Episode 1

Evo Terra on Podcasting in 2005 to Where Podcasting Goes Next

In this episode, I chat with Evo Terra, host of Podcast Pontifications and founder of Simpler Media. Evo has been podcasting since 2004, so you can be sure he's brought the goods when it comes to the podcasting industry today.

Evo Knows Podcasting

Apart from his highly regarded show, Podcast Pontifications, Evo has also launched several other podcasts since starting way back in 2004. This includes personal projects and those for clients - in fact, when you put them all together, it comes to over 1,000 podcast. It's safe to say Evo knows what he's talking about when it comes to podcasting.

The Journey to Diversity in Podcasting

One of the podcasts Evo is involved in is Three Clips from Castos. What's cool about this show is its goal to share some of the more creative approaches being taken when it comes to podcasting. On top of that Evo shares how he's stepping back from hosting the show so more diverse voices can lead it, something that - thankfully - seems to be happening more in the podcasting space.

The Changing Face of Production and Consumption

Having been podcasting for 17 years now, Evo's seen a lot of changes in the industry, especially when it comes to how we create and consume podcasts. From being a very insular space only for tech heads to being able to create a podcast with just your phone, the industry makes it super easy for anyone to start a podcast. No more downloading mp3 files to CD to listen back to!

The Argument for and Against RSS Feeds

One thing that's remained consistent with podcasting over the years is the delivery system - the old and trusted RSS feed. However, while that's the de facto method of podcast delivery at the moment, there's a lot of talk and development about either making the RSS feed more interactive, or replacing it altogether. Evo talks on why RSS needs to change, and who he's betting on to make that happen.

The Argument for Super Niche

One of the ways Evo sees podcasting in the future is for podcast apps and listeners to become super niche, as opposed to a one size catch all. He offers the example of Apollo, where they only publish fiction podcasts. This limits the podcasts on the app - but also makes sure it's laser focused on the audience they want to attract. It's this kind of nicheness that Evo feels could benefit podcasting moving forward.

How Evo Helped Early Adopters to Podcasting 

As well as a hugely respected podcaster, Evo is also a published author, and was one of the original co-authors of Podcasting For Dummies (I have a copy of it in my wife's library!). So he's been a huge influence on a generation of podcasters from the early days, possibly without them realizing it.

Radio - The Grandfather of Podcasting

A lot of podcasters, for whatever reason, seem to talk down when it comes to radio. Which is surprising, given how without radio, whether terrestrial or internet, there might be no podcasting industry today. Indeed, this is how Evo got started, and without his experiences there he admits he probably wouldn't be where he is today.

What Podcasting Needs to Do to Improve 

As a podcasting veteran, Evo has pretty much seen it all when it comes to tools technology, and more. This includes the ease in which new podcasters can get started. However, with this ease comes a downside, and that's podcasters that may not know the benefit of audio optimization, editing, and more. Here. Evo shares why - despite podcasting becoming mainstream - there's a big need for education for these new podcasters, to help them and their show be the best it can be for their listeners.

Every innovation has made podcasting easier. But I'm not convinced most of them make it any better.

The Importance of Education

For many new podcasters, they take inspiration from the big shows they listen to - a Serial, for example, or a Joe Rogan. The problem, as Evo shares, is that because of their audience size, they can get away with just throwing an episode out minus editing. This isn't the case for new podcasters - so how much should the industry do to make a standard when it comes to sound, as well as educating podcasters the importance of the basics?

The Validation of Podcasting

In the last few months and years, podcasting has seen a huge influx of money enter the space. Most of that has come from Spotify buying exclusive rights to certain podcasts. While that may upset some listeners, Evo sees this as validation of our industry as a serious medium, as well as allowing creators to experiment and do things they might not be able to elsewhere.

Why Indie Podcasters Need to Be Better

In a recent episode of Three Clips, Evo chatted with Jack Rhysider of Darknet Diaries. A hugely popular podcast, Jack shared that it takes around 50 hours per episode to put Darknet Diaries together. For the average indie podcaster, this isn't realistic - so Evo shares what indies can do to compete with the bigger budget shows.

Stop Being Impressed With Yourself

Evo makes a great point about progress, and where you see yourself. You may think your show sounds great, or you nailed an interview, or everyone wants to listen to your podcast. But, generally, no-one thinks you sound as good as you do. Once you learn this, your show will really take off.

A lot of the things you think about yourself and how you're the best thing? The rest of the world may not think so.

Key points:

05:40 The Evolution of Podcasting: From Desktop to Pocket

10:14 The Future of Podcasting

13:50 The Evolution of Podcasting

23:38 The Future of Podcasting: Making it Easy to Make a Great Show

27:20 The Importance of Editing in Podcasting

29:06 The Future of Podcasting: What Excites Evo Terra the Most?

35:29 The Benefits of Being an Indie Podcaster

38:55 The Benefits of Being Humble and the Importance of Listening to Your Show

Connect with Evo:

Contact me: danny@dannybrown.me

My equipment:

Recommended resources:

Mentioned in this episode:

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Transcript
Evo:

So if you think back at all the innovations that have happened from the time that Apple said, hey, we're going to put podcast inside of iTunes 4.9 in the summer of 2005. Every innovation after that, almost every innovation after that app has made podcasting easier, but I'm not convinced most of them make it any better.

