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February 1, 2019 Vol. 5


All The Other Podcasts

Never atop the charts, always ahead of the game

 


Very Old Dad and Moms Who Believe"

 
Gimlet & Spotify sittin' in a tree...
It gets dusty in Mama Shwood's hood 
2 Josephsons, 1 Podcast 
Get up to Speed with Jason Klamm's Comedy on Vinyl podcast 
Revel in random podcasts I found in the Outer Rim this week
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Breaking News from the center of the podcast Core Worlds: 

Recode's Peter Kafka and the Wall Street Journal report that Spotify is in talks to acquire Gimlet for somewhere in the 200m+ range. This is a big deal, and mostly not our problem, except:

The article lays out all the venture capital money Gimlet has taken (less than they wanted, more than they can ever make back on the back of content alone.)

I would be super curious to see the Venn diagram of Gimlet investors and Spotify investors. If I were a big name investor in both, and I had read all those late Dec. 2018 articles about podcast revenue, and how content rarely makes real money, and I had seen Gimlet's IP pipeline produce Alex, Inc, I'd probably want my riskier bet folded into my successful bet on Spotify
(closed at $137.40 and up in after-hours trading.)

In the immortal words of David Letterman, "Will it float?"  

We'll see.  In the meantime, we return you to your regularly scheduled newsletter.

Warning, this newsletter might make your mom cry.  
 

Last week, I wrote about the criminally unheralded success of an independent podcast called Night Attack - how hosts Brian Brushwood and Justin Robert Young put out a comedy album that has been blowing up the various music album charts, chillin’ next to Lady Gaga and Weezer, among others. As it turns out, one of our readers last week was Brian Brushwood's mom, aka "Mama Shwood." And well, according to Brian on this week's episode of Night Attack, things got a little teary down in Texas. 

Listen to the excerpt (all audio excerpts should always start with a laugh like this)


I share this clip with you not because I like making moms cry, or because I like to toot my own newsletter horn, but because it reminds me once again how hard it is to explain podcasting to parents and even some friends who grew up listening to broadcast radio and watching broadcast and cable television. And it also reminded me just how hard it is for parents to trust their children’s instincts when they want to become say, a magician, a screenwriter, or even a podcaster. All these jobs have approximately the same small chance of generating the kind of income that makes parents breathe a sigh of relief.  So rest easy, Mama Shwood. That kid is doing just fine! 

Speaking of parents and radio....

This week Infinite Gain Productions dropped our first in-house podcast since 2015. Very Old Dad is a podcast I'm co-hosting with my dad Larry Josephson, who spent most of his adult life on the radio, first at WBAI in New York, and later on your NPR stations with programs like Modern Times, Bridges: A Liberal Conservative Dialogue, and Only In America, The Story of American Jews. He also loves comedy, having produced comedy legends Bob & Ray on NPR, and having the dubious honor of being the station manager of WBAI when George Carlin's 7 Dirty Words case went to The Supreme Court. 


We've gotten an incredible response to the first episode from my generation and his, and he's had some pretty interesting reactions to the medium of podcasting, and a daughter who believes she's right as much as he believes he's right!

I'll get into that in just a moment.

But first...

A QUICK BREAK FOR USEFUL INFO: SCRIPTS v. RUNDOWNS
 

Everyone has a different way of organizing what they want to say on a podcast. Some just wing it. Other start with a blank Google Doc. I use two different methods, depending on the style of show I'm producing: 

The Three-Column Script

I began using this format producing videos for Yahoo! Studios (thanks to producer Jeff Girion for sharing this format with me) While it's really great for the slightly more complex edits in television, it also is very effective for storytelling podcasts that have multiple scripted or documentary elements. For example, here's the first page of the script for Episode 1 of Very Old Dad. You can get as complex as you want with sound direction, which is useful when you're working with an editor other than yourself. 

is available on my site, if you want to try it out. full script document

Google Docs Rundown
 
I learned this format from Tom Merritt's Daily Tech News Show, and have graciously ported it with me everywhere else I've been since. It's great for live shows, when you don't have the budget for AP ENPS or other broadcast tools. 

The DTNS team publishes their rundown on their site every day, so take a look, and while you're at it take a listen to the show! It's an essential podcast about technology, it's independent, and fully crowdfunded, so no tech conflicts. 

 

 
Want to talk with us about podcasts?

