I’m John Murray—a Canadian web developer/marketer/content producer.
I produce and host The Saturday Night Live Afterparty podcast, which explores all things SNL with improv and sketch performers, as well as comedians and impressionists. We review each new episode of the show and occasionally get to chat with SNL alum about the show and it’s legacy.
Our show has been embraced by comedy nerds and SNL fans the world over.
There’s a lot of “TV review” podcasts out there. But a lot of them don’t provide an informed, focused discussion of their subject matter. All too often the discussion devolves into inscrutable inside jokes and other host meandering with little to no research or expertise on the show being reviewed. I started SNL Afterparty to dig a bit deeper than other shows tended to go. Rather than just have a cursory discussion of what we like and don't like about an episode, we instead consider performance, structure, production and the other factors that need to come together in a winning sketch. We bring in studied performers to add insight, depth and context to the discussion—and we have some fun along the way as well.
I personally listen to podcasts during pretty much all of my idle time. I gravitate towards shows that understand host chemistry and rapport, and respect their listeners’ time. Also... production values and sound quality are a must.
I started R&D on my podcast in January 2016. After laying the technical groundwork, defining my production workflow, auditioning potential participants, designing branding, ramping up social media, producing a dozen trial-run episodes, and making a pilgrimage to NYC to attend the show in person... I released my first episode in October 2016 just ahead of SNL’s historic, Emmy-winning 42nd season.
I self-fund all production, distribution and marketing of the podcast, as well as pay stipends to my regular contributors. Each episode costs me roughly $150 out-of-pocket and takes roughly 30 man-hours all-in. I release 28+ episodes per year.
Finding time to produce the cast properly is the biggest challenge. I’ve scaled back my day-job and often edit at night after the kids go to bed.
We have occasional sponsorships and we’ve started building some support on Patreon. I don’t pursue sponsorships too fervently as they are not lucrative yet—considering CPM for our audience size.
The podcast is really just a labour of love. I like to provide a resource to the SNL super-nerds and I like to have a creative endeavour that allows me to craft a show that I can be proud to release. It is cool to occasionally get to chat with SNL alum and up-and-coming performers. And it’s very validating to see that our audience is sticking with us and growing every week.
We typically do a double-ender via Skype. I’ve equipped all of my regular participants with good microphones to keep the sound quality up. Then I edit and mix in Adobe Audition. LibSyn for CDN. SquareSpace for website. For in-person interviews I tote a Zoom H6 and some Shure SM58s. I approach guests directly via email if they allow that or go through their agent if necessary.
I prepare detailed show notes for each cast that includes news and feedback topics, synopsis of each sketch, ad-reads and introductory and closing remarks.
For marketing: All the basics... good SEO in my feed, social media engagement, spiffy website, active participation in the key online haunts that my audience frequents, etc.
Don’t make excuses for putting out a lame show. Always do whatever you can to make it great. Don’t settle for bad audio quality. Don’t assume your audience likes a scattershot unprepared discussion. Don’t assume your audience should simply see the genius in whatever you do, rather evolve and refine your show to engage and delight them.