Brett Johnson: From Studio C in the 511 Studios in the Brewery District, located in downtown Columbus, Ohio, this is Note to Future Me. I'm Brett Johnson, owner of Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. Note to Future Me is dedicated to interviewing businesses, and organizations who have implemented podcasting into their marketing strategy, but, in this episode, I'm taking a sidestep.
Brett Johnson: I got to interview Dino Tripodis, host of the podcast, Whiskey Business, and former longtime morning show co-host on WSNY Sunny 95 in Columbus, Ohio. Also in the studio with me was Steve Palmer, main host of the podcast, Lawyer Talk, and owner, and partner at the law firm of Yavitch & Palmer in Columbus, Ohio, as well as the owner of 511 Studios.
Brett Johnson: Okay, now you're thinking what do we three have in common? Radio, and podcasting. Dino, of course, with his years on air, and his podcast; Steve is now entering year number two with the podcast, and has been a radio advertiser, and has been a part of a morning radio call-in show on 99.7 The Blitz for over 10 years. I'm a 35-year-plus radio broadcast veteran with experience from on-air to sales.
Brett Johnson: I have been itching to cover this topic for a long time, and I have two great guests to talk about it - how radio is either missing the boat about podcasting, or has seen the light about podcasting. We three have different viewpoints, coming from three different perspectives, and it really made a great recording session. Thanks for coming along for the bend in focus. I think you're gonna enjoy this insider's view. As always, thanks for taking notes with me.
Brett Johnson: As you've heard in my past episodes, I've gone the theme of businesses, and podcasting. This episode, I wanna kinda take a sidebar. With my background in radio, as you well know, as a listener of my podcast, I wanna occasionally address the radio, and podcasting theme - its weaknesses; its strengths; its existence at all, if nothing else.
Brett Johnson: I thought this episode would be great to do because I've got two radio experts; generals.
Dino Tripodis: You do?
Brett Johnson: I do [cross talk]
Steve Palmer: I was like, "Okay, we're here. When are the other guys coming?"
Brett Johnson: We've got Dino Tripodis, who is, first off, the host of Whiskey Business podcast - I'm gonna give the podcast a vote of confidence, first - as well as a former morning show co-host for a local radio station in Columbus, Ohio, WSNY Sunny 95; as well as Steve Palmer, who is the owner of law firm Yavitch & Palmer, and ... You kinda go, "Attorney? What's the deal?" Well, anyway, he is the host of the Lawyer Talk: Off the Record podcast, as well as a longtime radio advertiser on a local station in Columbus. The Blitz, 99.7 FM.
Brett Johnson: I think we all three can bring three different perspectives to radio, and podcasting that I want to explore. I have my opinion. I know Dino has his. I know Steve has his.
Steve Palmer: Uh-huh.
Brett Johnson: I think it should be fun. Let's, though, go this route, first. Give a little bit about your background, Dino, in regards to what you've done with your life up until this point, as well as how the Whiskey Business podcast came about.
Dino Tripodis: What have I done with my life? That's a good question. You know what? I think my mother asked me that same question just a week ago. "What have you done with your life?" 24 years, that's 1995 ... It was the only radio job I had ever had.
Dino Tripodis: I came into it as a comedian doing stand-up. I was a guest on their show as a comedian, and then ... I'll skip a lot of the minutia, but there was an opening to work there as a co-host with another gentleman who, at the time, was hosting the show - Bob Simpson. I reluctantly took the job, thinking this is gonna be one of those 'It's nice when he visits. It's not gonna be so nice when he's there all the time' situations. That show was good, but didn't work.
Dino Tripodis: The following year, they let Mr. Simpson go, and I thought they were gonna let myself, and Stacy McKay go, as well, at the end of the year, because that happened in October. Come January, they sat us down and said, "We'd like you to be the new morning show." Once again I thought, "Okay, they'll come to their senses, and realize they made a horrible mistake." 24 years later, I was still there, but I did leave in June of 2018 [cross talk] 24 great years. Great station. Just a great run.
Brett Johnson: The Whiskey Business podcast came about through that time period, then, too, right?
Dino Tripodis: Well, Sunny 95, or Saga Communications, Columbus Radio Group, whatever you wanna call them, started to see that podcasting was becoming a thing, and digital media was becoming a thing, as well. They started to hop on it, and wanted to take advantage of the opportunities that were in there, in respects to sales, and making money.
Dino Tripodis: They approached Stacy, first - she does a podcast called Momcast, which is very popular, and very good - and they asked me if I wanted to do a podcast. At first, I said, "Ehhh, I don't know." I thought, okay, if I did one, what would it be? What do I like? What do I know? We came up with Whiskey Business, which I did not want it to be a podcast about whiskey, so much as it ... That's our tagline, "Not so much a podcast about whiskey as it is one with whiskey.".
