Shamgar’s Guide to Launching Your Podcast - The Biblical Bootstrapper


I have a great pastor. Leslie Stevens has been my preacher for 5 years or so. She’s currently preaching a series called “What Happened to the Third Verse” where she’s taking little preached on verses or passages of the Bible and illuminating them a bit.

This week, she preached on the story of Shamgar, as found in Judges 3:31 -

After him (Ehud) was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel.

She used as the crux of her discussion a book linked here:

The Three Success Secrets of Shamgar

Pat Williams, the founder of the Orlando Magic wrote that with some friends and as the book jacket shows you, the message of Shamgar boils down to this:

Start where you are.

Use what you have.

Do what you can.

Shamgar used an Oxgoad, which is effectively a long cattle prod with a hook as well as a point, because that’s what he had. He started his one-man war against the invading Philistines (one imagines) right there at his own farm. And 600 is his tally of defeated enemies because that was what he could do. It wasn’t world-altering, and yet “he also saved Israel”.

Alright, enough preamble. What in the world does any of this have to do with Podcasting? I’m a professional podcast editor and producer. I work for businesses and brands and solo-entrepreneurs that use their podcasting as a marketing funnel, an educational channel for their clients and customers and credibility for their knowledge and expertise in their industry or field. These are serious folks and they take their shows seriously. But they all have one thing in common, that anyone reading this can imitate.

They got started.

You cannot have a podcast if you don’t publish an episode. And then another one and another one and so forth. So, follow our friend, Shamgar and start where you are.

If you don’t have anyone in your circle that’s interested in podcasting, and no online connections that are either? Then make a solo show.

Don’t have a business or brand to promote, but you’re desperate to join this new medium and get your voice out there while you “figure that money stuff out”? Well, podcast about your hobby, passion or the JOURNEY to find that business, brand or product. Start where you are.

Sure, Joel. But what am I gonna make this podcast with? I don’t have the Rhodecaster Pro or 6 Shure SM7b’s or 3 iMac Pro’s running the latest updates of Adobe Audition and RX7.

Well, you’re reading this on a computer right? Or a smartphone? Or a tablet? Guess what? Every single one of those is a better podcasting tool than an Oxgoad was a weapon of war for Shaggy. (I think we’re all familiar enough to call him Shaggy now, aren’t we?) Use what you have.

The Lightning cable earbuds that come with every iPhone (and most iPads I think still) make a very decent starter microphone, especially if you’re doing short solo recordings in a decently quiet environment. Cheap starter mics are available like (my favorites) the Knox KN UM01, Audio Technica ATR2100 or Pyle PDMic58 if you’re using more than one mic locally, you’ll also need an audio adapter for that but still those are very affordable: )

What about recording space? Again, start where you are, use what you have. Do you have a large walk-in closet? A quiet office? A comfy bedroom? Any of those can work with a little thought and prep (and warnings to the family not to bother you). Even in the extreme case that none of these work for you, your car or the local library might offer spaces that you wouldn’t normally consider but, it turns out are just fine for the task.

And what do you podcast about and for just how long?

Well, once again let’s follow our friend Shaggy. Do what you can. Maybe what you can do is one season of a podcast about your favorite tv show. That’s JUST FINE. Maybe it’s a ten episode series on your family’s history in your state or region. That’s exquisite. Maybe it’s just 3 episodes breaking down the three actionable takeaways from your favorite Bible story, Shamgar.

Well, that last one might not be a huge hit, but if you can download them by RSS and you can subscribe to it in Apple Podcasts, it totally counts too, so get to it (but credit the authors above).

Podcasting is a beautiful, intimate art form, as well as a great tool for marketing and branding or education and entertainment. It’s as flexible as you want to make it, but you have to start where you are, use what you have and do what you can.

If you’re getting started, is a great place to host those new podcast episodes, check them out here and get 7 days free, as well as the ability to host multiple podcasts at the same monthly rate.

We talk about the problems podcasters face as well as give commentary and context for the latest podcasting industry news every week on Always Listening.

And if you’d like consultation or actual hands-on help with launching, editing or publishing your podcast, I’d love to help you.

Why I’m Switching From Dynamic Ad Insertion & Why I Used It in the First Place

Hi. I’m Joel Sharpton. And I’ve been a loud advocate and avid user of dynamic ad-insertion for my podcasts for the last several years. This weekend, I moved all my podcasts away from that model & to a whole new media host. Here’s my explanation of why I made that move, and why I used the technology in the first place.