Danny:

Today I'm super stoked to welcome Evo Terra to the show, a name that anyone in podcasting should know and recognize. Evo's bio is way too impressive to even cover properly here. But apart from his always excellent Podcast Pontifications, Evo is also the founder of Simpler Media, offering a host of services around launching and growing your podcasts. We'll be chatting about that and more in this episode. So without further ado, the man, the myth, the urban legend and newly inducted Hall of Podcasting Fame member, Evo Terra. Welcome to the show, Evo.

Evo:

Thank you, Danny. Pleasure to be with you on this fine unnamed day at an unnamed time somewhere in the meta verse, sometime in the future.

Unknown speaker

So how are you doing, Evo?

Evo:

I'm doing okay, all things considered. It's been a rough two years, but we're powering through. I think we might see the end of this thing as long as World War II doesn't break out anytime soon.

Danny:

But that's not looking good either. No, not really. Evo, I've mentioned, obviously you've got a very huge variety background, which will also get into in the episode, but you've been podcasting now since 2004. How many podcasts have you launched since then and how many are still active?

Evo:

So I did some counting because it's hard, right? I mean, 17 years ago, it's not like 17 years ago. I said, you know, someday in 17 years I'm going to want to remember this better, write these things down. But I did a talk a few years ago at a conference and I added them up at the time and I came up with 20 podcasts, but that was three years ago. Since that time, I've started a couple more. So it is over 20 is the number of shows that I have either been the host or the co host of. And of those, there are some still active. I'll circle back to that. And also, if you count the number of shows that I have helped someone launch because it was either part of my client roster or it was a service I used to do call Patiobooks.com. We were helping independent authors put their books out. That's $700, so I pegged the number probably around 1000. It is either at or approaching 1000 shows that I have actually launched.

Danny:

That's a lot of credits on podcaster.

Evo:

Yeah, that was before podcaster, luckily. So I didn't get proof of credit on all of those things. But today I'm doing podcast quantifications, as you mentioned, I am also just wrapping up my season of hosting three clips from Castos, which digs into the creative side of podcasting and I'm an executive producer on the Download, a show that Brian Barletta from Sound profitable, and I do. That is a weekly recap of the business news in podcasting, things that happened in the week that are important to those in the business of podcasting. I'm executive producer now. I used to be the host of the show, but Brian and I both said, hey, we don't need more voices from a couple of white dudes. Maybe we need some other people who were talking so fantastically. A couple of people, Manuela Madola and Shreya Sharma, have stepped up to take hosting duties, and now Brian and I just get to executive produce that, which is a lot of fun.

Danny:

And how did you come over with these two shows? You mentioned that you did co hosting or hosting with the second one, and then three clips, I believe you took out over from the previous host of The Call, and Brian approached you. How did that come about?

Evo:

Yeah, that's exactly what happened. I had been friends with Matt Madeiros for a few years at Castors. He's a member of my advancing podcasting community, a little discord server that I run. And he asked me at the end of last year if I would be interested in doing the second season of three clips. Castro acquired three clips from Jaya Kunzo. He started it back in 20, 18, 20, 19, something like that, and sold the license on the the rights to the naming rights over to Castos with the idea that he would duck out after the end of the year. And that was last year. So they needed a new host. So the plan is, I think they talked about a couple of things. One is doing rotating hosts where I did these last eight episodes and we'll take a month off and maybe next month will be another host coming out another eight episodes at a time. So they get a lot of voices inside. And I think that's a really smart idea to do it that way. Yeah.

Danny:

And obviously, as you mentioned, with the second show with Brian, you guys have stepped back and offered it opened up to more sort of underrepresented voices. So it sounds like the three clips is going to be the same direction, kind of, yeah.

Evo:

I think that's what they're trying to do is hopefully find someone who's not just an old white guy talking about other voices as well, because I think that's important. We have a lot of experience. We've got a lot of knowledge. Those are those of us who've been in it for a very long time. But look, we don't know everything. And there's a whole brand new crop of things that are happening in podcasting that are really different now that have nothing to do with what things were like 17 years ago. And we need to let the newer voices come out. We need to let the underrepresented voices come out and I think that's important. So I want to see that happen as well.

Danny:

And you just mentioned 17 years ago, obviously, when you first started podcasting. So what were some of the challenges back then compared to the easy peasy? Pick up a phone and off you go.

Evo:

Yeah. Well, the biggest one is your phone had nothing to do with podcasting, neither for creation nor listening. In 2004, phones were phones. That was it. The only thing you heard from a phone other than a ringtone, remember ringtones was another person's voice because they called you specifically. And so that's totally different now that consumption moved. Back in the day, we were using iPads or I was using an Iriver or I know I had a lot of fans of mine who were long haul truckers and they were burning CDs of my shows for their long and other people they were listening to as well. Right. They would literally their podcaster on their desktop would download a whole bunch of MP, three files, and they would burn them onto a stack of 20 CDs and take them on the road with them. Which is just insane to think that that's how it worked back in the day. But today, if you want to listen to a podcast, you just pull out that device that never leaves your pocket or too far from you on the desk, and you have access to everything instantly. So it's just a different world. I mean, the mechanics are still the same. We're still making an audio file. We're still Loading it to a hosting platform so that it can update an RSS feed. And people still subscribe to the RSS feed. So those mechanics haven't really changed all that much from a podcaster's point of view. It's just a lot less clunky. And it's a whole lot easier to get from point A to point B.