Dino Tripodis: The only running theme in our podcast is we share a different bottle of whiskey every week, with a different guest. We don't claim to be experts in whiskey. There are far more knowledgeable men, and women out there who know their whiskey than I do, but we do learn a little bit about the bottle. Then, what's really fun is the conversations that we have. Our guests run from A to Z, as far as topics. We've had lawyers on the show. We've had a couple of attorneys.
Steve Palmer: All right.
Dino Tripodis: Three of 'em ... I said two. Three. I think you probably know 'em all.
Steve Palmer: Yeah, I think I do. We talked a little bit off the air about that before we were recording, yeah.
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, yeah, yeah, and they've all had ... One of 'em has a podcast, as well. Alex Hastie.
Steve Palmer: Yeah. Alex is a friend of mine, and he's been on our podcast.
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, Ohio v. the World.
Steve Palmer: Yeah. Great podcast, actually [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: He's been on ours three times. Yeah, small world, smaller city, I always like to say.
Brett Johnson: Yeah. Correct.
Steve Palmer: Columbus is one of those cities where, if you just start poking around, sooner or later, you're gonna find people that know people that know people that know you, and the chains get smaller, and smaller.
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, there's like three degrees of separation, as opposed to the classic six [cross talk]
Steve Palmer: Yeah. Exactly.
Brett Johnson: Steve, let's talk a little bit about how you got into doing the podcast, but also your history with advertising with The Blitz, and how it all kinda transitioned into where you are today.
Steve Palmer: I'm really just a criminal defense lawyer [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: Oh, "just" a criminal defense lawyer?
Steve Palmer: What's interesting is in the back that you were talking about Blazer, and I started going on The Blitz with Blazer and Mo, years ago. This is about 2006 or '07. My partner, who's now deceased, Eric Yavitch, he was cruising home one day, or cruising into the office, one day, and there was ... Actually in, because it was morning.
Steve Palmer: Here's Mo griping about getting a speeding ticket in the city of Dublin. It was classic Mo shtick, where he was, "Black man in Dublin. Here I go. Now, they're gonna get me. What I need is a good Jewish lawyer. I gotta get ..." Yavitch, who was my partner at the time, calls him, and says, "I'll represent you for free.".
Steve Palmer: That spawned a couple phone calls. Next thing I know, we're going into the station to talk about representing Mo in a speeding ticket, and we had a charity going on. We were gonna sell some raffle tickets for a charity. We walked in, and I remember ... I think it was Blazer came up, and said, "You guys wanna do maybe a little phone-in question-and-answer legal advice?" I said, "Well, sure. Why not?"
Brett Johnson: Why not?
Steve Palmer: Next thing I know, here I am a decade later ... I've been doing that same phone-in show weekly, now, for almost 10 years now. It went off the air while The Blitz took their hiatus. The morning show for-
Brett Johnson: The 'old Coke/new Coke' experiment, right?
Steve Palmer: Yeah, they changed brands a couple times, and then came back. Ultimately, after I bounced around to QFM, and then ... I think I even ... Yeah, I went over to CD101 for a while. That was a failure. Then I ended up back at The Blitz, and here we are.
Steve Palmer: Along those lines, what I thought ...Here's what I started doing about radio advertising. I never cared about it, to be perfectly blunt. I just ... It didn't make any sense to me. I never understood it. I never thought I would hire a lawyer who's got a commercial on the radio. What happened is when I started doing that phone-in legal advice, people started calling me; "Hey, you're the guy on a radio.".
Dino Tripodis: Well, it becomes ... You take it a step further, where you actually become now just ... You're more than just a radio commercial, you've, whether you realize it or not, become a personality.
Steve Palmer: Yeah, you bet.
Dino Tripodis: That's far more identifiable than just a spot on the radio.
Steve Palmer: Yep, and you guys know that from your ... I didn't even ... No experience with radio or doing anything ... In fact, I used to be scared to death to walk in there-
Brett Johnson: Me either.
Steve Palmer: It was probably the same thing, like when you just [inaudible] "Hey, you wanna be on our show?" It was like, "Sure. How does this work?" Now, I get to the point where, every few weeks, I'll be checking out at Kroger, or I had one time at Harbor Freight, and somebody says, "Do I know you?" Here I am, wearing a ball cap backwards. I've been working in my yard; I'm sweaty; I'm whatever, and I'm like, "I don't think so. I don't ..." and she, "Are you on the radio?" I was like, " Well, yeah, yeah, I happen ..." "You're that lawyer on the radio!"
Steve Palmer: That's where the advertising component shakes hands with me being on, but whether ... I always looked at the advertising as an opportunity for me to be on the air, and share my personality - who I am, how I do things. That is the best advertising I've got, as far as radio goes.
Dino Tripodis: There's other attorneys who have radio spots, but don't you think, because you do that phone-in, and that segment, that it elevates you a little bit?
