cbuzz

cbuzz edit for sonix.mp3 (transcribed by Sonix)

Brett Johnson: As I always do, starting off a Note to Future Me podcast, I ask my guest what nonprofit you support with your time, talent, or treasure. Courtney, tell me about your nonprofit. So

Courtney West: I have been lucky enough to become involved with United Way of Central Ohio, since I moved to Columbus. I've been in Columbus for about two-and-a-half years now. I've just really started to become familiar, especially working with the Chamber of Commerce, with a lot of the organizations around town. I became a LINC member, which was really exciting, through the United Way. They're just doing so much amazing work here in Columbus. That's kind of locally where I've been centering a lot of my time.

Courtney West: I actually just started going through the process of starting to work with the Columbus Humane Society. Huge dog lover; don't have one of my own, but when I lived in Indianapolis, I volunteered at the Indianapolis Humane Society. That was very difficult, because every day, there was a new dog that I thought for certain I needed to take home with me. I was in college at the time, so that really wasn't a possibility. I have a feeling the dorm, the RAs in the dorm, would not have taken too kindly to me starting my own little pet shop through there.

Brett Johnson: Probably not.

Courtney West: I'm looking forward to just continuing that involvement. Then, outside of the Columbus community, I'm involved in the Play for Jake Foundation, which works to raise awareness, and raise funds for undetected heart conditions in our youth. That's a cause that's near and dear to my heart, so, I spend a lot of my time donating some of my specialty in media – social media, website development, that kind of stuff – with that organization. I'm really starting to dive into the local philanthropy, which has been a lot of fun. If anybody has a suggestion on another way to get involved, always, always open, open ears.

Brett Johnson: There you go. Why a podcast for the Columbus Chamber? Big question. Let's go right into it.

Courtney West: Great question, and we get that question a lot. It's funny, the amount of Chamber of Commerces around the country … In fact, just last year, we had the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce reach out to us.

Brett Johnson: You had to go visit them, right?

Courtney West: Oh, I tried. They emailed, and they said, "We would love to just learn more about how you've started this up." I thought that's a great conversation; oddly enough, I feel like we need to do this face to face, and I'm more than willing to come visit.

Brett Johnson: We cannot Zoom this. There's no way. I don't wanna see the ocean behind you while we're talking.

Courtney West: Exactly. I need to be there … Toes in the sand. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but I haven't completely crossed it out. We'll see.

Brett Johnson: Right, right …

Courtney West: Back to that, all over the country, we've had Chamber of Commerces, and just various organizations, even businesses reach out, and say, "This is really interesting what you're doing, and not something we would have expected for a Chamber of Commerce. How did this happen?" It's a question that I answer quite frequently.

Courtney West: I'll give you a little bit of background on how I got started with the Chamber, because that'll provide some insight. I, back in 2016, moved to Columbus for an opportunity with the Chamber, in their marketing department. It was pretty unique, because they were having some … A jump in their previous director was leaving, and a new director was gonna be coming on a few months later. They needed somebody to run the department on their own, during that time. Luckily enough for me, I was a good fit for the job, they thought. I came on to the Chamber, and there was a lot that I was learning pretty quickly, and on my own.

Courtney West: One of those things was cbuzz. My predecessors in the marketing department Dilara Casey, and Liz Dickey, both still very active in the local community, they were the ones that really dreamt this idea of cbuzz, and got it off the ground at the Chamber, and really started around with it.

Courtney West: They were able to, for over a year … I think it was about a year and a half, almost two years, they were putting out episodes consistently, and working with various members of the business community. They were the ones … Credit goes there, to them coming up with the idea, and really taking it off the ground, and running with it.

Courtney West: When I came on to the Chamber, I was very interested in continuing the podcast, because I saw a lot of opportunity for it to be taken to the next level, and even the next-next level … I knew that it was a market that we could be in, in the Columbus community, and really thrive. I knew that a lot of other people, a lot of other Chambers weren't really involved in that space, so, it was an opportunity for us to set ourselves apart.

Courtney West: We started a process of doing some research. About three months after I joined the Chamber, we had a new director come and join, and we started a year-long process of really diving in to what that looked like for us, and if it made sense.

Courtney West: What we came down to was that we have so many amazing stories in this community, in Columbus, to tell, and to share. We are a booming Midwest metropolis that just … There's so much opportunity here, and it doesn't often get translated, let alone, within our community, our Greater Columbus community, but outside of Ohio … There are so many stories here that are worthy of people hearing, on the East Coast, on the West Coast, all over.

Courtney West: We just saw the opportunity, and knew that we could take the time, and if we did it right, and did it well, and did our research, that we could really make something that would be beneficial to the Columbus business community, and the greater … Just the economics of the business world. That's kind of what was our driving factor was that this could help set us apart, so that was our guiding force.

Brett Johnson: An interview format is where it's continuing on.

Courtney West: Yes.

Brett Johnson: Was there a focus on the interview aspect of it? "We're gonna interview members. We're gonna interview authorities in the field." What type of mixture are you looking at, from an interview format?

Courtney West: That's one of the biggest things that we changed, when we kind of went through the reboot process of cbuzz. In the past, we were featuring individuals, who weren't necessarily members of the Chamber. With the business model that we have at the Chamber, the people who want to be a part of what we're doing, we really wanna make sure that we're lifting them up, and highlighting their stories.

Courtney West: As of this month, we have almost 2,000 members, which is really exciting for us. That's a large chunk of our business community that we're able to work with, each and every day. Every single one of those members has such an interesting, unique, exciting, fresh story, but might not have a way to share that story.

Courtney West: That was one of the biggest things that changed for us was that, moving forward, once we rebooted the podcast, we wanted to feature only our members, because we were confident that that pool of our membership was so strong that we could call just about anyone, and there was gonna be somebody within their organization who had a story that we wanted to tell, and that they could have to benefit the listener. That was, I would say, our biggest change moving forward.

Courtney West: The interview format, it was previously done in an interview format, and we wanted to continue that. We really just like the feel of having a host that carries the conversation along, and somebody who's kinda consistent. We played around with the idea of inviting a new host, maybe every quarter, switching things up.

Courtney West: Our host, Mikaela Hunt, I mean, she's … Mikaela's amazing. It takes five minutes of listening to any given episode, since the reboot, and it's just- it's a piece of cake. She makes it easy, which is fantastic.

Courtney West: Once we started working with Mikaela, it was very evident that she was the perfect … Had the perfect tone. She's an entrepreneur, herself, and has experience in the journalism world. She really brings every aspect to the table that we were looking for.

Courtney West: It just made sense to continue that interview format, and then, to really just focus on our membership. Within breaking down who we feature, more often than not, it's usually a leader in the company, but we've had lawyers come on, who provide their expertise … It's not really geared towards just the president, or CEO, or a founding partner, or even like Chief Marketing Officer … Anybody that has a good story, and that is able to carry on a conversation pretty well, because we know that that … That sometimes is a struggle, too, is finding somebody who's willing to talk on the mic-

Brett Johnson: Oh, for sure.

Courtney West: Which is always an interesting hurdle to go through with some people. Yeah, so that's kind of how we came to the set-up that we have today.

Brett Johnson: Your reboot focus on the intended listener – who is that?

Courtney West: It's interesting, a lot of people would assume that it would just be anyone in the business community. While that is true, we really tried to approach our topics, and our guests – in the way that we're formatting our content – with the aspiring entrepreneur in mind.

Courtney West: Columbus is known for its entrepreneurial community. We have such a strong focus on that here, so I think that's really what sets apart our business community, as well. For the Chamber, we wanna see the business community thrive, and that means supporting aspiring businesses, and the businesses of tomorrow.

Courtney West: We wanted the topics that we're featuring to be able to have somebody that's maybe sitting at their job right now, or sitting in their college classroom, and they have an idea, or a dream, or something that they think would just thrive, and really take our community, and open market … Really take the community to the next level … We want them to be able to listen to these episodes, take something tangible away, and learn from somebody else, and apply the directly in their business model.

Courtney West: Maybe that means that they don't start their business for another five years down the road, but our hope is that, when they do establish that business, they will think of cbuzz, and, in return, the Columbus Chamber, and how we were maybe able to just pay a little bit of a piece in their journey to creating that business.

Courtney West: That's kind of our niche where we try to focus, but it's really fun. We have people of all different levels in their career that listen. My mom lives in Indiana, and she listens; it cracks me up. She's a teacher, and she's like, "Oh, I just- I learned so many new things on this month's episode …" It's a lot of fun. It's definitely applicable to everyone, but I'd say our niche would be those entrepreneurs.

Brett Johnson: Good, good. How many people do you have involved with this process? From what you said earlier, there were at least two. They brought you in for one-

Courtney West: Yes.

Brett Johnson: -but now, what does it look like?

Courtney West: On the Chamber side of things, there's … I'm kind of the main lead on the podcast, which is exciting for me because I love being a part of it. Our marketing department is two people strong at the Chamber. We're strong but mighty. On the Chamber side of things, we're the ones that kind of manage all of the planning, the interview-question writing, all of … All the fun stuff behind the scenes.

Courtney West: Then, we actually work in a partnership with Capital University, which is another really unique aspect that changed with the reboot. At any given time, that number fluctuates with how many people we're working with at Capital. We have, currently, a class of students who we work with, and a faculty advisor of some sort. He's their teacher in the course, but he's also my main contact. He is fantastic. Chad, shout out to you; you're awesome to work with.

Courtney West: Once you add in the number of students I work with at Capital, it's anywhere between 10 to 12. Then, you take Mikaela into account. It's under 15 people, but the majority of the people who are working on the podcast is those Capital students.

Brett Johnson: Gotcha. How did that collaboration start with Capital, working with students? This is very different-

Courtney West: Yes!

Brett Johnson: -of anyone that I have interviewed so far, and know that are putting podcasts together; that they're using university students to get it done.

Courtney West: Yeah … That's a great way to put it – they are getting it done. That is kind of a unique story. When we started going through the process of re-evaluating what we were doing, we were going through a lot of change at the Chamber, and really taking a look at what we were doing, who we were doing it for … We wanted to make sure that the podcast was … Hi, Mikaela!

Brett Johnson: Come on in!

Courtney West: Come on in.

Brett Johnson: I've got mic on. This is exactly what we were …

Mikaela Hunt: Perfect.

Brett Johnson: We said, "You know, Mikaela's gonna come in, in the middle the podcast. We're just gonna leave the mic on, so she can sit down, and begin the questions right then, and there."

Courtney West: Right, which is where you thrive, Mikaela. I feel like you can just jump in, and-.

Mikaela Hunt: Make it happen.

Courtney West: Yeah.

Mikaela Hunt: There you go. Let me take off my hat.

Courtney West: We were just talking, Mikaela, about … I was getting ready to tell the story about how Capital became involved. Welcome.

Mikaela Hunt: Great. Good to be here.

Brett Johnson: Let's go into that.

Courtney West: Yeah. Talking a little bit more about the partnership with Capital, when we started to go through the reboot process, we wanted to find a partnership that would be mutually beneficial with somebody, so that they were potentially going to be taking just as much away with it as we were.

Courtney West: Myself being a, at that time, recent graduate … I guess I'm still kind of a recent graduate of college, but, at that time, I was about six, seven, eight months out of college. I went to Butler University in Indianapolis. Go Dogs.

Courtney West: At that time, I had taken classes, just a year prior, that involved video editing, audio editing. I was on a sports TV show, on the back end of it, at my university, so I knew that universities were doing things, like making podcasts, and that they had studio space that was state-of-the-art.

Courtney West: I also knew that students are always eager to be able to get that real-world experience that they can add to their resumé, because a year before, I was that student that was looking for that experience to add to my resumé.

Courtney West: Luckily enough, living here in Columbus, we have so many amazing universities that are truly state-of-the-art, and the students are so advanced beyond their years, even when they're in school, that I saw an opportunity for us to take advantage of a partnership.

Courtney West: I started kind of doing some research on some of the courses that some of the local colleges were offering. When I started researching a little bit about Capital, and their audio facility, I noticed that they had a brand-new studio space that they had just opened up-

Brett Johnson: Wow, great timing, yeah.

Courtney West: -that year. Oh yeah, and it was almost as if the stars aligned. They had a brand-new studio space. I needed a studio to record in, and I knew that they had students who would probably be eager to be involved. That was a fun moment of realization.

Courtney West: Then came the part of trying to figure out if they would be interested in being a part of our rebooted podcast. I scheduled a meeting with Chad, who I shouted out earlier for all of his awesomeness. Had a meeting with Chad, just over coffee, and started to feel it out. I told him about our idea, what we wanted to do, and how we wanted to utilize our partnership with the university to maybe execute the podcast, itself.

Courtney West: He was so excited from the start, and he said, "You know, I think this is something that Capital is really gonna be interested in. Let me take this back to our Dean. We'll have a conversation, and I'll let you know." I thought, "Okay, now I just have to wait …" Go home, back to the office, and try not to think about it.

