Jennifer-Lee Gunson: J-Pod Creations
Updated: Oct 19
Jennifer-Lee Gunson is the owner of J-Pod Creations which is a Vancouver based company specializing in branded podcasting.
Before Jennifer got started in radio, she was an actor. She later enrolled at BCIT, found her way to Astral owned The Bear, which has now been shifted to the Bounce cluster of Bell properties. She returned to Vancouver after a stint in Prince George and took to the air (literally) doing traffic for CKNW and later Canadian Traffic Network which is where you can hear her today.
She is also the host of a few podcasts at her company, including the ever-popular HAVAN podcast "Measure Twice, Cut Once" which is a branded podcast for the Homebuilders Association of Vancouver.
In this episode, you will hear how she got her start in radio, survived the pandemic, and started her company. Best of all, she shares what she learned in radio and how it applies to making great on demand audio.
Sarah Burke (Voiceover) 00:02
The Sound Off Podcast. The show about podcast and broadcast starts now.
Matt Cundill 00:13
Jennifer Lee Gunson is a voice that you hear on the radio in Vancouver doing traffic for a Canadian traffic network. And she's also the owner of J-Pod Creations, which makes branded podcasts. I missed meeting her at Podcast Movement. But she did run into Jon Gay from JAG in Detroit podcasts. And it took a guy from Detroit to hook us to Canadians up for today's show. So often I spend time talking about how radio is different from podcasting. But Jen reminds me about all the great things it has in common, and the advantages that radio people have when they fully commit to podcasting. Now, not because you asked, but I'll just say that one of the things radio is good at is promoting their shows, and most podcasters who don't have a broadcast, marketing, or PR background, start out blindly down their marketing path. Jennifer joins me today from Vancouver, British Columbia. Did you always want to get into broadcasting?
Jennifer Gunson 01:05
No, I was actually an actor first. I really made my parents proud. Yeah, I started as an actor, I actually started off in like biblical musicals back in the day at church. And I should have known that I had a different voice at that point, because I was always cast as the boy narrator in every biblical musical because I have this, like booming voice. So I didn't take that advice and move with it. I went on to being an actor for a while, actually ended up getting a degree in theater, which again, I don't know if my parents love my career choices, because then I went to get a diploma in radio afterwards, and my whole reason of why I went from theater to radio was the fact that was like, How do I get a paycheck every single day? And I was like, let's be a radio broadcaster.
Matt Cundill 01:54
But that's not a crazy stretch, to go from being an actor into radio. Danny Bonaduce, Jay Thomas, there's oodles of them who do it.
Jennifer Gunson 02:04
Yeah, but I think you think you're like, I'll make more money as a radio person. But I felt like sometimes you're maybe pretty par with an actor.
Matt Cundill 02:12
I think maybe the radio gig is supposed to be what they do in between the acting gigs, so they don't have to be a waiter, waitress, whatnot.
Jennifer Gunson 02:20
I was doing it wrong.
Matt Cundill 02:21
What was the most exciting acting gig you did?
Jennifer Gunson 02:23
I have to say, my favorite acting gig that I ever did- It was like an independent film. This sounds bad. But it's like, not like an independent, a show that one of my teachers wrote. And it was just really fun. And it was a like really weird premise where it was like, these kids create an air band. And there's a whole air band, like, underground movement. And we- basically it's that story of like, how do you raise money? And we created an air band. And then at the end- it was a lot of fun. But I have to say one of my acting gigs that I got that wasn't actually- I was just an extra. But I was on the original, the first one, the Hot Tub Time Machine as background. And it was so fun because they had to outfit you in 80s clothing. And I was there for quite a few days in the ski lodge scene. And they did this scene where John Cusack gets a fork stuck in his eye. And then he has to like run around the ski lodge. That part's cut out. But he had to run around the ski lodge screaming of a fork in his eye. And I was one of the people that were in this group, and he's supposed to push through me and another girl. And he ended up on the ground. And he like, looks up like, oh, I don't know what's going on. So we did this like a whole bunch of times. And then afterwards, it got back to the tent. And I was like, I have all this like, fake John Cusack blood on me. And I was like, Oh, this is like the best day of my life. So that's my best acting gig.
Matt Cundill 03:47
And how did you get to BCIT?
Jennifer Gunson 03:49
I got to BCIT after university, because I decided, what else am I going to do now with my theater degree? And I decided to apply to BCIT. And I actually originally applied to the journalism program, but I don't remember why. But sometimes I had to, for some reason, I think you had to put your voice on a CD. And the radio program was like, actually, we like your sound. And then I went for the radio interview and got into BCIT. And that's how it started. Probably not like the traditional way of how everybody else decides to go to radio school. But yes.
Matt Cundill 04:25
Why do you think so many people like your voice?
Jennifer Gunson 04:27
Because it's low. And I've been told that it's low and it's not irritating. I don't know if that's a good compliment. But yeah.
Matt Cundill 04:36
Well, that is a thing. I mean, I know that there's been a history of female voices that say, Well, that sounds like a shrill, and people get turned off from it. And as the history goes, microphones have been made over the years for lower register voices. So there's a little bit of imbalance there.