Steve Palmer: Yeah-.
Dino Tripodis: Because that's how I think it transfers, or translates into the mind of the consumer. "Well, yeah, I heard a lawyer spot for that guy, but this guy actually has a show."
Steve Palmer: Yeah. "He's on the radio." I think it sort of reinforces the brand. The radio spots are usually my voice, so it reinforces my voice, and it works only because I've got both [cross talk] and it works well.
Brett Johnson: Right.
Dino Tripodis: With all due respect, you have a good voice. Over the 24 years that I've did radio, there'll be clients that would wanna voice their own spots, and I'm like, "Okay ... That's not really a good idea."
Brett Johnson: Right. Exactly.
Steve Palmer: Right, right, right ...
Dino Tripodis: But you, you have a good voice.
Steve Palmer: Well, thank you, yeah ...
Brett Johnson: With your gig on the air, you're the first one that'll defer: "I'll get you in contact with somebody. I don't know the answer to that," or, "I'll take a good stab here, but you need to call ..." That is cred, beyond belief.
Steve Palmer: I learned this a long time ago is that ... I learned at the dinner table, where, if you don't know, you say you don't know, and you become intelligent, or smart, when you realize you don't know anything. What I do is really all about problem-solving, and I look at my job that way.
Steve Palmer: If somebody calls in, I don't act like a know-it-all if I don't know it. I just say, "Listen, here's what I think is going on; let's put you in touch with the right person. You need a roof, we'll get you a roofer; you need some plumbing, we'll get you a plumber; you need a lawyer that does probate, we'll get that person."
Steve Palmer: I think that does ... If there's young lawyers listening, you should follow this advice: understand what you don't know, and it's okay not to know. You don't you don't need to know everything. That's the trick, and then, focus on solving the problem, however that is.
Brett Johnson: Let's talk about how you got started with podcast, then, which ... I love this story.
Steve Palmer: Yeah, we would come ... I said for years ... Remember when reality TV hit? This is back in, what, the mid-late '90s. All the sudden, all these reality TV shows ... Eric Yavitch, and I were sitting in our office, and we said, "We oughta have a reality TV show," because we get back from court, and we're just spent. It's that slap-happy time of the day, when you start just doing funny stuff. I thought, "Man, a reality show would love this.".
Steve Palmer: Then, when I started doing the radio show, I thought, "Man, I'd love to have my own radio show," and I said, sort of rhetorically, "Man, if I could just have ... If I could just make a living doing radio, I would do that." Jeff Linn, who now has been with me for a long time, is a of the next generation. He listens to Rogan, and all these podcasts. I said, "Podcast? What the hell is that?" I do the radio show ...
Dino Tripodis: It's the future ...
Steve Palmer: It's the future.
Brett Johnson: Right.
Steve Palmer: He said we oughta do a podcast, so I thought, "Well, all right. One of these days, we'll do one." Well, Brett, you're sitting outside the studio one time after ... On a Wednesday-
Brett Johnson: Like a vulture [cross talk]
Steve Palmer: He's a vulture. He's got of stack of these Circle-something cards. We started talking about podcasts, and I said, "Yeah, that's funny, because I've been ... Jeff Linn, my guy, we've been talking about doing this now for months ..." That's the thing is that I didn't have the, I guess ... I didn't have the knowledge to actually push it over the goal line. I could talk about it; I could do it, but I was somewhere on the 50-yard line. The thought of actually figuring out how to record something [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: Oh, I'm with you there. If not for an excellent producer, yeah, there'd be no Whiskey Business.
Steve Palmer: It's a confusing, complicated mess, and then, getting it to podcast land? I didn't even know what that was. Now, I've heard people trying to write apps for Apple, and I'm like, "That doesn't ... That's impossible. You can't do that." It was your expertise, Brett, that sort of gave us that push to get it actually started, and going.
Brett Johnson: All right. Then, Dino was asking about "Okay, studio looks great, down here. How'd this start up?" Talk about the development of the 511 Studios, though.
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, what is this little-
Steve Palmer: Yeah, this little oasis-
Dino Tripodis: -niche of audio nirvana doing down here in this legal building?
Steve Palmer: Yeah, you walked into my law office, and then, I'd bring you down to this little- this studio. We were doing the podcast at a conference table in my office upstairs. I bought the building a couple years ago from my mentor, a guy named Bill Meeks, who's passed away, but ...
Steve Palmer: As we did this podcast, I bought a microphone. I thought, "All right, I've spent what I need to spend." I bought a microphone. I got this ... Maybe I'll do it on my phone, and record digitally. Then, I bought a better digital recorder. Then, I bought another microphone, and then I bought another microphone-.
Dino Tripodis: It's crack.
Steve Palmer: It is.
Dino Tripodis: It's audio crack.
