“May you podcast in interesting times”, said no one ever. Yet here we are, making our way through it. To help you gain some perspective of how this lockdown is impacting podcasters other than yourself, I’m once again sharing stories from three other podcasters.
Robert Crandall, from the Short Storiess podcast recently received a glowing review from a listener who credits finding his show as a way they’re getting buy during the lockdown. Then Brazillian podcaster Rodilson Silva, host of GuiaKast and RSS News, shares how he’s spending his newly discovered time at home to let him focus more on his show. And finally, Mark Goldman from Where Accountants Go explains how recent changes to the format of his episodes have been received by his listeners.
Life here at ShEvo Studios, the home base of Simpler Media Productions, continues to be fine. Unexpectedly, I’ve managed to get some actual, in-person human contact in a safe and responsible matter this week with other podcasters. It just so happens that Carrie from The Vocal Fries podcast lives not far from me here in central Phoenix. As my wife Sheila and I were walking the neighborhood with our very stylish face masks from our time spent living in Bangkok, we saw Carrie and her husband Chris walking on the street in the opposite direction. It was good to catch up, From a good 10-15 feet away, of course.
I’m going to keep that streak running as tomorrow I'm meeting ex-UK and current AZ-podcaster Sam Walker for coffee. Some of the local coffee shops are still open for drive-through service ( support the local economy if you can, right?) and she and I are going to meet to exchange beets for shower cleaners. Because I got beets in a farmer’s market box that I won’t eat and she bought a shower cleaner that she can't use that I can’t find in my grocery store. (So.. support your local barter economy, I guess?) We’ll meet at the local coffee shop we both like, but maintain a safe distance from inside our own cars. I’m really looking forward to that.
Let’s get into the comments from the other working podcasters:
Robert Crandall from the Short Storiess Podcast
I read somewhere that fiction consumption is up 19% during the lockdown. I’m seeing that, as my March numbers had a nice gain over February downloads. So that might extend to storytelling podcasts too, as people look for an escape for a while.
But best of all was this note I got from a listener the other day. It says: “Hello, Robert. I recently discovered your podcast on Spotify while I was attempting to do a road-trip vacation. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted all those plans. Listening to your podcast not only seemed appropriate at the time (a lot of ghost towns) but it gave me great comfort to hear a calm, steady voice reading some new macabre stories while we drove home. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all your hard work on this podcast. It has brought me unbelievable joy and I'm sorry I didn't find it sooner. Please stay well and keep up the wonderful work.” - Aaron from Knoxville, Tennessee.
Wow. That blew me away. It gives me great confidence as I'm in a genre with lots of other podcasters doing what I do very well. So I gotta be a top of my game with every episode.
I'm not really changing anything with my show or episodes. I’m just trying to provide an escape for people as they find ways to get through this pandemic.
Rodilson Silva, host of GuiaKast and RSS News
Cheers from Brazil! As a working podcaster trying to survive this isolation, it’s not been difficult for me. I'm already the kind of guy who likes to be at and work from home. I’m still working my normal job from 9a to 6p, but I find working from home allows me to do more podcasting activities, conduct interviews, and also spend more time with my family. So for me, it's been quite good.
I know that not everyone's feeling the same way, but in my case, I'm seeing the good side. The family side. And The podcasting side. And once this is over, I look forward to helping people as a professional and as a podcaster, because I think “the future for work” will be centered around the home.
Mark Goldman of Where Accountants Go
I have mixed experiences at this point. We're seeing downloads down for some episodes and downloads up for others. I think the lack of commuting is affecting my show’s downloads, sometimes down around 50% however, I took your advice and have been changing the format for some episodes. My standard weekly episodes still have a long format. But, I've added in “mini” episodes that run about five minutes long. I’m using them to deliver quick-hits concerning accounting career issues in our marketplace right now, and to deliver little daily hope about the accounting careers market direct to my listener’s podcast app.
Because of those extra episodes, my overall downloads are actually up by about 50% on a weekly basis, so that's pretty cool. I really do think all of us podcasters are in a unique situation that is providing us with opportunities to give extra value to our audience.
What’s Your Podcasting Pandemic Tale?
Yes, I still want to hear your podcast pandemic story, podcaster. Please record a minute or two of audio for me, put the .wav file on Dropbox, and send the link to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll most likely play it on next Thursday’s episode.
Enjoy the rest of your Thursday. Enjoy your Friday. And then have a good weekend! Stay safe, and I'll be back on Monday for yet another Podcast Pontifications.