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Brian Howie found inspiration to create his podcast, The Great Love Debate, from an unlikely source: Adam Carolla, who himself has his own hugely popular podcast.
“I was hosting a live-debate show and Adam said, ‘You should have a podcast,’” Howie recalls. “I said, ‘I don’t know how to do that, and he said, ‘Well, don’t worry. We’ll handle it.’”
Now, Howie takes the lessons he’s learned from Carolla and extends them to clients at PodPopuli, his full-service podcast hub in Old Town Scottsdale.
“We wanted to find a way to bring the opportunity to launch and distribute for small businesses and entrepreneurs — to take the hard part out of it so people can just focus on talking,” Howie says.
Since November, Scottsdale’s PodPopuli has provided customers with two studios decked out with professional equipment for on-the-spot recording. A team of engineers and producers mentors beginners in production, distribution, monetization, and content. So far, the business model has been successful — there’s one other location, in Ohio, and Howie says he’s set to open 20 locations in 2021.
How it works: Would-be podcasters get a free 30-minute consultation. From there, it’s a $495 fee to launch a new podcast, which includes distribution and all production services for one year. After that, each recording session costs between $50 and $100.
“Surprisingly, podcast listenership has gone down during COVID because it disrupted people’s routines,” Howie says. “But interest in podcasting has gone up, because either people are looking for creative outlets or to build their brands.”
And don’t worry if your idea for a podcast is bizarre or estoteric.
“The world’s become a smaller place now,” says Howie. “There are 50,000 people who will listen to anything if it relates to them, and you’d be surprised. We get some niche requests.”
One woman told Howie that she only wants to talk about Labradoodles in a show tentatively called Labradoodle Love. In the case of Scottsdale customer Stephanie Llewellyn, a single mom and entrepreneur who started her marketing business, Social Vine, a year ago, she wanted to build her business.
“I was thinking of starting a podcast to develop my brand,” Llewellyn says, “and I’m writing a book, so I wanted to develop a community.”
After some research, she found PodPopuli online and sought its help to create a professional vibe for her podcast, Who Does She Think She Is?
At only four episodes and two weeks into her podcasting, Llewellyn has already reached 200 subscribers for her self-help show. “My podcast is a space where I’ll bring on people who’ve found success by living outside of the box,” she says. “Someone who dropped out of college and started something from nothing — those are the people I’m looking for.”
Ultimately, Llewellyn has the goal to monetize her podcast. But, monetization isn’t the only goal for podcasters or for PodPopuli. Howie also sees podcasts as a great way for people — including kids — to boost their confidence.
“Every kid wants to be a YouTube star, and every parent doesn’t want their kid to be a YouTube star,” says Howie. “We have PodKidz, where we’re teaching kids how to find their voice and spread their message.”
Whatever the topic, Howie insists that a good podcast should be like an interesting conversation. He believes podcasts are currently the best storytelling medium.
“It should sound like you went out to brunch with some interesting people, and the listener is a part of that,” he says.
PodPopuli is located at 7001 East Main Street, #101, Scottsdale. Get more information on the PodPopuli website.
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