Podcasting For A Cause: Disability Related Web Accessibility

Nic Steenhout
May 24, 2018 - "One thing that I wish all new podcasters understood is that people with disabilities also are interested in podcasts of all subjects."
Since 2017
Web Accessibility

►Tell us about you and your podcast

My name is Nic Steenhout. I host The A11y Rules Podcast and the A11y Rules Soundbites.

The A11y Rules Podcast is a regular weekly half-hour interview-style show talking to people involved in one way or another with web accessibility. Not a technical show, I aim to get to know people better and share some of their thoughts and philosophies around accessibility. I have interviewed people like Jeffrey Zeldman, and have upcoming episodes with Eric Meyer.

The A11y Rules Soundbite is a series of short shows (5 to 10 minutes) where I talk with people with disabilities about their impairment, the barriers theu encounter on the web, and a message they'd like designers and developers to remember about accessibility.


►Why & how did you start this podcast? 

I've been in the web accessibility field for over two decades. I know a lot of people in that field, but I didn't really know them. I wanted to get to know people and thought these conversations might interest others. As it turns out, they did! I had never really listened to podcasts before getting involved in the medium, but now I'm hooked!

I began thinking about it in June 2017. By July 2017, I had my first shows recorded and published in Patreon. I didn't setup an actual site for the show until January as I wanted to make sure I was going to stick the distance. Nearly a year later, I think it's fair to say I'll keep going.


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

A11y Rules Podcast: One half-hour episode every week.
A11y Rules Soundbite: An episode occasionaly. This is a new offshoot of the show.

Between reaching out to guests, scheduling the show, preparing for the interview, recording the show, producing it, getting it transcribed, etc, I spend an average of 4 hours production per 1 hour of podcast.

I do have a day job; I make time. I'm able to time shift work function so if I need to spend an hour with a guest in the morning, I put in an extra hour at the end of the day.

I self-fund the podcast myself. The most expensive part is paying for transcripts for every single show - but this is a matter of principle for me. So every show has a transcript available. I recently found a company to sponsor the transcription, and that is making a big difference. I also have a few people who are patrons of my show on Patreon. 

This is not counting the equipment I had to acquire (microphone, headphone, etc).


►What do you gain from podcasting?        

I do have temporary sponsorship for the transcripts. I would gladly accept more sponsorship! This is not covering all my costs, by any stretch of the imagination. I am left out of pocket most weeks.

I simply reached out to a company that I had seen at a conference which had provided live captioning for some presentations. I can't give advice on how to find sponsors, since I'm still looking for more of them!

As I get no financial benefits from the show, I keep doing it because it allows me to meet new people and know old friends better. It also is good for my public image - increasing my reach.


►How does your podcasting process look like? 

I started reaching out to people I knew very well. They suggested people I could talk to. I reached out to them. When I had several episodes of the show, I started thinking about big names I'd like to talk to. I asked friends if they could introduce me and tried a few "cold calls", and was successful half the time. 

Typically, once a guest has agreed to come on the show, I send them a calendar invite, then we record on the Zencastr platform. I use Audacity to produce the shows themselves. I use the same base questions from guest to guest, and during the conversation I pay attention to things we can expand on.

I am now looking at doing short interviews with developers and designers at tech conferences I speak to.


►How do you market your show?

I am not doing much marketing at this point, beyond tweeting or making updates on LinkedIn. The show is syndicated on iTunes and Google Play, etc. 


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

First and foremost, if you're thinking about podcasting, just do it. Don't wait to have the perfect gear, the perfect technique. Dive right in.

Then learn about podcasting techniques and equipment. Talk to other podcasters. Check out sites like thepodcasthost.com which are full of great information. 

One thing that I wish all new podcasters understood is that people with disabilities also are interested in podcasts of all subjects. It's important to provide text transcripts of the shows (and there's huge benefits about that for yourself too). And make your website accessible to people with disabilities, too!


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

Updated: a year ago