About four years ago, I met Jay Soderberg who had just joined the Blog Talk Radio team as an executive in charge of their Prime Program. Blog Talk had a reputation in the podcasting industry but it was basically only for bad audio quality. Blog Talk did in fact have some revolutionary tech, it’s recording platform which had allowed folks to host and stream call-in radio-like shows with very little technical know how or setup & even more important, their dynamic ad insertion tech. They had not only pre and post-roll ad stitching but midroll as well. Dropping advertisements right into the middle of the show, which at the time was not only novel but basically exclusive for indie podcasters.

Until this point I’d been hosting or cohosting three podcasts but was hoping to do more over time. I’d also been very fortunate to have a partner who bankrolled a lot of the expenses since I was handling all the technical stuff & the actual editing.

To be very frank, in the years before my move to Blog Talk there were definitely months where paying for hosting multiple shows & the websites domains associated would have been difficult for me alone. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to justify starting a new show unless I had investment or sponsorship before it even launched.

BlogTalkRadio allowed me to forget about that concern. While also taking the expense off my partner. It turned the cost for hosting my shows from $5-$20 a month to an actual payment to me in that same range, even though none of my audiences was ever very large.

That’s why I was happy to use the service and recommend it to others. For hobbyist podcasters in a small niche where sponsors are unlikely and listener support wouldn’t work, this is a way to make your show a plus in the ledger anyway. That’s as true today of services like Spreaker’s prime program and Anchor’s ad system as well. There’s nothing wrong with it, and there’s no shame in it. Know what it is, know what it could do for your show and you, and then decide if it’s the right fit.

So. Since I love it so much, why I have I decided to stop using it?

Well, again, to be very frank I’m in a much better place than I was when I started podcasting for lots of reasons but primarily because I now have a business built on my podcasting and helping others polish and perfect their shows.

The expenses I incur for hosting media pale in comparison to my website, taxes, software and hardware purchases etc. My personal calculations are just much different than they were in the past.

Meanwhile, nothing’s changed about my belief in dynamic advertising for podcasts. If anything, I think the future means more of that, not less. It’s the model that YouTubers and the generation raised on YouTube expect, and through companies like Voxnest and Anchor it appears to be available to the masses if they want it.

So, again. Since I love it so much, why I have I decided to stop using it?

The reasons are THREE!

1. There is some exciting new developments in hosting. - I had been wanting to try out Captivate from Rebel Base Media for a while and it came out of beta last week. Good timing, right? If you wanna try it you can use my link here to try it out with a 7 day trial

2. Most of my shows are not a good fit for advertising that isn’t super targeted or advertising at all. - I have a progressive religious podcast that I just put on Squarespace to start specifically because I didn’t want any advertisement. I’ve got another that is super short personal stories. Tiny audience & no way to fit in an ad break that won’t ruin it.

3. I wanna try some new things with Always Listening specifically. Things that just won’t fit with having a generic insurance ad or burger joint etc. - specifically? Direct podcast sponsorship. We’re gonna do promos for your podcast, at reasonable rates based on demand available today at the link below.

So that’s it. I’m experimenting in a couple different ways with my shows & I’ve outgrown dynamic ad insertion personally. At least as it’s currently available and for my current needs.

But my point here broadly is that that’s what I’M doing. Not necessarily what you should be doing, or what every right-thinking podcaster should do.

Is your show a hobby? Is money tight but your passion meter full? Then maybe the generic insurance ad and a spot about the burger place is just right for your show. As long as it keeps you podcasting, don’t let anybody tell you different.

I damn sure didn’t.

Trivial Warfare - August 2019 Client Highlight


Pro Podcasting Services would like to spotlight Jonathan Oakes and his team at Trivial Warfare for the month of August.

Trivial Warfare was inducted into the Trivia Hall of Fame in Las Vegas earlier this month! The Trivial Warfare crew (Jonathan Oakes, Carmela Smith, Benjamin Young, and Chris Hollister) were honored alongside other inductees: Regis Philbin, Anne Hegerty, and Kevin Ashman. Congratulations to a hard working, smart, very funny, and dedicated group at Trivial Warfare for such a successful and growing show with positive recognition in the podcasting and trivia worlds!

