Press Play Podcasts and Chase Smith

If you’re like me, you’re always on the hunt for a new podcast to add to your rotation.

The trouble is that sometimes wading through the options can become overwhelming.

Luckily, there is a way to make the search a little less stressful–podcast networks!

If you are a listener, then podcast networks make finding a new show easy by curating quality content and putting it all in one place for you to find.

If you are a content creator, then being part of a podcast network can help increase your revenue and broaden your listener base. And as the podcasting business continues to grow, more and more podcast networks are launching.

Podcasters now are encountering a similar dilemma that bloggers faced a decade ago: as your show gains respectability and audience, how do you decide when’s the right time to join a podcast network? And what are the questions you should be asking for any suitors that come your way?

Podcast networks are looking for podcasts that are up in the tens of thousands of downloads, multiple times over. This is common among the largest podcast networks. Many won’t consider accepting a show unless it has a minimum of 50,000 downloads per episode. Given that most advertisers are chasing scale and buy ads based on CPM, some networks feel it’s not worth their while to take on smaller shows.

My guest found this approach frustrating; there were many podcasts out there, including his, that had managed to achieve a high degree of quality without meeting the 50,000 download threshold. It seemed like there may be an opportunity for a network to target these mid-tier shows.

Chase Smith – coordinates a podcast network called Press Play Podcasts .

Press Play Podcasts and Chase Smith | Convert audio-to-text with Sonix

Brett Johnson:
Well, if you're like me, you're always on the hunt for a new podcast to add to your rotation. Trouble is that sometimes wading through the options can become quite overwhelming. Luckily, there is a way to make the search a little less stressful – podcast networks.

Brett Johnson:
Networks are helpful for both listeners, and content creators alike. If you're a listener, the podcast networks make finding a new show easy by curating quality content, and putting it all in one place for you to find.

Brett Johnson:
Plus, on the other side, if you're a content creator, then being a part of a podcast network can help increase your revenue, and broaden your listener base. As the podcasting business continues to grow, more, and more podcast networks are launching.

Brett Johnson:
Podcasters now are encountering a similar dilemma that bloggers faced about a decade ago. As your show gains respectability, and audience, how do you decide when is the right time to join a podcast network? What are the questions you should be asking for any suitor that comes your way, or if you're approaching that network, what questions should you be asking, ask well?

Brett Johnson:
Podcast networks are looking for podcasts that are up in the tens of thousands of downloads, multiple times over. It's a common thing among the largest podcast networks – many won't consider accepting a show unless it has a minimum of 50,000 downloads per episode. Given that most advertisers are chasing scale, and buy ads based on CPM, some networks feel it's not worth their while to take on smaller shows.

Brett Johnson:
Well, my guest for this episode found this approach frustrating. There are many podcasts out there, including his, that he managed to achieve a high degree of quality without meeting that "gold standard" of the 50,000-download threshold. It seemed like there may be an opportunity for a network to target these mid-tier shows.

Brett Johnson:
With me is Chase Smith. He coordinates, and owns a podcast network called Press Play Podcasts. Right now, it's a network of five podcasts that's available at pressplaypodcasts.com.

Brett Johnson:
I'm going to read a little bit from you the "About" page: "The Press Play Podcast Network exists to empower hosts and create high quality, professional sounding, engaging content for its listeners. At P3, [I love that!] we pride ourselves in helping bring your vision to reality by providing you with the proper tools and support to make your show a success. Whether you're a podcast veteran or diving into the medium for the first time, we will walk alongside you and help you get your show on the air."

Brett Johnson:
Chase, thanks for being a part of the podcast.

Chase Smith:
Brett, thanks for having me on, brother.

Brett Johnson:
Sure! Let's talk about the beginning of this. How did P3 begin?

Chase Smith:
P3 began with my personal podcast, and the Cleveland Browns podcast that I host. I've been all-in on podcasts since 2006, starting from my love with the Cleveland Browns.

Chase Smith:
I was a freshman at Marshall University, in Huntington, West Virginia, and just was jonesing for Cleveland Browns content. What I was getting online just wasn't good enough. I wanted to listen to fans talk about my favorite NFL team. I got on iTunes, and searched "Browns" and "podcasting." I was, like, "What is this?"

Chase Smith:
I was all-in from the very beginning. Just listened to every – I forget the name of this Browns podcast, but it was fantastic. It actually wouldn't be bad today. Gosh, I gotta figure that out. Since then, I started listening to some my favorite writers. They would have a podcast, and just fell in love with it from the very beginning.

Chase Smith:
A couple years ago, we lived in Chicago, and I took classes at Second City, which is a comedy theater at IO, which is another comedy theater.

Chase Smith:
I kind of used my experience working with audio for 10-plus years, speaking in front of people in the writing training that these other theaters offered, and started my own podcast with some of the people that I knew in my own personal network.

Chase Smith:
It was like, "Oh, I could interview this former SNL writer; I could interview the president of this college; I could interview …" I started pulling people that I would want to listen to, and just started talking to them about leadership, life, ministry, sports, whatever – whatever was going on their life. Really, really was received well.

