In this episode, the Super Friends focus in on how to keep a podcast going over time. As Matt reaches 300 episodes of the Sound Off Podcast, he goes over the things he's learned since he started his show and how he's managed to stay popular with his audience over the years. The Super Friends also chime in with more tips about audience engagement- things like the ideal podcast length (and why there isn't necessarily one), how to focus your topics, and how to keep the show fresh as you go. They also touch on the value of having a large library of episodes, and making sure your episodes are listenable and relevant years after they're released.
This episode was recorded live. Check out the original recording here.
Check out more from the Super Friends below:
Johnny Peterson - Straight Up Podcasts
David Yas - Boston Podcast Network
Jon Gay - JAG In Detroit Podcasts
Catherine O'Brien - Branch Out Programs
Matt Cundill - The Soundoff Podcast Network
Welcome to the Podcast Super Friends. Five podcast producers from across North America get together to discuss Podcasting.
Super Friends monthly discussion. My name is Jon Gay from Jag in Detroit Podcast US.
You want some applause? Jag, you deserve it.
As we continue to mess around with to get started here, we'll do a quick around the room and have everybody do a quick introduction of themselves. Catherine, if you'd like to go next.
Oh, thank you, Jag. My name is Catherine O'Brien. I am a podcast producer based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My company is called Branch Out Programs, and I'm so glad to be here with my Super Friends. Johnny?
Hi. I am Johnny Podcasts, coming to you from Fort Worth, Texas. I'm also a podcast producer, and I love podcasts.
I love Johnny, but who doesn't? I'm David Yaz at Pod617.com. Podcast producer in the Boston area and delighted to be alongside my fellow superheroes, Super Friends.
We kind of picked up this podcast Super Friends moniker amongst the five of us. A little background on the group of us. We all met at podcast movement through each other, and we meet once a month to talk about all issues related to podcasts and podcast production. We're going to feature today Matt Cundill of the Sound Off Podcast Network up in Winnipeg, because Matt has just reached 300 episodes of his podcast, The Sound Off Podcast. Congratulations to Matt. And we invited our clients, our friends, anybody who wants to check this out, because it can be hard to keep going with your podcast. We run into plateaus, we run into obstacles. We run into just pod fade and all these different things working against us. And Matt has stuck it out to get you 300 episodes, which is no easy feat. So, Matt, welcome. Tell us about yourself, your company, and The Sound Off Podcast.
Started back in 2016, and I guess I was a Radio refugee, as it were, and got let go in 2014. I really spent a fair amount of time wondering what's going to happen next. And it turns out it wasn't going to be Radio consulting. That's quite the slog. And as time went by, I had a voiceover business as it was. But then podcasting kind of struck me in the face. I said, well, I'll go check out what this podcast thing is all about in Chicago in 2016. And I said, wow, that's quite interesting. What's going on there's a lot of microphones, a lot of content being created. I think one thing I was aware of after leaving Radio was that there was a lot of audio being created. I could see it in the voiceover work. I could see it with microphones and building Studios, but I couldn't really figure out where all the action was. But it turned out that there was an awful lot of action happening in podcasting, especially in Chicago. And there was just a handful of radio people back then and just went there and I said there's really something to this. And I had shown up with a few episodes done. I thought it was important that I go to the podcast conference with a podcast somewhat underway, and everybody does sort of show up with varying stages. I'm thinking of starting one or I have started one or I've been doing it for a long while. I was about three or four episodes in and just started to accumulate and learn things. And the the sound off podcast underway. I didn't know what I wanted to do a podcast about it first, but it turns out the only thing I knew was radio, so I could only really speak to that. There was a couple of other radio podcasts out there. Larry Gifford, a longtime talk programmer in California, he's now moved up to Vancouver and works for course radio up there doing it, but he had a great podcast, the Radio stuff podcast. I didn't feel like I was going to tread on anything if I started it, and it was just really going to be conversations and we'll see where it goes.
Let's throw some crud on it and get it underway. And so off we went in the first episode took me 8 hours to do, and it was eleven minutes long.
Hang on, Matt, let me hop in here for a second. How did that breakdown? Was that editing? Was that prep? Was that promotion? How did that 8 hours break down? Roughly?
It was editing and working with a single piece of audio and just getting it published, and about six of it was me not really knowing how to do it. I really didn't spend a lot of time editing audio when I was in radio because I was a program director.
I mean, I cut tape back in the day, razor blades, razor blades and splicing and all that stuff. But digital audio and getting into that was a little bit scary at first, but I had a little bit of practice on it and began to go forward with it. But by the time I got to episode four, I realized I wasn't very good at it and I hired somebody who was really good at it and we've been working together ever since.
I'm surprised it only took 8 hours. I know that feeling of just not wanting to hit publish and not knowing exactly what's going on. So 8 hours, I think is just even a success to get that eleven minute episode out.
And Matt is unhealthy a word. You're not a non unique case in this kind of movement. Jack can attest to this this sort of movement from radio into the podcasting world, and you've sort of established yourself as this liaison for drifting, ex radio people into the world of podcasting. Do you want to touch on that a little bit?
Yeah, I think it was actually may have been the week before podcast movement. I went to the Conclave in Minneapolis, which is a radio get together of sorts. It's quite nice where long time broadcasters meet young broadcasters, and it's really a good, feel good place to go. And I thought, how do I bottle this every week? There's some great conversations.
How many people are going to be.
In the room, and what would you charge for a banner at the front of that room? Because that's really what you should be charging for your podcast.
So I love that.
And really, I neglected to mention that in my episode 300, the roots of the show is found in the Conclave, and we haven't done one since 2019. I don't think there's going to be one for the next little while before they get that conference started up again, which is too bad, but I thought this is really fun. How do I bottle this every week and just have conversations about radio? And I found it was a great place to meet future guests on the show and bring them on and let them continue the conversation about what was going on at the conference. And yeah, it has been really at the crossroads. I was really looking for the crossroads between broadcast and podcast. And after six years, I'm here to say they don't even really intersect a whole lot other than a microphone.
Let me have you expand on that a little bit. Matt analogy that I've heard is they're almost like two cars on the freeway going in their own lanes and they're trying to do their own thing. And it gets a little problematic when one tries to cut the other one off.