Courtney West: They ended up coming back, and saying, "We think this would be an excellent opportunity. We have a brand-new state-of-the-art studio space, and we would love to have the Chamber come in, and record their podcast. It's great experience for our students; it's great experience for us. It's great visibility for both organizations."

Courtney West: Like you said, the timing really couldn't have been better. We really lucked out there, so, we just decided to start that partnership. We've been working with those students now for over a year. I guess it's about a year and a half now. It's been a fantastic partnership, and was really just great timing, like I said, and us realizing an opportunity to take advantage of, where we could both kinda scratch each other's back a little bit, which, you know, it's always nice.

Mikaela Hunt: I think we're at a moment, too, where universities sometimes struggle with doing some of the latest, and greatest things, from a teaching perspective. I went to a fantastic journalism school, one of the best – University of Missouri – but, at the same time, we weren't prepared, I don't think, for where media was headed. Even though it was the best of the best, we weren't prepared. The fact that Capital has a program like this, and that we can bring real-world application to them, and they can help us? It's a win-win.

Courtney West: These students are having the opportunity to meet some really amazing, influential people in the Columbus business community. It's actually funny, tonight, I'm meeting with their class, their new class for the semester, just to introduce myself, and give a little bit of background about the podcast …

Courtney West: Whenever I do these meetings with the classes, I always stress to them, this really is … It's potentially a little bit of- not a job interview, but you're making … You have the opportunity to make a great impression on somebody, who knows just about anybody in this community. They do a fantastic job. They're always so professional, and they blow me away with how much they know, but, in that aspect, too, they're getting to meet some really great people.

Brett Johnson: Good. Mikaela, you jumped in the middle, which is great. That's why I left the mic open, so you could walk right in, but I do want to establish a little bit of your background, so our audience gets to hear who you are, where you've come from, and actually how you transitioned into being the host of cbuzz.

Mikaela Hunt: Yeah, it's great to be here with you guys, because I believe so strongly in this project, and what the Columbus Chamber of Commerce is doing with it. I spent about 17 years in TV news, starting at the University of Missouri in journalism school, working for a commercial affiliate, when I was probably about 19 years old; working a 12-hour shift as a reporter, anchoring some cut-ins, running camera as needed on my shoots, as well. We called that one-man-banding, back in the day.

Brett Johnson: I guess! Wow!

Mikaela Hunt: Now, they call it digital journalists, or DJs. You hear about that a lot more, even in places like Columbus. In those 17 years, just to kind of lay where we were, when I got out, and started working, my first real job in TV was as a producer in Market 82.

Mikaela Hunt: We didn't have … We were barely utilizing our websites. I think I created SiteWatch for my TV station. I was the 10 o'clock producer. "If you need to know information, go to WANDTV.com, click on SiteWatch, and that'll take you to their website." We didn't have that.

Mikaela Hunt: I came out of school at a time where a ton was changing. Facebook was like a little blip on the college radar, within two or three years after that. We truly did not know where media was going. We didn't know. We didn't have our arms around what was being created-

Brett Johnson: No one did, really, if you think about it. It's hard to teach, when you don't know the next yea … Wait a minute, where'd this Facebook thing come from, all of a sudden?

Mikaela Hunt: Right. When I was graduating college, to put you there, we didn't have cell phones. Some seniors did, my senior year, but it really was the year after, when I traveled as a fraternal consultant; took one year off to do that. I had a cell phone.

Mikaela Hunt: I worked for 17 years, everywhere from Market 130 to Market 32, here in Columbus, ending up anchoring a morning newscast for the last, I wanna say, six, or seven years that I was in TV. That was really interesting to see that, as people went to 4:30 a.m. programs. That was when that transition kind of was being made.

Mikaela Hunt: There were changes in TV, and there are still changes in TV. The level of experience sometimes that you get, even in a market like Columbus, isn't what it used to be. I'm not saying they don't value it. I'm just saying their business model has changed.

Mikaela Hunt: Got out in 2015, and knew I wanted to tell stories. I knew community was hugely important to me, still. How are you gonna do that? Well, there was this concept called brand journalism that I just embraced. Through video, and social media, started to do some work in that sphere.

Mikaela Hunt: Then had opportunity come along to produce a podcast, with Sunny 95, here in Columbus. For about a year, we did it, specifically for moms, and families. Then, around the time that was kind of sunsetting, Courtney came to me to say, "Hey, I know you don't know me, but I've kinda been following you, and I think you would be great to host this show, given your background of interviewing people, and really engaging in story."

Mikaela Hunt: That's been my belief about being a journalist all along. It's you are diving into an area of expertise, or thought that that person is there for you with. You are getting into their head; you're asking questions from that viewpoint, and that perspective.

Mikaela Hunt: Courtney came along, and I said, "Yeah, I think it's great." I'd been involved with the startup community some, here in town, at this time, as well, and I find those stories fascinating. I said, "Yeah, if this is an opportunity to tell stories about what's going on in different industries, let's do it.".

Mikaela Hunt: Then, in that time, this radio show … I also do a radio show for WTVN, right now, every Sunday. That's been great, too. It has nothing to do with business. Total opposite end of the spectrum, more about families. It helps me stay in media, and podcasting, now, is a more traditional media. It's becoming more, and more.

Courtney West: Yeah. We just were talking about that earlier.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, it is. Exactly. It's changed very quickly, too, considering how old podcasting is; now, in the last, maybe, five-six years, it's becoming mainstream. I don't think there's a marker in time, necessarily, but it is. You now hear people say, "I need to do this. How do I do it?"

Mikaela Hunt: Because people wanna consume niche content.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Mikaela Hunt: That is what podcasting allows. A good friend of mine here in town produces a podcast about minimalism, and moms. It's very specific, but there is an audience out there looking to absorb that information.

Courtney West: Well, and the way our society operates, we're always kind of looking to be doing something, or accomplishing something, whether that's necessarily always a good thing, or a bad thing. When you're driving in your car, you can listen to a podcast, and learn something completely new, and have a good time while you're doing it. I think it's really changing the way we utilize our time, as well.

Mikaela Hunt: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: Correct. I initially contacted Mikaela at about this, to interview cbuzz. She said, "Oh, I'm just the host. You gotta get a hold of Courtney."

Mikaela Hunt: She's the brains behind the project.

Brett Johnson: This next question, looking at the interview scheduling, and the strategy, and the process … Typically, those that host their own podcast do the scheduling, bringing … If they're doing an interview process. How did you two work together, in regards to scheduling who's going to be there to have Mikaela interview, and make it all work with the school, as well?

Courtney West: Of course. Internally, at the Chamber, we always have a running list of potential candidates, whether it's people that we know are doing really exciting things, or have a great story, or people who reach out to us, and say, "Hey, I have this great story, and I think I would be really interesting to listen to on cbuzz."

Mikaela Hunt: People reach out to me, too, and then, I have to forward them to Courtney.

Courtney West: Yes, I think more people reach out to Mikaela, because Mikaela knows everyone, which is super-helpful-

Brett Johnson: That would be a piece of it, right there, right.

Courtney West: Yeah. I feel so bad, sometimes, because they'll just reach out to her, and [cross talk].

Mikaela Hunt: I'll say, "No, Courtney's taking care of it …"

Courtney West: Exactly.

Mikaela Hunt: "She's the scheduler; she's the one who's talking content.".

Courtney West: Yep. We have a long-running list at any given time. A lot of it is what's relevant at that current time. Then, too, like I was saying earlier, there are some people who have really great stories, but they have no interest in being featured on a podcast. They don't really like to talk, or feel comfortable talking in a microphone, which makes sense.

Courtney West: Then, sometimes, the process is a little bit more of, "Okay, well, who in your organization also can share that same story? Who maybe is comfortable on the microphone?" There's some research, some background that goes into it, in making sure that it's a good fit for both of us, on both ends. We want them to be comfortable.

Courtney West: From there, we kind of go through our booking process. We have to make sure studio space is open at Capital. We try, whenever we record, to knock out anywhere between two to four podcasts in one evening. We're changing that a little bit. We're doing two this coming semester …

Courtney West: Mikaela has to be on for about four hours straight. She is one person who I can say I have seen be able to hold a conversation for four hours straight, and not skip a beat. That just plays into how well of a fit it is for Mikaela, and with our organization; she's a natural on the mic, so it works out very well.

Courtney West: Back into that scheduling process, once we have our people finalized, our date finalized, I'll brainstorm some questions here and there, and then, Mikaela, with her journalism background, if I even provide a few bullet points, she can take it and run with it … I think we work really well together, in that sense of just kind of collaborating on the background questions, or what things we might wanna touch on.

Mikaela Hunt: I'm kinda like the closer-

Brett Johnson: Yeah, there you go.

Mikaela Hunt: They do this [cross talk] this prep, and they prioritize what's needed from that timely, and relevant place. Courtney provide some questions, some bullet points, and then, I get to dig into the meat of it. Depending on how I'm feeling … Obviously, everybody kind of gives off a vibe, when they're going through an interview. I play upon that. Some people are more comfortable, to your point, than others. I feel like it is my job to make them as comfortable as they possibly can be.

Mikaela Hunt: I've always been that way about the work that I do in journalism. I want people to feel able to tell their story, and not to be overwhelmed by the fact that there's a mic, or a light in their face. That's what I do. That's how I close it.

Courtney West: I think, too, Mikaela, I don't know if this is something you consciously do … I'm sure it is, but I've noticed that we'll have somebody come in, and Mikaela will just jump-start a conversation with them, ask, "Hey, what's going on? How's life been? How's business?"

Courtney West: Just because I draft questions, and I think those things are the most interesting, there's so many things that we don't find out about these people until they're sitting in the studio. It's always a fun process to have somebody come in, and Mikaela will engage them in conversation, before we even start recording; we'll just be setting up the mics.

Courtney West: Then sometimes, the interview kind of takes a completely different angle, just based on the information that they provide. Like John Rush; he had just come from a meeting with-.

Mikaela Hunt: He'd been with a parole officer-

Courtney West: Parole officer, right?

Mikaela Hunt: Yeah.

That had completely changed the way we approached the interview-

Mikaela Hunt: And his day … I mean his attitude … It was a tough conversation that he had just had with his parole officer. John's a pretty upbeat guy, given what he does, and how he helps people; but we did … that did change a bit of that interview.

Courtney West: … That's another big part of it is just we are professional, but we also allow some flexibility to let Mikaela run with it.

Mikaela Hunt: To that point, I will say it's not overly scripted. I think when you have something like this … This is a part of what the Chamber has, in terms of offerings, but at the same time, you have to make it be authentic. You can't just go down a list of questions. If you really want an organic conversation, you need to be free to have the conversation.

Brett Johnson: Right. You did have a transition of hosts, as we referenced just a little bit ago, and there was a bit of a downtime that you weren't publishing.

Courtney West: Yes.

Brett Johnson: What was the strategy of bringing it back, and going, "Okay, we're back"?

Courtney West: Yes-

Brett Johnson: Of course, unveiling Mikaela Hunt as the host is a huge, "We're back!"

Courtney West: Yes.

Brett Johnson: What were the discussions like in regards to, "Okay, we've taken …" I guess it was maybe nine months, a year off, something like that?

Courtney West: Yeah. It was about eight or nine months that we had taken off, and we weren't even recording. I think the last episode … When I came on to the Chamber, there was a few of the previous- the cbuzz that was previously being published in the bucket, so to speak.

Brett Johnson: Sure.

Courtney West: We were putting those out through December of 2016. Then, January of 2017 is when we really dug in to re-looking at everything, or just taking a second glance at what we were doing, like I've talked about a little bit, today.

Courtney West: I think we recorded our first ever of the new rebooted cbuzz, our first episodes, in October, or November of 2017, so there was about maybe 9-10 months where we weren't recording. We weren't doing anything, but doing some scheduling, and just taking a look at things. We debuted the new rebooted cbuzz in January of 2018, so there was a full year where people weren't having any new content.

Courtney West: Now, the interesting thing, and I think something that gave us a glimmer of hope that we were making the right decision to continue this podcast, was that we still were watching the numbers go up. People were still tuning in, after we hadn't put out new content for about five or six months.

Courtney West: They were still downloading old episodes, and still finding the podcast. That just told us there is a niche here; there is opportunity here; it's a space we do need to be in. People want to hear from these business, and community members. This makes sense. That was reassuring, as we were going through that planning process.

Courtney West: When it came time to finally put out that first episode, there was a lot of uncertainty in regards to will people understand that this is kind of something new; that we're building off of something old? Like I mentioned, there was a great foundation for us to work off of, thanks to our predecessors in the department.