Danny:

And there's some talk that I noticed there's like a few Twitter chat and talks about. You mentioned RSS feed. That's been a consistent staple, if you like, of podcast since back in the day. But there are some people that are thinking the RSS feed is now too close, if you like, because it limits what people can and can't do with the interactivity of the feed. For example, I know obviously the podcast and 2.0 guys are trying to address that. But do you think that that assess is still a valid part of podcast, or do you think that will be replaced or anytime soon?

Evo:

To answer the first question, is it still valid? Yeah, because without an RSS feed, you kind of don't really have a podcast and we're not going to open up that can of worms. But yeah, right now, RSS is the way. And with very few exceptions, the only way that media files get from your hosting company to someone's ears, it's got to go through an RSS feed. So again, with very few exceptions, that's the process. Now there have been a couple. There are really two different competing forces, and I have a bet on one of them. You're right, RSS is old. The RSS 2.0 spec hasn't really changed for a very long time. Podcasting came along and we said, now we've got an enclosure tag. Itunes came along. Apple Podcasting before that now called and said, hey, here's a couple of new Tags for us, but by and large it really hadn't changed too much, and it's pretty limited. It wasn't designed to distribute podcasts, designed to syndicate content, and it's just not that big. So a few years back there was a big push to think about. Maybe we need something like JSON or some other more extensible tool to come along that we could do more than just what the RSS Tags are, and that's a possibility. But you mentioned that the Podcasting 2.0 folks have come along and said, we're going to make a brand new namespace and it's called podcast and we're going to support it heavily. We're going to have a lot of developers inside. We're going to get a lot of the hosting companies and hopefully even some of the apps to come along with us on this journey and implement some new Tags so that we can really, truly extend this out. And I'm betting on them. I've seen a lot of movement. I've seen a lot of hosting companies step up and take a full initiative and use some of those Tags. The developer community is still very exciting, excitable, and want to really do those things. I wish the app makers would move quicker. There are some new podcast apps find them all@newpodcastaps.com that are supporting those new Tags, but ultimately we need the larger ones. And I'm not necessarily talking about Apple and Spotify, but just overcast would be great and podcast addict and the other tools that are the secondary layer that aren't the big players. If they stepped up and did some of that, I think it would really push it even further.

Danny:

I'm wondering if some of these apps you mentioned, I know a lot of people speak about, say, Pocket Cast. They want Apple to buy Pocket Cast and just make that the default Apple app because it does what Apple should be doing. And part of me wonders. You make a great point about the bigger apps trying to adapt in the podcast and 2.0 Tags and stuff. I wonder if some of the developers of these apps are maybe hoping there's a lot of podcast acquisitions at the minute, and I'm wondering if they're hoping maybe, hey, we'll get bought. I'm not going to put resources into this at the moment with the possibility that we may get bought and someone else can pay for it.

Evo:

I think there's some speculation out there about that. I don't know how likely it is to happen because Spotify has an app. Pretty popular one. As a matter of fact, Apple has too many apps if you really want to think about it and they have their own designs of what things actually should be. And then you can take Google also has too many apps and has no idea what they want to do in the podcasting world. So I think the only way that happens and look, this is a pure speculation, right? Neither of us have inside knowledge about this stuff is if some big investor comes along and says, hey, I think I found a way to make this work better, and I just want to buy some technology and maybe they buy two or three, they buy Podcast Attic, they buy overcast, which would be really crazy. I don't think Marco is selling any time real soon so that they've got not just the architecture, the infrastructure of an app that actually works, that they could put some more investment to, but actually start combining forces and narrowing down the choices. I think that's one direction it might go, but at the same time, I say that. Danny, have you checked out the app called Apollo?

Danny:

I haven't even heard of that. Now I feel like a podcast in noob.

Evo:

Well, you shouldn't, because it is only for fiction podcasts.

Danny:

Okay.

Evo:

A lot of the podcast apps out there. And I remember when Luminary hit the stage years ago to a big, huge flop. A lot of the apps, their business model is, well, we have to have everything. We have to have all 2 million or 3 million or 4 million or whatever number is all millions of podcasts need to be in our directory. But Apollo said we're not going to do that. We're only going to list fiction podcasts, podcasts that are serialized, that are telling fictional stories. That's what we're going to list. So I think they have, like not even all fiction podcasts, like 7500. But because they have narrowed down on the type of content they're going to list, you won't find podcast quantifications there. You won't find podcast stories there. You won't find any of things you and I do together there. But because they've really nailed down on that one user base, it allows them to have new innovations and can throw out a lot of things that don't matter over there, but also put deeply into place in things that do matter to that type of listening audience. So that's a long way for me to say. I think we're going to see probably even more splits of podcast apps. But instead of being a different podcast app to do the same things every other podcast app does, it'll be much more narrowly focused. That's what I think is going to happen.

Danny:

That'd be pretty cool as well. As you mentioned, obviously, with that being a fiction podcast app, there's a lot more that they can do with audio treatment and stuff that really works to the benefit of the podcast has gone on there, too.

Evo:

Exactly.

