Pop Up Podcasting - JP
Tell us a little about yourself?
When I was a kid, I was interested in EVERYTHING and never really settled on what I wanted to be when I grew up. But I’ve always had an entrepreneurial side and I’ve always loved making media of all kinds. I remember making and selling “devil sticks” in elementary school (a trendy juggling toy at the time); I made funny little videos, websites, and radio plays in high school; and I made YouTube product review videos in university.
So when I found podcasts, my immediate instinct was to try making one! My friend Elah and I made 100 episodes of that first show, which led me to training in radio documentary, and making stories that aired on CBC Radio, NPR stations and elsewhere. Now I’ve been working in radio and podcasting for over 8 years - and every day I get to hear amazing things and help my clients create great shows. I love it!
How did the concept for Pop Up Podcasting get started?
Before opening the studio, a lot of my podcasting clients would record their own audio and send it to me for editing. But they struggled with getting good sound quality. Buying their own gear was expensive too, and many of them found it tough to split their focus between their content and the technical side of things.
A dedicated space where you could just walk in with an idea and a couple of guests, and walk out with a finished podcast seemed like the perfect solution.
How many podcasts are recorded here on average? (either per day/week/month, however you measure it)
There are about ten shows produced here on a regular basis, plus several others that we support through equipment rentals, editing, training, one-off studio sessions, and custom productions. It’s been great to see the membership grow since we opened last year.
Who is doing podcasts?
It feels like everyone has a podcast these days! The audience for podcasts is growing quickly, and that’s attracting a lot of interest from content creators of all kinds. Our clients include business owners, lawyers, political parties, hobbyists, improvisers, media outlets, food writers, consultants, professional associations, journalists, non-profits, marketing agencies, brands, and more. It’s pretty much anyone with a message to share or a story to tell.
What is the process for making a podcast and how do you help people tell the story?
Every client is different, so the process always starts with a discussion of goals and needs. In a lot of cases, our clients have a good idea of what content or story they’d like included in the show, but need help shaping it into something that works in audio form.
Podcast audiences expect authenticity and intimacy above all - it’s what makes podcasting special and different from radio, or even video or writing. So I always try to help clients find a voice and style that emphasises those values.
In the studio, that can mean working to produce natural sounding scripts and coaching podcasters’ performances. We always work to put clients and their guests at ease during recording sessions. Then after recording, we edit shows so that they sound crisp and smooth, but never over-produced or obviously edited.
Before Podcasts what did you do?
I worked as a freelance radio journalist for several years, making short radio documentaries and stories, mostly for CBC Radio. Before that I worked in communications at the University of Toronto, creating web content and writing grant applications. I feel really lucky that podcasting had a resurgence when it did!
Pop Up Podcasting sells monthly memberships. This sounds way more fun than a gym membership! Are most of the memberships sold to businesses?
“More fun than the gym” should be our new slogan! :)
Our members get studio time at a discounted price and get other members-only benefits. About half our members use their shows for business purposes (content marketing or networking). The other half use their membership to scratch a creative itch or connect with like-minded people - some of which are building toward attracting advertising and turning their show into businesses.
When you aren’t working what do you do for fun?
It’s pretty nerdy, but my wife and I have gotten really into curling the past couple of winters, and in warmer weather I like getting out on my bike. I’ve also been home-brewing beer for about 5 years. And (of course) I actually spend a lot of time outside of work listening to comedy podcasts.
What does the future of podcasting look like?
I think the future of podcasting is going to be very similar to what we’ve seen with the growth of YouTube and Netflix on the video side. People increasingly want everything to be mobile-friendly, authentic, and on-demand, so I think podcasting has a bright future. We’re already seeing lots of Netflix-style binge-worthy podcasts, and hobbyist podcasters are becoming stars and making a living at it like YouTubers. But in many ways podcasting is just getting started. Less than a third of Canadians listen to podcasts now, but that number is growing all the time - so it’s a great time to get started.
Favourite place for lunch?
Mad Radish opened a few doors down from the studio last year and I love their smoky caesar salad with chickpeas and smoked mushrooms.
Tacos or burgers?
Definitely tacos! The weather lately has me craving the thai meatball tacos with peanut sauce and mango at BiteThis is Westboro. Not the most traditional taco - but delicious!