Courtney West: For us, it was a lot of focusing on marketing it as something new. "Tune into the reboot of the Columbus Chamber's business-focused podcast, in partnership with Capital University," because that … The Capital aspect has a really unique play, and a really unique opportunity to market, and advertise what we're doing. It automatically makes people a little bit more interested, sometimes, when they hear that we're working with students to produce the podcast.

Courtney West: For us, it was a lot of just organic … Also, word of mouth. Mikaela has a huge following, so we got lucky there that she was willing to also promote the podcast on her social media sites, and through people she was meeting with.

Courtney West: We saw people dive right back in, and we kind of knew right away that we had gone in the right direction, and had not struck gold, but we had essentially hit a niche that we were meant to be in. It's a little bit about what it looked like, just kind of going back in. We've just built it from there, over the past year.

Brett Johnson: This is a guess, but if you hadn't found a Mikaela to reboot, do you think cbuzz would be publishing?

Courtney West: That's a great question. I think it would be publishing. I'm not sure if it would be nearly as successful, just because Mikaela's voice … I talked a little bit earlier about there's just the tone that she brings to the podcast. It's very conversational, as Mikaela mentioned, so it makes people feel like they're really getting to know these people.

Courtney West: We had Dr. Frederic Bertley on the podcast. He was our second episode in the reboot. He's president and CEO of COSI. Fascinating man, so, so fascinating. One of the most intelligent people I've ever met. That's not somebody that you normally probably get to sit down and talk to. It's fascinating what he's accomplished. and I won't give too much away, because everyone should go listen to that episode.

Brett Johnson: There you go. A little teaser, exactly.

Courtney West: Yeah, there we go, but Mikaela … The way that Mikaela was able to talk to Dr. Bertley, and some of the stuff that he was talking about is so niche, and she was able to make it applicable to everyone-

Mikaela Hunt: While still having fun.

Courtney West: Yeah!

Mikaela Hunt: Because he's a blast.

Courtney West: Yes.

Mikaela Hunt: He truly is. Here's all of this intelligence, right? And then, he's just a good time-

Courtney West: Oh, yeah.

Mikaela Hunt: -and has a good backstory.

Courtney West: Oh, yeah, and-

Brett Johnson: Interesting.

Courtney West: He has doctorates in immunology, or something like … He's just- he's so smart, and so-.

Mikaela Hunt: But he also wears these orange Converse all around, like the orange Chucks that have become a thing.

Courtney West: So cool. Just the coolest guy. I don't think we would have been able to find another host that could so easily translate the personality of the guests that we were having, and have that come across the mic so well, because that's hard to do. It's hard to have somebody on the mic, and if you don't have somebody that can naturally lead the conversation, sometimes it comes off a little bit awkward.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Mikaela Hunt: Well, I so appreciate you saying that, obviously, Courtney. That means a lot to me. I think something also that was important for me, in this role, that maybe your traditional media person – and I was that traditional media person for a long time – wouldn't bring is that I'd been a small-business owner for two years.

Mikaela Hunt: Working in that space of kind of a newer concept, in terms of brand journalism, and creation for companies – from that content creation, from that perspective, and from the subcontracting end of things … I am a solopreneur, micropreneur, but, to have myself in that head space really helps me out, when I'm interviewing business owners. You get that.

Brett Johnson: Makes sense. The host being an entity that's outside of the business is intriguing, because I think a lot of businesses who want to get into podcasting may not have the personnel inside to really be the host. I think this offers an opportunity to really think outside of the box, going, "Okay, you don't have to have somebody from inside your organization, or your business to host the podcast," but you do need to find the right person outside to take care of that for you.

Brett Johnson: I really think it's a really good example of don't let that become a hurdle, and you've accomplished that, in spades.

Courtney West: Well, thank you.

Brett Johnson: It's finding the right person … I think you've given a really good example of how to do it, whether it is going to a traditional media person, or somebody that may be in the community that has some social media collateral that would do it.

Brett Johnson: There are a lot of other pieces to that, though, too, that they do have to be a good interviewer, because most interview podcasts are for networking purposes by the business owner, or the business, itself. They want to network; they want to bring in potential clients, or their clients that they're already working with, like you're doing, and offering them branding opportunities, and collateral. They can take that podcast, and put it on their website, and such.

Brett Johnson: You're an outsider.

Mikaela Hunt: I am, yeah-.

Brett Johnson: Totally outsider. You have no skin in the game, other than you believe in the Chamber, of course; otherwise, you wouldn't be doing this-

Mikaela Hunt: Correct.

Brett Johnson: -but you're having a great time, too. I guess I'm leading to a question of how do you find a person like that? I mean, you got lucky.

Courtney West: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: You really did. You asked, and she was available, and that's why I wanted to go back to would it have happened without her?

Courtney West: I'd like to think it's because maybe I'm a little bit of a good salesperson, Mikaela … I sold you [cross talk]

Mikaela Hunt: You are. You sold me pretty well.

Brett Johnson: Sure. Sure. Well, and I think that adds to … By going into the next area I wanna talk about is the marketing that you do behind it, and there's a strategy behind it. What social media do you use? How do you go about promoting future episodes, as well as past episodes, and continue that into the … Every episode you produce is evergreen. It has long tail, until that person may be gone from that organization … How do you approach that?

Courtney West: I'll be frank. We haven't fully capitalized on the marketing capabilities with the podcasts at the Chamber. We've had a year at the Chamber that's been full of a lot of growth, which comes- a lot of work. At the Chamber, like I said, we're a two-person team. There was a little bit of this year, where I was a one-person team, so there was a lot of different areas that needed attention.

Courtney West: … We have a new director, at the Chamber, of marketing, who really believes in the podcast, and he really believes in the work that we're doing, which is fantastic. I think that we're finally going to see 2019, where we capitalize on some new opportunities with marketing, because, in the past, it's mainly been all organic.

Courtney West: Funnily enough, we do not have a budget for cbuzz, as it stands. We're looking to change that this year, and trying to monetize it enough to where we can put some money on the back end, in regards to paid social; reaching new audiences that we, through our own channels, ourselves, we might not have the ability to reach.

Courtney West: I think there's gonna be a lot of growth for us in that area this year. There's always, when it comes to podcasting, opportunities to take it to the next level, and I think that's our biggest marker, because we have a great host; we're bringing on really exciting guests; we have an audience. How can we continue to grow that audience?

Courtney West: The past year has been a lot of organic social media, working with the guests that we're featuring to bring them on board, working with Capital to have them also push the podcast, themselves, within the department, outside of the department, to prospective students. There's a lot of opportunities for cross promotion with both the guests, and the partners who we work with.

Courtney West: We're lucky, in that sense. That is another perk to having somebody, or working with people on the podcast, who are outside of your internal organization, because you just have that many more people on your team, and that many more networks to dig into. That's been our main focus is really trying to utilize that.

Courtney West: We have done some interesting- a few interesting things with marketing this past year. One good example is we had our Retail Summit this past August, and we had a really exciting panel that we were featuring. It was the Women in Retail panel. We had Cindy Monroe of Thirty-One Gifts, Denise Doczy-DeLong, from Singleton Construction, and Lauren Culley, from Fox in the Snow – three major, very diverse, powerhouse retail speakers.

Courtney West: We decided this is gonna be such an interesting conversation; we know it's gonna be full of just some really gems of little tidbits, so we decided that we were gonna make that panel a live podcast recording. We were lucky enough, to where we'd actually brought Mikaela in as our emcee for that entire event, so, we already had our emcee there. Mikaela moderated that live podcast that we did. That was a whole other opportunity to, kinda within that room, and within the event, market it as, "Ooh, yeah, our cbuzz podcast …"

Courtney West: We've been trying to get a little bit creative with – even internally, within our different events that we're doing in our different programs that we're offering, or members that we're meeting with – we're trying to really let people know that this is a resource that we have, and it's free. That's another thing that's great about podcasts, and what they look like. It's free information.

Courtney West: That's kind of what the past year in marketing for us has looked like. The coming year for us, I think we'll see a lot more going behind paid advertising for social; maybe some ads that we're doing in various local newspapers, magazines; maybe some on-air stuff. More to come on that.

Mikaela Hunt: Ultimately, when it comes down to it, if you really think about cbuzz, you're getting the opportunity to talk with these playmakers here in Columbus that you … You hear them speak, I should say, and hear a conversation with them that you're not getting anywhere else.

Mikaela Hunt: No one else is having the president of OSU; no one else is having Dr. Drake on for a 45-minute, to hour-long conversation. A TV station's not gonna do that. A radio program is not gonna do that, here in central Ohio. Same with Dr. Bertley; same with all of these other big names in Columbus. The place you're going to get it, because they have the ability to bring them in, is honestly the Chamber.

Brett Johnson: Right, and your recording without looking at a clock.

Mikaela Hunt: Yes.

Brett Johnson: Hit record. Yes, you're kind of cognizant of we don't want this to really be two hours long, but you're still not watching a clock. Let it go-

Mikaela Hunt: -Courtney will tell you, though, for some reason, I am like on it, when it comes to timing for these things.

Courtney West: It's almost a little weird. Sometimes, it's creepy-.

Mikaela Hunt: How much editing do you do?

Courtney West: I was talking about this, when I first got here, today. I was joking, sometimes, I almost wanna tell you, Mikaela, please mess up just once, so the students have something to take out, because it's funny, because I do … I will listen to the audio, and-

Mikaela Hunt: We hit 30 or 40 minutes, and I'll be wrapping up, and I don't … I kind of know it, but, at the same time, I don't, and it's kind of-

Brett Johnson: I think when you're dealing with somebody that interviews all the time, you have an internal clock.

Courtney West: Yes.

Mikaela Hunt: I probably do-.

Brett Johnson: You know where it is, and you … It also speaks to where you go in your mind, I'm sure. "We're done. We've covered what we need to do. We're good.".

Mikaela Hunt: True. "We're good. We don't have anything else we really need to talk about."

Brett Johnson: I'm going to make it too long for the listener. That's not fair to their time. They've given us 30 to 40 minutes. I got everything covered. That's another sign that you're right where you need to be.

Courtney West: Luckily enough, another thing that really pays to having a host that has background in interviewing, and even in journalism, is that there're some people who will answer questions a lot quicker than others, so, sometimes that throws you off a little bit. You get through your content a little bit quicker. Luckily enough, Mikaela knows how to ask a follow-up question.

Courtney West: There's been times we've had a guest that will kind of run through the list that we provide, and I'm sitting in studio following along, thinking, "Oh, no, we're about to hit 15 minutes for this one." Then Mikaela jumps in, and she's able to build off of what they've already answered.

Courtney West: That's another thing. If you're looking to start a podcast, really, being able to invest in a host is key, because it's just gonna make it so much easier in the long run. It saves so much time for us.

Mikaela Hunt: If you can't get a traditional media person, what you must have in a host is someone who is naturally curious.

Brett Johnson: Bingo. I was just gonna say, as a great interview question, going, "Okay, so, if a host … If who you're interviewing answers the questions very quickly, what do you do next?" That's the interview question, and if they can't answer that, go to the next candidate.

Courtney West: Exactly.

Brett Johnson: I think a key to that is, and you've learned this, too, is you just have to listen, because, all the sudden, there are a little rabbit holes. "Whoa, that's good! Let's go down there. That's great!" That adds to the content, as well as that makes a great interview, because it's something unique that no one's ever asked me that before.

Courtney West: Right.

Mikaela Hunt: Then they get really excited to talk about it [cross talk] You've got 10 more minutes of content.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, it's a lot of fun. What do the students at Capital do for you specifically?

Courtney West: When we will come in for a recording session, they already have the studio set up for us, which is fantastic. Then, as we're going through to record, they'll be checking audio levels, making sure that the mics sound clear, and crisp.

Courtney West: It's a great opportunity to get hands-on experience with that, because we are able … We're not a live podcast, so, if something goes wrong, we're able to stop, and go back. I will say that, in the past year, over a year, that we've had the recordings at Capital, we've … I don't think we've ever had a time, where we've had audio problems, or difficulties there.

Courtney West: For the students, a lot of it is the technical side of things. It's making sure the mics, the levels are correct, people sound okay; making sure that the room is set up so that the sound isn't … I'm sure there's a term for this, Mikaela, but the sound isn't bouncing off the walls.

Mikaela Hunt: Hollow.

Courtney West: Yes. I'm learning a lot, but I still have a little bit of the ways to go. Then, they're also keeping track, too, of any parts where we know for sure we might need to go, and edit out. If somebody has a coughing attack, which [cross talk]

Mikaela Hunt: -yeah, we've had that.

Brett Johnson: Sure. Sure.

Courtney West: We'll just go ahead, and they'll mark that for us ahead of time. Then, they're able to … After we get done recording, they will send me the raw audio files, and then I will sit down, and listen through the conversation.

Courtney West: More often than not, the editing that we're doing is very minimal. It might just be cutting out some coughing, or some 'ums,' or maybe somebody wanted to rephrase a question, something of that nature. Occasionally, we'll wanna cut down a question or two, just to keep it more concise.