Danny:

Yeah, very much keep an eye on that. Now, something I feel like I knew that for some reason missed is you are one of the original co authors of Podcasting for Dummies.

Evo:

Yeah.

Danny:

Because I'm sure I've got that book next to my wife's office. You know, they'll check. I should check before they came on got to sign or something.

Evo:

Sure.

Danny:

But how did that come about? And you still involved in it?

Evo:

So no to the second question. But the way that it came about is it was late 2004, early 2005, and when I discovered podcasting. At the time, I was doing a science fiction radio show. Internet radio show. We also had some terrestrial syndication, but mostly internet radio. And when podcasting came around, it was very easy for us to hit podcasting running because we had like 150 episodes already. We already running a blog on Movable Type. This is pre WordPress. Movable Type was our blog. We already had MP, three files that we were using to distribute to the terrestrial stations that carried us. And we even had a little real audio player, real media, whatever it was called. It was embedded. So we had all the pieces that were there. So for us, for me, really, it was a matter of spending an evening connecting the dots and going, hey, here's a podcast. But also when that happened to me, I said, there's something here. I don't know what it is. So I started calling up a lot of the authors that I was talking to on that radio show, because most of the authors we talked to on that radio show were what I call under published authors. This was before Amazon didn't have an electronic book device. There was no Kindle back then. Amazon sold physical hard copy books and lots of other things as well. So for a lot of authors back in the day, they didn't really have much of a chance of getting published. They had to get lucky and have an agent say yes and then have a publisher say yes. Or they were just relegated to doing what we call vanity press, which was expensive and terrible, spending $30 on a 150 page, poorly printed book. Right. So when podcasting started, I called these authors and said, there's something here. A few of them wrote back and said, I've got this crazy idea. What if I released my published book as an audiobook and we did it as a podcast over the course of every chapter in an episode. So that's what led me to start a service called Patio Books.com. And I had a few authors doing that time. Well, one of those very first authors, Team Morris, still a friend of mine today, he calls me up. I'm on my way. I had a day job back then. So I'm driving home and I get an email. I get a phone call from T, and he said, hey, I've been asked to write a book about podcasting. And now at the time, he was releasing his book Moravi as a podcast. But what I really need to say that is he would give me the audio files and I would do everything else. So my first question to Tea was, why are they calling you? You know, literally nothing about this? And he said, well, that's why I'm calling you. I want you to co write it with me. So I said, all right, that sounds cool. But a book on podcasting, I mean, maybe a pamphlet. Why don't you call your agent back and find out? What do they mean by a book? Phone rings Back two minutes later they want 266 pages. I said, that's an oddly specific number, not about 250 to 300, but $266. Who is the publisher? He said, I don't know. Call your agent back. So again, phone rings again and two minutes later and he says, it's a Fordummmy's book. And I said, tell him we'll do it. That's it fine, I'll do it. Yes. That was how that whole thing happened, because he had already had an agent and he needed somebody to co author it for him. I got roped into it. So, yeah, very early. That came out in November of 2005. So that's when the publishing of the first book was. Which is crazy to think.

Danny:

Yeah, 2005. Yeah. It was like 16 years ago, 17 and still going. I think it's like the fourth edition or something.

Evo:

Yeah. I wrote the first edition. Yes, second edition. Partly. There was a second book they asked us to write, too. They started a new series and they wanted us to write in their new series. And it was called Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, which is arguably the worst book title ever. So I said, tell them, yes, but I want double the advance this time, which they paid. And we didn't come close to earning because that's just a bad branding move. So I did those three. And then I decided I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to write books about podcasting anymore. And so I turned over the range to another friend of mine, Chuck Tomasi. And Chuck and T are still writing. The fourth edition came out a little over a year ago, I think. Is there a fifth edition? Probably. I think this podcasting thing is staying, so they'll likely want to do some more stuff pretty soon.

Danny:

You mentioned, obviously, that radio station interviewed offers and turned books into audiobooks. And you said obviously, a lot of them were underrepresented offers, but you also have some pretty big names on. I'm not sure if it was the same show. Maybe it was a different radio show. We had like Africa Clark on there, for example, and Pier Antony and A Kudos and jealousy for getting these guys on, which is awesome. I'm wondering how much that played into your podcast in your direction and you want to take what you wanted to do.

Evo:

Yeah, you're right. We did have some pretty big name authors, a handful of that one. I have had the pleasure. You mentioned Arthur C. Clarke, Pierce, Anthony. I also got to interview Ray Bradbury before he died. So some of these Legends that are still there. I was a huge consumer of science fiction books when I was a kid, and clearly I must still be a kid because it's almost all that I read now as well. So it was definitely a big part of me. And honestly, if it wasn't for that show, I wouldn't be podcasting today. It really taught me a lot. I had had prior audio experience. Literally, when I say I cut tape, I literally cut tape. Right. We're talking a four track real to real machine with a razor blade and a splicing block. That's what I learned when I was a very young man. But yeah, that show really set up everything that I do now in the podcasting case. Also, the connections I made at that time, branching from that show over to Patio Books.com, which was really helping those authors put their books out, that got me contacts inside of the industry, like the November 2004 to November 2005 were my formative. Podcasting years. Everything that I do today draw some experiences I had at that time. Had I just done something else or when my partner, if I had just poopooed the whole podcasting thing and my partner brought it up to me, I wouldn't be where I'm at today. So take advantage of those things when they crop up people.

