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  • Writer's pictureMatt Cundill

Matty Staudt: Podcasting, Podle.co and the Podcast Academy

Matty Staudt is the owner of Jam Street Media, a board member of the Podcast Academy, about to launch Podle.co and .... looking for his next opportunity. All at once.


In this episode, we are going to talk about podcasting growth and opportunities with industry experts, the pros and cons of remote work in the podcast industry, and his experience of starting a network, despite initial reservations, and the importance of cross-promotion within the network.

As two radio veterans, we expressed our frustration with working alone in the podcast industry, desiring more human interaction and creative collaboration, the challenges of building a podcast network in today's industry, including the need for dedicated sales and content that resonates with listeners.


And naturally, Matty expressed concern about the lack of monetization in podcasting, particularly in comparison to video content, and the potential for low-quality ads to harm the industry. He pulls no punches and that it why we love having him on the show.


We also discussed his upcoming business venture called Podle.co which pairs creators and producers. Matt Cundill Voiceovers might just get involved with this. As well the value of the Podcast Academy and our uncertainty around celebrity podcasts, with many failing to gain traction or provide valuable content.


 

TRANSCRIPTION

Tara Sands (Voiceover)  00:02

The Sound Off Podcast. The show about podcast and broadcast starts now.


Matt Cundill  00:13

Matty Staudt once warned us about starting a podcast network. The pitfalls and perils of trying to get strangers to agree. Today, he's got a different outlook when it comes to the opportunities podcast networks can offer. Matty's been in podcasting since the before times of 2010. Back then he was working with Stitcher, and he's seen a lot of podcast growth from the ground floor. Today he sits as a board member on the Podcast Academy, and will tell you why you should join it. He's also launching Podle.co. Podle.co. Think Fiverr with more accountability, less artwork with microphones in them, and voiceovers recorded on Blue Yetis. Yes. That's what I think of Fiverr. And now, Matty Staudt joins me from Los Angeles, California. Matty, how you been?


Matty Staudt  01:02

Matt. How are things in the great white north?


Matt Cundill  01:04

You know, we're having a nice winter. It's not as cold as it has been in past years, which leads everybody to be suspicious that a big flood is coming.


Matty Staudt  01:12

Come to LA, all we've had is rain and floods and mudslides. But on the whole you can never complain about weather here. So, I don't.


Matt Cundill  01:25

You know, I saw a post from you a few weeks ago that, you know, said that you really look forward to working again with people. And I think in the podcast space, we have really gotten used to working alone. But (a) it's lonely, and (b) I don't think we get to exhaust as much creativity as we possibly could. And you said, I want to go work with people again.


Matty Staudt  01:45

Yeah.


Matt Cundill  01:46

How'd you get to that spot?


Matty Staudt  01:48

I've been an entrepreneur for, you know, quite a few years now. And you know, one thing I teach my students in a course that I'm trying to develop for a university is just the mental part of being an entrepreneur. You have months where things are going really good. When I left my last gig and went out to consult, I had more consulting business than I could handle. And then all the doom and gloom happens, and all the repercussions of the overspending and bad caretaking of the podcast industry by some of the bigger players came down, and all of a sudden all the businesses gone. You know, so that's a lonely place to be anyway. And you're responsible for everything. I never wanted to be a business person. It's just the role I've ended up in, in a lot of ways. So that's lonely enough as it is. But when you're working from home, and you're a people person, and most of us that are in this industry, you know, like I started on air, I've been behind a mic since I was a 16 year old kid, I like people. And when you're on Zoom, and you're having these interactions, you're having interactions with people, but there's always an agenda and a time limit. And there's none of that walking around and like, hey, I had an idea about something. Let's talk about this, you know, that happens in creative environments. It's happened to radio, you know, most radio folks work from home now and just record breaks, they don't interact with anybody. And it's happening to our industry, it's happened to our industry. I don't think it's 100% bad thing. Like, you know, remote recording is great. I love it. I do some pilot work, and I've had some folks who want to do live with cameras. And it's a lot of work to do that. But it's also a lot more fun, you know, but just economically, we need to be able to be lean and mean and do things remotely. But boy, do I miss working in a company where there's resources and people and you can go down the hall and talk to the salespeople and give them ideas. I think that's a- it's important.