Jennifer Gunson 04:54
I think for me, I really do love the lower tone and it's taken me a long time to get here actually, because like you said, usually when we think of women, and this is like an archaic way of thinking, but we talked about it in theater school lot when we did a lot of voice work is like, women want to sound pleasant. They want to sound nice, they don't want to sound like they're nagging. So we psychologically tend to, especially women that have lower voices, tend to put it up in a higher register, even if that's not where our natural voice sits, but now I feel like more women with lower voices are getting praised for it, because it seems more like you're commanding or, or you're a leader. And it's, it's unique. And it's different. Like I've had a lot of people say to me, that it's a very unique sound. And they like it actually, the one thing that I get all the time too, which I think is so funny is like, I'll go to different restaurants and people are like, did you ever think about being on the radio? Like, maybe. I've tried.
Matt Cundill 05:57
I knew during the pandemic, that there was a lion's share of voice work, especially in the first six months of the pandemic, when female voices were the voice of being more reassuring. So I know a lot of work went there. I know for cartoons, for instance, you know, higher pitched voices are gonna get more cartoon jobs. I'd like to say that it all sort of balances out in the end, but it kind of does.
Jennifer Gunson 06:20
Yeah, and I don't know if this was your story when you worked in radio, but it was so interesting, because they told us at the beginning that obviously you can't be on the station that you necessarily like the music on, your voice will dictate where you get placed. And I don't know if it's so much like that now. But I remember right away my first job, which I love rock anyways, was 101.5 the Bear. And I remember I got put on a pop station years later, and it wasn't a hot AC, it was just kind of like a regular AC. And we got complaints from other women saying my voice was too low. So it's just it's such an interesting- voice. I could talk to you about this forever, because it's an area that I love is is just such an interesting thing and how people are perceived.
Matt Cundill 07:04
I got a tip from somebody once, don't put your picture on your voiceover business card. Let people just hear the sound and they will imagine who you are. And then all of a sudden, there's me who looks like white bald guy. Oh, but that's not how I envisioned you. You're not really the face or voice of my product. Goodbye.
Jennifer Gunson 07:20
Yeah, that's a good tip. Because that's the thing is like voice is so subjective. And I don't know if you're watching Love is Blind. It's the same thing. It's like, they can't see who the person is. And I was like- and then they're so shocked when the person does the reveal. And they're like, Okay, that's who I am. But I think it's a kind of a neat industry, radio and voiceover where it's like, you can be many different people. And it's like, you don't need to have a photo. I know that's changing, a lot more people are doing more video stuff and things like that, but.
Matt Cundill 07:51
Tell me about how you got to Fort St. John.
Jennifer Gunson 07:53
Oh, well, it wasn't the place that I thought I would be. I know everybody starts somewhere. But I never thought about Fort St. John. No reason why it just didn't. I was applying to a lot of places in Alberta for my first gig in other parts of Canada. And I started my internship at Sun FM in Kelowna, back in the day, and they were owned by Astral Media at the time. And again, this is why like they tell you, and I tell people now, just don't ever burn bridges and do a good job, because it can really help you. And so at the time, the bear was hiring and they found Kelowna, and they were like, Oh, we're looking for some people. And they're like, Oh, our intern was really great. You should take a look at her demo for afternoon drive. So they phoned me up and they were like, hey, we'd like to hire you for afternoon drive. And that was it. I honestly, I wish I had like a more like struggle story, like because it would sound more like cool. But I'm very fortunate that I literally got full time, and very grateful for a full time on air gig Monday through Friday with the Bear. Even though it was not the Bear that you were on in Edmonton, it was still like a really great company to work with. And really notable and then looks good on my resume. But that's how I ended up in Fort St. John.
Matt Cundill 09:13
Tell me a little bit about the town. And I'm only a little bit more interested now, because I've learned that the newspaper in town, which I think is called the Alaskan Highway?
Jennifer Gunson 09:24
I think it's Alaska Highway News or something.
Matt Cundill 09:26
Yeah, it's just folding up shop. And I'm like wondering what that's gonna look like and sound like for that town.
Jennifer Gunson 09:33
I didn't know they were closing, that's such a huge staple in Fort St. John. I think that's going to be a big effect there. Because the one thing I really liked about it is the sense of community up there, and if you ever want to feel the love for the media up there, it's definitely a place to go, because that's where they get all their information from is from their newspaper from their digital publications. Because the stories are so tailored to them. So I think If they go, it's going to be a really big hole and maybe it will give opportunities and for some of their local stations, another independent station I think is still up there, the Moose and maybe to do more stuff like that. I think they were actually very tied with foam. That newspaper may be actually.
Matt Cundill 10:17
So you mean to tell me in Fort St. John, your choice of radio listening is the Moose and the Bear?
Jennifer Gunson 10:22
Yes. And I don't know what they changed into it. But the pop station that was owned by Astro at the time was Sun FM, as well. But so you get sun, you get the animals. And I feel like it's very fitting.
Matt Cundill 10:37
And lots of tree planters. I know that because my brother was planting trees up there at one point in his life.
Jennifer Gunson 10:43
A lot of tree planters, a lot of different industries that you don't usually get exposed to in Vancouver. And it's a really fun time. Like I have to admit like, it's one of those things that you're like, Okay, I'm moving from a huge city of millions. And now I'm going to 20,000 people up north, and I'm figuring out what snow is for the very first time. But it was a lot of fun. And there's a lot of different stories. Like I said, like I accidentally- not in Fort St John but when I lived in Prince George accidentally touched a bear. Like how many people can see that?
Matt Cundill 11:13
Oh, I've got time for that story.