You know where you heard that Jag me. That's my analogy.
That's right. Johnny, you did come up with that.
Credit is due.
I'm a terrible radio person because it did not cite my source. I'm a horrible journalist. So Johnny once told me. But to that point, Matt, how would you describe the fact that they seem very similar, but in a lot of ways they're not.
I think it breaks down to one is live and the other one is on demand. I mean, you watch live television, Super Bowl, Academy Awards, sporting events, and then there's the on demand stuff like Netflix that you will scroll through for about eight minutes to find what you want and then listen to it on your own time. So shared experience comes up. Radio is a shared experience when you listen to it live and podcasting is an experience that happens to individual people on their own time and leisure.
I think there is one little wrinkle in between. I think radio and podcasting, though, is that it comes from the listener perspective, and it's this idea of routine, and it's something that routine for the podcast listeners changed a lot over the last couple of years with the quarantine, the shutdown, and now getting back into real life. I think there's a wrinkle of if my drive time, my morning commute, I'm going to listen to my favorite radio show every single morning. I've now replaced that with my favorite podcast. I'm still listening to it at the exact same time. So there's still that sense of routine that I think plays off each other between podcasting and radio.
Yes. So release your episodes on time.
Because if it's not there, then at.
The same time.
This is for matter anybody with that in mind and you're thinking about the length of an episode of one of your podcasts, do you want people to get it done in one commute? I know that I have some podcasts that I like so much. I'll listen to it on Monday, and if I haven't finished when I get in the car on Tuesday, I'll listen to it again. Do you guys give any thought to that? Matt, maybe you start.
No, I think of it as a book, and if you're doing your job properly, people will put it down and then pick it back up and keep going with the show at a later time, although normally I do keep the show to 45 minutes. And I just got back from Spain after being away for a number of weeks, and I found when I started again that I did a 75 or a 90 minutes episode, which is because I was just so excited to be back behind the microphone. And I think when you go and especially Jack will know this from the radio days is that on Monday you show up with so much material because you've had a great weekend, you can't wait to tell everybody about it. You come back from vacation and you blow all the good content out on the first show back. So there was an element of that when I did my latest episode.
I agree with Matt with the length of it. When I'm working with clients who they ask this question all the time, and it's a similar version of what you ask, David is how long should my podcast be? I always give the answer of as long as it takes to get your message across. Each show is individually different and everyone has a different goal for putting out their podcasts. And as long as you get your message across for that episode, whether it takes 30 minutes or 3 hours, then the time is your own. The people that you're making this content for want to hear what you have to say. So if it takes an extra hour to take that in over the course of a couple of days driving to and from work, they're happy to do it because they are engaged with what you're putting out.
And I think we all get a feel for how long a podcast should be just simply by the discussion that's going on. In other words, if you've got a guest that is super compelling and you want to keep going, you keep going. Which is why when I have a guest on my show, I started out saying, yeah, we'll go about 35, maybe 40 minutes. Then I started saying we could go anywhere from 15 minutes to 65 minutes or something. What I don't want to say is, depending upon how interesting you are, but one of the great freedoms of podcasting is there are no rules. It's almost like a baseball game. There's no clock. If you want to keep going, you keep going. Going to extendingS.
Just don't turn into a long, boring baseball game.
Catherine Jag, anything on that?
Well, it's funny. One of the things I always try and remind myself is me as a podcast consumer, I have to remember I am not my audience. Right? So I'm not my clients audience. I only can represent myself. So I know that how I consume podcasts is I usually try and listen to them all the way through. But I'll find that there are certain podcasts that I will listen to multiple times. I think this is kind of answering your question is I might have it on as background at first, and then if things are popping out to me, I'll go through a second listen or this is also very typical for me is I might have something on YouTube for the first go through and then I'll take it and maybe a deeper listen as just the audio version, taking it for a walk or those kinds of things. But I also know not to think of myself as representative necessarily of my audience. I think that that's a mistake a lot of people make is that they think of themselves as their audience and their own habits. But you really just have to respond to what your clients podcasts are actually doing and how people outside of yourself are consuming the podcast. Is that even in the ballpark of your question there, Johnny?
Let me jump in here for a second, Catherine, because that's a really great point. And this is something that I saw when I was in radio. And it carries over to podcasting when you get a microphone in front of you for the first time. The idea is, oh my gosh, I have this microphone. I am going to espouse whatever I want to talk about to the entire world as a radio DJ or podcaster gets a little bit more comfortable and a little bit more seasoned. They realize that it's not about the person hosting, it's about the person on the other side of the speaker. It's about the person who is consuming your content. And if you can turn the mirror around on your audience successfully and make your content about them and not you the host, that will lead to much greater success podcasting or on radio.
And just to even follow up just one step further is, you know, we all are big fans of Edison research. So we follow what they put out in their findings every single year. And one of the things that always stands out is the number one place that people listen to podcasts is at home. Well, I typically don't listen at home. I listen in the car. I listen while I'm walking. People listen to podcasts first thing in the morning. The 07:00 a.m. Time frame is the number one time when people are listening. That also does not follow what I'm doing. And there's so many of these different little traits that don't follow what I do. But it's important for, oh, Apple podcasts. That's the number one place that most of my clients, they're getting their downloads from Apple pockets. I am not an Apple user. So there's, like, I'm removed further and further from what the typical podcast listener is doing, so I can't let my own experience cloud that for what I'm telling my clients and how I'm helping my clients there.
I don't mean to derail. I know we're supposed to be focusing on math, but Catherine, what you said was super interesting about everyone. The majority of people are listening at home. And I know that people like Tom Webster and the people at Edison, at least the last couple of years, they've really been honing in on one facet of the at home listening, which is they expected the smart home speaker to be a really big catalyst for podcast listening. And it's just not working. I wonder if that's because we talked about with radio and podcasting. Radio is sort of a shared consumption method versus podcasting is really intimate and private. I wonder if it feels weird to listen to a podcast on a home speaker, whereas it's more intimate to have them directly in your ears. David, you got something.
Johnny, I was just going to say my Alexa is listening and her feelings are hurt.
Alexa is always at listening.
