Grant Baciocco pushed his first MP3 out onto an RSS feed on November 7, 2004. At that time he already had 13 episodes of The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, a show that he had produced a few episodes of for internet radio.
This is what we call a Podcasting Luminary.
Starting a podcast is a pretty simple. Staying committed, inspired and consistent in publishing your podcast is a whole other matter.
This Podcasting Luminary Series is all about sharing the voices of podcasters that have been podcasting for 5 or more years and have them impart some of their best podcasting wisdom grounded in experience.
Grant Baciocco happens to have tons of experience producing content, building audience, taking advantage of opportunities, getting creative AND is still doing it.
Let’s get started with this super sonic inspiring podcasting interview.
What is your podcast about?
The Radio Adventures of Dr Floyd was a family friendly, time travel audio drama. I say, “was” because we are no longer producing new episodes. The episodes do rerun at the site though and we’re always hearing from new fans who have just discovered the show.
We did over 150 shows for Dr. Floyd and each one was a blast.
Since that show ended, I’ve created my own family friendly content company called Saturday Morning Media.
I produce several audio and video podcasts and have two podcasts currently running. One is an audio series called Saturday Morning Theatre which is in the same vein as Dr. Floyd and features shows like The Adventures of The Thunder Crester and The Tales of Deputy Guppy.
I also produce The Uncle Interloper Show which is a video podcast featuring the adventures of a puppet dog.
And every Christmas I produce the ’longest running holiday podcast on the web’: Grant’s Advent Calendar Video Podcast.
Also, from 2006–2012, I was the host and producer of the Henson.com Podcast. The official podcast of The Jim Henson Company. There were over 100 episodes of that as well.
The thing I love about podcasting is that you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission.
I work a lot in the entertainment industry and it’s all about someone else ‘letting you’ create art.
With podcasting, you don’t have to get permission. You can produce a show and put it out there.
No permission needed.
What is your most memorable feedback from a listener?
For Dr. Floyd we once got an email from Walt Disney Imagineering saying that they were all big fans of the show and they listen to it in their shop.
That was pretty cool.
What has changed the most in your recording setup since you started?
Just upgraded with the times. Better microphones, a faster computer. Until a year ago, I still did all the audio editing in Garageband.
I use Logic Pro now.
What tools on Libsyn have you found most helpful in building your brand/podcast?
My main reason for signing up with Libsyn was to get an app.
That being said, I haven’t fully finished setting it up yet, but that was the main reason I joined.
Since 2004, I’d just use my own hosting.
Recently though I’ve seen the benefits to having the media hosted elsewhere and Libsyn was my choice. Mainly because you guys have been there from the start and even if I wasn’t using you, I’d always hear good things about your service.
Have you found that social media has expanded your listener base/reach? (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, etc)
I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, but you sort of do have to have a Facebook page for your show.
Back when we were doing Dr. Floyd, one of the fun things we did was give each of the main characters a Twitter account. Then one Christmas eve we did a whole episode of the show via Twitter. If people were following all of the characters, they could see them interacting with each other as they waited for Santa.
People love this and I always look at creative ways of using Social Media to promote the show. Uncle Interloper has a Vine account that has close to 4,000 followers. Not bad for a puppet dog.
I’d like to say download numbers don’t matter but they do. I look at them all the time. At the height of Dr. Floyd’s popularity we were getting 85,000 downloads a month.
With my new stuff I’m always trying to get the numbers back up there. Audience engagement is important as well. It’s always nice to hear from folks listening to your show. Sometimes it can feel like you’re sending this stuff out there into a void and no one is listening, so feedback is fun!
How has or has podcasting helped create opportunities for you?
Well, I can honestly say it was Dr. Floyd that got me the job doing the podcast for The Jim Henson Company. And from there I started puppeteering and have now travelled the country (and Canada and Australia) with their Puppet Up! show.
I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do that if it weren’t for podcasting.
What advise would you give a new podcaster so that they keep going!
Record ten or more shows before putting out your first show. That way you can stay ahead. The only way to build an audience is to have a reliable release date.
It can be once a week, once a month or whatever you’d like, but if you want to build an audience, you need to stick to that schedule. An easy way to do that is to have a lot of content ‘in the can.’ I’ve always like Paul Colligan’s 27 Days idea –
Also, do the shows for YOU first. I won’t work on a show if it doesn’t make me laugh or entertain me in some way. It’s just not worth it.
Did you start off podcasting and that lead into a business or did you see podcasting as a necessary support for an existing business?
With Dr. Floyd we started as a show and then had merchandise (T-shirts, CD, imprinted pencils). With the shows I’m doing now, it’s the same. Starting them as shows and if they get traction I’ll slowly add merchandise.
What piece of advice would give others looking to generate revenue from podcasting whether directly or indirectly?
One of the best ways to generate revenue I’ve found is to make a CD and get it onto iTunes.
We did this with each ‘season’ of Dr. Floyd and we are still making money from it.
We put each season of 13 episodes onto a CD with some bonus materials and then signed up with CDBaby.com and got them up onto iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc..
Even though our shows are available for free on the net, people still buy, stream, download them. For $49, it’s totally worth it.
And if you don’t have a show like ours, make a ‘best of’ CD of some of the best stuff from your shows and do the same thing. Just another outlet for people to find your content.
If you charge for access to your podcasts or premium, how did your audience react when you started doing this? How did you handle this?
I have not done this for my current shows, but we did do it for Dr. Floyd.
All of our current shows were free but if they wanted the whole back catalogue, they had to become an Imagination Nation Ranger for $19.99 a year.
We never got one complaint about it and we had over 100 sign ups the first day. In addition to the archive access, they got a CD copy of one of the seasons of our show and a Glow In The Dark, secret Decoder Ring they could use to decode secret messages at the end of every show. I don’t think anyone saw it as a rip-off.
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