Jennifer Gunson 11:15
Yeah, that's a good one. This is why you shouldn't text and walk. You should be more alert. So I was living in Prince George doing radio. That was my next step after Fort St. John, and I was coming out of the carpark and I lived on a Greenbelt. And I was head down looking at my phone. And my friend was coming to pick me up, but they weren't there quite yet. And I'm texting them. And also, I'm wearing a skirt. And I was like, Oh, I bumped into something fuzzy. So I'm like petting something fuzzy, off my leg. And I realized I'm patting the back end of a black bear, which is- I wouldn't really recommend to everyone else. But yeah, I screamed, and I got rid of the bear. And- And luckily, I didn't know what to do in that moment. I just like screamed like I was getting murdered. And the bear just took off and didn't even look, because I scared him more probably. And then the guy living in the top of the house ran down and he said, Oh my god, are you okay? And I said, I just touched a black bear.
Matt Cundill 12:13
Tell me about that move from from Fort St. John to Prince George, what precipitated it? And how much more money did you get?
Jennifer Gunson 12:21
Actually, I think it was about 10,000 more, which back then you were like, oh, yeah, like, that's good. Oh, and I got benefits, because they were a Union station too. So there was a lot of perks going from Fort St. John to Prince George. And actually, it was funny, because I have to credit my boss in Fort St. John, because it was kind of at the time that I wasn't like, sure if I wanted to stick in radio or not after being in Fort St. John, like I said, loved it. But it was quite far as isolated from my family. And so he came down and he was like, they want to meet you in person, take the day off, go down to Prince George. And then they're gonna put you up in a hotel, and then- and then come back. But he's like, I'm going to urge you right now he's like, I think you should take this job. And I said, Do you think so? And he's like, yeah, he's like, we don't want to lose you. But he's like, I really think it'd be a great step. So I didn't think much about it. And then I went down there, and I met the team, and they were all great. And I decided, hey, besides the money in the fact that I was gonna get really good benefits. It was really- I have to credit my first boss being like, No, I think this is a good move.
Matt Cundill 13:31
What station was that?
Jennifer Gunson 13:32
I went to 101.3, the River, owned by Jim Pattison.
Matt Cundill 13:36
And from there is that kind of how you got to Vancouver? After that ran its course, you found your way to Vancouver?
Jennifer Gunson 13:41
Found my way back because my boss at the time, my new boss at the time, Amber was going through all of the different demos. And she phoned me up and interviewed me. And then she was like, I thought this could be a trick question. Because I was getting near like the final interviews and she said, Have you ever been in a helicopter? And I was like, I'm not gonna lie to her. And I said, No. And I was like, oh, that's probably like the end of my interview. And then she goes, Oh, nobody has. It's okay. Come on down. So that's how I ended up getting to Vancouver was getting the helicopter gig, which after being on radio, as a music DJ and then I was also- and Prince George I was the music director as well. It was really fun to go to something new that I didn't know. I knew how to speak on the air, but I didn't know traffic and specially I hadn't lived in Vancouver for like five to six years and so there were so many different things that I didn't know about like the self-raiser perimeter road, and all that so I had to learn it from scratch when I got back. But it was a really great job, but I always say, if you want to learn how to be thrown in the deep end, take the helicopter job.
Matt Cundill 14:50
So the helicopter job was a traffic job at what station?
Jennifer Gunson 14:55
At that time I was contracted to CKNW.
Matt Cundill 14:59
And that would be The traffic station at the time.
Jennifer Gunson 15:02
At the time. Yeah. So it was great.
Matt Cundill 15:05
When you're thrown into the deep end you're really referring to, you've got to know all the roads, you've got to know all the alternate routes, you've got to know- I mean, that's a tight radio station. There's clocks, there's things to follow. There's- there's a helicopter involved. That's wild. I mean, that's- that's a big jump. And because I mean, the most traffic experience you have so far is the backlog at the Tim Hortons in Prince George. And the bear you run into in Prince George, and also- is there traffic and Fort St. John?
Jennifer Gunson 15:37
There's no traffic and Fort St. John or Prince George. That's the thing. You hit it. It's like if there's a moose on the highway, that's a big deal.
Matt Cundill 15:46
Funny enough, because I googled that earlier today, Fort St. John. And most of the stories were about a moose that had hit a vehicle.
Jennifer Gunson 15:53
It's surreal, and it's actually quite terrifying. I've never hit one but like, they can destroy your car, like everyone in Fort St. John has stories about a moose destroying their vehicle.
Matt Cundill 16:03
Okay, so what time did you have to be in the helicopter doing your job? Early?
Jennifer Gunson 16:08
No, I lucked out. I got the afternoon gig. I feel like afternoon gigs are like my goal in radio. I have done mornings before too, for fill in and stuff. But radio, I guess I've just good in the afternoon. And that's probably the area that I like to stay in. But yeah, for the helicopter, like you said, just jumping in the deep end was hard. Because a you're trying to get used to being in a helicopter, and not knowing the roads or anything. And back then it was hard to train people because there were two people in the helicopter and a pilot. There's only three seats in this helicopter. And it's the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. So it's very teeny. And so I remember Amber took me up for like a quick test flight, and then came down and was like, Oh, you're gonna be on the air in a few minutes. And then like, she rolls up my script, and she's like, here, like, turns my mic on. And I had to do traffic for the first time. That was nerve-wracking. And I was like reading and I was so nervous. And I don't think I did a very good job at all, just because I had no clue what was going on. But I did it. And I'm lucky I had an amazing boss that was supportive. And then the best part was, she's like, this is Trish, she's gonna be your helicopter buddy. And then I went up with her and Trish was just like- I was like, Oh my God, they're putting me in the helicopter. Like I've only been at work for like two hours, it's my first day. Because I don't know if it's the same as your radio story. But usually when they bring you into a new station, even if you had some experience, they would let you like job-shadow the person for the board for the like first day. But in a helicopter, you don't have that choice. And so I get thrown in and luckily, again, Trish and Amber, I can't give them enough credit because they are awesome. And Trish helped me so much. She had to like give me the roads and everything. And then funny story which I'm okay with telling people this but, I never looked down from my paper the first time was in the helicopter because it was my first day and I was so nervous and it was kind of gray and rainy outside. And as we were landing, I drive heaved in the bag, because I was so nervous. And so it was really cute. We had this little Italian pilot that worked with us. And you know, you're just feeling terrible after your first day and you go in and you're like, sitting at your computer. You're just about to go home. You just came in from the helicopter. I'm trying to make sure I feel good before I go, Trish has gone already. This Italian pilot comes in. He's like, just so you know, when we land. It's good to look at the horizon. Like, thank you. And I felt so embarrassed. But I felt like that's a good first helicopter story.
