How A Long-Form Conversation Podcast Has Kept A Life-Long Friend Group Alive

May 3, 2018 - "Don't be too concerned with perfection otherwise you'll never put out the first episode. Try a few practice episodes, but then just commit to putting out the first one and stick to it."
Since 2017

►Tell us about you and your podcast

Our show is a collaboration of three friends. I'm Luke (a musician), and the other two members are Joe (writer) and Johnny (beer brewer). Our name is Thunk Tank Podcast. The concept is that we like the balance of craft beer and thinking, and decided to start recording our interesting craft beer fueled conversations. We have different topics each week in a long form loose conversation. We also have a blog and do interviews with guests every few episodes.

Our listeners are varied, I think people who like hearing natural long form conversation about all different topics find us most appealing. We have a mix of serious moments balanced with absolutely ridiculous moments...which at least I enjoy.


►Why & how did you start this podcast? 

I personally listen to a ton of podcasts, all types and lengths. I love the idea of long form conversation where you can develop your ideas through the process of bouncing them between different people. When Johnny moved away, Joe and I would drink beer and hang out with him over Skype. Eventually we started recording our conversations because we found them so funny.

Our initial goal was to create a fun excuse to have a weekly Skype hang with Johnny. We've since been motivated by the process, and love the craft of sitting down and getting a conversation recorded that is a good balance of thoughtful and funny (i.e. thinking+drinking).

We officially started in December 2017, although we were recording episodes for ourselves and our friends over the year before that (we refer to these on the podcast as the "beta episodes").

It took us a while to finally decide to record an official first episode and release it, but we agreed that whatever we recorded on that first episode would go right onto the Internet.


►How'd you find the time and funding to do this podcast?

We try to release an episode every week, although sometimes we have to push it to every two weeks. Since we pretty much just air our live conversations (minus any technical problems) it only takes about an hour of editing on audacity. I started writing a blog to accompany the episodes so that it takes a few hours over the course of the week.

I teach music lessons for a living so I find time throughout the day and on the weekends especially.

We have kept the budget pretty low and got lucky with a mixer donation. And since I'm a musician I already had access to some nice microphones. We have built up some Patreon support so as that money comes in we can upgrade equipment little by little. Right now the only steady cost is hosting our podcast, and for that we use Podbean.


►What do you gain from podcasting?        

So far we have not explored sponsorship of any kind. We seem to get around 100 downloads per episode, maybe more when YouTube is factored in. The number has been trickling up each episode so we hope that trend continues. Podcasting definitely helps us find an excuse to hang out every week. It's also a great excuse to research different topics and learn new things.


►How does your podcasting process look like? 

For hardware we have two Zoom H2 recorders, as well as two Atr-2100 microphones. We were also lucky to have a friend donate his Eurorack mixer to us. For editing I use audacity.

So far all of our guests have been people that one of us knows. We are lucky to know a lot of smart interesting people. We each do loose research on our own and bring something to the topic, and after that we just see where the conversation takes us. Johnny is regularly skyping in, but we can have guests either in person or on Skype, which I record through the mixer onto my Zoom recorder.


►How do you market your show?

We try to use social media to let people know about our show. Our listeners are definitely coming mostly from iTunes. I've found social media helpful, but I've also found that starting a blog to accompany each episode is also extremely useful.


►What advice would you share with aspiring (new) podcasters?

Don't be too concerned with perfection otherwise you'll never put out the first episode. Try a few practice episodes, but then just commit to putting out the first one and stick to it. Also get decent audio quality without getting too obsessed. Even if your content is good, many people won't be able to stand awful sound quality. Find a setup that is decent enough first, then focus most of your time on content. I educated myself a lot on the "Audacity to podcast" website, as well as the podcasts subreddit.


►Where can we learn more about you & your podcasts?

Updated: a year ago