Danny:

And speaking of today, also, we mentioned earlier your main podcast is podcast modifications.

Evo:

Yeah.

Danny:

And that's got a very simple tagline make podcasting better. So without opening Pandora's Box, what exactly do you see wrong with podcasting today that can be better without opening Pandora's Box?

Evo:

He said.

Danny:

It's not a three hour show.

Evo:

No, it's not. I think the best way to answer that is over the 17 years I've been involved with this, there has been an ongoing drive to make podcasting easier. All of the tools that we have at our disposal today, like the tool right now that you and I are using to record this show. We didn't have that. We were still using Skype and terrible connections back in the day to the hosting company when I first started. Lipson and Blueberry were the only two things on the block, and they just barely functioned right. Everything that was it. The podcast listening apps that we had, there was no such thing as a podcast listening app. There was a podcaster's and it ran on your computer and it downloaded MP, three files that you had to then manually move over to some sort of an audio player. So if you think back at all the innovations that have happened from the time that Apple said, hey, we're going to put podcasts inside of itunes 4.9, in the summer of 2005. Every innovation after that, almost every innovation after that has made podcasting easier. But I'm not convinced most of them make it any better, because just because something's easy doesn't mean it's better. Right. And when you make things easier, you're just stoking the fire to Sturgeon's law, which says 95% of everything is crap. And that's where we get today. And look out of those 700 shows, those 700 books that I helped make into a podcast form, the vast majority of them were underrepresented or under published because they were terrible. They were badly written, bad ideas, not edited. Not everyone is as brilliant as we think that we actually are. So to me, my new focus with podcast pontifications were started in 2018 on making podcasting better has been a direct reaction to all of the ease, which I'm happy for. I'm not complaining about it. I don't want to make podcasting any harder. That's not my desire whatsoever. But I do think many of us need to be focused on ways that we can make things better. So you ask the question, what's wrong about it? Right now, it's just easy to make a bad show. And I always wanted to be easy to make a show, but I wish it was easy to make a great show, too.

Danny:

And how much do you think of that? Maybe ties back to a the platforms and be the host, for example, like the podcast hosts, like Alexander Castle Captivity or whatever, when it comes to educating new podcasters on what makes good audio, what makes good content. And then I think maybe because a lot of the different platforms have different levels or levels. So you've got some that's -16 some -18 some -19 all over the place. And I'm wondering if a lot of that comes back to the back end tools and platforms, et cetera, that should be doing stuff on behalf of the podcaster to make it better while still making it easier.

Evo:

Yeah, I think that the platforms have a big role to play now. Many of the people that run platforms don't agree with me. And that's okay. We can have multiple opinions here. But I am of the opinion that the podcast hosting companies should do more than just let you fill out an RSS feed, which is kind of what the legacy was dead upload your audio file. We're just going to give you the names of the fields to fill out. And if you want to whatever you want to put up there, fine. You want to upload a 27 megabyte image. Okay, we'll let you do that. If you want to upload an audio file, that is a lossless FLAC file, sure, we'll let you do that. But that's bad, right? That's assuming every person using your platform has the same level of knowledge that you, the host, do. And the reality is that they don't. I just heard probably let me just make sure this is right? Yes, the longest running podcaster in the world. The person who started podcasting before anybody else just the other day on his show said that he accidentally uploaded an image that was the wrong dimensions and it failed to update on Apple podcasts because it didn't meet their specifications. Now to me it's like, how does that happen? Shouldn't there be some pretty simple validation at the hosting company side that says, no, we will not allow that to happen or go ahead and upload your gigantic file, we'll compress it down to something that makes sense. Why do regular people who are just having a podcast with them and their buddies that their mom's going to listen to, do they need to know about -16 Lufts? I don't know that they do. Right. Do they need to understand all the various specifications they go to? No, but I think they could use some prompting and some help that will get them there. I put a lot of onus on the podcast hosting companies and really wish more of them were stepping up. Now the good news is a lot of the new podcast hosting companies are doing a much better job. A significantly better job user interface is better. They stop trapping a lot of problems before they get live. I think we can always do better at that.

Danny:

But there's a huge advances today that we didn't have a few years ago under the ease of podcast and evil to your point is with so many platforms and apps making it super easy to get started. Now, everybody, as you say, it's like the Wild West. I'm just going to record it and upload it. Now I see a lot of especially the Facebook groups. I see a lot of people say, well, I don't bother edit and I just throw up there because nobody told me I have to add it. It sounds good to me and it sounds like there needs to be a lot of officers responsibility in the podcaster, but not editing little basics like that. How do we get people to understand the importance of wearing headphones when you're doing a recording, for example, during editing, post reduction? How do we get that out there?