Chase Smith:
August of '17, I just continued with my podcast, and I wanted to do a Cleveland Browns season preview, partly because the Browns podcasts that were offered at the time weren't whetting my appetite. The quality wasn't great. The episodes were like an hour and 45 minutes long. It was just a lot of nothing for a lot of something.

Chase Smith:
I found one of my friends online who I hadn't met – just online person that we communicate with, Jeremy Powell, @JeremyinAkron on Twitter. I said, "Hey, Jeremy, you want to come on my pod? We'll do a Browns season preview?" He was like, "Yeah, we could do that!" He came on, and it just went like gangbusters. We communicated very, very well together. We had a really great repertoire, or rapport … Sorry, not repertoire, rapport … We're like, "What if we was to do this every week?" Like, "Hey, all right, let's do it!" All of a sudden, I'm [crosstalk]

Brett Johnson:
A lot of arm twisting going on there, yeah, right.

Chase Smith:
Right. Well, it went so well, and everyone loved it. I think sports is a really easy podcast to market because the demographic is so clear. You know who is a die-hard Browns fan, whether they label it on their profile, or they post stuff about it, or they like, or retweet, or comment on stuff. They're very easy targeting/marketing there.

Chase Smith:
We started this Browns pod with this desire to … We wanted really high-quality content that's not hours, and hours long. Now, all of a sudden, I had my hands in two podcasts, and I started dreaming. I'm a dreamer, Brett. I dream. I dream. I just think, "Man, I'm super-optimistic and I'm a dreamer.".

Chase Smith:
I was like, "Hmm …" If I have two that I kind of understood how I was able to grow those networks, and grow those shows, and how I record, and how I edit, what would that look like if I had a couple more shows? Maybe if I opened it up to invite other people along in the process? All of a sudden, this idea of a network started to birth itself, and we launched in October of 2018 with five shows.

Chase Smith:
We have the "The Orange Is Oranger Browns Podcast" which is a podcast about the Cleveland Browns. We have "Cavs on the Break Podcast" with Sam Amico. He used to write for Fox Sports Ohio. He's an author – he's actually just finishing his book, I think, last week. We're supposed to record this week, or next week, to talk about that. That's about the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Chase Smith:
We have a Cleveland Indians podcast, "A Swing and a Tribe," which is all about the Cleveland Indians. We have my personal podcast, "The Chase Smith Podcast." We have a college football podcast called "The Tim and Shipe Show," college football podcast.

Chase Smith:
Right now, our current shows do focus around sports, and a lot of Cleveland sports, but we just started … Honestly, Brett, it was a lot of what I love – what do I want to listen to? What interests me?

Brett Johnson:
Sure, sure.

Chase Smith:
It just kind of went from there.

Brett Johnson:
Right. That makes sense.

Chase Smith:
Official launch was October of '18, and, yeah, it's been a good, I guess, six months has it been [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
Now it has been. At this recording, we're in April, so yeah, you're right there, exactly. Strategy for growth – obviously, you've put some thought into sports. It's good that we've got all the sports teams covered now in Cleveland … That's good, because there's a cross pollination there. Typically, a Cleveland fan is a Cleveland fan – typically – and I think that's true of most cities, and such. What's the strategy for growth of the network? What's your vision a year from now, five years from now? What's it gonna look like to you?

Chase Smith:
Yeah. Oh, I would love to branch out of sports. I know, right now, a lot of focus is on sports, but, again, Brett. just trying to focus on things that I care about. I love movies, so I can see somewhere down the line having a podcast about movies, or some type of entertainment. I think culture is really important. I think it'd be cool to have a podcast about culture.

Chase Smith:
Actually, Brett, next week we're launching our sixth podcast. It's called "Up Next with Chad and Taylor." This podcast covers all the original content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, Disney Plus, or Apple Plus, whatever … Whatever streaming content is available, and whatever original content they come out- not network, not cable, like original streaming content.

Chase Smith:
Chad, and Taylor are gonna break these shows down. They're gonna help you decide what should be up next in your queue; how to explain these shows to your grandparents; what they liked; what they didn't like – all these things. If you really, really love "Stranger Things," or any new show … Like, "Aww, man, hey, like why is "Homecoming" getting a lot of … People are talking about "Homecoming," What is that?" You can check it out with this podcast. I mean, "I've never heard of "The Marvelous Miss Maisel." It won some Emmys. What's going on?" Well, hey, we'll talk about it on "Up Next," which I think there's a really huge market for there-

Brett Johnson:
Oh, yeah.

Chase Smith:
Once again, love just consuming media. I think it'd be cool to maybe dip our toes in politics. I don't know … I think the growth is gonna be what I enjoy. What do I wanna listen to? What interests me? Then, people'll come on board, and they're able to communicate their idea.

Chase Smith:
That's the thing, too, with our network, what we wanna do is make it easy for someone who has no idea about podcasts to start a podcast. If they are passionate enough about a topic that they reach out to us, then we wanna be able to come alongside them, and help them with their idea.