Matt Cundill 18:55
But a dry heave is just nerves. Right? You weren't really gonna throw up. It's just nerves.
Jennifer Gunson 19:00
No, it was just nerves. Yeah. I'm glad like I look back on it, and it can laugh now. And I feel like now I'm able to be prepared for everything in my career. But it's just like, wow, that was that was a crazy day. And I got through it.
Matt Cundill 19:13
How does a tool like Google Maps and Waze conflict, help, contrast, what work gets done in a helicopter for traffic and radio?
Jennifer Gunson 19:25
Well, in traffic in general, like when we're reporting on it, Google Maps is not necessarily helpful because we do follow the red lines sometimes, but the red lines are not necessarily correct. And so like, when we go in the helicopter, someone will be like, before we report on because we want to make sure information is correct. They'll be like I see some congestion over on the Lions Gate Bridge and it's backed up to West View Drive on upper levels highway, can you go check it out. And so then we'll fly over there and then we'll be like, Oh, actually, no, it's only about midway down the cut. So then we text back to the person down on the ground in the hangar, and then they're able to put the correct information out there on all the traffic servers. But that's why it's such a team environment because like, technology's great. And like, yes, if I use Google Maps to figure out where I am in the air? 100%. But, and sometimes if you're looking for like little obscure roads and things like that, it's helpful, but you can't trust it 100%. So it's still like, you still have to have judgment, and you still have to be able to see. And so with the helicopter, and with the small airplane that we also have for News 1130, it's really great to have those aircrafts, because we're able to know and confirm the information, because sometimes too, as the average person that calls in, and that's fine. They don't need to know the roads, I didn't know until I was like, doing the traffic, they won't necessarily know exactly where they are either. So sometimes with a phone in a tap, they might get the streets a little wrong. So again, it's nice to have the helicopter to be able to be like, can you check this problem out at Highway One and Galardi? And then we'll go and be like, oh, it's actually Highway One and Willingdon. But then it's just again, it's using the technology, using us, using the callers, using everything as a team and not just being reliant on one thing.
Matt Cundill 21:22
That's okay. I was giving away $1,000 once and I said, Come meet me in Stony Plain. I'm at the corner of Main and King. Turns out I was in Spruce Grove and a whole other town away.
Jennifer Gunson 21:33
Did the person never win the money?
Matt Cundill 21:36
I advertised myself as the local idiot. Screwed up the entire contest. Ah, well.
Jennifer Gunson 21:42
it happens. I'm sure we all have radio stories where we've definitely screwed up on the air a ton of times.
Matt Cundill 21:49
So did you get let go from CKNW and then you came back to work for Canadian traffic network? How did that work?
Jennifer Gunson 21:55
No, I actually didn't get let go, which I don't know. Everyone says you're not a true broadcaster until you get let go. So I don't know if I'm a true broadcaster. But what happened was, I just had a feeling that something was going to happen with my position. I didn't know what it was, there was a lot of change going on, not just in Vancouver, just across Canada. And I just felt that it was time to go. So I left, and then when COVID hit my position got axed. And then a few years later, when I started my business, I have a podcast business. Amber just was like, Hey, do you want to come fill in and I said, Oh, that would be awesome. So now I fill in for many different radio stations that are under the Canadian traffic network bracket. And then I do fill in from time to time in the helicopter, which is just TV. And they do do CKNW as well, again, that was my old position. And then we also have the little airplane for Rogers as well.
Matt Cundill 22:49
But you still don't have to get up in the morning, right?
Jennifer Gunson 22:52
I do once in a while when I fill in for Amber or fill in for another morning position, or afternoon if I get to fill in for somebody else. But yes, I have definitely done early morning shifts. And I've done it for a stint of time, I guess when I was working in Prince George, while they were trying to find the next morning show co host, so you really got to have a taste of that, it was mid days. And then I got to fill in and I was like, Whoa, this is early. Everybody has my respect that does morning radio or television, 100%.
Sarah Burke (Voiceover) 23:21
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Matt Cundill 23:52
So you're gonna be a good person to ask this question. Because your business took off during the pandemic. I think you had a podcast related to the pandemic. And you've been able to watch traffic and people coming back since the pandemic and we're going to use Vancouver here as the example because that's what you know. So how can you sort of summarize the last two years of work from home, traffic on the streets, traffic in certain quarter hours? What are you seeing as being sort of the difference from when we started the recovery of the pandemic up to what we're seeing now?