Brett Johnson: Yeah, and all the time, he's asking me, "What do you think about this?" It's like, "Yeah, if you wanna go that direction, that's really good stuff. If you wanna do that, that's okay. You'll love ..." We get kicking around, and he wants to look at these AVs. I said, "I got one. I'll bring it down. You can listen to A.B. ... Do the A.B. test ..." He plugs this bad boy in; he goes, "I'm sold" [cross talk]
Steve Palmer: At the radio, you go to ... There's a certain sound, and you guys know this better than I, but I had no idea that there was a sound associated, and by sound, I mean a mix, or whatever the hell it is, associated with on-air radio/broadcast radio.
Steve Palmer: I got addicted to that, and headphones over at the studio, over at 99.7, and I just ... Anything short of that, in my own podcast, seemed inadequate.
Brett Johnson: Uh-huh. I guess so.
Steve Palmer: Brett comes down ... He's over, and Brett ... We come down here in the basement, in this room. and there's chairs stacked ... Literally, chairs [cross talk] I bought the building furnished. I needed a place to store all the crap, so there's chairs stacked to the ceiling, and we're ... I said, "Yeah, I'm thinking about maybe building a studio down here."
Steve Palmer: One thing led to another. I put this ... I put paneling up. I got the right kind of sound stuff. I started building acoustical panels. We bought monitors; bought a mixing board. I didn't like that, so I bought another one. I got these amps, so I needed pre-amps to run- or these mics. I needed pre-amps to run the mics. Then, we thought, "Well, we might as well have the ability to put it on TV."
Dino Tripodis: Sure! Why not? Yeah.
Steve Palmer: Now, we can do streaming. We've got five cameras mounted that are around our little roundtable here that everybody can be on a camera at all times; we can mix the video for people ...
Dino Tripodis: We just started doing YouTube videos, as well. Not as sophisticated as these five mounted cameras; we have two GoPro cameras that are filming myself, and my guest. Then, I wanted to do a little shout out, if I can, please, to my Producer, Greg Hansberry, who I'd be lost without, and also the producer of our YouTube videos, Director John Whitney, who is a filmmaker-collaborator, and just wanted to join in on the fun. He edits down the YouTube videos, as well.
Dino Tripodis: We went from the studio at Sunny, when we had the podcast over there, and now we go ... We're at my house, and we have some of that equipment, that early equipment, that seems to suffice for us, right now. But this ... This ... I don't ... There's also something to be said, and like I said, it comes down to a great producer. They mix it really well, and do a great job with it.
Dino Tripodis: There's something about the ambiance of doing it from my home. It's in my bar, and there's just something very comfortable about the atmosphere of it. I think I think we would lose something now, if we left that particular place, now. Could I make it more sound-pleasing? Probably. I could probably do some things. We did one in the basement one time, too, which, Hansberry immediately said, "Ah, the acoustics down here are even better. We should do it down here all the time." I'm like, "Whatever. I don't know ..." but, yeah-
Steve Palmer: I just- I'm the talent, right [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, I don't know. Talk to him ... Plus, as far as how it sounds, you probably have the benefit of a better ear ... Brett, you're probably hearing-deficient, on some level, in one of these ears, after all your years of radio.
Brett Johnson: A little bit; a little bit [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, I know I am for sure.
Steve Palmer: Really?
Dino Tripodis: Oh, yeah, for sure.
Steve Palmer: Wow, okay.
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, sometimes, it's conveniently so [cross talk]
Steve Palmer: You said what? Huh?
Dino Tripodis: Sometimes, it's actual. Yeah, this is great. This is great.
Steve Palmer: Yeah, it's a neat place, and you know what happens down here; it's become a think tank for us. It's become a place where not only do we record our show, but we ... I talk about stuff down here, whether it's being recorded or not. We solve problems down here. This is my little escape in the middle of the day to come down, and either record a show, hang out, or do whatever ... Stuff like we're doing right now. I love it down here. I don't regret any of it. The only thing I can think is how can I make it better?
Brett Johnson: Right. Right.
Steve Palmer: I'm always thinking about that.
Brett Johnson: Right [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: Talk to the two radio guys. We have ways [cross talk].
Brett Johnson: Exactly. There you go.
Steve Palmer: It sounds like I need your production team. I got all this fancy equipment; I don't know how to use it.
Dino Tripodis: You got a lotta fancy equipment.
Brett Johnson: Right. What kind of support did you get - we talked a little bit before we recorded - from the radio station group. I know they approached you; they wanted you to do one. From that day forward, "Yep, I'm cool; I'm gonna do this ..." What kinda support did you get from them? I mean, frustrations, and good, and bad. Talk about that.
Dino Tripodis: First of all, they gave me carte blanche, as far as content. There wasn't any what I like to call 'Sunny restrictions.'
Brett Johnson: Sure, yeah, right ... You weren't on air with it.