Courtney West: I will provide edits back to the students. Timestamps is what we call them, and the students will go ahead, and make those edits, and send me back the final version. They'll edit in an intro, an outro. We're starting to explore a little bit with sponsorships this year, so they'll be editing those in, as well. For them, it's a lot of the technical side of things, if that makes sense – behind the glass, so to speak.

Brett Johnson: Right. Then, you are using Blubrry as a hosting platform. Do they go ahead, and upload to Blubrry, or you take care of that?

Courtney West: I go ahead, and take care of that now, at this time. We just switched to kind of being a classroom model. It was previously students who were in the Audio Engineering Club at Capital. They were dedicating their time to come in, and gain experience. We've just started exploring with the model of having this be an actual class for the Capital students.

Courtney West: I think that as time progresses, and as we figure out what the curriculum for that course looks like, it might be an opportunity for them to be involved in the publishing side of things; but as it stands now, once I get that finished file, I'll go through the process of publishing it to Blubrry, and then posting it on our website. We have a cbuzz page, where we also have the podcast available for consumption.

Brett Johnson: Do you know what the decision process was of picking Blubrry?

Courtney West: That's a great question. I do not.

Brett Johnson: I'm not advocating one platform; rather, I think there are a lot of good ones out there. It's interesting to note how people choose what they do, because each one has its own nuance.

Courtney West: Well, and we're starting … Now that we're gonna have some money behind the podcast, we're starting to explore maybe some other platforms that might be able to give us a little bit more insight into just the metrics of the podcast.

Brett Johnson: Right, yeah. Keep asking them, though, because, number one, they're local. It's RawVoice-

Courtney West: Oh, are they really?

Brett Johnson: Yes, they are-

Courtney West: That's amazing.

Brett Johnson: -local. As a Chamber, probably need to … But they're so approachable. They really are, so-

Courtney West: Oh, great.

Brett Johnson: Really, as a platform, they may be the best to get you that information.

Courtney West: Really? That's awesome.

Brett Johnson: Honestly. Yes.

Courtney West: Good to know.

Brett Johnson: Make some phone calls [cross talk]

Mikaela Hunt: -to translate the metrics-.

Brett Johnson: Yes.

Mikaela Hunt: Because I think, a lotta times, it's about [cross talk] what does this …? What does a download mean versus [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Right. Yeah, because they have- they have people here locally that actually you can meet. Okay, so, yeah …

Courtney West: That's huge, because that's part of it, too, is I didn't have any experience in podcasting, necessarily, other than being an avid listener before I came into to creating cbuzz. For me, it's still an ongoing learning process about what is the best way to host the podcast? What do these metrics mean? Is there better ways we can be looking at this? That's awesome.

Brett Johnson: Right. Yeah, it's an education, and understanding what a download is; what does it actually represent? I think Blubrry, as well, they're the first platform to be certified through IAB. Basically, their numbers are true, when it comes down to it. It's based on things that IAB has said, "You must do this for it to be …" [cross talk]

Mikaela Hunt: Transparency.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, transparency, basically, because a lot of platforms will say, "Okay, every five minutes, we're gonna grab," and your numbers are inflated. Blubrry's gone through a huge process of getting this done, and now, other platforms are being IAB-certified [cross talk].

Courtney West: That's amazing, so it sounds like I don't need to do my research, then-.

Brett Johnson: -they went through pains. They went through the pains, but no, you don't have to. Call them; talk to them. They will walk you through-.

Courtney West: Perfect.

Brett Johnson: -to understand what it means, not necessarily to get better, but they have some … They've been in it a long, long, long, long, long time-.

Courtney West: Amazing.

Brett Johnson: -and they work with large networks of-

Courtney West: I love that they're local-

Brett Johnson: -networks … Yeah, they are. Let's talk about future plans for the podcast. You mentioned a little bit earlier looking to [inaudible] some money to help promote; maybe some sponsorships. What other ideas are coming up for you?

Courtney West: That's a great question, because we're kind of just starting to dive into the next stage of cbuzz. What does it look like? I think, for us, now that we've had a year of some really reputable guests, it's easier for us to start to maybe book some people who are in high demand, so to speak.

Courtney West: There's definitely a dream guest list that we would love to be able to dive in to, but I wanted to be smart, when we were first asking guests; very cognizant that there's gonna be people who maybe don't wanna be involved right away, because they don't know exactly what that's gonna look like.

Courtney West: I think now that we have a year under our belts, and it's proved to be pretty successful, in a sense, that people are maybe now more comfortable to become involved. We're very fortunate for the people, who, in the beginning, we said, "Okay, we don't have anything to really show you yet. You're gonna be one of our first guests, but we'd love to have you." They were willing to take that gamble, and come on to speak with us …

Courtney West: I think this year, we're gonna see a lot of growth in the guests that we have online. I think, eventually, as we nail down … Just continue to focus on this partnership with Capital, it'd be great to produce the episodes a little bit more frequently. Just because I know-

Brett Johnson: Mikaela's giving them no work.

Courtney West: Exactly. I know. If she made it a little bit more difficult, then-

Brett Johnson: Maybe the frequency can go … Sure, if it's a one-and-done with her, we're good.

Courtney West: Exactly. As a podcast consumer myself, I know how difficult it is when you have a podcast that only goes out once a month. For the other part of the month, sometimes, it seems snobby at top of your mind, because it's not at the top of your podcast list, with the way a lot of the aggregators work.

Courtney West: I think for us, growth might be related to in terms of how many podcasts, how many episodes we're putting out, growing the sponsorship side of things. Being able to put some money behind the marketing of it, I think, is really gonna be huge, and just really focusing on … This has been so successful, so far, and because we're a small team at the Chamber, this could be a full-time job, I would argue, with just booking guests, and if we were to do it more frequently, there's somebody that could just focus on cbuzz, or at least part-time.

Courtney West: I think once we're able to continue to just be more comfortable in the process of it all, that it'll become a little bit more smooth. I think there's a lot of opportunities for us this year. I'm excited to see where it goes … The past year flew by, it felt like, the first year.

Mikaela Hunt: It does not feel like it's been that long, no. I think, too, Courtney, and I, we see each other every couple months, and correspond over email, but there's so many interesting things in tech that are changing that are helping podcasts.

Mikaela Hunt: There things like Headliner.app, which is real popular right now. That could be an opportunity for us to tease out a show. We haven't talked about that yet, but only because, literally, we're producing content ahead of time with these big names, but then, see each other only every couple months.

Mikaela Hunt: I think the sky is the limit to what the Chamber wants to do with it, and what's possible. It's just a matter, for you guys, I would think, what makes the most sense, in terms of timing, and what you can devote to it.

Brett Johnson: This is probably the same answer to both of these aspects of when you get a Chamber call, and say, "How do you do this?" as well as a business asking, "Okay, you're doing a podcast. How are you doing it?" What advice would you give to both, that they're looking at this as a marketing tool? Their first stages – what do you tell them?

Courtney West: I tell them they really need to sit down, and, one, do their research, and also start to plan out the content that you're gonna be putting out on that podcast, at least six months to a year in advance. Especially when I talk to businesses, in particular – make sure that you have enough things that you can talk about, or guests that you can bring on, where it makes sense for you, and your business model, because there's nothing worse than going through all of the work to build a podcast, put it together, and, after three months, you kind of realize that maybe you don't have enough ideas, or people, or content to really make it strong, if that makes sense.

Courtney West: Research is always the number-one thing I say. Don't just reach out to the Columbus Chamber, reach out to other podcasters who might not be directly involved in the business community, but they're gonna be able to provide a better background on the technical side of things.

Courtney West: … When we get the calls from the Chambers themselves, that's a little bit more unique, because they have the same model we do, so it's a little bit easier to explain to them what that process looks like. They kind of have an infinite amount of guests, just like we do, which is a nice perk there to starting a podcast.

Courtney West: Then, I just tell them, too, make sure you have somebody on staff that is passionate about doing this, because it is time, and it is effort, and you do have to be willing to learn about the podcasting world – what people wanna hear, how they want to hear it, how often. Having somebody that's passionate, and is going to own it, I think, is important. That's not to say that a team can't own it, but just there needs to be a group of people, or one person within that organization that is dedicated to making this thing work.

Courtney West: If there's one thing I've learned about podcasting, it's that you can't go halfway. You have to go all the way, and you have to be dedicated to providing quality content. We talked a little bit about this today, when I first came to the studio, but podcasting has changed so much … The audio; just how nice, and crisp everything tends to be nowadays, compared to when podcasting first started. and it was somebody in a basement, recording a podcast.

Courtney West: There's a high level of expectation from podcast consumers, and if you aren't able to deliver on that end of the spectrum, it's almost kind of difficult to justify the rest of the work you're putting into it. That's kind of always my lead off to people. Mikaela, you probably field some questions, too, about people who are interested in starting a podcast, based on your involvement with cbuzz. I don't know if you have people that reach out to you, that you would echo the same sentiments?

Mikaela Hunt: The thing that you said that really resonated with me, based on people who say, "Oh, I wanna start my own podcast …" is the content piece. You cannot decide the week before you're recording, who you're gonna have on, and what you're gonna talk to them about. That's not a way to operate.

Mikaela Hunt: Sadly, and I will say this about traditional media, too, sadly, too many times, we are not good enough about strategizing in this area. You've gotta have some strategy behind what you're doing. You can't just show up, and see what sticks, right?

Brett Johnson: Right.

Mikaela Hunt: You really do need to be thinking … That's the thing about the Chamber – they're really detailed about that; where I've seen a lot of people be not so detailed, and then, they don't find success, because there's all these little nuances to what it can be, and how you can market it, and how you can do this, that, or the other. If you're not organized, it's not gonna be successful.

Brett Johnson: Right. I agree. I think a lot of it is, too, when you reach out to somebody, "Can you be a part of my podcast?" You have to give them the reason why. It's not just, "Well, I think you're fascinating. I wanna hear your stories." There are some other pieces to this that … "I would love to deep-dive into this, and this, and this, as well, and maybe give you an opportunity to talk to you about that, as well.".

Courtney West: Exactly. No, that's a good point.

Brett Johnson: Well, thank you both for being a part of Note to Future Me. I appreciate it. Your situation is unique, for sure, as an interview podcast of having an outside person doing the interviews for the organization. I think there's a lot to learn here, and opportunity for anyone that's looking to podcast, that's looking at that hurdle of who will be the voice, the face, of the podcast. I greatly appreciate your insights.

Mikaela Hunt: Former journalists. I honestly believe, if you can find former journalists in a community that can help you out, as a side project, it's a great opportunity.

Brett Johnson: They're more than eager to do it, and, if they're like you, they wanna tell stories. They want stories brought out, as well, to join in the story-.

Mikaela Hunt: Correct.

Courtney West: It's natural. Yeah.

Brett Johnson: Well, thanks again. I appreciate it.

Courtney West: Thank you. We appreciate you having us on today.

Mikaela Hunt: Thank you.

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Radio, Podcasting and Sponsorships

Podcasting, Radio, And Sponsors (transcribed by Sonix)

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?

Brett Johnson: Because it always comes down to the dollar. It always does. You know, a radio station group … Whether it's a standalone station, or a group, they will not do it unless there's a bottom line to it. How do they do it, from your perspective?

Dino Tripodis: If it goes down to the sales department, you have got to sit down with the salespeople, and drill it in their head somehow that this is a viable product that needs to be sold, just like anything else you sell. I think where some of the salespeople probably …

Dino Tripodis: This is just my opinion, and just my perspective on how it looked like. It looked like, "Oh, I can only sell this for this," as opposed to spending my time, and selling something bigger for this. They can't escape what they should do … What they should do, when they're going after the bigger clients is to also include this podcasting thing with it.

Dino Tripodis: If you wanna to go after your bigger clients, and say that's where you're gonna make your nut, as a salary, as a salesperson. Fine. Take this, and be proud of this other little extra thing that we have, in addition to what we're selling you, to add to the package. Make it an add-on, and explain to them, this is also … "It's great. I love the fact that you're advertising on our radio station, but this is actually up and coming, as well, too. Why don't you be the first to get on this?" Sell it-

Brett Johnson: Right.

Dino Tripodis: You're not selling them a bill of goods. It's legit, but you have to believe in what you're selling. You have to believe in what you're doing, in order to persuade people.

Brett Johnson: I think that we have a generation of sales reps who have not been … You've been in radio long enough to know, and I've been in it long enough to know, and you have actually enough, too, that host-read commercials are extremely effective.

Dino Tripodis: Right.

Brett Johnson: That's what podcasting is kicking butt with. That piece is gone now, because radio has changed itself so much that … Like you said, play your music, three minutes in, get out. Don't say any more than you have to. There's no personality to it. I think reps don't understand that you can sell the product.