I know. I agree. And I don't know, maybe I'm the outlier here, but I think good content is good content, and we always want to watch these trends. Right. But if you're producing a good show, and I think we would all agree that of all the things we deal with in producing shows, the quality, the editing, the writing, good crisp show notes and episode titles, isn't the content really the most important thing? Isn't advising our clients on good guests, good questions, keeping the show moving? I don't know. And now I should apologize for derailing, but I wonder if you guys have thoughts on that.
Are you trying to say that content might be important for podcasts?
If someone comes to me with an existing podcast and they say, can you make this better? Usually there are five or six ways I can make it better. No offense, everyone out there, but usually the first thing I'll say is I'd love to talk to you about the flow of the show, the segments of the show and all that. And that leads me to a question that I've kind of had holstered here for a minute, and that is, Matt, maybe you can take this is how do you advise someone who comes to you and says dying to do a podcast, it's going to be on the construction industry or the real estate industry? Well, we got to make something Jack. Right. I was thinking maybe he's going to interview people about buildings around town that they have created. Maybe he's interviewing architects. Okay, whatever. And every episode he's going to interview a new architect in their project and how it came to be. So that's kind of interesting. Right. But then he says to you, but what do I do? Do I just introduce the guests and just start talking? Is it as simple as that? Because I like to brainstorm different little segments and tidbits and you radio guys will appreciate that, how you package that and image that, or whatever you call it. But Matt, maybe you take that one first.
What is episode one, two and three sounds like what is episode ten going to be about? And where do you see yourself in three years with this thing? So really plan out the whole thing go deeper than just I'm going to interview people because they're going to get to episodes. This is why so many of them died at seven, because they get to seven. They only know really seven people or they had seven ideas, and then they really didn't think about how to evolve it further than that. And a lot of them died at 17 because they had more friends. Some of them die. I think the ones that sort of die around the 50 Mark because they did one every week. And they're then they start saying, well, Where's the ROI? And that one is sort of the other trap that people get into is that they're looking for actual physical money to be coming in. And there's so much with podcasting that we just don't see. And Catherine already touched on it. She doesn't have as much at home listening. I do use my smart speaker, by the way, but I use it through the Spotify app, but I don't think I would use it as much if I had more people in the house. I've got a lot of people coming and going from that. So there's a lot of time during the day that I can just be alone. And that goes to podcasting being a very sort of solo headphone experience. I think the number was about 92% are consumed by people, by themselves. And so all that sort of understanding. I think podcasters needing to be patient, to grow their audience and understanding that it's three years to build an audience. And it's a long game. I think that's the best filter you can do before somebody comes to you and starts asking, can I do a podcast? And I think we saw a lot of business at the beginning of the pandemic. And now that the pandemic is coming to an end, do they have that same affinity to be doing episodes as they once did?
Can I jump in here? And I wanted to ask you I have a question specifically for you, Matt, because you mentioned a couple of things that I think are really pertinent is that any new endeavor can have a lot of enthusiasm and energy at the start. And we definitely saw that with a lot of pandemic podcasts, as we like to call them, that once they came out of the gate because of the pandemic, and they have certainly pod faded out. So I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about so you have 300 episodes for your own personal podcast under your belt. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the obstacles that came up for you and really, more importantly, how you overcame them to get to that 300?
I was just going to do it every week. So I think the first obstacle was staying consistent. There were some times when I said, I'll just take this week off or I can't find a guest or there's snow blowing sideways or something, some sort of excuse that would prevent me from.
Doing it every week. Doing it every. We're doing it every. We're doing it every. We're doing it every. We're doing it every. We're doing it every. We're doing it every. We're doing it every. We're doing it every. We're doing it every.
That is repetitive.
Oh, well, I think we found the culprit.
Blame David for the first.
He tries to say that we don't care about content, and then he's David.
Tries to have so much fun with his roadcast.
That's awesome. We might let him back in, by the way.
Yeah. And I think there were some other obstacles that came up, but they needed to be identified. So I was using SoundCloud and I needed Mark Ramsay, who is a radio consultant, but he's also a podcaster and does the Inside Psycho podcast and Inside Star Wars and a few others. But he pointed out to me, being on SoundCloud means it's going to be very hard to see your audience grow because the numbers are all over the place and they're not really real in.
Some cases and break that out a little bit. It's because there's no distribution beyond SoundCloud.
You can't go from SoundCloud to X or how does that why wasn't there enough reach on SoundCloud?
Oh, there's plenty of reach on SoundCloud. If you get 5000 plays as it is, you don't know where they came from. They're not real people.
A lot of them can be bought. Yeah, absolutely. Anybody on this call, we would say, if your podcast is on SoundCloud, please take it to a more serious or more creative for podcasting type platform and talk to any of the five of us about how to do that.
Get out, get out of there immediately.
Run was one of the ways you overcame the consistency obstacle, Matt, of just building it into your routine. You just have to do it for a few weeks to where it just becomes like, okay, it's Thursday. This is when I record my podcast, and it just becomes easier as you do it because it's now just as common as making breakfast, making coffee, doing your podcast.
Yeah. So think of it as having some deadlines. So I have to submit my podcast by Monday at 06:00.
I like to think that I was still that consistent. But sometimes it's Tuesdays at 06:00 if teams are playing on Monday Night Football.
Or something like that.
But I think I really picked it up from Aaron Monkey, who does lore, and he sort of implored podcasters when he's talking about how he does his creative process to release it on time. That he does have people sitting around a campfire waiting for the episode to be for download. They're waiting and they're counting on you. And that consistency is so important. It was so important in radio that every day at 06:00 somebody shows up for work. You can still do a half a job in radio and still get wind up in a hall of Fame somewhere because you managed to show up every day at the same time. People really appreciate that and you become part of their media ecosystem.
What are you trying to do?
Especially if you're doing a weekly podcast, you're trying to create habit. And Tom Webster just wrote about the importance of habit, or he spoke to the importance of habit just recently at a conference and that you've got to make your podcast part of people's habits in order, because if you're not part of a habit, then you could be forgotten or cut from the list. You're actually just one iPhone purchase away from being cut.
