Keeping A Friendship Alive Through Entertainment Podcasting

Frank Shaw
John Belliston
March 28, 2018 - "Remember, the only person who ultimately matters is you. If you're having fun after six months, or a year, or three years then definitely keep doing it."
Since 2015

►Tell us about you and your podcast

I'm Frank Shaw, and my co-host is John Belliston. We talk about the stuff that entertains us, and sometimes causes us to make deeper analysis more than it should. Topics range from T.V., to movies, to gaming but we focus on animation, action and horror.


►Why & how did you start this podcast? 

We do it because it's fun. I enjoy the whole process from recording to editing. Even writing the show-notes (which I'm not very good at). I listen to a great deal of podcasts. Mostly history podcasts, but a few nerd-culture and film culture pods as well as a couple of life-story pods.

Our initial thought was just to have fun and talk about the same sort of things we might talk about around the kitchen table, or while watching a movie or TV show. We had no plan outside of that (and it shows with our early episodes).

We started in March of 2015. I had been laid off from a fairly good job and had just started working part time at my current day job. I had a lot of time on my hands so I learned the rudimentary basics of editing and recording. We recorded several test episodes - John lives two hours away so learning the basics on how to match tracks up was part of the process. We launched our first episode on May 16th of that year.


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

When we started we released an episode about twice monthly. We have taken several hiatuses though, but now we are on a weekly schedule, every Sunday.

I put a lot of time into the podcast, especially now that I've decided to take it more seriously. I have evenings free and that helps a bit, two to three nights a week, plus a large portion of one of my days off each week is dedicated to the podcast.

I spend between 15 to 30 dollars a month hosting the podcast and some minimal marketing. Everything is out of pocket.


►What do you gain from podcasting?        

I would love to have a sponsorship, but our numbers just aren't there. I'm looking into some options for both sponsors and advertisers, but when it comes down to brass tacks we don't have the reach to interest a lot of potential sponsors... yet.

As for the benefit it gives me: first and foremost it gives me an opportunity and excuse to talk to my best friend once a week that's not through a messaging app or text. It lets me watch TV and film that I may have otherwise overlooked. It's also teaching me how to be savvy on social media, how to edit audio, and getting me in contact with folks with different perspectives and view points.


►How does your podcasting process look like? 

At the moment I use a Snowball Blu mic on my side and John uses a Tascam recorder on his. I edit the audio through Audacity. This is how we started three years ago, and it worked for us as a cheap option to hit the ground running, however I'm in the process of upgrading.

As for guests, a lot of our guests have been friends of either John or myself. He happens to have a fairly eclectic and talented group of friends so we've been lucky that way. We have recently had folks reach out to us requesting interviews for the show, so that's been unexpected and very exciting.

We have a tentative schedule set up for a few months at a time. The schedule is always subject to change, but it stays somewhat consistent. Every episode has a rough script written with an intro and outro skit by John and myself, then notes to help guide the episode and keep work flow. Any interview questions would appear there unless we have pre-recorded the interview. When we get together to actually record the episode I capture my side on Audacity while John records his into the Tascam. He then drops his side of the conversation into a folder on Dropbox and I edit from there.

We have had guests live but typically use Skype, Google Hang-Outs, or some other messaging app with me capturing the audio on my end, or in a few cases having the guest record their side. I don't like doing that however unless the guest is comfortable with it. I'm always looking for more efficient ways to conduct interviews.


►How do you market your show?

We use social media primarily. And harass people we know in person to listen to the show. I've become very active on Twitter over the last six months, and the last three months I have experimented with advertising on Facebook to some mixed success.
There's a limited breakdown of sources through our hosting site, it gives a general idea of where and how folks are listening.
As far as what channels are the most effective? I'm not sure. I get a lot of traction from Twitter, but it doesn't seem to garner any more response at this point than Facebook. I'm still really trying to learn the ropes of the social media game, and it's a process.


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

First off, do a little research before jumping in with both feet, and don't be afraid to ask questions. There's a lot I'm still learning, that I should have probably known a long time ago because I was reluctant to ask questions. Remember, the only person who ultimately matters is you. If you're having fun after six months, or a year, or three years then definitely keep doing it.

Other podcasters are your best resource: join Facebook groups, for podcasters, writers, audio engineers. Whatever hat you're going to be wearing get involved. There are folks that have a lot of advice and are willing to share it. There's also a lot of great resources for editing audio, speech and vocal training and video editing on YouTube. If you're doing this by yourself or as a team then you're going to be wearing a lot of hats, and it's a lot of stuff to learn. So don't be afraid to ask for suggestions. It's scary, but it might be worth it.


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

Updated: a year ago