Dino Tripodis: Right.

Brett Johnson: You can sell the product, and they're not allowing you to do that.

Steve Palmer: Well, you've hit on it, when you said believe in what you're selling.

Dino Tripodis: Right.

Steve Palmer: You get a podcast host like you … I hear people do it … You hear different people sell … Like a podcast, I've heard podcasts say, "Oh, try this toothbrush. Let me tell you about this toothbrush." Then, they're gonna spend whatever time they are talking about it, not in a "20 doctors recommend this, this, and this." This is an organic, me talking about your product, or better yet, come in, and talk about it with me, and give me the highlights, and let us really go.

Steve Palmer: I think you're right. If you turn that into a value-added service on the radio, or a salesperson come to a guy like me, and say, "Hey, look, Randy and Loper have a podcast, too." It's sort of akin to the 15-second spot at midnight. They're gonna sell somebody that. "We're gonna throw in five of these at midnight." Not many people are listening, but you get it. You can even start it that way, but really, it gives somebody like the radio host a lot more freedom to sell your product.

Dino Tripodis: Right. It does. Yeah, because they could actually talk about it for more than 30 seconds.

Brett Johnson: Right. We've lost a generation of sales reps that have experienced radio, when it was doing that on air. I think that's the missed connection, because sales reps don't even know that it could happen.

Dino Tripodis: Right. When I left the station, I had a ton of personal endorsements, which were great. Probably, if I would've stayed, there'd be more, because people were starting to … They wanted me talking about going out to the Player's Grill for 60 seconds, or whatever the case might be, as opposed to just running a commercial. Yeah, it is … It's right there. They should add it on.

Dino Tripodis: At least start that way. Then, when it becomes a bigger thing, which it will, then you can branch off, and say, "You can either do it here on the radio station, or you could do it on our very successful podcast." They both feed off of each other, and I think that's what they need to realize.

Steve Palmer: How did it work for deejays? I imagine this, as a lawyer. I'm thinking contracts. If I'm a deejay, and I'm brought in from wherever to come in and host of The Morning Drive, or The Afternoon Drive, and I just start … I have my own podcast already going, or I'm gonna start my own podcast. I just see, eventually, conflict there, where a guy like you is gonna be, "All right. Hey, I already got my podcast. How much of a piece of the radio- or is a radio station gonna try to take of that in the contract negotiations, and where does that all fall out?".

Dino Tripodis: I think that's an interesting … That's a very interesting point, because that's where I will be if … My non-compete was up, late November of 2018. If I decide to pursue other radio options, I have this podcast that goes with me. Now, there are certain radio companies who are embracing the podcast world a little bit more; are into streaming a great bit, in a huge way, and stream their stations all across the country.

Dino Tripodis: I'm aware of the fact that some of those companies would take Whiskey Business, and do something with it. How do I negotiate the monies? That's another conversation for another time. Yeah, there is something in there. Now, I also consider it to be kind of an extra thing that I'm bringing with me.

Steve Palmer: You bet … If I'm representing you, and negotiating for you, I'm thinking to myself, "All right, this guy's been in radio for 25 years; done his podcast for five years. He's got this business, this business, and this business who are paying him regularly to just be on, and talk about their products, or do whatever." Now, when you bring that to the table, you're … I don't know sales in radio, but I do know this – it's all about finding the business, right? [cross talk] The lead is everything.

Dino Tripodis: Radio sales have local clients, and they also have national clients – national dollars – that they go after, as well. Yeah-.

Steve Palmer: You're bringing leads to the table. You oughta get paid out on that.

Dino Tripodis: You can. It can be very profitable. I was always envious of the really successful salespeople at the radio station, because they were making twice as much as I was making-

Steve Palmer: Sure, sure.

Dino Tripodis: -in sales. They were making it … When they would bring me personal endorsements, I knew that they were making twice as much as I was making, but that's fine. You're good at what you do. Just take it to the next level, or add this on to it, and you'll make more money.

Steve Palmer: Right.

Brett Johnson: … I walk into agreements with the new podcasters. In my contract with them is I don't want that audio content when our contract ends. What am I gonna do with it? It's done. When we part ways, it's all yours. I'll give it to you. It's in a Dropbox; boom, go with it. Work with the next person, or maybe the podcast dies; whatever it might be. I don't want any of it. Radio stations may be a little quirky about that, that it's … I think a deejay/on-air personality has to really walk into it really, really smart.

Steve Palmer: If I'm negotiating from [cross talk] from a perspective of a talent guy going into a radio, I would be very cautious, because you walk in – you start using their mics, start using their recording devices, their processors, their bricks and mortar, and you're gonna record your own podcast, you gotta be careful who owns it. At some juncture, if it takes off, and I think they will, there's gonna be a lot of lawsuits on where the money goes [cross talk]

Dino Tripodis: -interesting. I'll be aware of that, when I get myself in that situation, if I get in that situation, but I don't … Once again, I will stress this: radio stations, you're listening. You want your jocks to be engaged in social media. You want them on Facebook. You want them on Instagram. You want them on Twitter. This is … Right there, it's in that same wheelhouse of exposure. Embrace the podcast, as well as all those other things, as well.

Brett Johnson: All right. You look at it as a business, Steve. How do you approach it, if you're [inaudible] radio advertiser, are looking at possibly starting a podcast, but also use radio. What advice would you give?

Steve Palmer: In other words. if I am looking to do my own podcast, and get my brand out there in one form or another, right?

Brett Johnson: Right.

Steve Palmer: I was lucky in a lot of ways, in that I got to hone my skill, so to speak, on air, in dealing with stuff coming at me on the fly. My profession being a trial lawyer sort of gives me somewhat of a skill set that I practice regularly on that, but it was very helpful to see the inside of the radio station, understand what a microphone is, and then, how to talk on the microphone, and get comfortable with that.

Steve Palmer: To do your own podcast is not necessarily easy. Even I was worried … Not even I, but I was worried when I started. I was like, "I think I can keep it going …" I guess my first bit of advice is don't think it's easy to go do your own podcast, but if you're gonna go advertise on the radio, what has worked for me was being on the radio. It's not just saying … Not having somebody read my spots; not have somebody record, and hit play 10 times a day, alone. It was me having my personality on radio.

Steve Palmer: Now, if you can't do that, a podcast is a great way to do it. I would say start with other podcasters; start by doing what we're doing around this table, in the sense that you can get comfortable on a microphone; comfortable having people talk to you; comfortable talking to people. Then, use that for training wheels for your own podcast. Then, have a niche, and enjoy it.

Steve Palmer: I would be careful now with my dollars. If I'm going to a radio station to say, "I wanna advertise with you," and they give me a price tag, I'd be very careful with my dollars on that, right now. I never saw it as that being the product that I wanted. I wanted my personality to be reflected somehow on the air. I guess that's my advice. I would be cautious with going to radio, and doing traditional advertising, at least as a small business.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, and I'd have to agree. It pains me. I got into radio because I love the audio medium, and the influence it has on us. Radio has changed in my 30 years. When I first started [cross talk]

Dino Tripodis: -mine, as well.

Brett Johnson: -basically same era. It's a totally different beast, right now, than it was, and it's kinda what drove me out of it, because it just, it's not the same. If I wanna listen to music, I'll go to Spotify. I don't have to listen to a radio station to really listen to it. I hate saying that, but that's just … It's come to the realization … If I wanna be entertained, I'll listen to a podcast. I'll find a podcast that'll entertain me, and inform me. I think you're right. Be careful what you do. You gotta be really careful with the dollars, and such. Do some homework. Do some homework.

Dino Tripodis: Again, I'm not defending radio, but radio is still a great avenue to advertise on.

Brett Johnson: It is.

Dino Tripodis: It's effective. It's effective, but, yeah, sure, be cautious, and see where exactly … How can I maximize these dollars?

Steve Palmer: Yeah, and I don't mean to be too critical of radio, either. I love it.

Brett Johnson: I do, too.

Steve Palmer: I loved going on that show. Here's what I have learned, though. The other side of my coin is this – a lot of people listened to me on Wednesdays, on that radio show, and there's a lot of listeners out there not listening to podcasts, between those hours that I'm on, listening to that show …

Steve Palmer: The other bit of wisdom I have is don't sell that short, either. There's still a lot of value there. I guess I came into it from that end, not the spend money on advertising end. I got here first, then I spent money on advertising, and they worked together. This is sorta where we started.

Steve Palmer: Going the opposite, I don't know that I ever would have done it. I don't know that I ever would have been sold by a radio salesperson saying, "You, as this lawyer, can make a lotta money in return for advertising your spots on the radio." Now, I'm not saying that's not true. I might have been able to do it, but I don't think I necessarily would have been sold on that. I would not have gotten my head around that, particularly in the internet age, and everything else.

Steve Palmer: I think being mindful of what's coming up behind us … This generation of consumers is different than what I have ever seen, and what I think most of people older have ever seen. We've never seen anything like it. Everything's done online. Everything is done quick, quickly. Everything is … You're going to Spotify. They're not gonna listen; they're not gonna find their music necessarily on the air. It's gonna be found where they want it [cross talk] and where it saved, or wherever it is. I don't know what it all … I don't know what it's all about, but I would encourage anybody to podcast. It's a blast.

Brett Johnson: Exactly, exactly.

Dino Tripodis: It is a lot of fun. I enjoy it. Like I said, I think it's made me a better broadcaster. It's made me a far better interviewer. That skill has increased tenfold just from doing the podcast.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, there's a lot to learn from it, that's for sure. I think we've answered the world problems.

Dino Tripodis: Have we?

Brett Johnson: I think so. I think so. This is where I wanted to go with it, though. Thank you for the discussion. Finally nice to really meet you [cross talk]

Dino Tripodis: Likewise.

Brett Johnson: I meant to ask you, too, you're doing some live stuff, too. I know Steve and I have kicked around, trying to get Lawyer Talk live on stage. You were at the Podcast Festival.

Dino Tripodis: I was at the Podcast Festival, and we had a blast doing that. If you can get on-board with that this year when it rolls around, do.

Steve Palmer: Absolutely, yeah.

Dino Tripodis: Since I also come from a comedic background, comic background, I'll be talking with The Funny Bone, here in Columbus. We're going to do a Whiskey Business podcast comedy show.

Brett Johnson: Oh, sweet.

Dino Tripodis: Basically, it will be I'll introduce the podcast; I'll have a comedian come up, and do 15 minutes; then he'll do 15 minutes with me. Almost like a talk show, like a variety show, but it'll be the podcast. He'll podcast with me for 15 minutes. We'll do that with three comedians. They'll go up, do 15, and then, sit down at me for 15, and then, so forth, and so on.

Dino Tripodis: Once again, from the technical arena, do we stream that live? Is it just recorded for later? Don't know, but … Do we bring in video cameras? I have the capability, because we're also filmmakers. I mentioned John Whitney, and myself … We're filmmakers, as well, so we were in that world, too. We have the lights, and the equipment to do all that stuff, if we need to do it. How do we structure it? I don't know. I just wanna get butts in the seats, and make that happen, so that it's successful.

Brett Johnson: Yeah.

Dino Tripodis: Doing the live stuff is-

Steve Palmer: It's a whole new world.

Dino Tripodis: It's a shot of adrenaline. Now, I come from a live-performance background, doing stand up, so that was my first big thing in radio was, "I can't hear the laughter. I don't know if they're laughing. I can't hear the laughter." I dig that. I dig that live, spontaneous-.

Steve Palmer: Well, there's an adrenaline … That's like trying cases. You would be good at it, probably.

Dino Tripodis: My mother always wanted me to be a lawyer.

Steve Palmer: Yeah, you did the right thing.

Dino Tripodis: Yes, she wanted to be a lawyer. She always said, when I got outta trouble, "You'd be a good defense lawyer."

Steve Palmer: There you go. There you go. No, there is adrenaline rush, being live without a net. It's what you're doing, right? I couldn't imagine. Stand up would scare the bejesus outta me, man. I would be like … I don't think I could do it.

Brett Johnson: It's like going out there naked.

Dino Tripodis: I've always made this joke to my attorney friends; I've always said, obviously, it's too late for me to go to law school, but if I had … What's one thing you wanna do before you die? I said, "I would like to do the closing argument. I would like to be the closer. I would like to come up … I would like to, after everything's going on, do the closing argument. Talk to the jury – that that speech to the jury. I wanna do a closing argument. I wanna say, 'Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm not really a lawyer, but, is this case really about the law?'"

Steve Palmer: Not at that point, it isn't.

Brett Johnson: He could give you insight on that [cross talk]

Steve Palmer: It's never about the law.

Dino Tripodis: -I wanna close. I wanna close.

Brett Johnson: Oh, man … Steve, thank you for jumping on at the last minute. Once I knew [cross talk] I knew we could bring three different perspectives on radio, and podcasting, and obviously we just, we scratched the surface, but it's just our-.