Evo:

I think it's a continual education piece. I think it is a process of elevating those that do a great job and holding them up to the spotlight. When you really look at the problem, a lot of the most popular long running podcasts have very little editing. It's just I turn on the mics, my buddies joined me and we put it out there. And that's what people listen to for two or three or 4 hours sometimes. So when a new person to podcasting says, that's what I want to do, they don't realize that there's one big difference between them and that celebrity podcaster, and that is that they are not a celebrity. So they're not going to I mean, the celebrities the big shows, the legacy shows, they can get away with a lot of things that they're doing, quote, unquote, wrong because they've been doing it for so long. But when you're brand new and you're starting out, it's so important to get all the basics right. So what do we do? I think the hosting companies have a large role they can play there. Selecting the right hosting company that will help you not make some of those more common mistakes is very helpful. I think it's ongoing education for shows that are about podcasting to constantly bust a few myths that are out there that people make a lot of assumptions on. Like, got to get ratings and reviews for the first six weeks or your podcast is any good. Like, no, none of that is actually true any longer. Fighting that misinformation not really disinformation, but finding that misinformation is hard and it's ongoing. Yes. If there was a solution that was easy, we just do it right. So I think it's just a matter of constantly refining our processes, making sure we're elevating the right kind of voices, and eventually enough of the good stuff will rise to the top.

Danny:

Now it asked you about what needs to happen to make podcasting better, obviously, but just to flip out around them. So what excites you the most about podcasting currently, then?

Evo:

What excites me the most about podcasting right now? Well, there's two things. The biggest one is how much frigging money is flowing into our space. It's mostly money from one big green company, but still there's a lot of money that is flowing in. And to me, the flurry of activity that is taking place, not just with Spotify acquiring seemingly everybody else that's out there, but all of the other companies, all the other big media platforms that are looking at podcasting, the big advertising agencies and publishers are looking at podcasting. Even media companies that are making movies and television have started for the last few years looking at podcasting as a viable way to get some content out there. That level of attention that's not just from podcasters, that's making our industry. Finally, and I'll use the word finally, I think that's an appropriate term. Podcasting is great. It's had steady growth for 17 years, but it's incredibly slow growth compared to other forms of media. I don't think a lot of people understand how hard it's been to get podcasting accepted. So we're there. That's evident by the amount of money that's really flowing into the space. So that has me excited about it. The second thing that has me excited is and I think it's following that money. It's the thing that's exciting me about podcasting at the beginning. Podcasting isn't just people playing at radio. Podcasting isn't just a reformatted piece of content that's being distributed somewhere else, you know, reading a book into a microphone. It's so much more than that. And there are some shows, and this has been true with podcasting from the beginning. There are some shows that just wouldn't work in any other medium. They just wouldn't be possible. No one would have a chance to listen to some great content because it would never work on the radio, because it's too weird. Even weird. College radio stations wouldn't pick up some of the stuff that's in podcasting. The newspapers, they had their columns previously, they didn't really have a good place to put out a 14 part expose and audio form. Now they do. So to me, it's really letting very talented creators, professional and amateur, all the way, do things, create media that really only has one possible home. And that's podcasting.

Danny:

It's interesting you mentioned obviously there's a lot of money currently in podcasting at the moment. Most of it going towards acquisitions as opposed to new tech or whatever. But on that flip side, I guess a little bit, there's also a lot of talk about the amount of money that's in podcasting now with the acquisitions, it's almost like maybe it's making podcasting being threatened in the podcasts, for example, being threatened with the notion that there's less of an easy buy in for success for indie podcasters when you've got companies that can put millions of dollars in post production, actors, voiceover, et cetera. And I wonder if you subscribe to that notion, or is there still a market for indie podcasters to really own a part of the podcasting space?

Evo:

Yeah, I think indie podcasters can and do still own a big part of the podcasting space. But I also understand that with all that money flowing in, creators who have really great skills are making shows that are hard to compete with because they've got money and time. And yeah, they can spend 50 to 100 hours to put together a single episode of an interview file. And that sounds excessive, but it's not. Not at all. I was just talking a very popular show called Darknet Diaries, Jack resider. So I interviewed him for the last episode of the second season of Castos recently. And I asked Jack because I normally don't ask the question, how long does this take you? To me, it's kind of like asking a painter, how long did that take? You might be missing the point if you're asking an artist how long it took them, right? That's not what it's all about. But still, it was a show about podcasting. It's what seemed the thing to do. And his answer was at a minimum, 50 hours. 50 hours. The biggest part of that is doing research and getting in there, okay. And he's paying someone to a research. And I bet he's not paying somebody $5 from the Philippines to do that. He's probably paying someone a decent wage to do that. So think 50 hours times any number is a big number, right? That's a lot of hours and a lot of money to spend on that kind of hours. So I totally get it. When frustrated podcasters say I don't have the resources to compete at that level, I get it. But at the same time, I don't think the general public cares. And I don't mean that they're uncaring about the plight of the indie podcasters, but I kind of do. They just want something that sounds great. Look, if you want to make a movie, you can make a movie if you want to with your iPhone. According to the Apple TV commercials, you can make a movie on your iPhone, but you're going to be competing against the big media companies. So should you expect the same level of distribution that they're going to get? Should you expect your show to be put right next to the latest Pixar? Probably not. So I don't think it's really that much different than podcasting, because that same feeling of I don't have the resources exists in books, TV, movies, everything. Right? The more money coming into the pros, they just have a better shot at doing things. But that doesn't mean you're locked out. That just means you probably have to work harder. You have to be better. You have to be more judicious with how you spend it. If you don't have 50 hours to spend, do something that doesn't take 50 hours per episode. Don't try to do something super involved, and don't expect someone to give you any special treatment because you're Indy. I don't think the general public cares. They just want to be entertained. They want to get the information, or they want to get the education that they feel like getting right now, and they're not going to give you a pass because you didn't have as much money to spend as the other people. It still needs to sound good to them.