Jonathan also competed in Trivia Nationals while in Las Vegas. Jonathan and the team he competed with took home gold medals in the Music Quiz! Jonathan also made it to the semi-finals in the individual 5x5 game. Way to go!

Jonathan alongside Katie Sekelsky (Owner/Trivia Writer at The Inkling), have put together an Everyday Q&A 2020 Trivia Calendar! It has been FULLY FUNDED on kickstarter and preorders are live and available at Preorder yours now!

Next Thursday, August 29th, Jonathan, Carmela, and Benjamin will be on stage at Dragon Con alongside Clint and Travis McElroy from MBMBaM for a live recording of Trivial Warfare!!! This is so exciting and we are very pumped to listen. Make sure to subscribe to Trivial Warfare anywhere you find podcasts and at to have this and other episodes as soon as they are available.

Congratulations to everything you have accomplished and all the good things to come! We are so proud to call you not only a client but also a friend.

#TrivialWarfare #JonathanOakes #TriviaHallOfFame #TriviaNationals #DragonCon #MBMBaM #Podcasting #ProPodcastingServices


Why and How to Use an iPad (or iPhone) to Record, Produce and Publish Your Podcast


The iPad is PERFECT for Podcasting. Even Apple agrees with me.

Though I disagree with their choice of apps. I wonder how much they wish they’d used a different app for this ad now that their competitor in the music space own Anchor? I have been using my iPad (and in a pinch, my iPhone) to record, edit, produce and even publish podcasts FOR YEARS. But it’s become easier and easier over the last few. With the release of Ferrite 2.0 in fall of 2018 (and its continued development with crazy new features), the future of long-form audio content is here, and AT LEAST FOR NOW, it’s iOS only (but more in a bit on why this might be the future of Mac podcasting too).

It all starts with Ferrite

Ferrite will feel to most podcasters or radio producers, like a custom built app, once you learn the ropes. And there’s a good reason for that. It was built in response to hearing podcasters lament their inability to use good tools to create their shows on iOS. Jason Snell (and others) was literally a test subject for the needs of podcasters as the developer (Wooji Juice is the company behind it), sculpted out the first version. From there, he’s iterated constantly, adding new features as iOS itself has grown and finally in the last major release he’s added two features that will quickstart every single episode’s production for DIY podcasters.

Throw in some amazing Plugins

One of the arguments against podcast production (and other media creation) on the iPad for years was the lack of support for plugins, third party services that extend, expand or augment the abilities of piece of software. In the audio world, there are third party compressors, limiters, expanders, reverb and deverb processors, noise gates and more. All of this is possible through the Audio Unit (AU) spec and API from Apple. I have my own favorite handful of plugins that I go to on a regular basis, but this world is much larger than even I realized before I began researching options for fellow editors when they asked for specific tools. There are a LOT of things out there that work wonderfully TODAY on your iPad or iPhone.

Add in New Open Standards

The final patents that encumbered (or protected, depending on how you look at it), the MP3 format that revolutionized the music industry with Napster expired in April of 2017. This meant that app developers were free to include MP3 encoders without fear of patent infringement or licensing requirements. Many had already taken the plunge either through a deal or boldness that the approaching deadline would mean they wouldn’t be pursued. But Ferrite waited until shortly after the expiration to begin including MP3 export as an option. This changed LOTS of things about what we could do with Ferrite and where Ferrite’s development would go. As of March 2019, Ferrite is a fully capable podcasting or broadcast radio DAW, allowing you to record, edit, produce and publish professional quality audio. All of this, while adding in features for file and project management that other traditional DAWs still don’t match.

What the Future Holds

Who knows exactly where Ferrite and iOS development is headed? Few outside of Cupertino. BUT, we do know that this year will bring the first phase of Project Marzipan (codename), a cross-platform project that aims to allow for iOS developers to easily get their apps on Macs. The rumors say the focus this summer will be on iPad apps, next summer on iPhone apps and in 2 more years, developers will be able to create one application that runs across Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch and, ostensibly whatever hardware platform comes NEXT from Apple. That means that a high quality app like Ferrite might be limited to devices ranging from 4” to 13” TODAY, but this purpose-built podcasting application will very likely soon be running on anything made by Apple, including your incredibly costly Mac Pro that is supposed to be released sometime later this year.

What Does This Mean for ME?