Dino Tripodis: I was not air. Yes, this is on the internet. We didn't have to worry so much about content, language, et cetera, et cetera. Supportive in that they ran spots for the podcast on a regular basis, and, once again, part of that was, when we had sponsors, they kinda had to.
Dino Tripodis: I think where they dropped the ball was in sales. I don't know ... If there are salespeople in radio that might be listening to this, you need to embrace the future, which is digital media, and find a way to sell it. If it seems like it's a small-potatoes package to sell to one person for X amount, it's not.
Dino Tripodis: I'm sorry if it's not Giant Eagle, or Kroger, or one of the big car dealerships, where you're gonna make a lot of money, but you need to wrap your head around the fact that it's not going anywhere. In fact, it's growing as we speak. By not trying to sell it, you're missing out on dollars. You are, personally; so is your radio station.
Dino Tripodis: There's a lot of money to be made in digital media from an advertising perspective, and I think that's where they ... I won't say they didn't support it, but I don't think they went at it as aggressively as they could have. I think the salespeople could not wrap their heads around this small little thing, where you just talk about whatever you want, and that's it. It goes out on the internet, and it's not on the radio. It's not actually on the radio.
Steve Palmer: You're not a big boy. You just got your little basement thing, but ... Here, I think your words of wisdom are really, really true. That is they better jump on board, or somebody like me will, or somebody with a studio here will do it. Because having spent a lot of dollars on radio advertising, I see it both ways.
Steve Palmer: I can see that, all right, if you're the big boy ... I don't know what the big boys would spend. I don't know what a big car dealership would spend on the radio, as far as advertising, but it's a monthly fee, I suspect, and it's probably high. Then, you get to a point where what is the return on that?
Steve Palmer: If you could get the same return on a popular podcast, for half the money, eventually, the big boys are gonna start bailing. They're gonna go over to the podcast land. I sort of see it like maybe, not only the radio advertiser, or the salespeople, but maybe even the radio stations, themselves, better start thinking how to ... They should start cashing in on some of those dollars.
Dino Tripodis: I get it, too. It's the blinders mentality. You don't know how ... You can; you can find out how many people are listening to your podcast, but, the fact that there are X amount of radio stations in Columbus, Ohio, compared to the literally thousands of podcasts, hundreds of thousands of podcasts that are out there, and available to consume ...
Dino Tripodis: I can see where an advertiser might go, "Well, how are we gonna cut through ... There's 500,000 podcasts out there." Yeah, well, there are, but really, there's really only 200,000 of those who are actually active on a regular basis, and then, only 50 percent of those are actually good. The number starts to get down to a smaller amount.
Dino Tripodis: If you take that model, and you break it down to what's available, here in Columbus, as far as a local advertiser, and the fact, if you can convince 'em it's just not going out to Columbus, it's going out everywhere.
Steve Palmer: Sure.
Dino Tripodis: Sure, you might have listeners in Columbus that are dedicated listeners that will ... Good, but your name, your brand, is going everywhere.
Steve Palmer: Yeah, you bet, and what does that correspond with? Internet sales, right?
Brett Johnson: Right.
Dino Tripodis: Right.
Steve Palmer: It's like the brick-and-mortar store is not so important anymore. Even car dealers. I was shopping for cars recently, and I realized quickly I wasn't looking at a dealership in central Ohio at all. It was somewhere outta state. They were marketing all over, because ... It didn't seem weird to me to go travel somewhere to buy a car, and that's not even mail order. If I got a mail-order product, or any product I can ship, a podcast is limitless, as far as who you can reach. It really is limitless, if you get a good one.
Steve Palmer: I'm curious. You were a professional deejay, and then you make a shift to podcast. Did you catch any flack in the business, that way? Do people think, "All right, now you're just a podcaster; you're not a professional ..." How many people are making that transition?
Dino Tripodis: I don't know. As far as what people think - is podcasting some sort of-
Steve Palmer: It's a lesser-
Dino Tripodis: -lesser bastard child [cross talk]
Brett Johnson: Retirement home for-
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, where you go-
Brett Johnson: -for on-air personalities ...
Dino Tripodis: "Oh, when you're done with radio, you go into a podcasting.".
Brett Johnson: Exactly.
Dino Tripodis: There's some truth to that, because, as I mentioned before, it seems like everybody's got a podcast.
Steve Palmer: Yeah.
Dino Tripodis: I make a joke that the sixth-grader that lives down the street from me has a podcast about boy bands, and bracelets, and has more listeners than I do. I mean, it seems like everybody's got a podcast. By the same token, no, I don't think ... I haven't gotten any flack about it being lesser than, mainly because I think I was doing it while I was on the air.
Steve Palmer: Yeah.
Brett Johnson: Sure.