Matt Cundill  03:37

In 2021, you were on stage in Nashville at Podcast Movement- speaking of trying to get together, that was a time when we couldn't all necessarily be together. I couldn't get across the border to go to that. But I did watch you online, and you gave a great little piece on why you should never ever start a network. And those things that you said in that session ring through my mind every day. Because I've got a network. And I went to you and I said, Matty, I don't have a network, even though there's a bunch of podcasts that I work with. And then you looked at me and said, are you running cross promos through the network? And I said yes, and you go, you have a network. And so here I am with this big network. Let's fast forward a few years, though. Do you still feel the same way, and how do you look at networks in podcasting now?


Matty Staudt  04:24

Let me backtrack. My goal for my talk was not not to build a network, but to understand the economics of it and all of the pitfalls. And there are quite a few. If you're not having dedicated sales, if you don't have content that's in the same genre, if you're funding the content, you know, those are all things that are really hard to do. Today, there is a lot of content out there that are either homeless or at homes that aren't treating them well. I love iHeart and Spotify, they are big giant networks, but they have shows that if they're not hitting certain numbers, they're not getting paid attention to, you know, so I think building a network today, if you have a little funding and you can build some new shows and do some owned and operated, there's money there still, but you have to understand it's not the old days. You know, we don't build podcast networks anymore. We build cross platform networks, you know, we've invested a lot of time into YouTube and understanding it and- and I've seen better results on YouTube as far as actual people watching and listening than I have with audio in a lot of respects, because you got to understand people consume content different ways. And if you have a piece of content, and you're building a community, and a community needs to be given what they like where they like it, the problem is that we have sales and agencies who don't get that, and they're just- what's the easiest thing to do? Oh, let's just sell programmatic and stick it all in there. Let's not convert radio ads into podcast ads. Let's take low CPMs and just fill up our soft breaks, which is what happened to radio, and why radio is failing, you know? Giant stop loads, bad commercials, low hanging fruit that's not being monetized like video, and you know, when in radio's case, podcasts, I just see a lot of that same stuff happening in our industry, and it really worries me.


Matt Cundill  06:18

So I got towards the end of 2023, and I thought to myself, if you have an niche podcast, 1000 downloads a month, whatever, you're in better shape than the podcast that is trying to get 50 to 100 to 200,000 downloads a month. If you're living over in that spot, it is pure calamity. And I see this, because I work with a few of these- these podcasts, where we need more downloads. We want to charge a higher CPM, we need more people listening, on and on and on. That world is chaos. Meanwhile, a niche podcast, they go completely unaffected by all the things that we read every day in the news, podcasting wise. Does that sound right?


Matty Staudt  06:59

Well, absolutely. You know, and again, it comes down to sales. If you have somebody who understands what community you're selling, and says, hey, I've got 2000 people that are into- I hate using this reference, because I'm a tennis player, and I hate pickleball players. But let's say you're focused on pickleball. Great, go to every local pickleball court, go to every pickleball thing, they'll want 5000 pickleball players to pay attention to their ads, that's an easier sell. But you have to go out and do it. Like you know that it's not the same as sitting and like taking, you know, okay, well agency sent in a request for X downloads in this genre. They're not even looking at the shows and what they're putting on it. You know, we have all these great tools like Sounder has for contextual targeting, that people aren't using properly, I don't think, as far as like, really targeting the ads. I mean, I listened to a podcast recently that was about people who went on vacation, and they got killed. Every ad that played, it was the same ad. It was for Hilton Honors. And I'm like, is anybody paying attention to what's running on these shows? And they're not. So I would agree with you. The other problem with that- that model is that there are so many, and I'm just gonna say it, bullshit products out there, that yeah, you can get 1000s of downloads for a few dollars, you know, less than that. But they're not real. And the RSS feed companies don't give a shit, because guess what? They're selling against programmatic, behooves them to take these shitty downloads. And it's not all the companies, and I'm gonna just say one to get it out of the way. It's not MoPod, like I- you know, but they're expensive compared to some of these other companies. But you get a Dashboard. And like, I- when I test all of this stuff, you know, this is one of the good things about my position in the industry, is when something new comes out, people send it to me, and, you know, for good or bad, I give them my feedback, usually for free. But I'll see, you know, if I get 10-15 thousand downloads in a day, that's not real. If there's nobody who's listening before or after, that's not real. Those are bots, you can't tell me they're not. And if you're okay with that, that's fine. But you're not building any community that way. And it's obvious when you see a podcast that says, oh, we have 100,000 downloads, and you look at their social. And you look at the people who are interacting with the show, and there's nobody. Do you really have 100,000 people who listen to your show? Doesn't seem logical to me.


Matt Cundill  07:05

Yeah, so I've seen a few of that as well. A lot of browser traffic, for instance.


Matty Staudt  08:23

It's all browser traffic. Yeah.