Maybe nothing. Maybe you’re abundantly happy with whatever hardware and software solution you’re using today to create your podcast. But, maybe this is the start of a journey to creating your show on a platform and device that you LOVE rather than endure. That’s the life I’ve been living since I made the switch to iPad and Ferrite full time. If you’re intrigued, check out Ferrite today. If you’re on board, sign up for my iPad Podcasting 2.0 course and get all my tips, tricks and top-secret strategies for maximizing Ferrite and iOS for Podcast production.

Here’s my BOLD Prediction For Podcasting

In three years, the majority of podcasts will be produced entirely on mobile devices. Tablets, smartphones and the next generation of laptops and desktops that use mobile first software. So, for those of us in the industry, we better at least get ahead of the coming curve, before we’re left ‘round the bend.


Finally an Apple Watch: What It Took for Me to Buy One

Today is my 37th birthday. If that’s personally interesting to you, you can check out the new podcast series I’ve launched today telling stories of my life, right here.

This is special for lots of reasons, but the one we’re focusing on in this post is the gift I’m giving myself today (along with some cash and gift cards from my family this year). I’m finally becoming an Apple Watch owner with the Series 3, now reduced in price after the launch of the Series 4 watch. But it’s not just the lower price point that has pushed me over the edge, it’s primarily the combination of hardware and software features now available at the entry price point that has me excited to finally jump into the smartwatch lifestyle.

Here are the big three:

GPS - The Series 2 Watch was SOOO tempting. The combination of waterproof casing with a big speed bump in the processor had me excited for the watch in my own life. BUT, with the release of Series 3 it was the Series 1 that remained for a lower price point while the 2 was officially retired. In the end, it was a blessing in disguise as the Series 3’s GPS addition is what I really wanted as it would allow for phone-free workout tracking with more accuracy and reliability.

Water resistance - Again, the Series 1 (and 0) were always no-go’s for me as more than desirable objects because (while I don’t own a swimming pool) I am a water-baby and love swimming more than any other physical exercise imaginable. If I want a device to track my workouts and activity, it’s got to be able to do so in the pool too. The Apple Watch Series 2 offered this for the first time, but was retired before it drifted down to my preferred price point. Now, the Series 3 brings me water resistance rating of 50 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010. I’m no scuba-diver and I don’t do submarines, so I’m all covered.

Podcast Playback, independent of the phone - Finally, the real deal-breaker. I make the vast majority of my income producing podcasts. I am subscribed to more than a 100 podcasts and stay up to date on dozens of shows each week. The only way I’m able to do that is through the Overcast app, my AirPods and my iPhone and iPad Pro. BUT now with Watch OS 5, available last week alongside iOS 12, not only is the official Apple Podcasts app now available there but 3rd party apps have been allowed background audio playback which means that Overcast’s developer Marco Arment had a very busy summer bringing us this:

Photo courtesy of, click to check out Overcast 5.0

Photo courtesy of, click to check out Overcast 5.0

So, now I’m an Apple Watch owner, excited to get serious about tracking my movement and using Siri Shortcuts to automate a ton of paperwork and processes in my daily job. As a day one iPhone 3G owner, an iPad owner since generation one and someone who runs his entire business from an iPad Pro today, Apple had to earn my business in this market, but eventually they’ve gotten there.

Why I Think Spotify Matters to Podcasters (& What Podcasts it Should Matter To)

UPDATE 2/6/19 - Check out Always Listening 403 for our reaction to the latest Spotify news


Lots of big tech companies have fallen in love with podcasting over the years. Microsoft loved podcasting one time. Google loved us, then they didn’t, then they sort of did, then they didn’t again. Now they REALLY do.

The one tech giant that has always stuck by us though is Apple. Since they introduced Podcasts into the iTunes Store in 2005, Apple has been the 900lb gorilla pushing our little podcasting choo-choo up the hill to the mainstream.

With Google back in the podcasting game, and Apple extending their podcast support to the HomePod and the Apple Watch, why do we need to worry about this new beautiful entrant to the podcasting pageant, Spotify?

Because of the different role they play in people’s lives, and the different people they put us in front of.

Spotify is an important part of a LOT of people’s lives.

The vast majority of these folks aren’t spending their time listening to podcasts EVEN those that already have and use an Apple device (which comes pre-installed with the Apple Podcasts app). Why is that?