The joke that I've made about this is the recent research in 2022 shows that heavy weekly podcast listeners consume on average, eight episodes per week. So I now say we've kind of come full circle in terms of social media and we throw it back to the MySpace days. How do you get into somebody's top eight? You got to break into that list of shows, and Johnny's, the young guy in the group, will explain MySpace to him later. But the idea is you've got eight chances to get into somebody's regular rotation. Their media rotation. Are you going to be good enough to be one of the top eight things they listen to?
Let me push back a little bit on that Jag. One, I have heard of MySpace, but two, something that I've been toying around in my mind is this concept of sort of limited series. So we look at the success of, I guess, lack of success lately with Netflix but these streaming services are putting out limited series. It's really hard to get into the top eight. So one hack around that is if you can't commit time wise or you just don't feel confident enough to be able to break into somebody's top eight is consider releasing limited series. So a six episode, eight episode run really tightly produced, focused around one really niche topic that people can consume on a onetime basis. Maybe your goal isn't to build this massive audience. Maybe it's to push people's attention elsewhere if something else you're doing online. But I think that you can still get into podcasting without having this sort of unbreakable wall in front of you. If I have to break into somebody's top eight, I think there's hack arounds around that.
I like that you're talking about a binge instead of habit.
Yes, and it's very limited. I can listen to these six episodes, understand that Johnny made this and move on to the next thing and still continue with those top eight. But Matt, I do have a question for you as well. So we've talked about your obstacles. You're in a unique situation. A lot of people are doing podcasts as sort of a side gig, whether it's funneling more business or funneling people to their businesses or they're just doing it as a hobby. On the side, however, you're working with podcasters who have their own shows, and you are a podcaster who has his own show. So how is your experience doing this massive 300 episode run? How has that experience translated in the way that you consult with your other podcasting clients who are clearly they're far behind you?
Actually, some are ahead of me. Andrea Askowitz is actually host writing class radio, and we met in Chicago along with her cohost, Alison Langer. And I didn't work with them at first, but when I was in Chicago, I said, well, what's going on with how does this work and why are they successful and really just taking a lot of notes and paying attention to the people who came before. And I think Katherine and I have talked about Rob Greenley, who's been in the space since 2004 and what he's had to offer. And I mentioned learning from Aaron Monkey. But writing class Radio is, I think, the biggest podcast that I do work with, and they've been doing it since 2015, even before I got into it. And I like the fact that it's got the word radio in it. They teach me things. I pay attention. There's other podcasts out there that I said I kind of like the way this sounds. And if it sounds good, I'd like to find ways to incorporate that into the podcast that I work with. So I think you have to be a podcast fan a little bit and spend some time listen all we've done. I know this because I've seen the emails between us. We've talked about all the work we have to do. We're trying to get stuff done before Memorial Day, but I think we're podcast listeners at heart, and there's stuff that we like and we listen to. And I like to find ways to incorporate that into the work I do.
Well, let me reframe the question a little bit then. Are there things that you've taken away from working on so many podcasts that you've incorporated into your own show?
Yes. I think everybody has different needs, but it's fun to be able to try out stuff and then pass it along to them or to borrow some techniques and bring them into my line. And marketing has been a part of that, too.
Yeah. It doesn't necessarily just have to be with how you structure the flow of the show. It can be the way that you promote it. It can be the way that you produce it on the back end, whether you incorporate video. And again, marketing is a huge key to that. Yeah.
So we'll see some spikes in some shows and then say, okay, we need to do that and bring that in.
Do you have any examples of the marketing tips that have worked well for you and your clients?
Matt, the consistency is the one that just keeps coming back over and over, releasing at the same time. And I know the writing class, radio people, I cut it right to the line every week. And they're like, we have to get this out Wednesday at midnight Eastern. And I really play with that sometimes too much to their detriment. I know they hate me for it for a few hours every week, but I know it's important to them to get it out on time. Websites. I think it's very important. And marketing back to your website. So we've talked about having a website, and it's important. But the podcasters that continually send people back to their website on a domain that they own, they consistently do better.
When it comes to the social media. Matt, can you speak a little bit to the checking the box? I'm posting this to my Facebook, my Twitter, my YouTube, my Instagram, versus actually putting thought and crafting the actual posts.
So I just got back from Spain.
You may have mentioned that.
Yeah. Completely different time zones. I'm waking up in the morning. It's like midnight in North America, 11:00 midnight. That's not really the time I should be posting. I like to be posting when people in North America are waking up. So I find myself doing it later in the day. But I was also started to automate a few of them. And I think automating some posts wasn't very helpful. And I did notice a little bit of a downturn in the last few episodes because I think there's something when you write into the computer directly and you've got the content and what am I going to say about this particular content? And then you think about it and then put it out and you release it at the right time. The right time is always in the morning, by the way, and you put it out there. I think it's a lot different than writing it out the night before and doing the automated thing. The automated thing doesn't work. And it was actually Johnny who said at one point, I think you can't outsource your personality. I can't even outsource my personality to 6 hours from now.
I'll give you the radio parallel here, Matt, and I know we're going to have you on radio here because you and I both used to work in the field. But it's like voice tracking. It's voice tracking, which for those who don't know, is pre recorded a show for another city or another market at another time versus doing your break live in the moment in the city that you're broadcasting to. There's a different feel to it.
I don't even feel comfortable sitting in Madrid on an Instagram, just saying, hey, brand new podcast episode, like drinking for mousse, eating topics, or waltzing through the palace.
Did you say you went to Spain?
Yeah, but it honestly is weird for me. I think there's a real headspace to be in there in marketing and you have to write. Having good, solid writing is going to be able to get people's attention. I think you can do audiograms and audiograms are good, but how are you going to tell people to click and to listen on to that audiogram as well? I will say I'm quite certain there are some people who know exactly what this podcast is all about. Never downloaded a single episode. They only keep up on the podcast by following the audiogram, whether it's on Twitter. Hey, I never watched Roseanne, but I know all the characters and I know what the show is about.
