My Podcast Adventure – Part Eight: Sea Change and Social Injustice

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Up to this point, the podcast had withstood a lot. A lengthy learning curve, freezing recording conditions, and the pandemic had all required evasive action on our part to “bend with the moment”

The social injustice was more than we could ignore and we had a growing platform. We decided to leverage our listenership for change.

My name is Andrew Keefe and I am the co-host of The Music Challenge Podcast. A loose, nerdy music commentary podcast (that you can find anywhere) and we’re now done with season 1. And this written series chronicles our first season.

Here We Go!

After we did a few emergency style quarantine shows (shows which did not hold to our format) we wanted to get back down to regular recording and “doing” the podcast. I especially felt I needed it. Like absolutely everyone else, there were sacrifices to be made during the quarantine. I was feeling the loss of a lot of activities I use to alleviate stress. All three of us felt like we needed human contact, albeit through zoom, and felt like it would be healthy for us to get on with it.

No longer able to record in person, we distributed all of the equipment from our recording location to each of our house in preparation for a remote set up. Zoom vocal delays, although slight, do cause issues.

We were forced to move the whole operation to a remote setup where we would all be at our houses. Looking towards the long-term, we distributed the good mics out from the previous studio (my garage) so everyone had one at home. We were now set up to have full recording capabilities over Zoom. It would sound like we were right next to each other with everyone speaking into a good microphone from their own home.

The Recording Grind

But, we had no episodes recorded. In other words, whatever we recorded next would be what is getting released next. Its a high wire act to use such a short process. What if there was a recording problem? There actually was for an episode and we never used it. We scrambled for material to release. So, we were going to be recording weekly and I would have a few days to edit it in GarageBand (just enough time). Week after week. It is the recording equivalent of living paycheck to paycheck.

Again, I wouldn’t say that we have to over-prepare as we get ready for an episode. But, it does take time every week. I found that our prep intensified as we went through the season. It’s no fun when the conversation is sitting in your lap and you’re out of ideas for moving on. I serve as a moderator to keep the conversation moving. But, one recording a week took several hours out of our week when said and done. It took us far more than one hour to record a one hour show.

The Murder of George Floyd and Social Injustice

When George Floyd was murdered by a policeman in Minneapolis, an already quarantined America was incensed and burnt for days with rioting and looting in the streets of major and even small towns and cities. Protests turned violent and it seemed America was tearing at the seams. We had a regularly recorded episode of The Beastie Boys scheduled for release, but we felt it was important to do something on our growing platform.

Today it (the social injustice episode; episode 12) still outperforms episodes in the same time period.

To get a mix of music around the topic of social injustice I suggested protest songs. The episode was very hurriedly put together as we only had two days to record and get it out to the public in a timely manner. There was hesitance at the sensitivity of the subject up until the last minute with a discussion on whether we actually should do the episode. It was not unanimous but we went on with the episode anyway. The episode featured us talking very pointedly while remaining appropriate, about social injustice using music as portraits of social injustice through the years.

It became one of our most powerful and popular downloads. I matched it together with a snazzy piece of Facebook advertising (a good image with good copy) and the awareness of the podcast seemed to increase by the episode from that point on. Today it still out performs episodes in the same time period. The advertising was successful enough (with over 500 engagements and 150 shares).

You Never Know

The episode we had almost did not record turned out to be our most popular. We weren’t heroes, but we spoke to the public and where they stand. We showed extreme flexibility in aspect to which way the social wind blows… AGAIN! Along with the rest of society…

But, with the use of a modest Facebook ads campaign every week (10-12 bucks a week) we were growing a following. A little bit every week. And, downloads were adding up. We now had hundreds of downloads and not tens of downloads. We were amazed at every download- how could we have provoked so many people to actually listen to us.

This graph shows downloads by month. While the overall growth is steady, May was a boon. I never thought June downloads would beat it, but it did.

The season was nearly done. We only wanted one more conquest. And that was an interview show. I felt if we could pull that off we could say we had an excellent first season of growth. And I had just the target for a guest. My coach, John Roccia.

Be sure to read the entire series of “My Podcast Adventures“.

And, the pitch. Please check out my podcast. You can subscribe, see our Facebook page, or just search google.

Let me know what you think!