Dino Tripodis: When I first started, the first solid year and a half, they were married hand-in-hand. It was my choice to take the podcast with me, when I left. That was one of the arrangements that I made, for lack of a better word, that I wanted to take the podcast, and all the proprietary rights, and all the intellectual property that's associated with Whiskey Business with me, because I wanted to possibly take it a step further. Since they weren't really doing anything with it, sales-wise, it seemed like, "Eh, let him have it."
Brett Johnson: Right. Yep.
Steve Palmer: I think eventually that ... Well, I heard this, Brett, that Howard Stern was sort of jesting a little bit about Rogan's podcast, like, "Aw, he's just ... He's a podcaster."
Brett Johnson: Really?
Steve Palmer: Howard Stern's been the radio guru forever. He's made tons of money doing it. Then, he shifted to satellite radio, or digital, whatever that's called now. Then, he was he was sort of poking at Rogan, like, "Aw, what's he do? He's not making any money. He's not doing anything." It's like, but he is, right? [cross talk]
Brett Johnson: You bet he is.
Steve Palmer: Like the hare and the tortoise; you better watch out.
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, yeah, Rogan's doing very well. There's some good podcasts out there-
Brett Johnson: Guess who's in the press right now? Rogan is. Stern ain't.
Steve Palmer: No, that's exactly-
Brett Johnson: Stern gets talked about very, very little anymore.
Steve Palmer: He doesn't care. He's made his money [cross talk]
Brett Johnson: Oh, yeah. He's not in that stage of the game.
Steve Palmer: What's happening is that you've got, like, Ben Shapiro. He's making tons of money on his little podcast; you've got Rogan making lots of money. There's dozens of guys that are taking this format, and making it work financially. I think sooner or later, the sponsorship money will, or the advertising money will have to follow.
Brett Johnson: Coming from my background, just recently exiting a local radio station group after ... Well, I've been in radio for over 35 years, but 20 years there, in sales, but I also did some on-air promotions, and such. I've been on both sides of the building, let's put it that way ...
Brett Johnson: Leaving there, I can tell you, at least from an industry standpoint, it has to come from top down. If owners don't get it, the rest of the building won't get it either. I know a lot of it's coming from the programming, and it sounds as though, in your situation, Dino, it was welcomed. That's great, but a lot of program directors take a look at this as, "If they're listening to a podcast, they're not listening to my radio station." Bottom line.
Brett Johnson: It's an economy of time; that you only have X amount of hours per day, so if you're gonna spend it with a podcast, I don't get you as a PPM, as a portable-people-meter person, and you're not a listener-
Dino Tripodis: God, don't get me started on PPM.
Brett Johnson: Right. They're not seeing it as an extension, a brand extension for the radio station. That's exactly what I walked out of; exactly what I walked out of, because I was the only one with the instigating, and pushing forward any podcasting there. I leave, and it's dying on the vine. It's amazing, and they're not grabbing a hold of this, and understanding what's going on with it. That's partly why I left.
Steve Palmer: It's almost like Big Tobacco saying, "We're not gonna vape."
Brett Johnson: I get calls from businesses who wanna podcast, and I hook up studios. I don't use radio stations. Why would you not think a business would call the radio station? They have the equipment.
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, it's all right there.
Brett Johnson: It's all right there, but they don't get the calls, Dino. They don't get the calls. I get the calls.
Dino Tripodis: Good.
Brett Johnson: It doesn't make any sense. If you think you're gonna make a video, you call TV, right?
Dino Tripodis: Yeah..
Brett Johnson: They got the equipment. Radio may have missed the boat. They may have missed the boat.
Dino Tripodis: They're missing the boat. I think there's still time for them to get another boat, and swim out to that boat-
Brett Johnson: [inaudible] yeah.
Dino Tripodis: -and get on it, but they are missing the boat, as we speak. Have they missed it completely? I don't know, because what I ... I do see some stations across the country that do embrace it [cross talk]
Brett Johnson: Yes, they are. You're right.
Dino Tripodis: There are some that are embracing the podcasts, and encouraging their personalities, their morning-show personalities, their afternoon, to do them, in addition to whatever they're doing on the show, to add more layers to who they are, and what they're all about. I think that's great.
Brett Johnson: Yeah. In your situation, Steve, as well, I think stations are missing the boat that they're not training their sales reps to take a look at, "Okay, who on your list of advertisers could be prime for a podcast, outside of what they do?" Just exactly what you do with yours.
Steve Palmer: Sure, yeah.
Brett Johnson: Exactly what you do. That's where a sales rep can make money.
Steve Palmer: You would think a radio station could bring a lot of value, and force to that equation, right?
Brett Johnson: Right.
Steve Palmer: It's like, "We're gonna help you get your podcast ... Come to our studio. Just come to this one that's empty over here. We've got the voice processors. It'll be everything ... You don't have to worry ... You can do ... " What held me back, they can supply for people, which is I had trouble getting my head around actually making it happen with the equipment. How do I record? How do I get it up to a podcast? How do I do all these things?