Chase Smith:
That's kind of what I guess the next couple of years is gonna look like. You can't predict the future, but I would love to see a podcast about movies, a podcast about culture. We're gonna have a TV 30-minute podcast releasing next week, which is exciting.

Brett Johnson:
When you're looking to expand the network with the different genres that you're talking about, you're talking about podcasts that may exist today, may not exist today, but they will in six months. It could be somebody you know, or it could be someone looking for a network, as well.

Brett Johnson:
Let's say that you found that right one that you wanna bring on. What's your conversation like to them? That they have a podcast that does exist … Then we'll turn it into somebody that doesn't have one yet, and talk to them. Let's go first that have an established podcast. It could be five listeners. I don't care what the number is, but they have one that fits, you like. It's like, "I wanna bring you on." What's that conversation like with them?

Chase Smith:
It's funny, Brett. They're intrigued by the idea of being part of a network. A lot of people don't understand what that is; don't understand what being part of a network can offer. It's kind of like dating. You're just trying to feel the other person out, like, "Well, hey, Chase, tell me about what would happen if I join the network? What does that offer me? What's in it for me, as a podcast, with my show that I've put a bunch of work, and time, and energy, and resources in, like mental capacity, too … What's in it for me?"

Brett Johnson:
They want it to be a two-way street, and so do you, of course; that you get as much benefit from being in the network, as I get from you being part of the network, too.

Chase Smith:
I try to make expectations clear. I don't want them to think that this is gonna be the magic elixir that makes their podcasts number one on the charts, or reach the Top 200, or whatever. I want to make sure the expectations on both of our ends are very clear.

Chase Smith:
I think, being a part of a network – and this is what I would tell them – gives them credibility in their field. I think part of podcasting is what can we do to separate our podcasts from other podcasts?

Chase Smith:
It's kind of like a blog. Anyone can have a blog. Well, anyone, if they know how to use Google, can understand how to start a podcast. The game becomes what can we do to make your show stand out, and unique?

Chase Smith:
Whether it's with the quality of the content, like how it sounds; whether you sound like you're in a tin can, a garbage can, or in a studio? I think that matters. Having an awesome graphic; having a really intentional, and specific roll-in, or intro music that's not 45 seconds long, and it's not two seconds long. Finding that perfect medium.

Chase Smith:
Then, understanding that content does matter, and what you provide does matter. A network gives you credibility. It's telling your listeners that there's a group of people somewhere that deem this podcast awesome, and they want to be associated with it.

Chase Smith:
If there's four podcasts about office printers [crosstalk], I'm just … Random … I would be more likely to see an office printer podcast part of a network. Like, "Okay, maybe the host has some credentials, or this has some weight to it," more than just John Doe's podcast, or whatever [cross talk] To be able to communicate that probably a little more clearly than what I just did here!

Brett Johnson:
No. It makes perfect sense that there are lots of podcasts about printers. We'll go with the same example. The weight comes in that you decided they were good enough that you wanted them to be a part of P3, basically-

Chase Smith:
Yep. Giving the host a stamp of approval, like, "Oh, hey, you do have something to add to this field, and you're a part of this network." If that makes your podcast stand out, being able to use the reach of the current shows in the network, I think, is appealing to other hosts, and they wanna be a part of that.

Chase Smith:
One thing I've seen, Brett, pretty early in these "date" questions is, "How do I earn a sponsorship?" or, "How do I start earning money from my podcast?".

Chase Smith:
The fact that our network has acquired some sponsorships, and partnerships with other respectable businesses, that can be attractive to potential hosts, as well. Whether how we communicate to them what packages we offer, or what that looks like … We would provide those tools, and that kind of skeleton, and that kind of foot in the door with these businesses for a podcast to attract sponsorships.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Okay. Let's go the other direction. A couple of people wanna put a podcast together; certain genre; makes a lot of sense; it sounds good to you. It's like, "Yeah, I like that topic." What's that conversation like, then? It doesn't exist yet.

Chase Smith:
Yeah, so, as the president, CEO, whatever you want to call it, of the network, [cross talk] I want to just acquire assets. I want the network to grow. My initial goal was to do one new show a month. Here at month six, we have developed two, fully, that when it came to signing a contract, and recording, they just kind of realized it wasn't for them, which is totally fine.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, you bet. Better to realize then, than six months down the road.

Chase Smith:
Right. We were able to relaunch another one. We had to switch some hosts, and then, like I said, launching our "Up Next" podcast next week. I'm always open to talking, having conversations with hosts, just trying to, one, add to our portfolio, or assets, and also, branch out of sports, too.

Chase Smith:
I'm always willing to have a conversation, but someone who has never spoken in front of a microphone, or understand anything about the process, we would come alongside them, and, as long as their show is with us, walk hand-in-hand, and make sure that every question is answered; that in the mailbox, they receive whatever equipment they need, whatever microphone … We provide training on how to use the equipment.

