For such a young creative format, podcasting is already brutally formulaic.
While storytelling journey shows like Akimbo, Revisionist History and WorkLife have breathed new life into the format, interview shows persevere with a decades-old blueprint that has been commonplace since Johnny Carson dominated the airwaves.
But as we’ve seen with the Netflix/Bird Box kerfuffle over the last week, things don’t need to be the way they’ve always been. If we don’t like what we see, we have the power to change the game. That’s a magical gift.
Last September, I decided to produce a podcast that would continue the conversations stemming from my sports-business book, Where Others Won’t. To my surprise, though, during the ideation phase I ended up spending less time figuring out what I wanted my show to be, and more time figuring out what I didn’t want my show to be.
I saw many issues with the status quo of interview podcasts, many of which persist without good reason. As other mediums and entertainment offerings evolve to fulfil more customer-centric outcomes, interview podcasts remain steadfast in their uniformity.
With a show name like Where Others Won’t, I felt it was my inherent duty to not produce just another one-on-one Q&A show. Not only would it be inauthentic with my name, how could I possibly compete with Tim Ferriss, or Joe Rogan, or Oprah, or Ellen?
So, I decided to question everything. Here is my list of wonderings as I looked to formulate a different and more listener-centric interview podcast:
- Weekly shows ignore that consumers now binge every other entertainment format (television, movies, music, etc.)
- Ongoing shows become tired after ~10 months.
- Why only one guest per episode?
- 16 minutes of guest introductions are redundant. We have Google.
- Advertisements at the start or the middle of the show don’t seem to be the prime location for any listener who is purchase-inclined.
- Overzealous promotion of the guest’s new product/service limits intellectually stimulating conversation.
- One-on-one shows mean only host and guest are promoting the show on any given week. Ineffective?
Changing The Game
We started recording on October 28th, and have spent the last two months recording, editing and producing the show. On January 14th, all 14 episodes of the Where Others Won’t podcast will launch, Netflix-style, on the same day.
Time and resource constraints meant we didn’t get to implement all of our game-changing ideas, but I think we’ve gone some way towards creating a more listener-centric show that will raise the bar in a number of areas.
Gone are the 16 minutes of mind-numbing guest introductions, the impassioned pleas for you to rate my show on iTunes, and the intrusive advertisements right in the middle of your listening experience.
And while I’m not going to give you all of my secrets today (you’ll have to listen to hear how it all comes together,) I am going to give you an exclusive by unveiling the full episode list that will be available on January 14th.
Over the last two weeks I’ve been dropping audio teasers that unveil some of the guests that feature. What I haven’t announced, though, is that 9 of the 14 episodes are panel discussions where two of the guests are paired together around a topic where they have expertise as either a doer, or a thinker.
Where Others Won’t: A Podcast About How Teams Really Work
The Inner Sanctum
Steven Caldwell — Former Burnley, Sunderland and Toronto FC captain.
The Business Of Sport
Dave Meltzer — Co-founder of Sports 1 Marketing.
Failure & Resilience
Neil Pasricha — Author of The Happiness Equation and How To Get Back Up.
The Unique Role of Captains
Sam Walker — Author of The Captain Class.
Merging Data and Performance
Angela Ruggiero — Hockey Hall of Famer. Co-founder of Sports Innovation Lab.
Regardless of how many downloads, five-star ratings or comments the show attracts, I believe that I’ve already achieved my goal. By pairing together likeminded people that didn’t already know each other, I’ve helped forge new relationships that could have a significant impact on leadership theory, team dynamics and talent optimization.
It’s a show about introductions — not about me as the host. That’s something different.
All of this is to say that the goal was never to disrupt podcasts, it was to create a heightened experience for the human beings in my tribe.