Jennifer Gunson 24:31
Actually, it's interesting you asked that because I was talking to some of the traffic girls about this. And I've noticed too when I go up in the helicopter during the week that if you go up on Thursday, it's really busy. It's like a Friday commute, especially in the afternoon like everyone's getting home and then Fridays, so quiet. So I said I wonder if it's because a lot of people are doing more hybrid and during the week they're going Monday, maybe Wednesday and a Thursday. Oh or Tuesday, whatever when they want to kind of jumble around, but Fridays are never that busy now. And Thursday afternoons are like hits like Carmageddon. Sometimes it's like, oh, everyone's coming home now. And so it's interesting too, because even when I've gone out during the day for meetings, if I meet people not virtually for my business during the day, especially if you go Monday or Tuesday, it's like Rush Hour at one o'clock. And you're like, I thought everybody was at home, like, Where is everyone like, why? Even when you're going into like coffee shops and stuff, too. They're just extremely busy. So I think with this new work with home and people choosing their own schedule, we're definitely seeing a different pattern in traffic 100%. And I'm noticing something more to like the North Shore was always hard to get on off. But I've noticed an interesting pattern because my family lives there. It's like, before COVID the weekends weren't usually that unless people were skiing weren't that bad to get off of at like four in the afternoon. But I think during COVID, too, because more people stayed at home and even now, after after COVID. A lot of people are traveling more to the US or traveling more locally. We're seeing still a lot of people enjoy all the great things the North Shore has to offer. But you can't leave now on the weekend at 4pm to get off the North Shore. Like it just it seems like people's behaviors are just a little bit more different. entitled, not entitled, they're the least they're like staying local, I guess and enjoying the amenities. But yeah, I have to admit this, I actually hate driving. Because I'm so spoiled being up in the helicopter that I just like now when I have to deal with traffic, I'm like, Why did I not check the house before I left? Why did I not do that? I don't know. I get mad when it gets stuck in something because I was like, I could have predicted this. And I didn't.
Matt Cundill 26:58
And then you started a company for podcasting sometime during the pandemic. What spurred you on to start the company?
Jennifer Gunson 27:05
Because I was tired of talking to recruiters is my honest answer. But maybe I shouldn't say that. But no, in all honesty, it's really difficult, especially when you have a broadcasting background. And like, again, I'm very grateful for the journey, I've had a- had a very successful broadcasting background, very grateful to all the people that I've had in my corner. But when you sit down in recruiting, I get it. This is before COVID too when they were a little bit more siloed in thinking of like, this is your position. And this is what you can do. I had a lot of them asked me like, Why would you leave broadcasting? Why would you leave the helicopter? It's so cool. And I said, I understand that. But I said our industry is going through a massive change. They said I'm just trying to figure out where I fit in there. And I said, I was still passionate about our industry, and I love it, but I've got to figure it out. So then I went home and I talked to a lot of my kind of mentors, and COVID hit and they said, You know what, why don't you showcase your skills? And I said, Okay, sure. So I created a podcast called Coping 19. And it was all about how to positively- because I was tired of all the negative, so positively pivot your business in this new world that we were living in. And I have a lot of friends that are entrepreneurs and have successful businesses. But I knew that they had a lot of wisdom on how they were pivoting their respective businesses. So I started to do that. And I started to network here through the podcast, as well is in the US. And I actually because my background is theater, I got to end up interviewing a Broadway producer. And that was really exciting for me, because I got to use my theater background talk about the Broadway closure, which was huge accent went on for a few years. And so it was just a really neat way for me to rediscover my love of broadcasting through podcasting. And not only that, just continue my networking app, which I really thoroughly enjoyed before COVID. And I think that's something that COVID really took away from a lot of people that were extroverted, was us getting out there and networking. So I was able to do it both. And then my parents owned a construction company and they've owned for a long time I do a little bit of marketing for them from time to time. And so I have a lot of friends that are in that business. And I ended up interviewing one of my friends that's an architect about, you know, kind of it was a really cool episode, like what she felt the changes were going to be to do with COVID, especially in the commercial space, like our restaurants gonna have more like booths and things like that. And so the homeowners association knew of me, heard that podcast, but also one of my friends that worked heavily in the homebuilders, or was a member of it, told them to listen to my podcasts as well. And they ended up having a meeting with me when restrictions lifted and they said can you help us create a podcast for the Home Builders Association of Vancouver? They said we have another guy that wants to work on this project with us, who's also a former radio host. And he now owns a home technology company. And they're like, We like the fact that you have a family business in construction. So help us. So that's really what started it. So I went on this journey with the homebuilders. And it's great. We're now six seasons in and we've interviewed Brian Baumler, we've just interviewed someone from the local government, about housing the housing minister. And so it really took off in a way that I didn't expect, like, and I don't mean that in a bad way, it just, it's something that I fell in love with, it fit all my skills perfectly. And I always tell people, I said, I hated that when I was trying to figure out what to do next in my career, that people were like, it's gonna come to you. Do what you love, and it will come and I was like, if I hear that one more time, I said, I'm gonna like pop because it's not that easy. And then I did this podcast, and it led me into my next passion, which is my business, and I started to gain other clients. So all those people were correct. So listen, listen to your mentors is what I'm trying to tell you. And by the way, if you're wondering what that company is called, it is called J-Pod Vreations. You're humble enough not to have plugged it. So I will plug it for you. Thank you. I am very humble. I'm not a typical radio- No I'm joking.