Chase Smith:
Then, for someone who has never done this, we also provide graphics, and roll-in, and all of that stuff for them. We only want them to focus on content. We take care of all the back-end hosting, all the logistics. We take care of all of that.

Chase Smith:
You just focus on coming up with an outline, and kind of like a seven-episode idea of what you want this to look like. You focus on that. We will take care of all the other logistical, technical stuff of the podcast, and we'll train you on how to do what you want to do. For someone who has, it's a very different conversation for [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
That's why I wanted to ask, because it is two different pieces. One that's established has gone through that six-month, year, two-year growth of getting it down, put it that way. Those who are looking at it, going, "That sounds fun. I love this TV show, I wanna do this." That's great, but …

Chase Smith:
Right. Where I've found the most success in conversations is not so much, "Hey, bring your show on with us." It's more, "Hey, our network has this idea for a show. Can you come on board with us, and host it for us?" That's where I've seen the most positive two-way conversation, where the most trust is built, and there's this mutual excitement for the idea. That's where this "Up Next," all about these original shows, was able to get to the point where it is today, where they're gonna be released with three episodes, and all this stuff. It's gonna be good.

Brett Johnson:
We'll get back to the interview right after this.

Brett Johnson:
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Brett Johnson:
The question comes up: "What is my podcast worth?" To me, it's a surprisingly hard question to find an answer to – establishing what the real-world value of a podcast is. Should be hugely important to all of us – you, me – as an industry, in developing our shows, pitching to networks, investors, and maybe, one day, exchanging one of our babies for that sweet nectar of big cash, so we can do this full-time-

Chase Smith:
Oh, yeah, all the big cash!

Brett Johnson:
Exactly! There's been a lot of discussion in the media about this for years. There's one piece called The Monocle Model. That is, if your readers, or your listeners are rich enough, it doesn't matter how many you have, and the same applies to podcasts. I think that goes with both with blogs, and podcasts.

Brett Johnson:
If you can demonstrate the industrial lobbying power of your listenership, or that they fulfill certain demographic requirements for purchasers, you'll be able to get in the driver's seat. By and large, though, the equation is, sadly, that 100 listeners on Wall Street will be worth more than 1,000 rural households, usually.

Brett Johnson:
You can take a look at it, too, as: is 250,000 subscribers worth a million dollars, by default? There are newspapers that have a 250,000 weekly circulation that wouldn't hesitate to put a million dollars on it. I'm increasingly obsessed with reminding people that the value of the intellectual property – just as you're putting together – that the product we have in podcasting, it's branding, your shows, your feed, your archive, it's worth something.

Brett Johnson:
Looking at it, and talking about it that way, what's been in the back of your mind, and maybe in the forefront, to the growth of sponsorships? You just mentioned you got a couple of new ones, which is great, congratulations [cross talk] because it's hard work. It's a lot of hard work, and it doesn't stop when the sponsor signs the dotted line. That's actually the beginning, because it's a whole different relationship. What's been your strategy for the growth in sponsorship so far?

Chase Smith:
Well, I think the question, "How much is a podcast worth?" really fascinating-

Brett Johnson:
It is, yeah.

Chase Smith:
-I think it's worth a different amount to different people. Those 100 Wall Street listeners might not give a rip about a podcast about dish-washing soap [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
But if it's about a yacht, or yachting, a hundred will pay for that podcast.

Chase Smith:
Yes, and a yacht …

Brett Johnson:
Right, exactly! Exactly.

Chase Smith:
I think one of the appeals of a podcast, Brett, is that you can find about anything. I don't have to listen to a 60-minute radio show just for a three-minute segment on the Browns. I could listen to a 60-minute segment about the Browns, and a three-minute spot about this bottle of water – like an advertising spot-

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Chase Smith:
That is appealing. A Browns podcast is worth infinitely more to a Browns fan than an Arizona Cardinals fan. I think even that question is just really, really interesting. Because podcasts are so pointed, and so one-lane focused, I think it's a blessing, and a curse. With it being so one-lane, you can really target potential sponsors, and really be able to market, and sell your podcast to people, whether …

Chase Smith:
For instance, a Browns podcast. All of our listeners come from Columbus, to Canton, to Cleveland [cross talk] all up, I think, 71 … All through 71, last season, we had a presenting sponsor called The Place. They sold hot tubs, spas, fireplaces, grills. They had this huge lot right on 71, and they were able to move products. It was great because they sell [inaudible] … It just made sense. They're not a new sponsor, I was just using that as an example.

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Chase Smith:
The ones we just signed this … It's been a great week. It's been a great week! This week was Align Health Center. They work on rehabilitation sports, working with chiropractic of your spine, and body, and all these great things. They were all around … They have two branches in between Cleveland, and Canton. We also work with GV Art and Design. We just signed that today. It's a T-shirt company.

