theater. When we reached out to the network to express interest in joining them, they quickly responded informing us that we were already on their radar and they had plans to reach out and invite us to join! I can’t tell you how great that felt! It was extremely validating to know that these storytellers that we respected were already familiar with our work and they were fans!
Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Believe it or not, Podcasting can be stressful. Especially when you start booking celebrity guests. West of Broadway has interviewed some incredible guests. From Broadway Icon Betty Buckley to fan favorites Shoshana Bean and George Salazar, this has become a vehicle to get up close and personal with our heroes!
Well, being organized is crucial. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. There was a time that I conducted an entire interview with a celebrity guest and then realized that I never recorded the conversation. Our entire conversation was lost, and I had to figure out how to fix this issue. Believe me, that is an embarrassing conversation to have! Re-doing the interview was painfully awkward but the guest was gracious and understanding. It has forever scarred me, and I don’t think I’ll ever make that mistake again.
How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?
West of Broadway has existed for over 3 years and we have posted over 55 episodes. Originally, we posted episodes on an infrequent basis but now that we are with the Broadway Podcast Network, we work to post at least 1 episode a week.
What are the main takeaways or lessons you want your listeners to walk away with?
We hope to inspire creatives to tell stories and share information that they are passionate about. We live in an era where amazing technology is readily available. That technology can be used to easily connect in a unique and positive way.
Our advice is to start doing it! Don’t wait! Get to work! It’s so easy to talk about doing something but if you just decide to invest a little bit of energy, when you look back, you’ll be surprised and proud of what you can achieve and who you can affect.
Can you share with our readers the five things you need to know to create an extremely successful podcast?
Podcaster Influencer, Will Armstrong & Wendy Rosoff of the West of Broadway Podcast share the best ways to:
1) Book Great Guests. Find subjects that are experts in the areas you cover on your podcast (Obliviously!). But here’s the thing: Find people who are looking to promote something and offer them your time and energy. It’s a win-win. You get a great guest who is willing to share information with the hopes of promoting their project and they get free advertising.
First, look into your deep well of contacts to see who has something interesting going on that they want to promote. In our case, it’s usually an upcoming production of something and they want to sell tickets. So, either reach out directly to your personal contacts or visit their website and find the production’s contact info and send a little information about your show and what you want and when you’d ideally like to schedule the interview.
2 ) Increase Listeners. Make sure you give your guests the information they need to like, subscribe, comment and share your podcast and the episode (too many people skip this step.) You’re doing a lot of the work and it’s only fair that the guest and their team help you promote the show. This will help you increase listeners because you are working outside of your direct circle and into the network of your guest and their team.
3 ) Produce in a Professional Way. If you are using your iPhone to record episodes, you’re doing it wrong! Invest in a multi-track recorder like the Zoom H4 or Zoom H6. You also need a couple XLR cables and microphones and a SD card to store everything. All you need after that is a computer and some editing software and you’re in business! Do not skip this step. You want to make sure that the listening experience is as enjoyable as possible.
4 ) Encourage Engagement. Think about the topic of your podcast. Ours is Musicals Theater. So, I picked a top news site that specializes in Broadway News called BroadwayWorld.com. I emailed their editorial department and asked if I could send them my podcasts along with a short blog post and graphics so that they could share the podcast as news. We became Broadway World contributors! This has helped two-fold. One, it helps get our podcast out to millions of potential listeners each month, but it also gives us STREET CRED! We are able to secure bigger and better guests and get invited to the most amazing shows because we are connected with one of the top theater news sites in the world.
5) Monetize Your Show. Now that we are found on Broadway News next to some of the most respected musical theater podcasts in the world, we have that valuable credibility and BPN helps us embed commercials that in turn help fund our project.
From your vantage point, what are some of the reasons why a person should consider creating a podcast series?
If you think you’re going to start making a ton of money right out the gate, you’re wrong. Podcasting should be enjoyable! Podcasting should feed your soul. Find a topic that you truly care about and that you are passionate about sharing. Don’t be afraid to be specific, Podcasts thrive in the niche! Create for the superfan. Whether it’s true crime, finance, cooking or musical theater, there are plenty of fans out there looking for your content. Create it and put it out there and be honest and the audience will come. Not overnight. Not without a ton of work. But they will come.
Are there people to whom you would advise to avoid podcasting and instead focus on another medium?
If you aren’t sure what your point of view or topic is and you just want it to be general or if you pick a topic you know nothing about, you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration. I think of the old adage, write what you know. Do that!
How has your position as a podcast host and a person of high authority, impacted your business, sales, and/or increased your opportunities? Can you share a story with us?
Wendy and I are blown away with the response to our podcast! We get invited to all the major shows in town and we get pitched interviews with incredible talents. We have been asked to participate in very cool projects and events like our West of Broadway Live at The Bourbon Room would never have been possible. But, my favorite part of this experience is to get a chance to actually thank artists I respect and admire and tell them how their work has impacted me. I love that so much!
What makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or the content itself?
West of Broadway is, like I said, a celebration of musical theater on the west coast. We’ve had messages from listeners that say that while they are stuck in traffic they listen to multiple episodes in a row. The feedback is that they appreciate our positive attitudes, our insightful behind-the-scenes take and our true love and respect for this fantastic art form. It makes us so happy that we are appreciated for creating something that lifts people up and celebrates musical theater!
Where can our readers find you on Social Media?