Very Old Dad, Very New Podcast

 
Larry Josephson is almost 80 years old, and not always in the best of health. I've been trying to get him to do a podcast with me for years, but he has, to put it nicely, resisted the form. Since he'd already helped pioneer free-form pubic radio alongside Bob Fass, the late great Uncle Steve Post, and so many more radio pioneers behind the scenes, I'd been giving him a pass.

In December 2018, however, Larry launched a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses, home health care and continuing to run his business, which to him means continuing to live. As a daughter, I had some complicated feelings about the GoFundMe. When people are putting up crowdfunding campaigns to help pay for a new heart, or to send a deserving kid to college, or to keep federal workers in their homes, it's really hard to pimp a GoFundMe for a person who, uh, didn't save any money for retirement. 

So the way that I made it OK in my own mind?

I got him to finally agree to do a podcast with me about growing old in America.

And I want it to be more than just our story. My generation (the one you always forget about in news graphics) is caught in the middle of every more expensive child-rearing costs and ever skyrocketing elder-care responsibilities for Boomer parents who are living longer than ever. 

Anyway, all this is to say that my dad was not all that familiar with the power of podcasts. For him, they are another medium for pre-existing radio content. (Please visualize my hair on fire.)

I have tried so many times to explain to him that there's a whole universe of independent podcasts out there, essentially living out his legacy, without the restrictions of broadcast gatekeepers.

That they've taken what public radio has learned about requesting listener contributions and grown it into an art-form that doesn't require pledge drives.

I've explained that yes, podcasts use many of the same audio editing conventions as radio, and yes, sometimes the quality of the sound is not as pristine as public radio has evolved. But they are a separate and evolving artform that gives creators a slightly more walled garden in which to flourish in their own time. 

That podcasts are becoming a back-door pilot for premium cable networks. 

That they are their own thing. 

I have no idea how much of this information reached the small part of my dad's brain reserved for "Listening To Daughter" - after all, he himself says in the podcast it's hard for parents to realize that their kids have grown up and have their own store of knowledge and opinions.

But I just wanted to make sure you heard it from me too. :) 

Get up to speed with Jason Klamm

In the spirit of independent audio producers who love comedy, ATOP correspondent Rich Stroffolino spoke with long-time podcaster Jason Klamm about his podcasting backstory. 

RS: How long have you been in podcasting? Was Comedy on Vinyl your first project? 

JK: As of February 6, I'll have been podcasting for 8 years.  Comedy on Vinyl was my first project, then I started Dan and Jay's Comedy Hour 3 years later, and Dispatches from Fort Awesome 2 years after that.

RS: How did you come up with the idea?

JK: I had heard that podcasts were "coming back," given that prior to this they were a bit of an experiment and no one really knew what to do with them (when I came up with my podcast, the bigger ones that are still sticking around had been around 2 or 3 years, though, and doing well, but no one besides those folks quite knew what to do with them just yet).  I had assumed that podcasts needed a central theme, because I wasn't listening to any yet, except for "You Look Nice Today," which was just three guys bullshitting with each other (and brilliantly), and it came to me pretty quick that something I loved and wanted to learn more about was comedy albums on vinyl.  We didn't stick to vinyl as much early on, but I've since made people stick to it, and I've learned so much just from talking to people who love these albums.

RS: Any episode you’d recommend new listeners check out? 

JK: The Harry Shearer episode (Episode 200) is worth a listen, as is the two-parter with Rusty Warren.  Most recently, though, we went outside the interview format to do an investigative episode, where I try to find the true identity of long-lost comic Dick Davy, and I'm particularly proud of that one, and a lot of people have responded positively to it.  It's like "Serial," without the murder.

RS: You book like crazy for the show. Do you outsource that or is that all done by you? Any tips for people looking to book interviews?

JK: I book everything myself, either through representatives or, now that the show's awareness has increased, through friends.  As far as tips, I'd say come up with your ideal guest list, get yourself a free trial of IMDBPro, store all of that information, and send out your requests when you're ready.  Usually, you'll have much better luck reaching out to publicists first, because their job is to get their guests seen and heard.  They are less likely to discriminate against podcasts, mostly because they actually know what one is.  It's still hit-or-miss with some management.  The other bonus to booking through publicists is that if the guest had a good experience, you can develop relationships to publicists that mean they will hit you up for their existing clients when they have something to promote, giving you more options.