Chase Smith:
We're not signing sponsors that will have no success reaching Browns fans. We wouldn't do that to them. We wouldn't try to just take their money. We want to work with people who do have an appeal to Browns fans, whether it's with Browns T-shirts, or Cleveland T-shirts … If most of our audience is 20- to 35-year-old men, or 30- to 50-year-old men who might want some testosterone injections, or to work on their back, because they pulled it mowing, or whatever, well, check out Aligned Health Center. I think you have to be really strategic in your conversations with sponsors, as well.

Brett Johnson:
I think you have to be cognizant of, and respectful of, as well, your listeners. Is there even a connection with this product, this service that is now coming on board?

Chase Smith:
Yep. One of the things we did that saw the most success is for our live show. Last year, we did a live draft show – we had the number-one pick. We went to a restaurant; they reserved it for us; we blew it out; it was great. We asked our sponsors to come, and have giveaways, and just be a part of that with us, and that was incredible. People loved it. It just was a great way to help the sponsor know, "Hey, we're getting something out of this," and the people feel like, "Oh, I'm getting something free." It was just a win/win/win all around. The restaurant was packed all night; plus, the number-one pick, Baker … It was great. We had the number-four pick last year, as well.

Brett Johnson:
There's nothing like a live show.

Chase Smith:
No, it [cross talk] it was a ton of fun. This year, we don't have a draft pick in the first round, so we actually can't … We wanna do it again. We canceled it, because we traded for OBJ, and that was insane.

Chase Smith:
Yeah, it's been a great week. This is where I think radio is in trouble. Now, I don't have a history in radio, other than listening to it growing up. I haven't listened to it in- I'm not gonna tell you how long-

Brett Johnson:
Right, I know, I know. It's a time factor that I've actually found what I like on my phone, versus in the car-

Chase Smith:
Oh, my gosh, a story …

Brett Johnson:
-yeah, there's that radio in the car, you know?

Chase Smith:
-I know someone's daughter, they were in the car, and they were listening to the radio, and the daughter said, "Oh, Daddy, hey, go back, and play that song again. What was that one? I liked that one." He was like, "Hey, "I can't do that. Sorry. This isn't on my phone. This is the radio." It's like, "What's that? The kids, they're just like, "What is this concept of …? Why can't I control this? What is that?"

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Chase Smith:
What was my story, other than … We got on how the demise of radio, and I got all confused.

Brett Johnson:
No, it's okay … I think radio – I've got a previous episode talking with Steve Palmer, who is the host of "Lawyer Talk," as well as Dino Tripodis, who is a former on-air personality, and has a podcast, "Whiskey Business," talking about how radio is … Again, radio will survive. Our discussion was about have they missed the boat? Are they actually in the boat for podcasts? How are they looking at it, and such.

Brett Johnson:
I think some large conglomerates are probably aggressively doing it well, but their definition of a podcast may be a little bit different than what we are talking about. It's more of a re-purposing Best Of, but they, and I'm talking specifically – iHeart – they do have some original content, and they're putting original content … Whether they're buying the original content, or starting to create their own, I think they're getting it. It's-

Chase Smith:
I remember my thought.

Brett Johnson:
-it depends on what they want to do with it, and if they can monetize it – that's the big thing, for me, in my eyes.

Chase Smith:
A couple of things I want to touch on there, because I think it's really interesting. A live ad-read in a podcast, once that's embedded in an episode, that never goes away. If you buy a live ad-read on the radio, or purchase one, and no one listens in that time, you're outta luck, because you can't go back, and rewind the radio; where, a podcast, it's embedded forever.

Chase Smith:
People go back, and listen to our previous episodes. Those sponsors who bought that episode, even though they're not currently a sponsor, they're still getting bang for their buck. They're still getting a return on investment on the advertisement. In podcasts, ad-reads are evergreen. They are, and I think there's an appeal there that isn't with live radio.

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Chase Smith:
I think that could spell trouble just for some of these radio sponsors. Now, they're never gonna go away, like you said, but I think that there is an appeal, that "Oh, man, this is gonna be embedded in the episode," and as the podcast grows, it's just only gonna get more ears [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
I think podcasters are really grasping the idea of how to do … It's still a product endorsement, but they're talking to their listeners better than radio personalities do. Number one, because they can do it …

Brett Johnson:
Even though your sponsors bought 60-second commercials, or whatever you sold them, 90 seconds – it's a commercial. Radio is still limited by it's a 60-second commercial, and whether it's a live-read or not, it's 60 seconds.

Brett Johnson:
Where, a podcaster, they wanna talk about that sponsor, and it makes sense for the listener to follow that story line about the product. They'll follow along, because they're either using the product in their own life, or they know somebody that is, and they can tell a story around it. The quicker a podcaster can jump on that storytelling piece about their sponsor-

Chase Smith:
-it's huge.

Brett Johnson:
-that contract will be renewed year, after year, after year.

Chase Smith:
Yep! Now I want to flip this around a little bit, Brett, because the normal podcast isn't the 50,000-download threshold-

Brett Johnson:
It's not.

Chase Smith:
That is-

Brett Johnson:
The top two to three percent of all podcasts are even that kind of number.