Matt Cundill 31:03
J-Pod Creations has got, you know, some branded podcasts. And you know, your biggest one is for the Home Builders Association of Vancouver. And listen, Right Place Right Time, we talked about the timing, but the place- if you're going to talk about homes and homeownership and building, Vancouver is the place. It is tight. Vancouver has had housing problems for years, a lot of people say to me, should I have a real estate podcast? And I say, well, a lot of people are interested in certain places. So Vancouver, you can talk about it, because it's- there's always news about housing in Vancouver. Nobody's moving to Winnipeg. So you know, good luck if you have a Winnipeg podcast, you're only going to listen to it, say, when you're looking for a house. But in Vancouver, there's so many other issues that sort of come with it, because it's a tight, confined space. And it's also a very desirable place to live. And now there's also rules about AirBnB.
Jennifer Gunson 32:10
Oh, I just read that.
Matt Cundill 32:13
Again, like you could do an episode about that. That's something that just showed up today. And it's fresh. There's always something new to be talking about with this, as opposed to doing the Sudbury real estate podcast where it hasn't changed much, right?
Jennifer Gunson 32:26
Yeah. But I still feel like there's room for those podcasts because there are information that- there is information that people need from that. But like you said, in Vancouver, it's even though it's a niche, there's a lot of things that people can take away to like, it's not just about specific things to Vancouver, like a lot of the professionals that we have on that are coveted members of Haven and have worked really hard and are great. They talk about things of like, what is the relationship between the interior designer, architect and builder? Like, how do they work together? Why do you need an integrated design process? Which is them all being on the same page at the very beginning when you start building your house? So there's a lot of things that you can take away from it, or what kind of questions you should be asking a builder before you hire them. So it doesn't limit everyone. But yes, there are certain things, like we just had the Housing Minister on and we talked about this new thing that's going on in Vancouver, which is the housing supply act. So it's it's just like, there's a little bit of things for everybody. But it is geared to obviously, Vancouver and the different steps that we are doing as a city to move forward with building homes.
Matt Cundill 33:29
When you say you had the Housing Minister on, is that provincial or federal?
Jennifer Gunson 33:32
Matt Cundill 33:33
Nice. Federal one's next.
Jennifer Gunson 33:35
There we go. I got the federal on. Like listen to the podcast today and actually find out if I asked- I wish we interviewed him today because the Airbnb stuff went out. But we did it a few weeks ago and I asked a question about Airbnb. And he said, Look, I could talk about Airbnb all day long. But we're going to talk about other things today. And I was like, okay, but now now I'm like, oh, I want to ask you about all these Airbnb rules.
Matt Cundill 34:02
I know some people are wondering, well, what are they talking about? What is the Airbnb problem for Vancouver specifically? Tell me about a branded podcast. It seems like such a catch all phrase. There's many ways to do it. But what are some of the things that people do wrong when they come to you with an idea, that you have to correct them on and go, Okay, wait, calm down. We need to do it this way and not that way.
Jennifer Gunson 34:07
So on the news a few weeks ago, they found out- and I guess they did a lot of digging- that with Airbnb that because we have such a tight rental market here for people to live here, that there are more Airbnb's out there than actual rentals for people. So their hopes in trying to do these different legislations is that more people will put their secondary homes up, or secondary properties up for regular people like myself for you to live in, and be able to rent, in opposed to doing short term rentals. It's very tough to find a rental here, so. Okay, so there's a few ones. The first one that I feel like everyone probably gets is, I heard I should be doing a podcast for my company. So I guess I'll do one. And that's like, wrong answer. Because there's still like, even though you're gonna hire me to help you with a lot of stuff, you do need to do a bit of work. And if you're not passionate about- especially, a lot of them are hosting it, they're gonna hate talking about it, if it's not their passion. The other thing is coming in and finding the right topic for their business. Because my whole thing with branded podcasts is, if you're going to put the work into them, you better be using them as your whole marketing strategy. So you're not just going to have a branded podcast for your company and just like, not put it out really on your social media, and you're gonna be like, I have a podcast. No, you want it to be working for you. So I say, once you do a subject, like I have one client that is a contractor. And he does little podcasts on again, different things that people are googling him for, like, why is it so expensive to build in Vancouver, how long do permits take to get, which is a whole contentious issue in Vancouver. And so I say we're working with stuff that's in his field and his expertise. So if he does a podcast, on permits for 10 minutes about why it's great to have a builder that can help you get permits in Vancouver and what the wait times are, then I said, Now you take that transcript, that now becomes a blog, your blog is consistent. And now you've got possible SEO potential for your website. Not only that, now, if you have a newsletter, it gives you more content to put out. And then on top of that you now have a transcript for different pieces of social media as well. So you could tailor it to your Instagram, your Twitter, and whatever. I find a lot of times when people have a podcast, especially as a business, they don't realize that it helps them in those other areas of marketing that they do all the time. And so they're thinking as a separate and an- like an extra cost. And they're like, Oh, this is a lot. But it's like, no, if you can make them all work together, this is going to help your content give more value, because you're the expert, and you're giving what you need to give for 10 minutes about a certain topic. So I feel like a lot of people have, especially when they come for branded podcasts, they have a different way of thinking. And again, like when I work with some of the educational institutes too. It's like, if you're promoting something, take that podcast and answer your question too. Like if people are wanting to know about your veterinarian program, take the veterinarian episode and tie it there and put it out. Because again, we don't want the podcast just to live there for sick of living it. We want it to work for us in all facets.
Matt Cundill 37:41
I've been so hell bent on highlighting the differences between podcasting and broadcasting. I think there's more than a lot of broadcasters think you have a different way of looking at it. You look at the things that are common and work between broadcasting and podcasting. So what are some of those commonalities that I need to address and look at and take within my heart?
