The kind of reach and impact podcasting can have is not exclusive to entertainment or creative self expression. It can also become a powerful tool for vital community support that serves very specific needs within society. Recovery People has built their podcast directly being of service to a community whose success and growth is incredibly reliant on support and inspiration from the community itself. This podcast is an essential weapon for empowering recovery.
Q & A with Jason Howell From The Recovery People Podcast
When did you start podcasting?
We launched the Recovery People podcast in February 2012. Although our co-creator, Heath Riddles, co-producer, Alex Sanchez, and myself, Jason Howell, have each worked on radio, television or film projects that were distributed through traditional channels, we all agreed that self-distributed podcasts are the wave of the future.
We were excited to explore the podcasting format and knew that a podcast was the right medium for this project.
Why did you start podcasting?
We view podcasting as the most cost effective and engaging medium to raise recovery awareness and to strengthen a grassroots recovery community.
Recovery from substance use and mental health issues rises out of hope and through the support of a community. Too often media exploits the drama of the disease rather than highlighting solutions or happier, healthier lives in recovery.
Podcasting is way of giving a voice to people recovery and a lifeline of hope those in need.
What’s your show about?
Recovery People celebrates the culture of recovery from addiction and/or other mental health issues. Through the power of new media, peers share the gritty joy, the epic hope and soulful sounds of people in recovery.
Recovery People are highly creative, exceptionally intuitive and filled with a cultural wisdom from the road less traveled. Recovery People are real in every sense of the word.
So, tune in, turn on and check us out because we, the Recovery People, have a lot to say.
What’s your podcasting set-up? Hardware, software, CMS, etc.
For us, it is all about right sizing our set-up with our budget and goals. So far, we have primarily used Audacity as our editing software because it is free and easy to learn.
We want to empower people in recovery to podcast, so we did not want to create a production process that would intimidate people away from getting involved. Audacity can be used on either a Mac or PC, so anyone with a computer and a mic can capture an interview.
That being said, Audacity frustrates Alex and I. We are both accustomed to editing with more robust software, but along with that functionality comes a higher learning curve and price.
We have played with Apple’s Garage Band, another great free option. Garage Band beautifully interfaces with iTunes which allows for easier file management and some quick drag and drop post production, but Audacity has it beat in some other areas.
We started out with a Snowball mic because Heath happened to have one, but we quickly invested in a USB M-Audio mic to get a much richer sound. USB is less expensive, but it limits the number of mics you can use and thus, tracks you can tweak.
When funds become available, we will likely purchase multiple XLR mics and an external mixing board. We are a nonprofit, so anyone who would like to underwrite these costs can donate at RecoveryPeople.org or contact [email protected]
Capturing the best audio possible is key, so we built a “sound studio” in my garage. That sounds grander than what it actually looks. We use two bookshelves and acoustic tiles to create a sound absorption alcove in the corner of the garage.
We lined the floor with old blankets and snuggly stuck a breakfast table and chairs that we picked up at a garage sale in the alcove. We look forward to the day when we can offer our guest nicer accommodations.
Not all interviews can be done live. We currently are using FreeConferenceCall.com to record phone interviews because it is free and easy. We continue explore other options, like Skype, and are keeping our eye on the evolution of Google Hangout.
How have you promoted your podcast?
First, I stalked some of the New Media gurus here in Austin, Texas asking their advice. They uniformly said our initial audience would come from social media, and then eventually, we would gain Organic SEO growth.
To prepare for that success, we built RecoveryPeople.org using WordPress and created facebook.com/recoverypeople and twitter.com/recoverypeeps. Because I have connections with a number professionals in the recovery industry, we also created a RecoveryPeople group in LinkedIn and a Google page.
All together, this provides us with a cost effective infrastructure to build an online community . Each show and topic gives us an opportunity to network with other communities and encourage them to promote or co-promote.
Once we upload a show to libsyn.com/recoverypeople we have it set up to automatically syndicate to iTunes. Then we embed links and/or code into our sites and social media accounts.
We also send out an e-newsletter and eblasts to individuals who would be particularly interested in the content of that week’s show asking them to share it with others.
We encourage our audience to subscribe via iTunes, so they don’t have to remember (we don’t have to remind them) to download the show each week. To extend this strategy, we plan to upgrade our Libsyn account, so audiences can subscribe and listen to the show via Smart Phone apps.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
We’ve taken a bootstrap strategy meaning that the most important thing for us was to launch the podcast knowing that we will be learning a lot along the way.
We don’t spend much time thinking about the things we wish we knew when there was no way of knowing what we did not know.
RecoveryPeople is a relatively young project, so we will have much more to report in a year, but our biggest learning opportunities have been and continue to be around social media marketing.
As we empower more people in recovery into this project, I suspect we will need to focus more on volunteer management and “how-to” training.
SUBSCRIBE to Recovery People or consider donating to the cause! If you have any questions or feedback about Recovery People send an email over to jason.howell (at) recoverypeople (dot) org
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