Chase Smith:
Right. Most of them, I think, what is the average, 50 or, it's …?

Brett Johnson:
Yeah. The average … Last numbers I'd heard, about 1,000-1,500. It depends if it's the median, or the average. That number varies, as well, but if you're in the hundreds, you're in the ballpark of everybody else.

Chase Smith:
Right, yeah. The other side of this, though, Brett, is if your podcast is 100 subscribers, or listens, and a radio station's like, "Hey, can we use your podcast?" I think most podcast hosts are gonna jump on that and say, "Heck yeah, use my stuff!" Then the host gets to say, "Well, hey, my podcast is on the radio.".

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Chase Smith:
Again, anything you can do to set your podcast apart from someone else who's not on the radio gives you a leg up-

Brett Johnson:
Sure. Even if you're a go-to commentary person [cross talk] once a week, the WTAM sports host gives you a call, and you're cross-promoting your podcast, once a week, just talking about Browns [crosstalk] for five minutes … Exactly.

Chase Smith:
You better believe it. If some college station in Akron is like, "Hey, we have a 2:00 a.m. slot." Sure! I don't care!

Brett Johnson:
Exactly, exactly.

Chase Smith:
I think there's also this appeal that even though radio seems to be- their back's up against the wall a little bit, I still think they have some pretty big guns that they're gonna be able to say, "Well, hey, hold on a second. We're The Radio."

Brett Johnson:
Right. "We still have millions of listeners in every market, that, potentially, if I can get you 5,000 of those to subscribe to your podcast, we both win," right? It's like, "Of course, we do." [cross talk] there's still a win/win there, yeah.

Chase Smith:
I think there is this ask that they can say, "Well, hey, how about you give us some stuff?" I think most podcasts are gonna be ecstatic that they got that [cross talk]

Brett Johnson:
Oh, for sure. Yeah, for sure, cuz most- I think most podcasters are kinda radio wannabe people – kinda. You know, it's the mic thing; it's that tech thing. They've always wanted to talk about their favorite stuff, and they realize they can't buy airtime to do this.

Brett Johnson:
That's a lot of conversion that I have had, with me walking out of radio, that I've had clients, and people that I know; they wanna talk about a certain subject, and topic, about their business, or whatever it might be, but they can't afford the time.

Brett Johnson:
They also realize that "one and done." You buy that 8:00 in the morning on Sundays … Well, if that listener's not listening at 8:00 on Sunday morning, where else are they gonna get it, other than record it, and put it in a podcast. As we talked about previously, the radio thing does come into play, of course. I think there's a piece to it, just strategic, that sorta thing.

Brett Johnson:
How, now six podcasts coming on, how are you supporting each other as a network? I know that varies with all different networks out there, in regards to … There's the cross-promote plugs within the show, where even if it's social … What's your strategy been so far? Where are you looking to take that, in regards to helping each other lift the boat?

Chase Smith:
Yeah. Having hosts on different shows. My Browns co-host, Jeremy, JeremyinAkron, he loves the Indians, and the Cavs, so having him on those shows helps direct traffic; kind of cross-promote there.

Chase Smith:
I already told our host with the "Up Next" podcast, "Hey, I wanna be on when you do this show, and this show, and this show." I think just support each other that way. Obviously, sharing, and retweeting; commenting on our podcasts. Then using our own airtime, and buying our own airtime, and doing a live ad-read for that show.

Chase Smith:
Not only does that give our audience … Like, "Oh, they have this podcast coming up," but it gives my hosts practice in reading live on-air ad-reads, so, whenever they do have a sponsor, then they're not reading an ad for the first time. Then they've done that already with our shows; it gives them practice for that. That's what we're doing now …

Brett Johnson:
Makes sense. No, it makes sense, yeah. I know every network puts a different strategy together to support each other. I think the larger ones have a bit more difficulty in doing it, but I think what they then start to do is slice the pie, going, "Okay, these five can cross-promote each other, because it's the same genre," or, like you said, cross-promote, because they're actually hosting two, or three different podcasts, so they … "If you like me here, you're gonna like me on the other one, too," sorta thing, which is great. It goes right in line with what podcasting is all about, too.

Brett Johnson:
Biggest challenges … What are your challenges with this?

Chase Smith:
Biggest challenge for me is finding time to work on this. I have a full-time job, and then, another part-time job at a college in Circleville. All the time I've devoted to the network is either over my "lunch breaks," in air quotes – you can't see over podcasts, or late at night, when my wife is working on counseling stuff, and my daughter's asleep.

Chase Smith:
There are some days, Brett, when I just want to work on this all the time. It's really a challenge to stay disciplined. and to … "Oh, hey, I gotta get this done," or, "Oh, hey, I gotta work on my lecture for …" That's been the biggest challenge for me is just carving that time out. Actually, I'm waiting to hear back from Podcast Movement. Is that the big Orlando …?

Brett Johnson:
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Chase Smith:
I submitted a breakout speaking request about how to do this.

Brett Johnson:
Cool.