Matt Cundill  08:24

Yeah. In- in one particular area. Oh, I'm going to drop 50 bucks, say, on this app, and oh, look, all of a sudden now I've got all sorts of traffic, from a browser, from the same place, all in the same day. I thought we saw this problem with, you know, IAB standards and getting together to, you know, to filter out this stuff.


Matty Staudt  09:44

Anytime you make a standard, there's- there is some shyster who will find a way around it. And our industry is full of fucking shysters. It is full of folks who are here to do one thing: suck as much money out of this industry as they can and not give a crap about what- what they leave in the wake. And this is why we are where we are with our industry. It's not the content creators' fault. It's not the people who don't like podcasts. It's not that more people weren't listening. It's this end of the industry. And if you look- like when I talk to people who want me to consult for them, all they want to talk to me about is monetization and promotion. And that's great. Because everybody thinks their content is good. And it's like, let me tell you, I'm looking at your completion rates. And that's the first thing I look at. Your completion rates are under 50%. Why are you wasting money promoting a podcast that obviously not- people aren't listening to? Because, you know, they want the numbers and they want the- you know, people like to look at numbers, they like to see charts, and they'll pay people to do that for them in nefarious ways. And let me say this, not always knowing it's nefarious. Because the salespeople will tell you anything you want to hear, you know, they will. They will say hey, these are IAB compliant. These are real listeners, they're coming from here and here, you're gonna have, you know, subscribers, you know, all of these things. But the proof's in the pudding, just run some tests. I mean, it's- it's one of the reasons, you know, we- my partner and I are working on Podle, is to have a place for folks to leave reviews and actually talk about things that they're using in an honest way, and not have a third party telling them, oh, these products are great. Well, yeah, you're telling me these products are great, because people are paying you to tell me these products are great. I can't trust that.


Matt Cundill  11:26

So tell me about Podle, because I'm just learning about this now. And I'm interested because I think I can be a participant to this.


Matty Staudt  11:35

So Dante Bernie was a student of mine at the Academy of Art University. He was a really good coder, but he was really into- you know, I teach podcasting. And he really wanted to- he was in that. And I was like, you know, I've mentored him over the years. And he has done really big things in LinkedIn and Greenfly, and he runs a lot of the stuff for TMZ now, and I posted, it'd be nice if we had a Yelp for podcast service providers. So we started talking about that. And that would have been pretty simple to put together. And there's some people who have tried that over the years. And there's, you know, you can find some stuff like that. I wanted to build something that's actually really going to be helpful for the industry. So the- the things that I see in the industry is, right now, there are more freelancers than ever. There are more people who don't know how to navigate that world. And there are a lot of products out there that are fugazy, they're just not real, they're not good. So Podle is a combo Fiverr and Yelp for the podcast industry. When we are done, and- and here's the thing, when we started building this, we started looking for some funding, there's not much funding out there to come to the podcast industry. And then, you know, the other thing we decided is, we really want to keep this third party, we really want to make this something that nobody can influence. So we built it ourselves. You know, we've put all the dev work in, I've learned so much about developing marketplace websites than I would ever want to know, and it's taken a lot of time. So right now we're importing, you know, about 600 companies that will be in there. So once it's up, if you have a company, you can claim your business for free, and you can respond to reviews and things like that. If you're a content creator, you can log in, and separate profiles so that people can see that you're a real podcaster. And if you're a freelancer, you can go build your freelance industry, the same kind of structure as a Fiverr with, you know, three tier, and only pay a 5% commission, which is 15% lower than Fiverr, we plan to not take any money other than, you know, sponsored posts. But to start, we're not taking any money from anybody, we want to get this out there to folks, because I think it's needed. I think people need to have a trusted place- and not just podcasts, also YouTube, that you can go and- and- and see what people are saying about these products, and not have to go to a million, you know, chat rooms where, you know, it's some dude who's been podcasting for five days, posts all the time about products, and they don't even know what they're talking about, like, you know, someplace where you can feel like it's legitimate.


Matt Cundill  13:53

Tell me about AI, because I follow you, and one of the nice things about following you is that you tell me about all the new toys that are out there. So what are some of the things that you see in AI that are- can really help a podcaster make their life better?