I can relate to that directly. I run a YouTube channel for one of my clients, and one of the comments we got the other day was, hey, I've never listened to a single full episode, but thank you for putting out the short clips. That's how I follow the show is by watching these five minute increments of your episode. So I appreciate that. And that speaks a lot to the way the culture is now is we have this goldfish mentality of TikTok and Instagram, reels and Twitter. Just scroll on to the next thing, and if it doesn't capture you within that 30 seconds or 5 seconds, even, they're onto the next thing and they forget completely about you. So that ties into what great copywriting can do and why you have to kind of personalize each and every post specific to each social media platform because they all work differently.
The podcast super friends.
Matt, I have a question. If you'll entertain, yes, with 300 episodes, I take it part of the value of podcast is that library. In other words, someone who's never heard of, you might discover you tomorrow and go back and listen to your most recent episode and then listen to episode number 243 and 212 and all that. Do you ever think about that when you're producing a single episode to endeavor to make it evergreen, if you will? In other words, maybe take it easy on the current events because you don't know when someone's going to be listening to this.
Yes. So in that case, because it's radio, we don't spend a lot of time talking about their current job because that job is likely going to be gone.
In a few weeks.
Or they'll be restructured out. And then what? Then your episode is dead. I totally do. In my mind, I think I want this thing to last about six months or eight months. It'd be nice for it to last a year. So we don't spend a lot of time talking about the current job. Maybe we'll put that at the end of the show, if at all, in some cases. But really, we want people to talk about their experiences and what they're known for and some of the accomplishments and what do they have to share, really? That sort of applies to people who are still working in radio broadcast, podcast or voiceover.
And with that evergreen model that you have, Matt, what are your thoughts on? Because people's schedules are different. A lot of the people that are probably watching this, they're not full time podcasters. This isn't their job. This is something they're doing on the side, like I keep saying. But what are your thoughts on the process of batch recordings? Sitting down one week and busting out four episodes and scheduling those out for the next couple of months versus okay, every single Thursday I need to have something scheduled where I'm going to sit down and record. Okay.
So if you're going to Spain, you should do that.
Yeah. I'm just glad you switched back to English before we hopped on your Spanish is getting good, but it's just not there yet for a full live stream.
I don't often do the batch recording stuff. I try to have about two or three ready to go. I'm supposed to be launching an episode tomorrow, and right now I've got zero ready to go just because I got back from a trip. Anyway, the person on Friday canceled as it was, but that's just the way it rolls. So that's why you should have a couple ready to go. But I think three or four is sort of the magic number to do that. Somebody interviewed me for a podcast and I said, When's this coming out? Well, they said it's coming out in June. I said, well, we're in February. The entire industry is going to change by the time I don't even think that episode ever got out.
Honestly. So I've never really understood holding on to content that long. I think there's a sweet spot to getting it out, and I think probably within ten days is generally nice.
And in a situation like you just had, where the Friday guest cancels, what do you recommend for hosts? Should they be scared to sit down solo and have something prepared to go? Should they always have kind of an emergency? Hey, I need to rip a solo 30 minutes podcast. I can't rely on being able to schedule somebody last minute. What are your thoughts there if you're someone who's doing specifically an interview style podcast?
So this is a good time to tell you guys that this is the next episode of the Sound Off podcast.
That's what I thought I was like. I know what's happening.
It may also be the next episode of The Jag Show.
Darn. Yes. I mean, listen, going solo is hard. I personally find it hard. I don't know about you, Jag. If you have this radio hang up where you might have to write it out or what do I have to say? And I did do a blog recently on transcription. So do I want to talk about transcription by myself for seven or eight minutes?
That may be fascinating.
I read that blog. It's actually a very good topic. What's interesting is we talk about consistency and consistency being key. But I'll duck tail a little bit from what Matt is talking about here. So my podcast weekly, The Jag Show, solo five minutes. I have repurposed some content the last several weeks, but I was out of town myself for a couple of weeks and I fell behind and I fell behind with some client work. I did not get an episode out. So this is kind of a roundabout way to answer Johnny's question. Yes, you should always be putting content out, but we don't live in a perfect world and sometimes things happen. I have not done a podcasting news episode of my Jack show in about a month, and I'm disappointed of myself because of that. But at the same time, I did not force myself to do subpar content. I think you want to be consistent, but at the same time, if you're going to put out something that's going to harm your brand or the quality is going to dip, or if somebody listens to that as a first impression of your show and they say, you know, this person is not that great. I would rather take a knee or punt than force content that is not as good as it can be.
Yeah, I think consistency is important, and I stress it to all my clients that should my podcast be weekly or bimonthly or what? And what I usually say is the most important thing is be consistent and have a plan. And yet then personally with the bus and podcast, I break that rule all the time. And if we're honest with ourselves, I think we'd say that consistency is important, but possibly not the most important thing. If you have subscribers to your show, they will keep that feed alive. And Jack, it's not like people are going to unfollow you just because you didn't put out an episode. A few the the sound off podcast, different purposes. You're still building the library, even if you're not consistent.
And I think the podcast consumers tastes have changed, too. I think that some of the bigger podcasts that were limited series or do seasonal shows kind of paved the way for some of our clients where that is just the podcast listener has been conditioned to some shows. They're just not weekly or they're not biweekly. They have their own schedule. So I think there's something to say that I do have a question. Has anybody been on a really good trip recently?
Spoiler alert. Jack was actually in Spain with Matt. It's interesting you say that, David, because I just had a conversation with one of my clients who are recorded with this morning, and they were trying to do something weekly and they've worked in high pressure jobs, and it's just impossible for them to get great guests every single week and get everyone scheduled online. And like Jack said, life happens, things happen. And ultimately I think the consistency is critical. But quality over quantity is something that I've been pushing a lot lately. So we moved to a monthly release format where I told them I was like, hey, if we do this monthly, you have to get A plus guests every single month. You can either do weekly C plus guests and then an occasional A plus guest sprinkled in there. But you can't do monthly C plus guests. They have to be really high quality guests if you're going to go in a monthly format, because if that's all people are going to see from you, once a month is kind of a crappy podcast guest or quality of show. They're going to drop off so much easier, but it's easy to keep them if you're only requiring an hour out of their month. And it's going to be a fantastic hour where they're going to learn a lot and be really entertained.