It also doesn't hurt to reach out to people directly, but through public methods.  I use to try and be a detective about it until I realized that some of my e-mails were not just unsolicited, but unwanted.  If a guest has a contact form or a public e-mail on their site, or open DMs, it's worth a shot.  But be kind, and be brief.  Never be annoyed if someone won't do your show - they don't owe it to you.

I will say, though, that having a personal connection (not just a friend in common) to the person's work CAN help.  I've met numerous personal heroes through podcasting.

RS: What’s your remote interview recording setup look like? 

JK: Pretty simple.  While the basic setup for the home studio is a Zen H6 and two Shure SM7s, in the field I bring my H6 and two Sennheiser E835s (suggested by fellow podcaster Nic Robes), and my headphones are the slightly-older equivalent of the Sennheiser HD280PROs.  I sometimes use a Zoom H4N as a backup.

RS: What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen in podcasting since you started, both personally and in the industry?

JK: I started podcasting JUST as it blew up big, but the growth is still the thing.  Sponsorships have become more and more common, and money has started to pour into shows on the bigger networks.  This is a long-ish way to say "there's money now, and I don't have any of it."  That said, personally, I can get bigger guests more easily now, not just because of my reputation but because more people are aware of what my introductory e-mail means because podcast awareness is, at least, growing.  I think a lot of people are frustrated that "everyone has a podcast," but to me that just means less pressure - I can still make my show for the same reasons and if it happens to blow up big, then great.  If not, I'm still getting joy out of the process of making it.

RS: Do you have a dream podcast you’d love to do if you had the time/resources?

JK: While almost every idea I have lately does spark the question "could this be a podcast," my dream podcast would be more along the lines of a weekly podcast with one of my heroes.  Let's say Weird Al finally does my show and says "glad you're not a stalker, let's start a show together," that would be the dream.  Otherwise, it would be a research podcast where I pick one subject (likely comedy-adjacent) and I'd have the resources to dig and find out the truth about some piece of comedy I know nothing about.  I'd say "sketch comedy," but I save that for my old comedy albums.

RS: What are your favorite independent podcasts? 

JK: While I've nabbed a few of them myself, which you can find on my network's site, one that makes me laugh endlessly is Feliz Navipod, which is now on a more limited schedule, which makes me sad.  Bill Corbett's Funhouse is new, great, and will likely be on a network by the time this comes out, but it's a delight to listen to.  And while they almost never do new episodes, You Look Nice Today is always relistenable, and it's one of the things that was there when I fell in love with my wife, so, no surprise, there's a podcast for most parts of my life.

 

 

LOVE THOSE LISTS!

 
Simple list this week! Here's every independent podcast I've heard about because of this newsletter. They're out there and they matter to someone, so if a title tickles your fancy, give a listen. 
 
FilmRuminationsPodcast - Just what it says! 

Greenville Podcasting - Marriage notary Sonita M. Leak is using Anchor.fm and lots of other platforms to promote podcasts in and around Greenville, South Carolina. The audio is a little rough, but that's always how it starts. Regional podcasting is a growing concept, and Sonita is doing a cool thing.

The Roller Coaster Podcast - If this week has proven anything, it's that life is, indeed, a wild ride. Lucie Quigley and Jamie Walker talk to their guests about topics like doubt, religion, naps, you name it. 

There is of course also a podcast (and probably more than one) about actual Roller Coasters...

CoasterRadio.com - The original theme park podcast. Uh, NPH does their intro, which is pretty damned cool. And I'm a big fan of their 2019 preview episode! 


You gotta love the independent podcast universe. There's something for everyone, something for just a few people, and something to help a very old dad and his very stubborn daughter figure their lives out once and for all.

Bye for this week - jj
 

CREDITS


I made the newsletter art in Google Drawings because that is the limit of my artistic skill. 

Rich Stroffolino helps with this newsletter, go follow him!  


Thanks to Jason Klamm for taking the time! Go check out the Comedy on Vinyl podcast - he's talked with everyone. 

SELFISH PLUG SECTION: YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ THIS!
 

At Infinite Gain Productions, we help our clients launch podcasts and improve the quality of podcasts they're already producing. Our clients are non-profits, journalists on a mission, and individuals with a dream.

I think by now you know what this week's totally blatant plug is... 
Copyright © 2019 Infinite Gain Productions, All rights reserved.