Jennifer Gunson 38:02
For me, I really believe this. And like I said, you might not but I really think structuring your break, or structuring your podcast is very important. So I use the two and two together. Because as a radio DJ, you have to be really good at your breaks, or you're not getting the readings. And there's a lot of elements that go into that. And I always say there's a lot of elements that go into structuring a podcast episode, even if it's 45 minutes, 10 minutes, five minutes, whatever it is, you need to have that structure in there. And a lot of people don't, they don't have a beginning, middle and end. They just think that they turn the mic on and they start yakking. And so I like to take what I've learned from radio is really like, make sure you have a lead or a tease in the top part of your your intro like really make us want to come into your podcast. And that's the thing is another one that I like that a lot of people don't necessarily talk about is the one to one communication that I learned at BCIT is that one to one communication is so key for your podcast, because you're not talking to 1000s of people and you might be and that's awesome. Same thing for radio, but how do I connect with you, if you give me that one to one communication that I give you on the radio, and you give that to me in a podcast, it's going to be that more meaningful, because if I am someone selling my contractor services, or my education service or whatever, if I'm talking to you, and I'm teaching you something, it's gonna be more impactful if I'm using you and including you and making you feel special. So I do think that there's a lot of similarities between radio and podcasting, which you might not but it's okay I do like I think structure your break having one on one communication and really knowing when to stop talking.
Matt Cundill 39:47
I think you're exactly right. So yeah, it's a break. Can you get into your break, can you get out of your break, know how to get in, know how to get out, and then make sure that the content is there. I used to write my breaks out in point form, which is the same way that I do these interviews, I totally love that. I totally love what you just said there. And maybe I don't recognize it, because I've been doing it for 30 some odd years now. And that's just Well, everybody knows how to do a radio break. New podcasters when they start, don't come with that knowledge that radio people do about how to build that break. So I'm glad you mentioned that, get in, get out and then have all the points ready to go in the middle. And keep it flexible. Write it out in pencil.
Jennifer Gunson 40:29
Yeah, and I think that's the thing a lot of people don't realize, and you probably got over your career, too, is like, as a radio DJ, a lot of people think that we just turn the mic on. But they don't realize how much we research that day before we go on there. And like you said, I use bullet points as well. Doesn't mean I'm going to sound- this is another misconception. A lot of people are like, well, I don't want to script my podcast, because I'm gonna sound not like off the cuff and like natural. And it's like, well, yeah, I get that. But you also have to have points. Because if you don't research your topic, or have the points that you're gonna talk about, you're gonna fall off the rails really quick. And that's why I loved what you said about in and out. That's what I always remember is like, how do you get in? And how do you get out? And when you fail at a radio break so many times and you don't know to get out? You never make that mistake again. So it's really great to bring on to podcasting. Because, again, a lot of people and I don't blame them. They don't know how to do this, especially if they've never turned the mic on. It's like, how do I get into the podcast topic or even interviewing? Interviewing- I have so many skills from radio that I could take over to podcasting. A lot of people, and again, I'm not blaming anyone, do not know how to do interviews properly. And interviewing is one area that I think it's so interesting that a lot of podcasters want to start off, they don't want to start off as a solo podcast, they want to start off as an interview podcast, and interviews are so hard and there's art to them.
Matt Cundill 41:47
Yeah. And most of them actually start off with one of two things: a reading of their LinkedIn bio, or the question, tell me a little bit about yourself. Tell the audience about yourself. At which point I'm done. Tell me about yourself is the worst question. Because some people are shy, and they're not going to give you anything good. But some people aren't shy, and then they talk too much. And on both occasions, it's a failed first question.
Jennifer Gunson 42:15
Yeah, I've definitely used that one in the past. But that's just because like, it depends on to like, who I'm talking to, I try to gear it to. But I agree with you, like we all get in these habits, as well as listening to other podcasts. And that's something else people don't do, is listen to other people's podcasts to see how it is, like don't obviously copy them verbatim. But see what's out there in different ways. Because again, a lot of people don't necessarily want to put the work into it either, or get better or do it. They just say oh, it's so easy. I'm gonna crack the mic open and do this.
Matt Cundill 42:46
With that said, I ask- pretty much the first question on this show is the same. Why did you want to get into radio, tell me why you wanted to get in broadcasting, something along those lines. Because I think it's one of the more interesting questions that everybody wants to hear from other broadcasters. And it's a great way to break the ice, and you're gonna get a different story every time.
Jennifer Gunson 43:05
Well, I find it funny because I see it happen all the time, even on big news stations, especially in the States is like- and I hear on podcast all the time now is in school, they taught us, never ask the question. If say you're interviewing someone at the Olympics, never ask them what it feels like to win gold. Because they're like, of course, it feels great to win gold. Find something more interesting about that. But it's funny because you listen to a lot of different podcasts and stuff. And everyone will be like, what was it like? They're interviewing this big, like, athletic celebrity. They're like, what did it feel like to win this award? I was like- but everyone still does it. So I find it interesting.
Matt Cundill 43:43
So share a couple of hacks if you will. You are hosting your podcast predominantly on Transistor. Good Canadian podcast hosting place. Correct? Shout out to Justin Jackson?
Jennifer Gunson 43:54
I have some podcasts on Transistor. I have one on there. But yes.
Matt Cundill 43:57
Oh, play the game.
Jennifer Gunson 43:59
Oh, sorry. Okay. Yes. Yes. Love Transistor. Thank you.
Matt Cundill 44:04
Where do you get your transcripts?