Danny:

That's an excellent point. The whole indie podcaster, professional podcaster like Delanation. To your point, I don't think the average listener knows that someone is an indie podcaster that does everything themselves. They research, edit, and et cetera. All they want to hear is a voice or something over their headphones or on the car, speaker or whatever. They listen to podcast and enjoy it, make sure it's good. So it goes back to earlier chat about what can you do to make your show better? Is that learn editing? Is it land, post production levels, that kind of stuff? We see how that pans out. And maybe apps like the niche apps like Apollo have a part to play where okay, we're going to now narrow down niches and we'll get just these kind of shows on here to help promote you.

Evo:

Yeah, I think so. To your question, what can an indie podcast what can an indie podcaster do to better compete about those things? Or maybe not an indie podcast, but a brand new podcaster. And I think it's recognized that there's a certain level of commitment and quality that you probably need to ascribe to if you want success, if you want success, you don't have to do that. No one's forcing you to do a good job. But as you mentioned, yeah, you might want to read a book or two on the theory of editing quality stories. There are some great books out there. There's a book called on the Wire, which is amazing. It's actually a graphic novel that was written probably in 2015. And it's all about how public radio deep storytelling works. And it's amazing. They teach you all that kind of stuff. Yeah. Take a course on how to make your audio editor sing. Whatever one you're using, it doesn't matter. Spend money investing in getting your recording environment as neutral and treated as you possibly can. I'm recording in a second bedroom right now. When people walk in here, they go, Holy cow, this is the quietest room in the house. Yes, it is. And I didn't spend a fortune on it. It wasn't cheap, but I didn't spend a fortune. It just sounds good in here. Look, I've got an SM, seven B. I got a 400 or $500 microphone I'm talking into. But this microphone, if I take it into my bathroom, is going to sound like garbage. It's really about your environment. So just making sure that you have got the basics down. You're not skimping on areas you don't have to skimp on. Write complete episode details, which everyone else called show notes. Make sure that you've got to point everything that you're doing and you're distributed everywhere. Just go through the process and you'll be fine building on that.

Danny:

Because obviously you've been in the industry a long time. I'm not going to call you an old man because I'm probably just as old as you're, maybe even older. So I'm not going to go down that route.

Evo:

But I'm going to be the same age.

Danny:

I think we are.

Evo:

Actually, if those two digits on your Gmail account have anything to do with the year, we are the same person.

Danny:

We are the same. Yes, exactly. So as someone that has been around, I'm not making this sound anywhere at all. And I know you've alluded it to there with what podcasters can do. But if there's one single thing that any podcast, regardless of level of expertise, et cetera, would stop doing right away, what is that? And why would it be that thing that you'd want all podcasters. There's a whole new industry podcasters to stop doing?

Evo:

I'm going to give you one thing to stop doing and one thing to start doing. Number one is stop being impressed with yourself. Really a lot of things that you think are wonderful and perfect and brilliant to show how you are just the best thing the rest of the world may not think. So you've got to enjoy your content. You have to be the most the most engaged listener to your show should always be you. But at the same time, don't be as impressed with yourself as you think you are. A little humbleness and listen. That is hard for me. Evo and ego rhyme for a reason, I think, but it's something I've had to kind of constantly learn. I'm much less brash than I was in my early days. So stop being impressed by yourself and the thing to start doing. Start listening to your show after it's been produced, not during. I know you listen to your episode a lot podcaster as you're editing, you're doing all the right kind of stuff. But at the same time, if you don't listen to your show from start to finish, when it's published, ideally before it's published. But what I do is I actually listen to it as it publishes. Like the rest of the world, when my episode comes out, usually within 2 hours of it being published, I will have listened to it from start to finish. And sometimes I gosh, I wish I'd changed that. And then I make a note, I make a note to go in and change that for the next time. I don't do it that way. If I am constantly dumbfounded by the number of podcasters, say yeah, I don't listen to my show.

Danny:

And then I wonder why they're getting no listeners or downloads.

Evo:

If you won't even listen to the damn thing, why should anybody else?

Danny:

Would you also recommend it? Listen to it on headphones or the best quality audio that you can listen to on and then everything else. So that just goes down here anyway.

Evo:

Well, here's why I would count you that. So when people ask me what equipment they should buy, what's the first thing they should buy? I always say headphones. And I mean studio monitors like mine say studio monitor on them, right? Not beats, not the ones you went to Best Buy and bought because they have great base reproduction. Don't care. We need something that is neutral, something that is on our ears that's going to tell us exactly what's going on. And you need to listen to them loud, as loud as you can possibly stand it, because you need to pick up all of the things. Look, I don't care what microphone you have. If you have a good quality set of headphones that you're listening to, you can make any crappy microphone sound good because you'll know how bad it sounds. You can adjust, you can do it. But yeah, without that, I mean, even having a $500 microphone is not any good. If you can't hear the fact that I can even do it, that you're popping your peas all the time, right? Yeah. Sorry for the noises there over the microphone, but we're all podcasts. We're fine with that. So during production I say yes, but I say when you're listening back, I like to listen back on earbuds, which are terrible, but that way anything that I thought was great that didn't come through like all that music. I really worked hard on that one transition, and it didn't come through in the earbuds because it turns out the volume was too low or the frequency range was off or whatever the case, I like to listen again. That's a trick I learned back when I was a professional musician. I wasn't a professional musician, but nonetheless, I did spend some money in the recording studio to record stuff. We would always take the to take the tracks out to the car and listen to them on the CD player because that's where most music was concerned. It sounded great in the studio with these huge monitors up above us. But when we're in the car, it sounds totally different. So, yeah, I say listen twice. Listen with your good quality headphones to make sure everything came out the way you thought that it was going to or you wanted it to, and then listen with your earbuds, whatever. Or if you think your listeners listening on a smart speaker, they don't. But if you think that's the case, go ahead and listen to it there. See how it sounds in a lot of environment.