Something I remember one of my radio mentors teaching me is when I was doing nights up in Burlington, Vermont, was the whole the longer the joke, the better the punchline has to be. It's all about the payoff. If you're going to bring somebody along a long way, there better be fall on the floor laughing punchline there. So the same thing here in terms of pay off, if you are asking a commitment of a listener for a time period, length the quantity of the episode, the more you're asking of your listener, it's like a business transaction, the more you've got to give them in return. I feel yeah, it's really true.
I got to check the Aristocrats. I have a question, Matt, and for anyone who wants to chime in, of course, maybe apropos of this session, have you ever thought about doing the show live? And apologies if you have done it live and I just missed that. But in a perfect world, some of the podcasts, I'd love to do them live and I'd love to develop an audience that gives comments during the podcast. So now we're really talking about simulating radio, but it's a daunting thought for me that you build up an audience for your podcast and now you got to build up kind of a second audience for the live show. But what are your thoughts on that?
So I started to do a live show. It was going to be like a follow up. So I'd bring a guest back and we would have the same StreamYard conversation that we're having now. We would do it live. It would be on the the the Sound off podcast, the YouTube and on the Facebook and whatnot. And it was good, but it had a completely different feel. And so I thought if I'm going to do this, I thought, well, I'll just release the episode as a bonus or I'll put it out for a limited time and then send people back to the I didn't really feel it had the same consistency as the other stories that are fairly highly produced. And then I started to play with I'm going to record it, I'm going to do it live, and then I'm going to make an audio version of it that is completely different. Now that's a lot of time. And I think that's one of the big changes as we've gone up to 300 episodes are some of the changes along the way, whether it was with the marketing and how we did it. But we recently just added transcription.
That's an investment money and time especially.
You're telling me, I don't even know. I only did it because James Cridlin told me to do it. And Rob Greenley, I think everybody speaks to the importance of a transcript, but I've started to do it and it does take a little bit of time to go through, but I think people do expect that and it will be some form of podcast standard. And again, probably is it to my benefit or not? I don't know, but I can't really tell you unless I do it. So I will do it. But it was different doing it live. And then what do I do with the audio afterwards and how do I work it into the RSS, the podcast audio stream? So I've kind of played with it and I've put episodes up for a little bit and then taken them down. I've left a few of them in there, but okay, we're going to look who's chiming in and that doesn't really do much for an audio listener. I find it kind of distracts from the story. I just want people telling the story and then me weaving in and out with questions and some narration. I think that's the thing that really makes the audio podcast different is that I will narrate through part, and that part was taken from Slate, which eventually became Megaphone. Panopley was the company. They had some podcasts. I thought, these are really good. This is how you tell stories. And so I wanted to really sort of get into that audio space where I would narrate around people. Of course, it makes sense for me to narrate because I do voice work.
I think we'll go back to what we were talking about at the beginning about radio versus podcasting. That where we're talking about that live feel of radio versus the on demand feel of a podcast. And you've got to catch somebody. In full disclosure, the five of us have had conversations about when we should do this stream. Should we do it at night? Should we do it in the afternoon? When should we do it? When can we get the biggest audience? It's hard to get an audience to listen to your show on demand on their own time, but it's even harder to get them to listen at a specific time that you are setting. So I think there is an advantage to doing stuff live once in a while. But I like the on demand model much better.
I did have a complaint, by the way, about the last session because this person emailed me and said, when are you going live with this thing with your podcast friends? And I said, Well, I didn't respond because I was busy setting it up. But then I responded, oh, you can find it here and now. I wanted to watch it live.
Yeah. It depends on the type of content you're doing, too. This is sort of a round table discussion where not a ton of this is super planned. We're all kind of just adding onto it as we go versus what you're doing with your show. Mac, a live model doesn't necessarily work because it's a conversation with a lot of narration added on top of it, where you're sort of crafting a story. I think the live aspect works in a lot of cases where there's a lot of interaction with how this model is doing. If people are commenting and asking questions, we can just add them on the fly versus you sort of have your set schedule of what you're looking to do with this one guest and adding in live commentary from the audience doesn't necessarily fit well.
And I think that too, eventually. We would love to take questions from people who are watching this, right? To me, this points to the fact that podcasting is its own thing. This is one of my favorite dead horses to beat is that podcasting is its own thing. So we can really just focusing on all the things that make podcasting great. Live streaming is a different thing. This is what we're doing right now is not a podcast so there is a culture and a style and a feel to live streaming that is not podcasting. We're trying to right now emphasize the things that a live stream does in our shows, for our clients and for ourselves. That is where we can really put on the podcast sort of shine.
Well, then let's tie it back into podcasting then. Matt, one of the biggest things, the biggest differences between live streaming something versus an on demand podcast is the editing side of it. And it's a very daunting approach for a lot of hobbyists podcasters, a lot of people that produce their own show. What are your thoughts on the editing intensity of your podcast? Are you trying to remove every single mouth clicks, or are we just talking long pauses, bathroom breaks, a big screw up, or when we talk about someone's personal family member, where you go, actually, I don't really feel like getting a mouthful from somebody later. So let's edit that part out.
I like to leave the bathroom breaks in.
I think they're interesting naked gun moments, all of it.
The odds come out.
I mean, we want to have the nice pauses in there. We don't want to edit too tightly. We do want it to sound natural. I think one of the bigger changes I had to make was to stop speaking like a radio person into the microphone and start speaking like a podcaster into the headphones.
Do you mean like a human being?
Yeah, that sounds great, Matt. That's what we had from the production side, too. It was highly compressed and a lot of loud banging and noise because I wanted it to sound like radio. And that was a mistake. Somewhere around episode 111, we stopped that after somebody pulled me aside at podcast movement and said, you can stop that now. Jeff Schultz, who works at one degree, but he was the longtime imaging producer at K Fog, but he works at Wanderer doing a lot of those podcasts now, and he says there's a difference and you need to pull it back now. So I thank him for that.
But, Matt, if you have someone who let's say that it's like a DIY podcast and it's an interview podcast, and they don't have the resources to edit out the and they say, well, you know what it is? What it is? It's a conversation. I try to make it as good a conversation as I can. How important is that? I mean, what you're describing sounds great. It sounds like a professionally produced podcast, especially when you add the narration. That to me just makes it sound more slick a step above. But I think some podcasters would push back on us and say, you guys don't need to do that much editing. If it's a good conversation, that's the most important thing. What do you think about that?