Matty Staudt  14:10

So many things. AI is really good for writing and getting started on projects. You know, for me, I use it for- we do a lot of pilots and pitch decks and shows. It's cut my time down by four hours on some of this stuff. You know, I use- for show descriptions, I've been using Sounder's new tool, which is still in development, it's in beta, but it uses their contextual targeting, it's not ChatGPT based, so I really like it because when I get a show description from them, it's in the right tone. And like, they have the right people tagged and the social posts are tagged correctly. So I like that. Oscar that was at A-Cast started a new company, which I think everybody who's in ad sales should be using, WonderCraft, because it can convert anything written into audio with music, and it's really good. It's really neat, you can even put your own voice in. So instead of running these crappy radio ads, you know, convert them to a podcast ad, they're more effective. The listeners like them better, the hosts like them better. But again, it takes these companies to embrace this new technology. And a lot of them aren't. A lot of people in our industry who are on the creative side are pushing back where, you know, I tell writers and hosts like, listen, don't push back on it, learn to use it. Have it helped you get better, don't, you know, just poopoo it because you think it's taking jobs, it's maybe taking jobs that shouldn't have existed, you know, given the economics of our world anyway, you know, like, the days of doing a 15-episode storytelling podcast, that takes two years to build and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars are over. Unfortunately, I was are the ones I liked to listen to. You gotta make them leaner and meaner, and they've got to be on more, they've got to be weekly, bi weekly, at least. It's so funny, these companies don't mind pumping millions of dollars into bringing in celebrities. But when it comes to updating their technology and their ad, the way they do their ads and their promos, and making sure they're targeted correctly. I just- it just baffles me.


Matt Cundill  16:12

I totally get it. On one front, when it comes to ads, a company will go and get a voiceover talent to go in the studio to create the ad. Read it for radio, we're going to use it as well for TV, we're going to use it as well online. But then when it comes to podcast, that's a different read. And so I've actually convinced a few companies- I'll record the podcast ad. I'll be the voice of that. I will provide you with the announcer-read way to do it, where it's a headphone experience speaking to the listener, not at the listener. And a few people have come around on it, and do understand it and have bought into it. Which is what I'm going to be putting on- on- on Podle.


Matty Staudt  16:56

Okay.


Matt Cundill  16:57

Right? That's- Right? That- so it just makes sense. That that- that that- so thank you for introducing me to that, and your new- and your newfound invention. That's great.


Matty Staudt  17:05

It is, you know, one of the products that's out there- I mean, and you know, YouTube creation and YouTube upkeep is- is a lot of work. Shorts are a daily. So any tools you can use to shorten that load. I think the companies that are doing combo AI and people to create, like, TikToks, and things like that. Those are the companies that are- like that's the way to go. Yeah, it's not something you should rely solely on. But it needs somebody who understands how to use it. And it's also bureaucracy and bringing in new tools, you have to go through a million hoops to get anything done. And to get back to the network thing, I think this is the time to start a network. If you can pull the content and you can keep it lean and mean, there's money there, there's sales money there, and- but, you know, you need to have a good sales department, you need to find somebody who understands community and selling cross platform, and you need to be making content for all- everything. And again, that's- that is an undertaking. I miss the old days, man. Used to show up at the radio station, 4:30 in the morning, prep, go on the air, talk for four hours. 11am I was out. Same thing with podcast. Used to record it, throw it up there, done. Those days are way over.


Matt Cundill  18:18

Yeah, in radio they call that four and out the door?


Matty Staudt  18:21

Yeah, well, mornings we didn't get- get to do- quite do four and out the door. But it was certainly a lot easier than today, you know, where, you know, there's so much content to be created.


Matt Cundill  18:32

I know there's a lot of people listening to this going, who's this guy Matty, and why is he throwing all these flags about the industry? By the way, all this sounds completely normal to me, because we've both seen this movie before in broadcast and in radio. If you follow the radio trades, you will see there are companies who are- have to be rescued from the depths of bankruptcy, because of all this stuff. And so in podcasting, we're really beginning to feel that sort of stuff now, in an era, when- you just touched on it, you do need some TikTok or you need some YouTube or you need some Reels. And video production is three, maybe four times more expensive than audio creation. So welcome to it. It was already on the margins before, and now it's just- it can be expensive to do this.


Matty Staudt  19:16

Yeah, and it doesn't have to be using, you know, modern tools. I mean, I'm always impressed with Riverside. And you know what they- you know, they keep updating and you know, when a company like Spotify says, hey, we're moving things over to a company we don't own. I'm sure they bought a big interest in it, but that's a big deal.


Matt Cundill  19:32

Or some affiliate marketing.