Danny:

I think I maybe had two listeners in about two years that have come from Alexa, and that's it.

Evo:

Yes. We're still not quite there.

Danny:

So evil. This has been an amazing chat, which I knew it would be. So I appreciate that. I've got a super important question that I really need your answer on here. Are you still on the beer and sausage diet?

Evo:

Thought they might be coming up. I am not on the beer and sauces diet. That was a lot of fun. I did that for four years in a row, for one month at a time, where I consisted on all the calories that went in my body, where it only came from beer and sausage. And it was quite a fun little run. You can read about it. I wrote a book called The Beer Diet, which you can find everywhere if you want it. But yeah, no, I don't do that any longer.

Danny:

How did that come up?

Evo:

I still drink a lot of beer and I still eat a lot of sausage.

Danny:

Did you see that somewhere else? Then what made you jump on that particular diet?

Evo:

Well, the original impetus was my wife was reading an article, and she said, this is a crazy person who had and I'll just recap the article real quick. His buddy brewed him a beer. A Brown ale. Nothing wrong with your last name, but I'm not going to drink a Brown ale for the 40 days for Lent. And that's the only thing he did. He just drank that Brown ale for, I think, Lens. 40 days. I don't know. Yes, that's what he did. And had these amazing health benefits that came out at the other end. And I'm a skeptic. I'm involved in the skeptical community here in Phoenix. I was talking with a friend of mine who's also a skeptic and happens to be a bariatric surgeon. I said, Terry, I'm thinking about doing that diet, but not for Led for a month and see what happens. And he said, no, you need some protein in there, because if not, then your body starts eating its muscle tissue and that's not great. He said, so put a couple of sausage in there and do it for the month of October. You can come into my office and we'll do blood work before, during and after. We'll check the whole process and we'll document everything down and we'll write a book afterwards. What do you say? I said, you're a genius. I have an excuse to drink beer for an entire month. And so that's how it happened. At the time I was working, my full time job was working in an advertising agency where I was the vice President. And the great thing about advertising is we have a rich history of drinking on the job. So when I said, Is it okay if I take a beer into a client meeting at 10:00 in the morning? Because that's where my breakfast is. They said, sure, there we were. So I did it and it was crazy while then, yeah, I lost £15 that first year.

Danny:

I will check that book out just for research purposes only.

Evo:

Research purposes. Exactly.

Danny:

So again, Eva, I really appreciate you coming on today and talking with us and I'm looking forward to sharing this episode. For people that want to listen to your podcast, check that out or check out your agency, Simple Media. Check out your books. I'll just really get to know you. Where's the best place to connect with you online and do all that cool stuff.

Evo:

So the best place to connect with me online is Twitter. I'm all over the Twitter where I'm at Evotera. If you want to listen to podcast pontifications. And if you are a podcaster serious about the business of podcasting and how to make podcasting better, you should podcastpantifications.com Pro Tip don't call your show something. Someone can't spell anyhow podcastpontifications.com. I know it's hard. It was a dumb idea, but I did it. And yes, my production company is at Simpler Media.

Danny:

It sounds like you do the jingle for Podcast Pontifications. It's almost like there's an advert at the moment. Just junk. Just junk in the Usjinglego. Justjunk.com something like that.

Evo:

Jingle, something nice. That a little bit. I got to do that.

Danny:

We'll have a competition online. Let's get a jingle for you on the podcast.

Evo:

I'll take it. Awesome.

Danny:

And I will obviously make sure to drop all this information in Show Notes as usual. So if you're listening to your favorite podcast app or online on the web, make sure you jump on over to the Show Notes and check out the links will be there.

Evo:

But like Evo said.

Danny:

Very easy to connect on Twitter at Evoteara. And it's got all the good stuff over there too. So. Evo again. Thank you. Come on today and I appreciate it.

Evo:

Thanks, Danny. Have a nice day.

Danny:

You too. Take care. Cheers.

About the Podcast

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Pod Chat - Insights and Trends from Podcast Experts
the people and tech of podcasting

About your host

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Danny Brown

Danny Brown is the host of Pod Chat, Podcaster Stories, and Memories of 3DO, as well as co-host of Mental Health and Us with his wife, Jaclyn.

He's the Head of Podcaster Experience and Support at Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast hosting, distribution, analytics, and monetization platform.

He lives in beautiful Muskoka, Ontario, Canada with his wife and two kids, where he spends winters in front of a cozy fire and summers by the lake.