Mike Cushing, I'm a 32-year-old marketing guy from Atlanta. Last year, some friends (Michael and Curtis) and I decided to share a show that we loved to drunkenly watch in college with the world. Also drunkenly.
Our show is Longest Days of Our Lives, in which we watch every episode of the hit show 24 – two of us having watched a decade ago, and one host a total newbie. We break down every minute of the longest days of Jack Bauer's life while loosely playing a drinking game and making fun of the technology of the early 2000s.
We listen to a ton of podcasts, and we wanted to start our own creative endeavor. After thinking about things we loved and scanning the environment, we remembered how much fun we had watching 24 and wanted to introduce another funny friend to the show. Since no one was talking about 24, we thought it'd be great to take our co-host and other new listeners through each episode together.
It started as a way to just stay in touch between friends. As we've grown our audience a bit, we really are excited to eventually make it through every season of 24 – and to hopefully host a few of the show's stars on the show. Our first episode aired on January 15, 2017 and we've been going strong since then. We took a small break between seasons, but we're back in action and currently in the middle of Season 2.
Honestly, it didn't take us too long between creative conception and launching the show. We had all decided that we wanted to do a show and had bought podcast mics before we'd even nailed down the idea. I think we started planning in November 2016 and had our first two episodes recorded by January 2017.
We were very good about releasing on a weekly basis for a while. We took a small break between seasons, and then we missed a few weeks after starting season 2, but we're back on track. Each episode requires watching the episode and taking notes (which is about 3 hours for me, since I have to guide the discussion). It takes about 2 hours to record, and then probably another 4-6 between uploading three audio tracks, sweetening the audio for each and then actually editing for content. It can be a real bear!
Finding time is definitely a challenge, particularly since we're separated by a timezone in Atlanta and Chicago. But we're all really committed to doing the show and having a good time. Two hosts are married, one has two kids, and we all work full-time. So we pull some really late nights. It'll usually be 2am on a Tuesday when we finish recording, and then I'll be up until 1-2am editing the night after. It can be really difficult and I may be a bit groggy in the morning, but it's definitely fun enough to be worth it.
Between podcast hosting, buying ads, paying for the website, it's definitely around $1,000-$1,500 per year. We all split those costs, and obviously we're hoping to keep growing and start making money off this soon. But even if we don't, it's a labor of love that we don't mind investing time and money in.
We do not currently take sponsorship, but we joke that one day we'd absolutely love to be sponsored by Scotch and Beer. Just the ideas of each one. (Also, we'll happily take any other sponsorship. We like money.)
The primary benefit has been keeping in touch with good friends who live in other cities. When we started, our only listeners were our friends and they were super supportive about it. We like to make each other laugh and have a good time, so right now the financial portion of podcasting is negligible. We are trying to turn this into a business to eventually grow and support ourselves, but we're happy if that's down the road.
We each have Yeti Blues mics and bought new PCs for this. Michael and I have scissor arms for the mics that really make it easier to get close to the mic and minimize the random bumps and desk noises that come from recording at a home studio.
Our preparation is relatively simple, and we only rarely have guests on the show so far. We watch each episode a day or two before we record, and each host takes general notes. Since I am responsible for walking everyone through each episode minute-by-minute, my notes are way more detailed. I generally take 10-12 pages of notes for each episode, where the other guys probably take 1 or 2.
So far, it's been a lot of word of mouth. We post to things like reddit, Twitter, some other podcast groups, and previously used a service called CastCrunch that I think has since gone away. We're on pretty much every podcatcher possible, but it's tough to find new listeners - particularly for a show that's been off the air for years.
Social and paid ads are definitely the highest performers, but word of mouth can't be beat.
The big thing is to be prepared for it to take up a lot of your time and get in the way of your social life on occasion. Unless this is just a hobby, you need to treat it like work - even if you're having a ton of fun with it. Life gets in the way on occasion, particularly given our other obligations, but we've been good about taking this as a serious endeavor.