Studies show that more and more people every year know that podcasts exist (and even have a vague sense of what they are), but they still don’t listen. In my opinion that’s because of the difference between the “lean back” nature of television viewing for the average consumer, and the “lean in” nature of podcast discovery.

No one “happens into” a podcast. There isn’t one playing on the radio already when you turn on the car, or one that comes on automatically every Wednesday at 4. Personally, I find that freeing. I HATE having something random on. I LOVE programming all of my entertainment or edutainment. But, I also am already an avid podcast listener. I’m not the person you need to convince to grow this market.

This is theory, based on the above referenced stats and my own understanding of the podcast market, but I think it is more likely than not that the next 50 million podcast listeners are going to want that “lean back” experience. They’re going to want someone programming things.

Spotify is already programming a lot of these people’s listening time. And now, it turns out that Spotify wants to use our podcasts for some of that time. I was skeptical in the beginning, but I’m seeing it laid out now and I think there are effectively three directories that matter now. Apple, Google, Spotify. Apple has a smartphone and smart speaker eco-system, Google has a smartphone and smart speaker eco-system, and Spotify has a brand of smart devices already starting and sits across both Apple and Google’s eco-systems talking to and bringing in a whole new group of people to wide world of podcasts. To get to 100 million, we’ll need them all helping us.

For Which Shows Does Spotify Matter Most?

For one, my podcast about podcasts is never likely to set the Spotify charts on fire (though with our background as a podcast review show, Spotify has featured us a time or two already). But obviously shows like Song Exploder, Cocaine and Rhinestones and even WTF with Marc Maron (which regularly features musicians) will be popular on a music streaming service. But also, high production narrative shows like Lore or Serial will find a lot of ready listeners that never knew they existed before.

Pop Culture shows, too, I bet are big hits long-term on Spotify. The next “Lost” or “Game of Thrones” will find it’s corresponding podcast a big hit on Spotify as well as Apple Podcasts. Again, these are “lean-back” experiences, and when Spotify serves them your show based on ads they’ve clicked or demographic info they have, they’ll be pleasantly surprised that other fans are talking about their new favorite TV show.

What about sports shows? The problem here is one of saturation and competition. Sports fans are more likely to already be searching team specific or sport specific content and have their preferred audio experiences already elsewhere. That doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t rather hear your show in Spotify, just that you’re less likely than the above categories to gain a multitude of new listeners there.

Time Will Tell Whether Spotify is the Next Apple or the Next Zune Marketplace

As an experiment this Spotify adventure costs us little to start, particularly if your branding and audience calls to action involve your own website. But the potential upside is a new true third party player in the space, with long term ambitions in audio, a desire to promote content they don’t have to license at exorbitant rates and no tie to a particular hardware platform, so as to protect podcasters from a monopolistic actor in Apple or Google. That potential future, where we have three semi-equal directories all growing and advancing the medium of podcasting? It is one I am all in for gambling on.

The Five Things Your Podcast Website Must Have

I don't want to waste your time, here's the TLDR.

1. An Apple Podcasts subscribe link  

2. An RSS subscribe link

3. An easily accessible (non-autoplaying) auto-updating audio player. Some call this a "playlist" player. 

4. Subscribe in Spotify link 

5. Subscribe on Google Podcasts link

Among the 1001 things the beginning podcaster is concerned with, a fully-featured and user-friendly website is a high priority for most, particularly those that plan on building a business around or supported by their podcast.

The greatest advantage of having your own site is the central location of information on your show. When someone drops your title into a web search, it's likely to return a myriad of links. Your Apple Podcasts listing, perhaps your Stitcher listing, maybe even a directory your media host provides that includes your episodes will turn up. But, if you've done your SEO homework, your own website should always top the list in any search, making it the most likely destination for someone looking to learn more, subscribe, buy merchandise etc.


What should they find when they find your website?


First and foremost, they should find an easy way to play it right away. Something that autoupdates for you so the latest episode is always at the top. This is the lowest friction point for ANYONE to interact with your content, no matter their knowledge of podcast or technology, everyone can follow a link and click "play". Make sure they can if they follow your link.

Next, you need to promote your listing in Apple Podcasts. Personally, I suggest doing through this two means. First, and most obviously, a button. You can create your own, or use the branding and images provided by Apple through the Podcasts Connect website, but either way have something that is obviously for Apple users to click and subscribe on their devices.