No. Anything you can edit, you can make better. Anything you can record, you can make better. So I'll take 43 minutes conversation and make it 38. I say five minutes of all my listeners time. And I think that's important to think about the time that you're saving for your listener. You want to make it a nice condensed experience. I don't think a few uns and odds are going to hurt.
Well, also, the clip pace of that show will be more appealing to the ear, I think, rather than something with a lot of pregnant pauses and run the risk of sounding almost disorganized.
Let me jump in here for a second, because I hear what you're saying, David. I think we've all heard that from clients, maybe some folks on this call about having the conversation flow naturally to Matt's point. You want to be respectful of your listeners, time for them to listen to your podcast is a lot more of a commitment than it takes to like your Facebook post or comment on an Instagram post. So for me and I agree with Matt. For me, it's about 10% out of a 60 minutes podcast. I'll cut about six minutes, about 30 minutes podcast. I'll cut about three minutes on average. And I will take the as out. The golden rule of editing, of course, is if you can't make it sound natural when you're making the edit, leave it in. As is if somebody is going to notice and edit a layperson, notice and edit, don't do it. So leave those. There are sometimes I remember a session at Podcast Movement called the Artful. There are some UMS and odds you would want to leave if you ask a really thought provoking question to your guests and your guest says, let me think about that for a second. That's important to context. You want to leave that. But the extraneous UMS and OS and likes and you knows, I think you can take those out and really, again, three minutes, five minutes of your podcasters time, of your listeners time. Rather like Matt said, there's value in that. It may not seem like it in the moment, but it does over time.
Pour one out for all the Gen Z podcast producers who are editing out. Like, I think I think that sounds like pretty good.
You know, the other thing that I look for is our repeated words, because we don't realize how often we repeat.
Words until you see a transcription.
And then it's like, yeah, I see a transcription of myself and I said the word I seven times in a row before by a stuttering fool. Don't answer that. Well, I think most of us use software that can automatically take out. And I know we all have talked about the fact that you can't use that like a sword. There's also a feature in there that will cut repeated words. I ran into it, and at first I was so happy to have this function, I used it a little too aggressively. I was doing a music podcast with a friend. He was talking about the band Duran Duran.
Oh, I was hoping you were going to say Duran Duran.
And when it came out, he said, how come every time I say, Darren, it just says Duran? I don't seem to remember saying that. And I said, let me go back and fix it.
Context is important. Like the word that you might think that that's a good idea. That's a double use of the word that. So discretion really comes in when using these AI and automated tools.
And it's something that you improve upon as a host. Right, Matt? Over time, as you get just more reps behind the microphone, you save less of those crutchwords and you just become a more experienced interviewer, more experienced conversationalist where you're not using these crutchwords because you just become again, it's a habit forming thing. You just become better behind the microphone and you rely less on those crutchwords.
I was better on the radio because it was live. But now that it's being recorded, I can just edit it out. And there are times when I interview people, I'll go, I need a second, and then I come back with the question. Or it might be rephrased in a different way, but I find that happens about once every recorded session. And I'll just say, I need a second here.
And then deliver the question. I think the preparation for the interview is really important. I think you have to say, I want to start here and I want to end here. I think your questions need to be written out, but you need to do it in pencil. And I think you need to cross things out as you go. So I'll tell the guest, I'm just going to be writing little notes off to the side. And if they say something important again, to listen back to what they're saying and that you scribble down something that you might want to be able to work in. So I think a lot of people don't understand that about interviews. And I'm very lucky to have interviewed just about everybody on rock radio one time or another, Mick Jagger included, but no Beatles. You show up prepared for an interview with your five questions that you're going to get and be ready to go. So I came very well equipped to doing interviews. And so not that there's any New York giant fans on this, but Bill Parcels think he said it was 50% preparation, 50% execution, and that's what goes into an interview.
A good point, too. I believe it was Terry Gross who mentioned this, a podcast movement a few years ago in Philadelphia. Matt's nodding because he knows where I'm going with this. She said, I believe she was interviewing Hillary Clinton when she was running for President, and her mind just wandered because we've all done this as interview host. What do I have to put on my grocery list. What am I going to make for dinner? When do I get to start dinner? Tonight. And Hillary Clinton said something I don't know if it was maybe Matt Well, but it was very compelling and unexpected. And so she was kind of going on and then she stopped mid interview and said, I'm sorry, did you just say that? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So it's very easy, even if you're very interested in your guests or I guess in some of our cases, depending on the guests, if you're not interested in your guests, it's very easy to let your mind wander to your todo list. What else do I have to get done today? What am I doing tomorrow? And you can miss something that can be really the crux and selling point of your entire interview. So it's really important to always listen to that guest. It's the best point about pencil because you might catch something that's unexpected and you can go in a totally different direction.
Well, it's like you said, Jack, and it may not necessarily be like you're thinking about your groceries. You may be so focused on getting your next question out there that you completely miss something that they said they could have turned into 15 minutes of just fantastic content. You just chucked the next two questions out the window. So, yes, absolutely. It's being able to oh, what's the word in here? I am stumbling from my own words. It's being able to kind of just adapt and roll with the punches and be able to pull out something really interesting that the guest has said that's going to be valuable to whoever's listening.
It's the biggest piece of advice I give. It's the first piece of advice I give to all my podcasters. And it's something that's so important that I have to keep reminding myself of it because I don't know about you guys, but there are still moments when I listen to one of my podcasts back and I'll hear something that the guests say that is new to me. And I was like I wasn't listening the first time around. And I could have asked a follow up. I'll tell a real quick story about how it can be so dangerous. He's still around, although not on the air. Boston sports radio legend Jack, you remember Eddie Andelman right?
Well, he was very popular, not necessarily the greatest interviewer. And he was interviewing the great Ted Williams, who had, of course, long since retired, but he's a lot of sports figure in Boston. And so Eddie says, Ted, tell us what you think about this year's edition of the Red Sox. And he said, well, Eddie not as much pitching as they could use, but they do have one secret weapon. And Eddie Edmond says, Ted, that's great. Let's talk about fishing. We never found out what the secret weapon was. And that's just one example. But it's amazing how if you listen intently, your guests will reveal stuff, sometimes even under their breath, that if you don't go back and ask about and ask them to elaborate, people will say, well, but that's another story. And I'll say, well, this is a podcast. We got time. That's what we're here for.
