Pod-Crashing Podcast Stigmas


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Episode 13: Podcast Stigmas Bill Burr was one of Conan O’Brian’s early guests on this newfangled thing called Podcasting. Conan was extremely interested in why Bill’s never put heavy duty focus on having guests on the show. Without a blink in the moment the reply was heard, “I don’t want to deal with people that call you up at the last minute asking to move the show to a different day.” Oh, I’ve been on that airplane ride. It’s a dull ache of reality sitting in your stomach. The show prep and time required weren’t wasted. Your image has taken a hit. The billboards and social media posts promoting the talk make you feel like you failed the listener. I have a very special stack of papers to my left. It’s my notes that were never used. I’ve learned to quickly shake it off and say to myself, “At least I was ready. If they rebook I’ll be even more prepared.” To help calm future storms I keep every guest my tiny little secret. Nobody outside this studio needs to know who I’ve booked until it’s been physically brought to life and properly edited. As a broadcast instructor I’m upfront with tomorrows Podcasters, “Do not race to find a partner! You’re asking them to live on your time clock. You’ll forgive them the first time. That serves as a permission slip to do it again and again. So why start? It’s your show. They are a guest while there. If they don’t make it. No hard feelings. It’s your show. Conan popped off a joke about doing solo shows calling Bill Burr a narcissist. I thought that was kind of odd. Chelsea Handler’s podcast features her head doctor and he’s always telling her she’s far from being narcissistic. Maybe it’s the radio guy in me but when I host with no guests I’ve still got someone on the show. The listener! I’ve created a connection with them and steer every conversation toward their extreme importance. Although I can’t see the listener I believe in the greater possibility of them being there even if it’s only one person named Mom. One more thought about giving love to listeners. If your show is blessed with a solid team of players how often in your conversations do you direct your thoughts toward the listener to keep them activated? Interactive thinking builds a stronger foundation. Listeners feel included. The goal is to invite them to follow. To spread your presence across their social media. A very valuable tool to have. Let’s get back to booking guests. Not friends and family. Content driven doctors, authors, actors, musicians and carpenters holding onto the latest hammers. Another stigma podcasters face on a weekly basis is, “My client doesn’t do podcasting.” Quickly laugh it off! There’s still a huge number of people that see this sport as a training camp for future performers on the radio tower. I used to get pissed when promotors shot that line at me. Then I woke up. You dork! They have a product to sell and podcasting isn’t necessarily the marketing campaign they need to put immediate dollars in their pocket. I’ve changed my booking approach. Stop chasing. As Podcasters we lose a lot of creative time endlessly explaining who we are, what city we’re broadcasting in and is this for the morning show? The stigma shouldn’t make you stagnant. Keep fresh by putting yourself in front of those who get it. It’s growing faster than ever. Have patients and stop chasing. You’ve got something they need. Reach! I could go on all day about the pitfalls and bad smells associated with this incredible way to share content. A stigma that seems to be on the rise right now and I totally blame it on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu is a podcasting season. Creating only a certain amount of shows. Get listeners to binge listen. Then hope to God they rediscover you when you pop your turtle head out of that shell somewhere down the road. I brought this very subject up with Jody and David from the Somebody Somewhere podcast. Their current series puts its entire self into the criminal investigation of a Seattle murder scene that left two homeless people dead. It took them a year to pull everything together. It’s their second season feature. I’m not afraid to ask questions, “How you gonna get listeners back for season three?” David laughed out loud and courageously said “That’s the million dollar question.” I’ve noticed that iHeart Radio does a lot of podcast promoting. In fact Conan endorsed one. Cross pollenating would be an incredible way to not only support those braving the winter storm but it would warmly unite listeners in other places of healthy content. Almost like what iHeart does with their music format. We know you like the Eagles and believe you’ll enjoy Chris Stapleton as well. I think we’re pretty far from podcasters coughing up a little space to talk about others. The stigma is it’s the rebirth of the Wild West and there aren’t enough sheriffs to enforce a little love. That’s another stigma! People latch onto podcasting because of the no rules approach to getting to listeners. It used to be that way at Netflix. Look at what they did in 2018. They mowed down and totally took out a lot of original early day play and replaced it with a guaranteed return to their investment. So what’s the moral to this story? It’s pretty simple in all things broadcasting and podcasting there’s always going to be a stigma. Creative people and the freedom to do it anytime anywhere means there’s not enough toilet paper in the world to keep everything tidy and fresh smellen. Get used to the idea that podcasting seems large and in charge for those who live it and breathe it. Outsiders may never get why millions of us are giving our lives away with no pay. I grew up in Montana and Wyoming and no matter what time of year it was the farmyard always smelled like fresh donkey butt. You’re never gonna get used to the idea that bookers and promoters see only the big names on the dial or podcasting. Hit them up with something I did in 2013, “I realize I can’t get Jay Z or Beyonce but somewhere on that list of yours is a total nobody that could use a little practice with their interview skills. Let me be that platform. Redd out of Detroit was one such musician. I’ve never said no to the kid. He’s on a huge tour this summer. Randy Bachman wasn’t always the main attraction. He worked those radio stations and continues to support the industry that brought him to the stage.

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