Dino Tripodis: Do you drink whiskey?

Steve Palmer: Not anymore. I am now three years without alcohol.

Dino Tripodis: Wow.

Steve Palmer: I just liked it a lot. I never got in trouble, or I never had any issues, but, one day, I just woke up, and thought, "I don't think I'm gonna drink alcohol anymore," and I've never looked back; but I did love whiskey.

Dino Tripodis: Well, we've had guests that do not imbibe on Whiskey Business, so, I'd be very … We should cross-pollinate here on the podcast-

Steve Palmer: Let's do it, for sure.

Dino Tripodis: -and get you on Whiskey. You do not have to drink. In fact, that just means more for us.

Brett Johnson: It'd mess with your keto diet, anyway, right? [cross talk] Yeah exactly.

Dino Tripodis: -does that work?

Steve Palmer: Oh, yeah.

Dino Tripodis: Does it work?

Steve Palmer: I feel great, yeah.

Dino Tripodis: How long you been on it?

Steve Palmer: Almost a month now.

Dino Tripodis: Yeah?

Steve Palmer: Let me tell you, I feel awesome; almost euphorically awesome … There's a point of euphoria, where you just feel like you can conquer the world early on. Then, you just sort of realize the little things. I was hunting over the weekend – it's muzzle-loader season – I was out hunting, and I was hiking up this huge hill; had my 12-year-old, or soon to be 12-year-old son with me. I said, "We gotta climb up that hill." He's huffing air, and doing a … I walked up there. I felt great. It's not that I'm exercising a lot, or doing anything like that; just my joints feel better; I rest better; my sleep is better; my awake time is better; everything is just working better without really …. If you could just say … Everybody would agree with this – don't eat a lot of sugar.

Dino Tripodis: Right. I agree with that.

Steve Palmer: Don't eat a lot of processed carbohydrates-

Dino Tripodis: Processed foods, yeah.

Steve Palmer: That's great. If you cut those things outta your life, you'll feel a lot better.

Brett Johnson: Except …

Dino Tripodis: You gotta cut whiskey, too, right?

Steve Palmer: No, you could work that in.

Dino Tripodis: You could work that in? [cross talk] Maybe I'll give it a shot.

Steve Palmer: Yeah …

Dino Tripodis: I can deal without the excessive sugars, the processed sugars, and some of the carbohydrates, but, I'm a man who cannot live without his bread [cross talk]

Steve Palmer: I get you. I get you.

Dino Tripodis: Anyway, we're going down rabbit holes, since you talked about [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: That's okay. It's not a problem at all. Thank you both for being part of Note to Future Me.

Steve Palmer: All right, thank you.

Dino Tripodis: Our pleasure, thank you.

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In this episode, I’m taking a sidestep. I got to interview Dino Tripodis, host of the podcast Whiskey Business and former long time 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: Off The Record, and owner and partner at the law firm of Yavitch and Palmer in Columbus, Ohio, as well as the owner of 511 Studios.

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 a part of a morning radio call-in show on WRKZ 99.7 The Blitz for over 10 years. And I’m a 35 year plus radio broadcast veteran with experience from on-air to sales.

I have been itching to cover this topic for a long time. And I have two great guests to talk about how radio is either missing the boat about podcasting, or has seen the light.

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.

Recorded in Studio C at the 511 Studios in the Brewery District, downtown Columbus, OH.

Brett Johnson is the owner and lead consultant at Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. With over 35+ years of experience in Marketing, Content Creation, Audio Production/Recording and Broadcasting, the podcast consultants at Circle270Media strategically bring these strengths together for their business Podcast clients.

Subscribe to my free daily Open The Mic Newsletter at www.circle270media.com. It’s chock full of podcast news you may have missed, as well as social media, sales, and audio production tips, and insights on how to grow your business podcast.

If your business is using podcasting as a marketing or branding tool, I would love to showcase your podcast. Go to www.notetofutureme.com and scroll down to my booking calendar. Email us at podcasts@circle270media.com to set up time to talk more about your new or established business podcast.

Business Inspires Podcast

Stephanie Evans and Michelle Wilson are my guest on this episode. After Michelle left the her executive director position at the TriVillage Chamber Partnership and hosting duties of their podcast, Business Inspires, Stephanie has stepped in as the new executive director and host of the podcast. We talk about that transition, and what the effects will be.

Business Inspires (transcribed by Sonix)

Brett Johnson: Well, before we get into the heavy of the podcast, talking about Business Inspires' podcast, I want to ask each of you, Michelle, and Stephanie, about nonprofits that you support, that you give time, talent, or treasure to. I'll start with Michele.

Michelle Wilson: Sure. I think that the one nearest and dearest to my heart, right now, is the new Nationwide Children's Hospital On Our Sleeves. It's a mental health awareness program. I just think that it's something that's so important, and needed. The conversation, while it seems like it's out there a lot, I think it's really just beginning. I think it's an amazing program, I definitely … I'm trying to become more involved with it. I've supported it financially, and I'm just figuring out ways that I can support it otherwise.

Brett Johnson: And Stephanie?

Stephanie Evans: I would say the one that I probably spend the most of my time with is Best Buddies, Best Buddies Ohio. It's part of a national organization to assist folks with developmental disabilities, to engage them in one-on-one friendships, and then to help find them work in the workplace. My husband's on the board there for Best Buddies Ohio, and I help out when I can. Really, my whole family's involved, because there are high school, and college-age groups, as well, to help the students make lifelong friendships. It's a really great organization. That's where we spend our time.

Brett Johnson: Great, thanks. Let's talk a little bit about each of your professional backgrounds, and, as the podcast develops, we'll figure out, and the listener will figure out, "Oh, this is where the two come together, and why this is a podcast about the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership's Business Inspires podcast. Let's start with Michelle, because your history with the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership is longer. Let's talk a little bit about your background, and how you became a part of the TVCP.

Michelle Wilson: I have always been in the nonprofit or not-for-profit world. I started out at Experience Columbus, when it was the Greater Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, way back when. Moved around a little bit from there in membership departments at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association. Always found that that was where I landed.

Michelle Wilson: Was able to land a amazing position with the Grandview Area Chamber, back in '09, when they were looking for their first full-time director. I landed there; got that job. Grandview was where I grew up, and had my kids, so it was a nice fit. I knew the community; I knew a lot of people there.

Michelle Wilson: We were able to then grow and expand that into a merger between the Upper Arlington Chamber, and the Grandview, and Marble Cliff Chambers. We, in 2016, became the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership. That's my background, and, of course, I have recently left that position after almost 10 years, and landed back at Experience Columbus, so a little bit of a full circle there.

Brett Johnson: Exactly. Stephanie?

Stephanie Evans: For me, I started at the National Kidney Foundation of Ohio in the communications department there, and then moved my way up, ultimately, to executive director position there, and was there for a while. Then left that position, really, to stay home to start a family. Then, in that time, two, what turned out to be three businesses of my own … So, a small-business owner-

Brett Johnson: One just wasn't enough. I've gotta do three.

Stephanie Evans: They weren't all simultaneous. They were kind of-

Michelle Wilson: Not one; not two, but three …

Stephanie Evans: A couple of 'em overlapped. Yeah, a couple of 'em overlapped. Anyway, so I spent that time having my own business, and raising my kids at home. Then, a couple of years ago, just had some changes take place in my personal life, and decided to let my photography business go. That's what my more recent one was.

Stephanie Evans: Really, through a friend of mine, who happened to be related to Michelle, let me know that there was an opening there, and connected with Michelle. That's how I landed at the Chamber. Came in as the membership manager, part-time, and have been there almost two years. It'll be two years in March. Then, when Michelle made her next step, I switched seats, and I went from membership manager to executive director.

Brett Johnson: From the baby pool to the deep end.

Stephanie Evans: That's right.

Michelle Wilson: Quite literally. Yeah.

Brett Johnson: I have you both on because … We were talking about this before recording. I've jumped on this theme, by accident, of the host transitions. The Business Inspires podcast is now going through a host transition. Michelle had hosted the podcast from its inception, up through her leaving recently, and Stephanie's now taking the roam and doing the interviews, and setting up scheduling for guests, and such, for Business Inspires.

Brett Johnson: I wanted to bring both of you together to talk about that. I know Michelle'll have a little bit more knowledge on the beginnings, as I will, too, but I think it's worth the discussion, because this is a Chamber-focused podcast, Business Inspires. Why a podcast for Tri-Village Chamber Partnership, Michelle?

Michelle Wilson: For me, it was having discussions with you, and I hadn't even really considered it, but when you approached me, it seemed like an edgy new different thing to do. I think that's one of the things I like to pride myself, or the Chamber on. At the time, we were going through a merger. That was something that was pretty rare. We had taken a couple of leaps of faith along the way, with the Grandview Area Chamber, and done some really cool projects that others had not yet tried.

Michelle Wilson: I thought this was a really great new edgy way to perhaps reach a new demographic. Chambers, and membership organizations, in general, we're going through a bit of an identity crisis, and I thought this might be a really cool way to reach the younger demographic that didn't necessarily understand why they should be a member of a Chamber of Commerce.

Brett Johnson: I know when we first started, too, I was looking at it as a potential engagement tool. I know Chambers have a difficulty. Yeah, they have … The email database is great, but the open rate, no, and the feedback from members, and getting them involved, and such … I was envisioning the podcast, possibly, as an engagement tool, as well, too.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: If nothing else, reaching out to members, being part of the podcast, and getting 'em involved in a different way that they hadn't even thought about, it's like, "Oh, wow …" [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Right, and they didn't understand it.

Brett Johnson: They didn't-.

Michelle Wilson: Any more than I did.

Brett Johnson: Correct. Correct, yes. Trying to go in the back my mind, how the process began, I think we just had coffee to talk about this idea. Luckily, you were very welcoming to the idea, too, because I think I laid it out as you have a lot of content, great content. You refined it even more, talking about, "Okay, let's talk to businesses about how they started, and how they're growing."

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: I kinda wanna go a little bit more on that, why that popped in your mind.

Michelle Wilson: I think we're really lucky in the Tri-Village area that we just had this … We have a really great group of members. One of the things that we never really have to preach is to support one another, and make sure you're using member businesses, and make sure you're looking there first. People just naturally do it.

Michelle Wilson: You may use a vendor, here and there, that you've gotten great service from, but you don't really know why they do what they do, or why they got started. I thought it would be a neat premise to figure out if this was something they really- was their lifelong aspiration, or if they just landed there. I think finding their personal connection to what they do was just a different way to approach it. There are lots of business podcasts out there, and I thought maybe putting a spin on it might be more engaging.

Brett Johnson: I think the guests have done a great job, as well, and they get it, when they're on the podcast.

Michelle Wilson: Yes.

Brett Johnson: They bring it back into why the Chamber is so important to them.

Michelle Wilson: Right, sure.

Brett Johnson: Not a guest that we've talked to that we've had to tell them, "Hey, be sure to incorporate why the Chamber's so important to you."

Michelle Wilson: We've never asked that question.

Brett Johnson: Never have asked it. It's come up organically in every interview. Stephanie, even the couple that we've done, have come up … With your transition, we've never told them to say anything about it.

Stephanie Evans: Right. It did just come up naturally.

Brett Johnson: It's amazing. Again, you can have the leading questions, as we had one … Not leading questions, but to incorporate that maybe one member has done a lot to help with some events, and such. That's gonna come up in conversation, obviously, too. I know we talked initially, too, Michelle, when I brought up the idea … I knew that I had to come up with a way that might be comfortable for you. I knew the question may come up about, "What kind of podcast? Are you talking about me just being the podcast?"

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: That's why I introduced let's do the interview. Makes it a whole lot easier. You still had the nervousness, in regards to, "I'm not an interviewer. I haven't done "radio." How do I do this?"

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: How did you prepare yourself to be, I think, a great interviewer?

Michelle Wilson: Oh, thank you.

Brett Johnson: I think you agree, now, too. I think you've done a great job with it. You actually started have a lot of fun after the first couple-

Michelle Wilson: I did, yeah, right.

Brett Johnson: You did. How did you jump into that, in regards to getting yourself prepared, and getting more comfortable to being an interviewer?

Michelle Wilson: Again, going back to just who we are as … Who our personality is at the Chamber is we're very relationship-driven. While everybody says that, I believe it to be true. I believe that so much of the success of the Tri-Village Chamber has been because Stephanie and I have gotten to know people. We know them on a personal level, generally – not every single person – but I think that's been a big part of the success.

Michelle Wilson: Preparing for the podcast was just figuring out how do I ask somewhat personal questions without getting too personal? Finding out what it is they wanted to be, when they were young, and having them take a step back, and look at why they are where they are. I did basically the same research, every single time.