Steve Palmer: In practicality, once you've figure it out, it's doable, but it's the kind of hurdle that prevents people from doing it. Somebody like you, now, is gonna do it, and help people do it. Radio stations could do that, and then use their station to help you promote it. I think that could generate dollars for a radio station, but what do I know?
Dino Tripodis: How different do you think it is ... Let me ask you this. There are people that the radio station will sell time for these shows, where clients come in, and do a half-hour show; basically, they're just pushing their product.
Brett Johnson: Long-form programming, basically.
Dino Tripodis: They're usually on a Sunday morning, or a Sunday afternoon. How is that any different?
Brett Johnson: It's not, other than they're on 8:00 on Sunday morning, and, at 8:29, the show is gone forever [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: -it's done, and this one ... With the podcast, you're doing it, and then-.
Brett Johnson: Even if it's repurposing that long-form program, that's okay, but in real-time radio, it's gone forever. It's out in the ether space.
Steve Palmer: That's a good point ... I had to face this in another media, which is the internet. I'm almost 50, now; 48. I'll be 49 in May-
Dino Tripodis: I got psychological issues I wanna [cross talk]
Steve Palmer: -but I built my law practice the old-fashioned way. I was over ... I would go to happy hours, or I would go meet people on a golf course, or doing stuff like this, or just shaking hands, or actually ... Frankly, just being good at what we did, at that time, was a huge ... That's what drove business into my doors.
Steve Palmer: Then, there came a time after 2008, particularly, when the market sorta crashed, that everybody in their mother was gonna be a criminal-defense lawyer. What they were good at was internet marketing; they could go grab DUI cases; they could grab the misdemeanor stuff, or even some bigger felony stuff, and get paid some money. People out there didn't know any better. They would just click, and say, "Oh, this is a good website. I'll go talk to this guy, and if he or she ..." This gal, they got this right sales pitch, they'll hire 'em. That became a whole different competitive market for me.
Brett Johnson: Wow.
Steve Palmer: I either get along, or go along. You gotta jump on, and start doing it. We had to build a web page; we had to start doing some search-engine stuff just to keep up. It sounds like radio is sort of in that same mode, where the old, and the new are sort of spreading apart here, faster than maybe is healthy.
Steve Palmer: I think, ultimately, that if the target audience, or the target dollars, are people who have them to spend on advertising ... Just look at the generation coming up behind us, guys. They're doing everything online; they're doing everything digitally; they're doing everything ... They don't wanna waste time finding a radio show that's on Sunday morning. They're gonna just google it, and if it doesn't show up, it's gone. Like you said, it's done. It's interesting [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: I think there's still value in terrestrial radio, as far as advertising [cross talk] I've heard that death bell so many times, over the last 24 years, and it's just not true. Terrestrial radio has its place in this communication world, but you've got to be aware of what's coming, and ... Not what's coming, what's here.
Brett Johnson: I think this was an opportunity ... I agree, it's not gone yet. I get sarcastic with it, but I think Radio has, and had such an opportunity to be in front of the curve for once, with podcasts, and embrace it.
Brett Johnson: Just recently, there was a large conference of podcasters, called Podcast Movement, and it's been going on ... It's grown by thousands every year, and it's only about four years old. This year, they invited radio to be a track of, as well, too. Radio was on one side; podcasters on another; the two did not mix. They did not mix, and you heard comments, after the conference that radio people did not wanna talk to podcast people. They had different meet-ups and there was ... Again, it's that red-headed stepchild attitude, overall [cross talk] Like what you said, though, there are some groups that get it, and are moving forward with it, but it's still that stigma that it's-.
Dino Tripodis: It's too bad, because I gotta be honest with you, when I started podcasting, while I was still at the radio station, it actually made me a better broadcaster.
Brett Johnson: Yeah.
Steve Palmer: Yeah.
Dino Tripodis: Because, with podcasting, you don't have the restrictions of time. You can talk at length. You're not worried about getting to the next stop set of commercials, or the latest Maroon 5 song, whatever the case may be-.
Steve Palmer: Five songs an hour [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, whatever was going on, It made me, when I started doing the podcast when I'm still at station, made me a better interviewer, and consequently, a better broadcaster; also made me think out of the box a little bit more. Yeah, the two definitely ... If you're in radio, and you're podcasting, you should definitely marry those two together, and become a force, because it only benefits you in the long run.
Brett Johnson: You've done the same thing with Lawyer Talk. You've had strategy ... Even if it's not really called a strategy meeting, you guys are planning out episodes way in advance ... Where do you wanna go? Let's add an extra one on Friday. Let's do this. Let's focus on this ... All back toward branding Yavitch & Palmer, bottom line.