Chase Smith:
The initial cutoff was, "We'll let all the speakers know by April 1st," and they emailed back, "Oh, we'll let everyone know [crosstalk]

Brett Johnson:
They did that last year, too, because they have so many. It just took … I'd rather them do that, rather than just say, "Well, you know, we didn't get to the last 500." No, no, no, no, no … The next 500 could be- you got a gem in there, so that's a good sign.

Chase Smith:
I don't want to use it as an excuse, because I can't stand the "I'm just too busy" excuse. At the end of the day, Brett, you make time for what's important. You make time for your family; you make time for your faith; you make time to watch March Madness.

Chase Smith:
You make time for things that you wanna do, and that includes video games; that includes eating. You make time for what you wanna do. For me to say I don't make time for this … I'm not gonna say "I'm too busy," because you make time for what's important. I just wish I had more time for this in a day-

Brett Johnson:
Right. Understandable.

Chase Smith:
Sometimes, less time when other things …

Brett Johnson:
Sure; oh, yeah.

Chase Smith:
It's just a matter of carving that time out, and keeping a healthy balance of family, and faith, and just yourself … It's important for you to do things that give you life, and to rest, and [crosstalk]

Brett Johnson:
If you're down, you can't support the other podcasters in the network.

Chase Smith:
Yes. Right now, working on the network stuff, it does bring me energy, and life, and it is a weird way to rest, and relax, and have fun. Sometimes, I just love lounging on the couch, and eating a bowl of Captain Crunch with Crunchberries, and [crosstalk] just watching SNL, or whatever. I need that. too.

Brett Johnson:
Your brain needs it, though, too, because all of a sudden, inspiration will come at moments you didn't realize – walking the dog, or watching SNL, and you see something, or hear something, going, "That's it!" Your brain works that way. You gotta give it that time.

Chase Smith:
Yeah. That's a big challenge, as well. Also, I don't know if we … We talked; we had a great conversation before we recorded. I don't know if this was … I think it was in the recording. I said I'm a dreamer, and I'm optimistic.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, yeah, we have, sure.

Chase Smith:
I have all of these goals, all these dreams. Another challenge is just understanding it's a marathon, and just to be patient, and just to look at the bigger perspective. If I were to zoom out now, and say, "Man, in six months, we've been able to do this, and in a year from the conception of this idea, this is how far we've come, and this is what we've been able to do.".

Chase Smith:
You can get encouraged that way, but if you just get stuck in the minutiae of every day, like "Oh, man, I'm gonna get this done; I'm gonna get this done. I'm gonna get this, this …" then you can get pretty discouraged.

Brett Johnson:
Right.

Chase Smith:
It's a challenge to keep a proper perspective, too, sometimes.

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Chase Smith:
Just because I can be pretty impatient. I see the steps that need to be taken. I just want them to be done now, but that's fun about it, too.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah. I like that you're not- you have not mentioned one thing about competing against other networks, or concerned about other networks that are being developed, and such. I think it's healthy, because that's probably where this whole space is gonna go to, anyway, is a lot of networks are gonna be created on their own, organically, like you're doing.

Brett Johnson:
Independents are gonna come on board to help lift the boat of this small network. It's maybe, again, a Cleveland-based network that have a bunch of Cleveland- whether they're there, or not, but it's focused around Cleveland, and Columbus, or Cincinnati, or Ohio, or Midwest.

Brett Johnson:
That's where it's going to come into play, because, again, the cross-promote, as well as helping independent podcasters get more exposure a little easier than on their own shoulders. I think that's where it's gonna start to develop, and I think not looking in the rear-view mirror, not looking on the sides. Just do your thing, and not worry about everybody else. A marathon. You will be okay.

Chase Smith:
Yep, and part of that – I don't wanna waste the time I do have comparing myself to other networks, or other shows. That's not healthy. I'm really competitive in nature, so then I would just get like, "Well, why did they get so many downloads? They sound like…" I would just get really nasty, really quick.

Chase Smith:
Funny, ironically enough, our Browns podcast started off of just this disgruntled, unhappy feeling of, "Man, the Browns podcasts we have here are junk." It was kind of birthed from that. I do think I have a responsibility to have my finger on the pulse of the Browns podcasts, other Cavs podcasts.

Brett Johnson:
Sure.

Chase Smith:
I think I need to understand what they're doing, what they sound like, what that looks like, but I don't get lost. I don't devote all my time to that. I have my ear to the ground. I kinda know what's going on-.

Brett Johnson:
Sure. As long as you're different, and you're offering something different to the listeners, you're never going to lose them to the other podcast. They're doing the same thing.

Chase Smith:
Yeah. As you were mentioning about the Columbus … I think there's a market for a Blue Jackets podcast, a Clippers podcast. Two of my best friends, they love soccer, and I wanna do a podcast called "Corner Kick."

Chase Smith:
I think that's just … I see it. I would love to get in on that, cuz I think soccer fans are very passionate, like crazy-passionate, and I think it's only gonna grow, especially if the Clippers are back- the Crew [cross talk] I'm sorry, did I say "Clippers" both times?