Michelle Wilson: We did identify … At least initially, we identified members that perhaps I knew a little more on a personal level, so that I could … They were kinda my guinea pigs. I could ask them questions that- and I would be more comfortable asking them questions, because I kinda knew what their answers would be. Although, I think, each time, they surprised me, and that was also fun. It was always a discovery, no matter how much I thought I knew going into the interview. I think that led, each time, to a really great end product.

Brett Johnson: It did, I agree. I was thinking about the time process, when our first discussion, and when we kicked it off … I don't remember actually how many weeks/months it took. I think it went fairly quickly, honestly.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: I think a lot of the time that it took, and this is part of the interview process, is booking people; getting those businesses in. At that time, we were very lucky to have a great relationship with a local radio station group to utilize their studios. I know the owner was extremely happy to have business owners coming in to the radio station, just to see the Hollywood of it, to be a part of this podcast, but also just a monthly process of seeing new businesses coming in, because of this podcast.

Brett Johnson: That was a nice relationship, at that point in time, to get things going, to legitimize the podcast, as well, working with the radio station group. The sound of the podcast versus just being in front of a computer laptop, and, "Okay, talk as close as you can to the screen …"

Michelle Wilson: Oh, it made a difference. It definitely … Absolutely, it made a difference being in a professional setting.

Brett Johnson: I think it made a little bit easier for you, too, I'm assuming, because you were at a radio station. This is what happens here.

Michelle Wilson: It did. Right.

Brett Johnson: Interviews, and content, that sorta thing, yeah.

Michelle Wilson: I was lucky enough to be a part of a couple of other podcasts, and they were fine. I would never say anything negative about them, other than the sound quality … The difference in sound quality, I felt really lucky that we had what we had with that radio station.

Brett Johnson: Yes, and I think the process of us moving as fast as we did – I'm gonna say probably a couple of months, quite frankly [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Oh, I think it was, yeah.

Brett Johnson: -it probably was. We didn't really have a lot of people involved.

Michelle Wilson: Right. That's true.

Brett Johnson: We went rogue for the most part [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: If you asked my past board members, they would say that ,"Michelle asks forgiveness, not permission," and that's just how it worked.

Brett Johnson: I don't know if that's the proper way for any Chamber to think about doing something like this, but what is the harm, as long as you have the game plan, and this is the direction you're going with it?

Michelle Wilson: Sure.

Brett Johnson: You focused a couple of the board members as guests, as well, so that made a big difference.

Michelle Wilson: I did. Right. Some of that was strategic, but they also are really good interviews … Perhaps it was for a double reason, but there was good content there.

Brett Johnson: Yeah. How has the podcast been able to showcase the Chamber's expertise? How did you incorporate that, as well as with Stephanie coming in, as well, too, what the Chamber is? I know there's, like you said, an atmosphere; a culture that the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership has, compared to any other chamber – good, bad, whatever. Every Chamber has its culture; its feel. How do you think you incorporated that, in regards to what you were doing with the podcast, as well as what Stephanie will be doing in the future, too?

Michelle Wilson: Steph, do you wanna take that? I can take that. I think I can take that. There's a saying, and I probably said this on past podcasts, that you've seen one Chamber, you've seen one Chamber. We all operate very differently; every community is so different. Partnerships vary.

Michelle Wilson: The Grandview area, Upper Arlington area, and now, of course, Tri-Village, I think have been very lucky to have good relationships with their city governments, with their key players in the area. I think that really played beautifully into the podcast just being an extension of what it was we were already doing. That was finding new ways to engage our members; finding new ways to keep them interested, and on board.

Michelle Wilson: When we started receiving feedback, pretty quickly … It takes a while to build your listenership, of course, but when we started receiving feedback, pretty quickly, from members who were intrigued by the fact that we were doing a podcast, and they were learning about these small businesses on a different level, that was exciting.

Michelle Wilson: Again, I think, going back to some other chances we took as a Chamber: the Chamber Challenge, when we did a business makeover in three days; that was that was a huge undertaking, and a great success story. The podcast was just the next thing we were trying. I joked about asking forgiveness, not permission, but kinda true. We just said, "Sure, that sounds like a good idea. Let's give it a shot." We didn't have a lot to lose. It's turned out to be a really great benefit, I think, to our members. People are asking to be a part of it now. I think it was just natural, that it was something we did that was different, and edgy.

Brett Johnson: I think one great story that came out of … I think we maybe had three or four published at the time, but the first episode that we published, she got an inquiry about her business for new business-.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah, and got the business-.

Brett Johnson: And got the business. When you told me that, I'm going, "Wow, okay, this stuff kinda works, doesn't it?"

Michelle Wilson: Yeah. We thought, "Gosh, if that happens every single time, we've got something …" which, of course, jokingly. We knew that wasn't gonna happen every single time, but-

Brett Johnson: Sure … Being the first episode of the whole podcast-

Michelle Wilson: -but the very first episode did produce business, yeah.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, amazing. That was a difficult episode, because that was your first. That was her first, but it came out great-

Michelle Wilson: We were both so nervous-

Brett Johnson: -and she got to showcase exactly what she wanted to for her business, and it obviously worked.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah, she came off beautifully. She really did.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, she did. Have you seen adding the podcast content to the website improve the site's search component?

Michelle Wilson: That's a great question that I would have to … I don't know that we have done a ton of analytics on it. It's certainly something we can do. You've provided us with numbers that have increased over time. I'm certain that it probably has, I just wish I could give you exact numbers, but I can't-.

Brett Johnson: No, and that's fine, because I can answer a little bit to that, because I know the user agent piece to the back end that I do see. This is not atypical of a business-oriented podcast; it is a lot more desktop listenership than through phone. Therefore, they are listening via your website, or a link through the email.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah, sure.

Stephanie Evans: One of the things we did on the website, too, was we added a tab; specifically, it says Podcast, so you don't have to look for the podcast in the other drop-down menus. It used to be part of the news, or something like that-

Michelle Wilson: It did, yes.

Stephanie Evans: We changed it to add it, so you see it right when you log onto the website.

Michelle Wilson: Right-

Brett Johnson: Which will make a difference over time, of course, too [cross talk].

Michelle Wilson: -much easier to find.

Brett Johnson: Right. I know a lot of businesses, they wanna add content to their website, but it's like, "Okay, where do we put it without junking up the site?" Or maybe the original design of the site was not really set up to incorporate any video, any audio.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: It's kinda difficult to measure, because it's not in the right place. A tab, obviously, will help tremendously, and such, too. Another unexpected thing that happened, but we were focusing on this, we had a sponsorship for the podcast.

Michelle Wilson: We did.

Brett Johnson: We'd always talked about this, but we just … Had come up with a list of potential sponsors, but knowing that any sponsorship could limit who might even wanna be on the podcast, or it might sound as though, "Okay, they're sponsoring, but what are you giving 'em?" You're a Chamber sort of thing.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: I think our focus of who did sponsor the podcast made a lot of sense. I'll let you talk a little bit about the story-.

Michelle Wilson: It did-

Brett Johnson: -because you carried the water on this one.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, well, I approached … Of course, the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership is made up of Grandview Heights, Marble Cliff, and Upper Arlington. We approached the three of them, and said, "These are the businesses that are representative of each of your areas, so, let's get you on board.".

Michelle Wilson: What I really love is that the smallest of those three municipalities stepped up. The Village of Marble Cliff got it really quickly. They went through a few readings, and they listened to some podcasts, and they stepped up with some dollars. One of the things we said was we'll be sure to make sure that we are including businesses in the Village of Marble Cliff. There aren't a ton. It's a very small village. Not a huge ask on their part, but some great businesses there.

Michelle Wilson: The businesses that we already had focused on in Marble Cliff helped sell it. Then, we made a commitment to feature some more, and we did that, and we're still doing that. I was really happy that they stepped up, not just from a dollar perspective, but because it was a great way for a small village to get some awesome exposure. Their logo went on there, and then they got to think of a fun slogan, and tagline. I think it helped them, and is helping them in a different way, as well.

Brett Johnson: It's little bit of moral support, too.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: I felt really good after you … I know you called me. It wasn't an email. "Hey, we got a sponsor!" and you said who it was. It was a struggle. It was … It will be, working with municipalities, and cities, of course. The process is a bit slower; a lot more people have to sign off on these ideas of money being spent. I totally understand that versus going to a business as a sponsorship.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: Hearing that feedback, and knowing that they're going to do that meant monumental pushing a big rock-

Michelle Wilson: Right, right …

Brett Johnson: -knowing that it doesn't matter what size of government there is, there had to be a lot of eyeballs seeing this, "Yeah we're gonna do this; we're gonna do this; we're gonna do this," because this money is being spent here, versus here. It was good feedback.

Stephanie Evans: One of the things that their Mayor, Kent, had said about it was that they view it as a professional education opportunity for the businesses in the Marble Cliff area, and felt that, by supporting the podcast, it was encouraging their businesses to listen in, because they can't always make it to a luncheon, or a breakfast, or a coffee, or an event, where we might have a speaker, or some kind of educational program.

Stephanie Evans: It really is educational, when you listen to how someone got their business started, or how they made the next steps to grow, and that kinda stuff. They felt like it was a good option to treat it as professional education, in a way, to give to the business community, and support us, as well.

Brett Johnson: One of your last interviews was with Kent, and-

Michelle Wilson: It was.

Brett Johnson: -probably one of the better podcasts, in regards to understanding the Village of Marble Cliff.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: He's such a great speaker [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: He is.

Brett Johnson: -understanding this very … What is it? Two square mile, if that? I forget how many square mile it is, but government is government, and it's just a smaller version of it, but it's the same mechanisms, the same "politics" going on, but just on a smaller scale; a microcosm, comparatively, but still important to those that are living in that little community.

Michelle Wilson: Right, and they're very lucky they have somebody who's forward-thinking, and is … Again, I think like the Chamber taking a chance on some doing something a little differently … We're very lucky that he sits on the board, and has a great voice to lend, on behalf of the village.

Brett Johnson: We tried to come up with the most convenient publishing schedule, and we varied that. I know, initially, we went with … Because of scheduling issues, and problems, and fitting in your schedule, obviously, to sit down. and talk with folks, and give yourself some time for research, we are on a once-a-month publishing schedule. It worked really well, I think.

Brett Johnson: Then we started to crank it up to every three weeks, and I think we saw some momentum come from that, as well, too, that it started to take off a little bit more, as well. We could get more people in over a year's time, as well, too. How did that change, in regards to how you set yourself up, and your scheduling, too, that one extra week, or one fewer week to prepare? Did that take some mental strain? How did that change your life?

Michelle Wilson: Not tremendously, because I think it was something that I so enjoyed. It was just one of my favorite parts; truly getting to take a deep dive into one business was so enjoyable for me. Doing the research … I had basically the same list of questions every single time. That would always be my fall backs. Then, depending on who we were talking to, and how well I knew them, or if there had been something in the news recently that I wanted to make sure I touched on, I customized that each time. It was more exciting, quite honestly, to increase it, and get to talk to more people, and beef that up a little bit.

Brett Johnson: I know Stephanie, you can answer this, as well, too, because of being on board as long as you were, installing the social media strategy, and the email strategy. Let's talk a little bit about that, how that's evolved, as well, too, from your standpoint, and moving forward. This podcast is included in every newsletter that goes out for the Chamber, which is a weekly … What other pieces are being implemented that are being done/were being don, as well as looking to the future?

Stephanie Evans: It goes into our weekly newsletter with a link, so it's on our website. It always sits there, and the link sends you to the website. Then, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram … Trying to think of all the social media. Admittedly, we are in a transition there with the social media.

Stephanie Evans: We had contracted out some work; the person that was doing that work for us recently moved to Seattle. In theory, he could do it from there, but it's more practical to have it here, closer to home. We're in transition, getting our head around how to do that social media, and how best to approach that. The podcast link is included in all of that, and we're trying to stay active on that, and keep up to date, and find a new rhythm with our social media.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, it's kind of a double-whammy, with the transition of hosts, also losing the social media person, or [cross talk] choice to keep the social media in-house; let's put it that way.

Stephanie Evans: Right. That's the goal at this point is to keep it in-house, and just, I guess, have a more intimate knowledge of it. I don't know if that's really the right way to phrase that, but we could do things a little more quickly [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Well, it's certainly more immediate.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, it's more immediate-

Brett Johnson: That person's desk is five feet away [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: Right, instead of sending a picture to somebody … It does make it more immediate. We just have to get up to speed with it.

Brett Johnson: Sure, sure. Well, and you can look at it as good timing, or bad timing. It's probably very good timing, because you get to own it – the change of it – and evolve with it, as well. I know, with the transition, we're looking at probably backing up publishing dates, back to a month, probably, just because, again, new role for you [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, just a little … This big microphone looking at.

Brett Johnson: -of looking at, "Okay, I still wanna continue …" Well, "I still wanna continue on with the podcast," but how to incorporate it into my day, as the newly appointed executive director for the Chamber. It's just a week, so not big, but I think that the implementation of a new person with social media, keeping it in-house, may be an easier transition, as well, too.