The less obvious way you should integrate Apple Podcasts into your website is through the Smart App banners introduced several years ago. While primarily aimed at App Store developers highlighting their apps on their sites, it works admirably for Podcasts and even books.

For full documentation on implementing Smart App banners on YOUR site, see Apple's guidelines here.

To ensure you're show is listed in the Google Podcasts directory, and to grab the direct link to use on your site, use Google's developer tools here.

The RSS link should be easy to grab from your media host or website plugin that creates that feed. And finally, for Spotify, the best bet is to share the show from the app itself and copy the link. You might be asking, why Spotify? The other links above are either OS's themselves (Apple and Google) with their own proprietary apps, or the standard RSS that podcasting is built on, and which can be used in any podcast app, across platforms completely. So why Spotify and not Overcast, or Stitcher or iHeartRadio etc.?

Rob Walch with Libsyn and Todd Cochrane with Blubrry (the two largest podcast media hosts) have both said they believe Spotify will soon be the number two destination for downloads after Apple Podcasts (and depending on exactly how hard Google pushes their new initiative). Spotify is platform agnostic, it works on Mac, it works on PC, it works on Android it works on iPhone etc., AND Spotify is actively pushing the podcasting medium among avid music listeners who aren't CURRENTLY listening to podcasts through other apps. Why does this matter for Spotify? Well, we're infinitely cheaper than streaming music, since they don't pay us royalties (yet anyway), so there's every reason to think this current interest in podcasting from Spotify is not just a passing craze. 

For an example of how all this can work together well on one site see the image of my site above.

The primary thing to remember is that your website isn't where most of your fans and listeners will hang out. They'll be interacting with your content from their favorite podcast app for the most part. But your website should be the easiest, most direct route to understand more about your show, to find all the appropriate social media links, and enable new listeners to easily subscribe to your show whether they really understand what a "podcast" is or not.

Why You Shouldn't Hire an Editor for Your Podcast (Yet)

I spend a lot of time in Podcasting Facebook groups, and occasionally the topic will come up of whether or not to hire an editor. And if so, how much you should pay for it.

I'll leave the second question for another day, but I do have some thoughts on why hiring an editor might NOT be right for you.

  1. If cost is your foremost consideration. - If your podcast is a purely hobby enterprise at this point, coming out of your free time and funds. And if you're cutting corners already on media hosting, stats packages, or your website itself, then hiring an editor is likely going to cause you more grief than it saves you. You're better off researching software solutions you could buy or subscribe to that would give you some final audio polish automagically without actually employing a human producer.
  2. If your "unfair advantage" is your production skills. - If you are (or aspire to be) the next Roman Mars, then an editor isn't what you need to hire. You're much better off hiring a personal assistant, or as (Aaron Mahnke did not too long ago) a research assistant. Spend the money there, or upgrade your gear for recording and mixing.
  3. If it's all just for fun. - Unless you've got loads of expendable cash, if your podcast is anything other than a short or long term part of your business plans, then you probably shouldn't hire an editor. If you podcast about your favorite video game (but work in the legal field), if you and your best friend riff on the days events (but neither one of you have media aspirations), if want to discuss the history of quilting (but you don't have a quilting business, or have any plans for one) then you're better off learning how to better capture your audio and perform it clearly and coherently the first time so that there's no editing needed.

In each of these cases, a company like mine won't do you much good (or at least will cost you more than we likely earn you).


  • If your podcast is part of the strategy you use to promote and grow your own business.
  • If you are an artist, executive or expert whose message is valuable, but so is your time
  • If you don't have a background in or the time to learn the basics of audio production
  • If you want to have a "podcast guy" just like you have a lawyer, a general MD, a dentist and an insurance agent.

    Then maybe you'd like to set up a call with us at ProPodcastingServices. Our, dive in and educate yourself on workflows and processes that can save you time (and money) at Pro Podcasting School.


Pro Pod Tip: First Impressions Matter

While people sharing podcast engagements stats that show listeners drop out within minutes of even seconds are suspect at best since they're all based on streaming users only as opposed to the downloads that serve the vast majority of your audience, I do think it's important to start your show off with a bang.

The episode number, name of the show and a high quality informative and descriptive intro should all be within the first thirty seconds of your show. If you wait longer than that you run the risk of new listeners wandering away from your content before they even know whether or not it's for them.

Pro Pod Tip: Backups are Not Optional

Everyone knows to save their work. It's something that we're taught from our earliest days doing projects for school. Podcasters especially think about this when it comes to recordings, sometimes making double backup recordings in case their different systems fail.