One of the big things in podcasting is you want to avoid friction points for your listeners. You don't want to create friction with your listeners. What you're describing, Dave, is exactly that. As any Red Sox fan, listen to that or any baseball fan. How did you not ask Ted Williams what the Red Sox secret ingredient is? How did you not ask that? You're creating friction, angst, whatever the word you want to use for your audience, and making it even a little bit more unpleasant, which you don't want to do with your audience.
And to that point, Jack, great point. There's nothing there's content that's bad, and there's content that's confusing and confusing can be even worse than bad or boring. Because if your guest mentions someone like, well, one of my great influences is Bart Johansson, and then he just keeps talking and it's like, I don't know who the hell Bart Johansson is. Maybe we should clear that up for the lead before we keep moving on.
And it's without any effort. It makes you, as the interviewer, seem, just so much more intelligent. If you just ask the question of, hey, you said blank, explain that a.
Little more as an interviewer. You want to be you want to be the representation of your audience. You want to be the stand in for your audience. So if your guest says something that your audience is going to say, who is that? Or what are you talking about? You need to be the standard for your audience and ask that question on their behalf. Great point.
Yeah. I have a client that I work with, and he does a fantastic job of this. And he always prefaces it as, I'm going to ask a really dumb question, but it's always the question that the audience is thinking of because I don't know anything about your industry. You're the expert, so you may think of everyone who's listening already knows the sort of background or whatever you're talking about. So I'm going to preface this as break this down to me like I'm just the biggest idiot in the world and kind of walk me through this so people can get a better understanding of why you are the way that you are.
I host a number of podcasts or financial advisors, and a lot of times they'll throw out an acronym that is just very common in that field. Hey, make sure you take your RMDs at this age. Let me stop you here. Rmds required minimum distributions, right? Remind our audience what that is the first time you listen to the show. Real simple. Just make sure you avoid any friction with your audience for the person who.
Doesn'T know that's always us.
Yes or yeah, just plain dumb. Always works like I'm an idiot. I'm sorry, I don't know what that is. Never heard of that person. And always better to admit that and ask the dumb question rather than let it go. By the way, dumb questions. That's a good name for a podcast.
That's a great name for podcast.
You can send the royalties to David, if you're on this call and you.
Start that someone's thought of it already.
Now you want to give people credit?
Stealing my lines.
I know we're in about an hour now at this point, and I don't want to forget to ask Matt this any takeaways you have now that you've hit 300 episodes with your podcast, things that if you are podcasters who are on this call, what things? A couple of big takeaways you would give them to keep in mind as they continue their show. Just big picture.
Always pay attention to your numbers and your stats, but don't marry yourself to them. There's going to be ups, there's going to be downs. I think we talked a lot about consistency just with ourselves releasing content, but the listener will listen on their own time according to whenever they want. I think we see a lot of changing habits. We saw some in March of 2020 and we're seeing some right now where people are sort of gearing up for summer, but they're also going back to work and getting back into the car. Maybe that commute isn't as long as it used to be, and maybe they've got some newer podcasts that they have attached themselves to. There's a lot of change going on even more now than there used to be. Just gets faster and faster. So I think you need to be patient with numbers and how much time you're going to spend with it, and as well, don't be afraid to change up your sound. I think that's one of the things I probably don't change the sound up enough on the show, whether it's a nice style of interview or whether it's the imaging or find the imaging, the imaging. At the beginning of the show we've had three different voices at the start of the show and what we say it used to be really long, and then we made it super short down to about 15 seconds, and where we take our breaks for a mid role to have some sponsorship mentions. I think I'm always looking for new and better ways to do that, but sometimes you just have to try it. So you constantly have to experiment with yourself and your podcast in some particular way, whether that is from the interviewing side, whether that may be from the editing side. Maybe we want to edit a little bit less than not quite as rigid as we once did, or maybe we want to tighten it up I think you constantly need to be thinking about evolving your sound in a particular way and what that really is going to mean because of episode two sounds the same as episode 200.
You're in trouble.
Yeah. You may not be growing.
And don't be scared of the summer dip. That's coming, folks.
Your numbers are going to take a hit because people are traveling and that just happens to everybody. It happens every summer and it's going to pick back up in the fall. So don't get discouraged by that.
I just take my phone off the hook now. The clients we're not having that conversation.
Call me in September again. Shout out. Call back to me saying I listen. The The The Sound Off podcast where I catch up on my podcast listening. So I am not the typical audience member. That's the thing to keep there.
Anybody have any closing thoughts as we.
Start to wrap this up today? Matt I know. Congratulations on 300. That is a huge milestone and I think that it's not to be just taking for granted that that is a huge thing to reach. Good job. I know that you do such a great job for all of your clients and I'm sure that reaching the Smile Stone is just going to have an even more positive impact for you, for your clients. So Congratulations all around. Matt Cundill.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
That's very sweet, Catherine.
When David's don't play with his buttons, we want to go around the room and give a quick one line plug for ourselves as we wrap up here.
Do it. Matt go.
I'm Matt Cundill, host of The Sound Off Podcast and the CEO of the The Soundoff Podcast Network. You can reach me at SoundOffPodcast.com.
Follow me on Twitter @johnnypodcasts.
I have also been to Spain. It's just been several years. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram at Hello, Catherineo. And I'm Catherine O'Brien.
Thanks never been to Spain. I'm happy here. Right in Boston. Pod six one seven.com is where you go if you want your own podcast.
Fucking a right brother curse free, Johnny.
We can fucking swear on StreamYard. I would have done it before.
As if I could even follow that. I'm John Gay from Jag in Detroit podcast. You can find me at jagindetroit.com. Thanks for being here, everyone.
Thanks for listening to the podcast Super Friends. For a transcript of the show or to connect with the Super Friends, go to the show notes of this episode, or go to Soundoff.Network. Produced and distributed by The Soundoff Media Company.