Steve Palmer: Yeah. You know what I found? Here's what's fascinating to me. Here's how it works for me. Somebody calls me, I say, "How'd you find me to help you with your drunk-driving case, or your federal drug case, or whatever crime it is?" More, and more, and more, I was hearing, "Well, you know, I heard you on the radio, and I just always thought you're very honest. You just tell people like it is ..."
Dino Tripodis: You cut through.
Steve Palmer: "You just cut through all [cross talk] I looked you up on the internet, and then so-and-so, my buddy, recommended you ..." or some other referral source. All of that almost always originated at that radio show. It gave me an opportunity to share who I am, and give people a glimpse of what the experience would be. Not that I'm great, but just everybody's individual, and you got to see that, as opposed to some web page, or some video, or something that is not so free-flowing.
Steve Palmer: Now, I just thought, I got a podcast. I can do this anytime I want. I can go, "Look, a big issue, there's a new drunk-driving law. Let's just go talk about it." People can hear us talking about it, and if that generates business for me, great; if it doesn't, great; but, I can do that without, like you said, without restriction. I don't have to-
Dino Tripodis: I think the other thing you have going for you is something that I always stress to people who are thinking about starting to do podcasts. You have consistency, correct?
Steve Palmer: Yes.
Dino Tripodis: You're consistent. You put out a product on a regular basis ... When I mentioned those 500,000 podcasts that are out there, and only ... How many of them are actually active, and regular, and consistent? Not that many, in the big picture. I think consistency is a key to the success of it all, too. You've gotta keep putting something out there.
Dino Tripodis: We've had more than 75 podcasts, because we're on our 75th bottle of whiskey.
Steve Palmer: At some point, you're gonna run out of [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: No, no, no ... Are you kidding me? No, Whiskey Business will fall by the wayside before I ever get to every whiskey that is out there.
Steve Palmer: It is a good goal, though.
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, it's a good goal. It's a good goal. We've had a lot of two-parters, and we've had what we call Whiskey Shots, when you talk about the consistency. If we can't get a whole podcast out on any given week, we do something called Whiskey Shots, which are just short little tidbits that are fun to kind of just keep the flow going.
Dino Tripodis: Trust me. We'd finished up our holiday show holiday, a holiday two-parter, in the middle of December, and let that two-parter run through the end of the year. I'm going crazy, because I've not done a podcast in ... It woulda been three weeks. I'm jonesing to get back on the mic, and do a podcast, cause I feel we've been down too long. You know what I mean?
Steve Palmer: Yeah, and you do feel like ... If you're not doing something, somebody else is. It's getting stale, or something else. It's like a vacuum, man. Something's filling it up. What surprised me is that it is not easy. You've gotta constantly, or I have to, anyway, constantly contemplate what is next; what is going to be the next topic? What's another thing we can talk about? Because, as much as when I first sat down with Brett, and thought, "I could do a podcast. I could do one every day, if I wanted to." All right, well, that ... You can do your first little run. That's about two weeks [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: A lot of people forget.
Brett Johnson: That's exactly how ... The end point is about three or four episodes; two weeks.
Steve Palmer: Yeah.
Dino Tripodis: Yeah.
Brett Johnson: It's done, and they kinda go-
Dino Tripodis: "Whaddya do? You're in radio, where you talk for like two-three minutes, and then you ... That's all you have to do? Only work like four hours a day?" Like, "Yeah, no ..."
Brett Johnson: Right, yeah. Exactly.
Dino Tripodis: I do that. I do talk for two, and three minutes at a time, for four hours a day-
Brett Johnson: But my butt's here at 4:00 in the morning, prepping for this show-
Dino Tripodis: Yeah, 4:00 in the morning, and I've been doing it consistently, and well, for 24 years. You're right, it's not easy.
Steve Palmer: It's not easy, and I-
Dino Tripodis: It's not easy.
Steve Palmer: I have more respect for you guys now than ever, and as I go in every Wednesday, still, and look at Loper, and Randy, and everybody else on that show - what they do ... He's great at it. They're great at it, but it is not without hard work. They put in their time, and they've got their clipboards, and they've got ... They actually ponder what is gonna happen next. As much as they make it sound like it's just all easy, and free-flowing, it is not. A lot of work, and effort goes into that from both the right side of the brain, and the left side of the brain. [cross talk]
Dino Tripodis: Sure. A lot of hard work goes into making something sound, and look easy. People forget that.
Steve Palmer: Yeah.
Brett Johnson: Right, exactly. What's your answer to radio, Dino? You get a radio exec saying, "Okay, we wanna make this podcast thing work." From your perspective - you've been on the air for over 24- 20 years-
Dino Tripodis: How do they wanna make it work it? They wanna sell it?
Brett Johnson: Yeah-
Dino Tripodis: They wanna sell it?