But do you provide the same level of security for your editing work? As you're editing, mixing or mastering your project, make sure you're saving multiple times, and (for extra security) ensure that your edited files live in a folder that is being backed up to cloud storage (whether that's Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft's One Drive or using a full drive backup like BackBlaze.

There's no perfect plan, and the right sequence of catastrophes can leave anyone stranded with lost work. But a proper backup system and set of procedures will ensure that you're never more than an hour or two away from restored.

Pro Pod Tip: Podcast Distribution

Distribution is key for podcasters. Make sure that your show is in the major directories (and updating properly with each new show). There are new directories every day, but the four that every podcaster should submit their show to first are:

Google Play Music App:
Stitcher Radio:
Blubrry Directory:

There's so much confusion for many new podcasters, that one or all of these above are where your podcast IS. Your media host is the heart and soul of your podcast, the RSS feed it's central nervous system, but one of those directories are how the VAST majority of your listeners will actually interact with you. Make sure you're in front of listeners in all of them.

Pro Pod Tip: Capturing Family Memories in Audio

This past week I found myself with family and friends celebrating the life of my Aunt Mable. She was 89 and had been suffering for a few years now. We all miss her and will for the rest of our lives, but this was an opportunity to honor her and share time with loved ones we too rarely get to see. It also offered me the opportunity to capture audio from those family members about my aunt and our family history in general.

No need to break the mood or disturb the peace with lots of recording gear. Download an app to your smartphone like the Auphonic Recorder for Androidor the Ferrite Recorder and editor for iPhone. Your smartphone's mic is better than you might imagine. Just find a small room or hallway away from the main gathering and set the phone between the two of you. It's not ideal, and NPR might wish for a little bit better, but for family movies, memorial podcast episodes or just personal memories, your phone will work wonders. With those recording apps, you can even edit and upload to services like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Pro Pod Tip: Remote Recording with Earbuds

When recording an interview remotely, if your guest doesn't have a microphone, the iPhone or Android earbuds with built in mic work better than you might expect. Remind your guest to be aware of the mic dragging against facial hair, jewelry or their sweater and you'll get close to professional audio without the hassle or headache of rescheduling and supplying your guest gear yourself.

Why and How to Create Your Own Podcast Network

I was recently asked by a friend for the “go-to” industry resource on the pros and cons of creating a podcast network, as well as a good tutorial on how to go about setting one up. There isn’t such a document that I’m aware of, so I just spoke from my own experience, as well as the research I’ve done on the industry at large. I also steered her towards this episode of Podcasters Group Therapy featuring yours truly and my Always Listening cohost Josh.

Satisfied, and with a plan in mind, my friend suggested perhaps I could save myself some time in the future by writing such a document. I’d hesitate to call anything I write a “Go-To Industry Resource” but, I’ve been doing this a while, I’ve talked to hundreds of podcasters big and small and here’s what I know about podcast networks.

“Real” Podcast networks are largely just about ad sales. - While there are the obvious exceptions like Gimlet media that are about hands on production, regional networks that are geographically convenient and many themed networks that focus on a specific kind of content. But most networks are about creating and taking advantage of economies of scale, primarily in the creation and sale of advertising. They provide those services (as well as some cross promotion and possibly group crowdfunding) and take a cut of all the proceeds.

If you're a member of a major corporation, or already have an advertising apparatus, this is likely not the tutorial for you.


1. Ad sales - Turns out, the big guys have a pretty good idea. By pooling the combined audiences of a couple or several shows together you can easily become a more attractive target for ad buyers. You could also isolate the workload and remove redundancies having one member of the network actually "work" as an ad sales office.

2. Vanity - Just like it's a little presumptive to say your ideas are worth other people subscribing and listening to each week, it takes a certain amount of ego to say, "I need to build my own media empire!" Frankly, if you are capable of producing multiple quality shows on an ongoing basis (or, as mentioned below, in rotation) then you HAVE built a media empire. Don't be a jerk about it, but don't be ashamed if you just want one.

3. Cross Promotion - This is going to come up again in my next post about why you might join a network, but it's applicable here too. One of the toughest things for beginning podcasters (or even experienced ones) is promotion. If you had five or a dozen shows mentioning and suggesting one another, surely we'd all explode together!

