My name is Justin Strandlund and my co-host is Doug Cochrane. Our podcast is called Mind Gap and we talk about all things nerd, pop-culture, and news related. Our listeners are mostly men and women from 18 - 45 but we hope people of every age and from every background give us a listen. We try to be as inclusive as possible.
My degree is in Radio Broadcasting so I've always been drawn to audio based mediums. I tried to get a few podcasts going in the past but nothing ever stuck until Doug and I began Mind Gap. We also both LOVE listening to podcasts.
Initially we just wanted to have fun and nerd out together. Doug and I worked together for a time and would have epic, 2 hour debates and discussions about all sorts of topics like time travel, movies, paradoxes...really nerdy stuff. We figured we weren't the only people doing this so we wanted to create a place where we could share these conversations with like-minded people around the world. The goal of Mind Gap is to make the listener forget they're listening to a podcast and feel like they're sitting in their living room with a few friends having a conversation. We called it Mind Gap because we'll start on one topic but that will lead to another topic and another and soon we find ourselves in a completely different topic than where we started. We call that falling into a "mind gap".
We started the podcast in August of 2015. Once we decided to do the podcast it took us about 6 or 7 months to actually get the first episode out.
We release a new episode every Thursday. We usually record our next episode a week before it's released but sometimes we're forced to record a few days before. We record live, meaning that there is minimal to no editing involved in our process. The only post-production I do is find a clip for our "cold open" and throw in the intro/outro music. After we record an episode I can have it ready to upload within 30 minutes.
Doug and I both have day jobs so we record our episodes in the evening during the week. Once in a while we'll record on the weekend. We use Libsyn and pay $20/mo for hosting our show. I own a production company so, currently the company funds the podcast but we're working on securing sponsors which will cover our costs.
We don't currently generate any revenue, however we have partnered with a local Chicago bar called Elephant & Castle who provides us with a space to record in exchange for a weekly plug during our show.
Our first sponsorship was born out of networking and knowing the general manager of the bar in which we record. We had a meeting with the GM, discussed the proposed arrangement, and had our first deal. When we got our first sponsorship we had around 500 downloads per month. We've seen a slight uptick in our monthly downloads but we're still figuring out how we want to pursue sponsorship moving forward.
Doug and I both find the process of podcasting to be cathartic. We get to nerd out with each other once a week and decompress. Other than strengthening our friendship, the biggest benefit to Doug and I has been meeting some amazing people after having them on as guests. It's also incredibly rewarding when listeners let us know how much an episode made them laugh or how happy a topic made them.
I designed our setup to be as mobile as possible while still focusing on quality of audio. We run 1 or 2 Audio-Technica AT2020 mics (depending on if we have a guest) mounted to desktop mic stands and we record on a Zoom H5 which I also use as my primary microphone. This allows me to monitor the levels as we're recording and saves me from having to tweak anything in post. I use Garage Band for any post work since it's always so minimal; however, if it were more involved we'd be using either Pro Tools or Adobe Audition.
Most of our guests are local Chicago comedians/improvisers which we've met through networking or other projects. We'll reach out to them and ask if they have interest in being a guest. Other times we'll reach out to someone via email who we don't know but we find interesting and see if they're willing to chat with us "on air".
We have a shared spreadsheet where we keep a running list of potential topics. If either of us come across something that interests us we'll add it to the list. There are times when we'll get together to record and something will have happened that morning that we feel should be the topic. In these cases we'll abandon anything we prepared and simply have a conversation. Those are always fun because we're discovering our thoughts and feelings on an issue in real-time and our listeners get to go through the experience with us.
Most of our guests are in the room with us when we record but we've done a few via Skype. Typically we don't do interviews, our guests are just part of the conversation we happen to be having that day.
I've intentionally put our feed on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher but our RSS feed has been picked up by some other feed managers, which is always nice! Based off our metrics most of our traffic comes from iTunes and the Apple Podcast App.
We definitely could be better about marketing Mind Gap but we currently utilize Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to inform the digital world of a new episode. We're playing around with the idea of incorporating live streams of our recording sessions as well as potentially doing some live, theater recordings in front of an audience. Those ideas have really got us excited.
Get into podcasting because it's an insane amount of fun, don't get into it if you're looking to get rich. There are a LOT of shows out there but if you consistently put out a quality product your audience will find you.
To that end, remember these three things:
1) Consistency is king. Your audience will be hardcore-loyal and once they fall in love with your show they're going to expect it on a consistent basis.
2) Focus on audio. Nothing will turn a listener off quicker than bad audio. Make sure you can clearly hear anyone who is on mic, make sure the audio isn't so loud that it gets distorted, and make sure you don't have a lot of background noise.
3) Above all else, have fun. Remember that you're doing this because you have a passion for the topic you're discussing. When you're having fun so will your listeners.