Brett Johnson:
I'm not sure. I was thinking of my next … Where I'm gonna go with sports in my mind, too. I think our listener knows exactly what you're talking about, though, yeah.

Chase Smith:
A Crew, soccer … Again, that's kinda still in the sports realm, but I would-

Brett Johnson:
You've got a lane of sports. You kinda know where you need to go with that, and that's a good thing. That's a good thing, because I think the topic of – whether it's a TV show, movie show, or, like you said, "Up next," – is somewhat already self-designed, because you're gonna be talking about that show.

Chase Smith:
Yes.

Brett Johnson:
Of course, then it opens up the gateway: okay, how do we talk about it? But it is about the show. Sports has its own rhythm; what you need to talk about [cross talk] TV shows, and movies have the same type of rhythm. This is how you need to do this. Not formula, but don't go there with it; go here with it, because that's the … Most listeners are really tuning in for this type of thing, when they're trying to find this type of podcast.

Chase Smith:
Yep.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, exactly.

Chase Smith:
It really gives the host an opportunity to kind of stay in their lane, and, again, just make these shows super-honed-in, and focused on. "Well, hey, the Oscars are coming up; we're gonna have an Oscar preview show," or, "Hey, instant reactions about who won, or who got left out of the Oscars; who was snubbed," or "Hey, let's talk about the Crew. They just missed the playoffs." I don't know. I don't know anything about soccer [cross talk] when does the season start? I don't even know. I know they saved the team.

Brett Johnson:
Yeah, exactly.

Chase Smith:
Sports, especially, really lends itself to these weekly shows, or seasonal podcasts. Answers some of those questions for the host, right? "Well, hey, who's my audience?" Well, fans of your team. "How often do I record?" Well, probably after every game. "Is there an off season?" Well, yeah … You know what I mean? Some of these-

Brett Johnson:
You can address every episode differently. Right.

Chase Smith:
-very, very simple. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brett Johnson:
Exactly. Okay, contacting you – what's the best way, if they have a podcast already, or if they have an idea, now listening to this podcast, going "I gotta get a hold of him. I have this great idea. I know he's gonna love it!" What's the best way to contact you?

Chase Smith:
PressPlayPodcasts.com. Another way to set your podcast apart, I know we're kind of jumping around here … Being part of a network, and having a website, having your picture up there, a little bio. Again, just makes you feel good, and sets you apart.

Brett Johnson:
It's going to sell you, as well as it being approached. It's like, "Okay, what have you got already?"

Chase Smith:
Yeah. PressPlayPodcasts.com. You can check out our existing shows, and you can reach out to us there. You can find me on Twitter, @TheChaseSmith. You can follow the network on Twitter, @PressPlayPods, and that's probably the best way. I love Twitter. I'm on Twitter all the time, so Twitter might be the easiest direct way to my phone, right now.

Brett Johnson:
Cool. Good, good. Well, again, if you've got one, or you're thinking about a podcast, get a hold of Chase. Throw him the idea, at least, and see where it might land, but, I think, again, if you're a podcaster, and not part of a network, it's probably something that needs to be on your radar.

Brett Johnson:
Well, thanks for being a guest on "Note to Future Me," I really appreciate it. This has been really insightful. I've not delved into networks and talked about that, so this has been a really fresh topic.

Brett Johnson:
Again, I think, as I mentioned earlier, it's something independent podcasters need to be really taking a look at. Be prepared. It's probably a really good road to look at. Choose wisely, but do some investigation into it. Who's developing up, and entrance strategy, exit strategy, and can it help you get to where you want to be as a podcaster maybe a little bit quicker?

Chase Smith:
Sure. Let me just say one more thing. All of the hosts on our network, they have other full-time jobs, and families. I know that this is a hobby; that maybe you're looking to be a little more than a hobby, but I never want to put on our hosts this expectation of, "You have to record, or you're gonna let me down, or let whatever down."

Chase Smith:
I understand priorities, and I want you to have a healthy balance, too. Part of my job is, yes, to help you take your idea, or to help you help our idea get somewhere. I also want to make sure that you have proper boundaries, and you don't get burned out in the first month, because you're all excited, and that your family doesn't hate you, or hate me because you're doing this.

Chase Smith:
That's been a lot of fun on my end, just to kind of help our hosts hear my heart, and that, "Hey, I love what you're doing. I love this, but here …" I just told [Brent], and Mike, "Find a week the next couple weeks to take off," because part of our launch strategy, we have all these things to do, and they've been at it pretty hard. Helping them understand that I get the grind. I get the challenge of balancing family, and your full-time job, and then this podcast thing that no one in your family understands, and you have to like, "No, it's a real thing, I promise, I promise." That's been a lot of fun, too. Yeah, I'd love to hear from you if you're interested. Check us out!

Brett Johnson:
Good. Thank you, appreciate it.

Chase Smith:
Brett, thank you so much, man.

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