4. Expand Your Podcasting Circle - I'm based in Ruston, Louisiana. To say Podcasting has only recently arrived here would be an overstatement of its current arrival status. But even here, I'm not all alone. Maybe you've got friends who are into the idea of Podcasting, but wouldn't go through with all the effort. You provide them a "turn-key" solution and you get local Podcasting buddies.

5. Network as Service Industry - In some ways, this is the best way to describe Podcast Websites from JLD and Mark Asquith. They become your "podcast buddy" with the gear and know how to get you started and keep you going, but they charge you for the service instead of just asking you to help them move every few years (I say it's a good trade off). There are likely other great examples of this business model and I think there are opportunities for small business owners to do this all over the world.



1. Ad sales - You never said you wanted to start an ad agency. You want to run your own podcast network. And if it's the ad dollars you're chasing you're still better focusing on traditional radio. Roughly $16.5 billion better.

2. Vanity - Yes, it's swell to put that Network creation on your Linked In page or your About Me section of your site. It's even cooler hearing your Audio ID on someone else's show, I won't even lie. But, without the editorial oversight of a Gimlet, there's always the chance some one else puts something you don't necessarily want your name on out into the world. Pride, goeth before a fall, remember?

3. Cross Promotion - statistics tell us that while many podcast listeners regularly listen to 11 or more podcasts weekly (8% of listeners according to Edison's latest reports), most only listen to a couple and the vast majority of Americans don't listen to any. The real opportunities to grow are among people who don't listen to podcasts today. Network promotion doesn't help that.

4. Expand Your Podcasting Circle - I'm not gonna try to talk you out of this. I'll just say having more podcasts under your purview is like having more babies. They're adorable, but expensive and time consuming. Tread carefully.

5. Network as Service - For the right person or persons, this might be perfect. I'd hesitate to say this is a "proven" moneymaker but I think there are opportunities in the market that you might be perfect for if your passion lay in podcast middle management!

Okay. You've weighed the good, you've weighed the bad and you're jumping anyway.


1. A logo

2. An Audio ID

3. A Website

4. An agreement for hosts



In radio, we call this "imaging". Think about the heavy guitar and the big booming voice says "your favorite station for the drive time drive by!" Or whatever local flair they add. This is that unique and recognizable piece of sound that listeners can expect across all your shows. Whether your hosts run it before the show, after or both, it will be one of the best pieces or cross-promotion in my opinion. These little "sticky" bits of audio have helped me fall in love with more than one show.


Obviously the size of your fledgeling Network will determine how thorough and how official these agreements should be. But bare minimum you should know the answers to the following questions before you invite any other podcasters along for the ride.


Surely, your podcast network will last for a thousand years and no one will ever leave, but let's say they did? What happens to that show and its audience? May I also offer that a service like with team support (so you can have multiple log-ins with different admin capabilities on each podcast) AND the ability to host multiple shows for no additional monthly cost is IDEAL for a burgeoning podcast network. When your monthly downloads top 10,000 you’ll have the listener base to support ads, direct sponsorship or otherwise to cover any increasing costs. Check Captivate out and get a 7 day free trial here.


Do you (network) provide the media hosting (with as mentioned above that’s easier than ever before)? Website design and maintenance? Ad sales? Cross Promotion? Joint fundraising? Whatever it is, no one is joining on just because you built it. This isn't the field or dreams.


Is there a madatory number of episodes the host must produce yearly? Mandatory network promotion? Again, it's a partnership. Make clear what you want from your partner.

If there aren't dollars involved, maybe no one needs a legal document (or even to have it in writing) but if you don't have answers to all of those questions and make them clear to your hosts you are setting yourself up for serious issues.


Josh and I launched our "network" in August of 2015 with Always Listening and What Makes Me Weird? We've now added the very cool Smash/Cut as a member and are open to helping others launch their show in the future. Personally, I cohost Articulate Coven about Anne Rice's Vampire Lestat and the Vampire Chronicles and Backsliding to Glory about my faith.

If you've found this helpful, I'd love if you'd share with other podcasters you think might benefit too, and if you're ever in the market for a professional voice over or need an audio editor, check out our services page, or check out my course on how I record, edit and produce dozens of podcasts weekly using only an iPad.

Need to start a podcast before you start your network?

Check out my Podcasting 101 course FREE to learn everything you need for “Minimum Viable Podcast”.