Stephanie Evans: I think we're still very much in a transition phase. I just officially took this role as executive director in October, so I was still in my learning curve. Then, add to that the change in the social media contractor that we were using, and bringing someone in-house, and me changing roles altogether. There's a lot to learn.

Michelle Wilson: You're welcome [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: I didn't know as much as I thought I knew. I sat next to Michelle in the office, and I [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: -osmosis works pretty well, too.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, and I knew a lot about the Chamber activities, but not so much the things that she did. Now, I have literally switched chairs. I took your chair.

Michelle Wilson: That's a great, great chair.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, it's a great chair. There's a lot to learn, and it's a busy day. I make my to-do list at the end of the day, for my next day, and inevitably, I get to work … Sometimes, I check my email before I get in, and my whole day changes.

Michelle Wilson: That's right.

Brett Johnson: Welcome to life. Yeah, right, exactly.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, exactly. It's never quite like I planned. Just kinda keeping up with things still has me in a transition.

Brett Johnson: That's a great segue into talking about the transition of hosts. Obviously, you knew you were going to leave, and whether that was being discussed or not … One way or the other, in the mind, you knew, "Okay, I'm moving on, but there are things I have to take care of.".

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: What was the discussion like with Stephanie, when you said, "Hey, I'm outta here. Totally up to you if you wanna keep the podcast going, but let's talk about the podcast …"? What was that conversation like?

Michelle Wilson: Well, I told Steph that it was one of my favorite parts of the job. It had grown into that, and that I would … I just told her the truth. I think that I was very nervous, and that if we kept it going, which I thought we should, that we approach it the same way. Don't put a ton of pressure on yourself, because the conversation really does take over.

Michelle Wilson: We scheduled a couple of podcasts, my last two, and and did those in the office, in a more comfortable setting, and Stephanie sat in on those, and got to see that I wasn't exaggerating. It really is very laid back, and conversational, and the flow should be fairly natural. You have these questions that you can fall back on, if conversation halts for some reason, but that never really happened, thankfully, but they were good conversation starters.

Michelle Wilson: The Chamber is very lucky that Stephanie knocked on our door a couple of years ago, and said, "Hey, I'm interested in coming here." Her background, and personality just lent itself beautifully for the transition. I knew she'd be great, and, of course, she is.

Stephanie Evans: Thanks, Michelle.

Brett Johnson: She said that in the conversation. What did you hear? [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: -I'm like, "What? Who can I get to do that?"

Michelle Wilson: How do you portray deer in the headlights over a microphone?

Stephanie Evans: I think, from the start, I totally agreed that it needed to continue. I think it's a really great thing for the Chamber, for our members, and for the folks who are listening. There was no doubt that we wanted to keep it going. The struggle for me is overcoming the anxiety of having this big microphone in front of me, and feeling like I don't know how to do this.

Stephanie Evans: My first thoughts were, "Okay, well, we have to keep it going. We have to keep it going. Who can I ask to do it? Who can be the voice?" I went through all kinds of different ideas in my head, and I'm like, "Okay, the fact is it's most natural, probably, for me to do it. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths, and just do it." Your encouragement, Brett, and your encouragement, Michelle-

Brett Johnson: Thank you.

Stephanie Evans: I know-

Brett Johnson: Did you end up going back, and listening to some older episodes to really listen to 'em differently, and how it was done?

Stephanie Evans: That's a good question. I guess I didn't go back very far. I generally listen to them as they come, but I did go [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Right, right, right … But you can hear it with a different ear, when you have to host it.

Stephanie Evans: Yes, and I did. I did go back and listen to probably three or four … Not the entire podcasts, but parts of the three or four of 'em. You're right. I didn't even remember that I did that, but I did, right before we recorded my first one; to go back and just listen to the flow, and how the conversation went.

Stephanie Evans: That helped, and I had Michelle's list of questions that I just had in front of me. I did use them probably more than Michelle does, or did at the time. It does help provide the backup, like when you are afraid of stalling out; you know you won't, if you have that.

Stephanie Evans: The other thing that you had said, Brett, is that it doesn't really matter how long it is, It can be 10 minutes; it can be half an hour. It's just wherever the conversation just naturally stops. Relieving that pressure of having to fill 20 minutes was helpful, too. I think probably mostly it was in my head, because, you're right, it's pretty natural, but heart races, at first, and your mouth gets dry [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Even though you know it's not live, you do have this big microphone in front of you, and there's a sense of pressure, when that's not something you do every day, but-

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, even today.

Michelle Wilson: Right, but it's also a sense of relief, when … If you can get out of your head long enough to think, "Okay, we can fix this," because it's not live, and it can come off sounding pretty smooth, if we stumble a little bit along the way.

Stephanie Evans: I think that the biggest thing for me was just the commitment to knowing that it has to go forward; not going to stop doing this. I've gotta figure it out.

Brett Johnson: Mm hmm, yeah. I hadn't thought about the transition you talked about, in regards to bringing it back in the office; getting away from the professional studio. That probably maybe helped you with the transition, as well, too. It's in your office, now-

Stephanie Evans: Probably, yeah.

Brett Johnson: Bring a couple microphones in; it's not the intimidation factor of a studio that you're not comfortable in. You had never been in that studio that we were recording in, and we were taking the podcast on the road for a few episodes, as well, too, for convenience sake, as well … Moving what we thought was gonna be a different direction, but didn't happen. It was an experiment; just didn't happen. Back in your office makes a whole lot of sense, and it may be just as comfortable for your guests, as well, too, because [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, a lot of 'em had been there before, and they're nervous, too, the people that we've interviewed. They were nervous, definitely, so having that comfort level of knowing where they're going, knowing how to get there, and that kinda thing, I do think helps.

Michelle Wilson: For me, I had the benefit of recording promo spots for some of our past events at the studio, so I at least had a little bit of a level of familiarity with going into the studio, and talking into a microphone. That's not the case for everybody, so I do think it's a nice familiar setting to do it in the Chamber offices [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Moving forward, any new thoughts? Any new ideas that you wanna implement over the next few months? Have you put thought to that, or the different type of people we wanna talk to?

Stephanie Evans: With regard to the podcast?

Brett Johnson: Yeah.

Stephanie Evans: I think one of the things that we had tossed out … I really do love the up close, and personal, and finding out how a business came along. I am a small business owner, myself, still-

Brett Johnson: You've been there.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, I have. I've owned two businesses by myself, and then my husband, and I currently own a business together. I'm a small business owner, too, and so I do appreciate hearing other people's stories. I think that I learned from it. I think our listeners can learn from it. Everybody's tackled it a little differently.

Stephanie Evans: One of the things that I think has been great about the ones that we've had so far is the variety of businesses that we've invited in for it. I think, for the listeners, if you look at the list, it's this huge variety. I think that shows the breadth of our membership. For folks who aren't members, or just out there listening, they can see the kind of businesses that we have, and that it really covers a whole range of businesses.

Stephanie Evans: I think that the up close, and personal, "How did you get here?" way is great. We've also tossed around, do we start doing more like … I don't know, a specific topic in business, and how do we address that, and kinda come at that from different angles. For right now, I feel like if it's not broke, don't fix it. If this is our niche, and this is what we're known for, then that's the track we should stay on. If we start to feel like we wanna mix it up a little bit, I do think that there are some other avenues we could venture down.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, we talked about other opportunities, as well, too, just expanding the role of the podcast. It gives you the opportunity as a new host to do that, as well as Michelle was always kicking around that idea. We were always kicking around those ideas, so it's always on the table.

Michelle Wilson: Sure, yeah. I think it's really key to mention, too, from the member perspective, besides learning about other members, is that it's a great marketing tool for them. They walk away with this podcast. We walk away learning something; a little bit more about, perhaps, that member, or that industry, but the member walks away with a marketing piece that they can put on their website; that they can pull snippets of. You're great about helping them with pulling out key pieces that would be great for marketing. There's no charge to them for being a guest on our podcast. It's really a benefit to everybody involved.

Brett Johnson: There's not an episode that I didn't learn something-

Michelle Wilson: Oh, my gosh, yes. Me, too.

Brett Johnson: -or heard something said, going, "That makes sense," especially when you start to change what you're doing in your world-

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: -and things hit you differently, when you start to think about things differently, whether it's a new business venture, or you're venturing with a new career, whatever; you just hear it differently. I think every episode, all the guests have done a fantastic job of bringing just little nuggets, yeah-

Michelle Wilson: A nugget, right. There have been times that I've walked away thinking, or not thinking, but just having learned something that I just didn't expect. There was a couple of times when I was kind of gobsmacked, for lack of a better word.

Michelle Wilson: In one of those, a piece of advice came out of it. One of my favorite things was to ask, "What advice were you given, or what advice would you now give?" One of the podcasts, there was a piece of advice given to one of our interviewees that I loved, and I have now used in a practical way with my kids, and in my life. I definitely learned a life lesson out of doing an interview that … Gosh, that's not what I expected to get out of it, but it was great.

Brett Johnson: All right. Advice to a business owner, or another Chamber outside of the Columbus area … They would like to start a podcast … Wouldn't want any more competition here, but since the podcast is worldwide-

Michelle Wilson: We've got it covered.

Brett Johnson: We've got it covered, here, but I'll ask both of you, what advice would you give a business owner, or another Chamber that may be considering podcasting as a marketing tool? What would you tell them to keep in mind?

Michelle Wilson: Steph, jump in anytime. I think I would tell them to try to come up with what's unique about them, and capitalize on it, with their podcast, with whatever the theme is, or what it is that they want to accomplish. Find out what's- identify what's unique, and use it.

Michelle Wilson: Also, try to get the supporters on board first, and not necessarily ask permission, but now that there's somebody that's doing this, and it's working, don't recreate the wheel, and definitely get people on board first. Realize that there are resources out there to help you get started, and that it's really a phenomenal tool to engage your members.

Stephanie Evans: They might be able to get sponsorship upfront [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Upfront, yes.

Stephanie Evans: -say, "Here's what we wanna do," and model it after this or that, and be able to get some sponsorship upfront. I would say definitely think about that. One of the things that I think our podcast does is, alongside of the information that's shared from the interviewees, is it showcases the personality of the Chamber, just in the conversations that take place.

Stephanie Evans: I do think that the conversations … Michelle's done a really great job of being very natural, and being able to bring out the personality, not only of the person being interviewed, but her personality shows, too. I think that that …

Stephanie Evans: I always tell people who are thinking about joining our Chamber that the personality of our Chamber, I really do feel like, represents the communities that we represent. It's a really warm, sincere group of people who wanna see each other support- sorry, wanna support each other, and see each other be successful. I feel like that comes through in the interviews, just the personalities. I think that's a real nice benefit for our members, and for the Chamber, as a whole.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, I would think, and I agree … I always think this medium is not a fake-it medium. It's raw. It's raw. The emotions are there. You just can't fake it, versus writing a blog, or having a professional blogger write it for you that represents your company. This is it. I think the podcast brings that out of the Chamber, as well as the guests I've seen, overall.

Brett Johnson: Congratulations on your move, Michelle.

Michelle Wilson: Thank you very much.

Brett Johnson: That was a kick in the gut, when you told me you were leaving. a little bit-

Stephanie Evans: I second that-.

Brett Johnson: -because I knew I was going to miss working with you. I knew the podcast would live on, because it had legs, and I knew Stephanie was more than capable of getting this done, but working with you, I knew I was gonna miss [cross talk] because it was a lot of fun.

Brett Johnson: I am looking forward to what Stephanie is gonna do, as well, too, because the focus of this podcast, I think, is extremely important to me, as well as getting it done for the Chamber, as well, too. Congratulations on your move to Experience Columbus-

Michelle Wilson: Thank you.

Brett Johnson: -and congratulations on your new chair, and new role.

Stephanie Evans: Thanks, Brett … Literally a new chair.

Brett Johnson: Exactly.

Stephanie Evans: Literally a new chair. It moves.

Brett Johnson: I do look forward to working, as we continue on with Business Inspires.

Michelle Wilson: Thank you [cross talk].

Stephanie Evans: Thank you, Brett. I look forward to working with you, too.

Michelle Wilson: Thank you for all your support. This is because of you, and your great idea, and that our members are benefiting. Thank you for doing that.

Brett Johnson: Thank you. Thank you.

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Recorded in Studio C at the 511 Studios, located in the Brewery District in downtown Columbus, OH!

Brett Johnson is the owner and lead consultant at Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. The podcast consultants at Circle270Media have over 30+ years of experience in Marketing, Content Creation, Audio Production/Recording, and Broadcasting. We strategically bring these worlds together with Podcasting.

You can email Brett at podcasts@circle270media.com to talk more about your new or established business podcast. www.circle270media.com