Jennifer Gunson 44:05
I'm actually using the software Eddie right now, which is owned by Headliner. I really liked the group Headliner, I find they have excellent customer service, and they're constantly improving. I also use Descript as well, but I'm really getting into Eddie lately.
Matt Cundill 44:20
Yeah, I was asked to beta test that a little bit. And can you get separate speakers with that?
Jennifer Gunson 44:24
Yeah, you can. What I predominantly like using Eddie for though is that especially if I'm editing for a client, and there's multiple people on the project, that sometimes if they cut something that they wanted cut, and then they want brought back in, it's way easier you can highlight on Eddie, and then it just literally- you press the download button and it just takes that audio clip, and then I can insert it back in, so it saves me having to go through the whole audio file. But you know, a lot of these programs are still, like, very new, and so they're all coming up with their own things, and there's some pros and cons to all of them. But yeah, I was using Otter.ai first and then I went over to Eddie.
Matt Cundill 45:06
So what do you do with the Headliners and the audiograms that you make? How do you use those to promote the shows? Or do you?
Jennifer Gunson 45:13
Well usually have someone that else that I work with that will do like the podcast growth and strategy. So like a lot of times too, like, the audiograms are just used on their social media platforms and their channels to get them out there. And then using the transcript, we will usually take and turn it into a blog for SEO purposes. So just using the transcripts, which a lot of people are still not doing.
Matt Cundill 45:35
Well, transcripts are a pain in the ass.
Jennifer Gunson 45:36
And they are, yeah. And the AI doesn't know a lot of- like, it's good. But like, especially with names, you're- especially if someone says a hard name throughout it doesn't usually work.
Matt Cundill 45:48
Or if it's a medical podcast, or if your guest's name is Patsy and then your transcript comes out Nazi.
Jennifer Gunson 45:54
Oh, oh. Okay, not good. Not good.
Matt Cundill 45:57
Did you have fun at Podcast Movement? And how come we didn't meet at Podcast Movement?
Jennifer Gunson 46:01
I don't know. I feel like we should have met, because you're so fun. But I...
Matt Cundill 46:06
You weren't hanging out in the Fun Zone.
Jennifer Gunson 46:08
I honestly didn't meet any other Canadians, which is so funny. I met maybe one other Canadian from Victoria.
Matt Cundill 46:14
But there's lots of Canadians there. They just don't put like Canadian flags on our badges. Right? Jesse Brown is there. I was there. Sarah Burke was there from Indie 88. I guess we all just fit in in the end.
Jennifer Gunson 46:27
Yeah, I don't know. I don't know why I didn't meet you. I met somebody- I have to say, I always meet great people, though, through the other people of Podcast Movement. Because that happened to me the year before, too, is somebody else that I met there introduced me to somebody that lives like five minutes away from me. And now we do a lot of work together. So it was like, maybe I just need to go meet the certain people. And then they introduced me to after, you know.
Matt Cundill 46:50
Was Podcast Superfriend, Jon Gay, from JAG in Detroit podcast. Also, with a radio background. It's funny. It's like the radio people all find each other in the end.
Jennifer Gunson 46:58
We do, because like I was telling him, I said, I don't- he was the first one I found. And now you're the second one. So I am glad to know that there's other people who have radio backgrounds, because everyone else I meet does not have a radio background. So.
Matt Cundill 47:11
Did you have a favorite session?
Jennifer Gunson 47:13
Yes. Funny enough, it was the radio broadcasting one. And I really liked it because they were talking about how radio has been established for so long. And now that obviously podcasting is taking off, that- you gotta remember that podcasting is still in its first inning opposed to radio, which has been around for a long time. So that was kind of neat to hear. Because, like I said, there's still like not many people that I meet are especially doing what you and I do. And so it kind of puts it into perspective. But what I also liked was that they're trying to figure out how radio fits with this podcast. So they had Jared Edwards, he's got a station in the UK. And again, he's got a background in radio, but now he does podcast radio, and he's got a station full of podcasts and promotes different podcasts on there. So and there- they were at Podcast Movement 'cause they were opening some in the US as well. So it'll be interesting to see how that whole model takes off. And, again, I just have a soft spot for radio. So anytime you can put radio into a podcast topic, I'm there, you hooked me.
Matt Cundill 48:18
What's radio doing wrong, right now? Or if you could wave your magic wand and make radio do something to really make it go? What do you think it is?
Jennifer Gunson 48:27
I really feel that yes, some of them are getting podcasts now. But I really don't feel that radio is necessarily moving with the times. And I mean that in the fact that like, a lot of the cars coming out now are not going to have radio in it,or it's going to be an extra purchase that you have to have. And so that's where a lot of people access a radio. So I think, you know, like, I think a lot of their podcast shows are great. And having a podcast here is awesome. But how do you keep that- still if people want that genuine local content, how do you keep that and how do you switch it over to a podcast? I don't necessarily know the answer to that. But I think that sometimes radio is still trying to make it in radio, which is not necessarily where it's going. Like I don't think radio will die. But like I said, once it goes out of cars, I don't know what's going to happen.
Matt Cundill 49:22
Jen, thanks so much for taking the time to be on this particular podcast right here. I really appreciate it.
Jennifer Gunson 49:27
Oh, thank you so much. It's it's a lot of fun.
Tara Sands (Voiceover) 49:29
The Sound Off Podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski. Edited by Chloe Emond-Lane. Social media by Aidan Glassey. Another great creation from the Soundoff Media Company. There's always more at soundoffpodcast.com.