Matty Staudt  19:34

Yeah. And that was one of the things I gotta say, I was always proud about, you know, my time at iHeart, is we were very innovative at that time. You know, when it was just Chris Peterson and I, no other radio companies had any dedicated people to podcasting other than us. And they've done a good job in investing in technology and companies to help with that, you know, and I think that's the- that's how you have to go, you have to invest in technology. You know me, I've been in this industry almost 17 years now. You know, since we started Stitcher. This is my industry. I love it. I feel like, you know, I helped build it. That's why I get so angry when I see bad players. When I see people who are not looking at the long term industry. Our industry is still baby, maybe- maybe a toddler at this point, it's got a lot of- it's still got a lot of way to go. There's still lots of listeners, they still want good content. But we have to keep that in mind, and stop looking at like, what's the quickest way to make a few bucks off- off of these poor folks who are trying to start out in podcasting.


Matt Cundill  20:37

Well it starts with a show, and any show whether it's a radio show, or a radio station, or a podcast, it's three years to build an audience. And so a lot of people aren't really ready for that. They want to- they want to cash out by then. And you're just getting traction after three years.


Matty Staudt  20:51

And there's no cashing out, like, you know, for a while there, you can sell shows. And you know, I have three or four shows that would have sold two years ago that are sitting on the shelf, you know, that we did pilots for, that we can't get an investment on. It takes time, it takes skill. One of my biggest beefs is, I work with celebrities and folks from other industries. And they all just think they know more than us because, "I make TV. I know this." Like, yeah, but you don't understand my industry. And I understand my industry. And I know what listeners- I know who listens to stuff. And you know, that's why we're so big on building out personas. And it's why- you know, you and I both know Christian at Potter, it's why I like a company like Potter, which has really done a really good job of creating dashboards of personas, of who's listening, and where they're at, and all of that. That's how I start any podcast process. I don't start with the content. I start with who's- who's listening. It's the old radio thing, and it does Bob want to hear this? Yes, Bob likes this content that will do this. This is not up Bob's aelly, let's not do that.


Matt Cundill  21:47

What does Bob do for a living? How old is Bob? What teams does he cheer for?


Matty Staudt  21:51

What other shows does he listen to? What- why can't he- how much time does he have to listen to podcasts?


Matt Cundill  21:56

What kind of car does he drive?


Matty Staudt  21:57

These are all things that modern podcast creators don't always think of, because we still have this stigma, that the whole phrase, anybody can podcast. Yeah, anybody can, but they shouldn't. It's okay to be a listener. You don't have to be a podcaster. You know, I hate to say this, sometimes I get insulted. I'm like, you know, I've done this my whole life. And you think you can just start something and within six months be at a level that somebody that's been doing this forever is- can- is at? And don't get me wrong, some people, natural talent, get in, understand it, can do it. But the majority of folks are- are just spinning their wheels with content that never had a chance and- and throwing money at it. And, you know, for me, it's like, if you want to make a podcast and do it for fun, great, do it. Man, we- do all the ones you want. But you know, when you start coming in expecting to make money, and be at a level where you're making money off of ads, like- it's a tough row to hoe. I mean, you know, if you're not at 20,000 downloads an episode and you think you're gonna make money off of ad sales, you're sorely mistaken.


Matt Cundill  23:02

Which brings me to the Duchess of Sussex, who had a podcast, I think it was on Spotify, really didn't go anywhere. But Limonada has-


Matty Staudt  23:10

And evidently didn't do her own interviews, according to Bill Simmons.


Matt Cundill  23:13

That's right. Didn't do well. But you know, there are celebrities out there. I look at a Chris Jericho and a Steve Austin, who have, you know, successful podcasts. There's some people who are just great storytellers. And there are other celebrities who just can't get their podcast off the ground. So I guess I'm asking, is the celebrity podcast- are we done with that yet?


Matty Staudt  23:34

Um, no. I mean, I think you know- we do pilots, and so what we do is we work with these folks to like create a show that's actually going to have legs, and it's something that they'll want to do and keep doing and actually is up their alley. You know, the podcasts, if you look at, that have been successful with celebrities. Let's look at Office Ladies. Or this- the Always Sunny podcast, they're talking about stuff they really know, and that people really want to know about. I don't need another celebrity mom who has 15 nannies telling other mothers how to be moms, like, Jiminy Christmas.  You know, I live in these neighborhoods, I live in LA. I don't see any of these people take care of their own kids. You know, they're- they got 15 nannies walking the kids. And I'm just using that as an example. But I think those kinds of podcast- like do we need another celebrity telling us how to be mentally healthy? I don't, I- you know, honestly, most of the celebrities I know are the most batshit crazy people I met. But I don't think it's over. But as long as companies are still making these big announcements and spending the money, I look at some companies and their original mission statements and their funding and- and then they're putting out celebrity podcasts, and it's like, is that really what you said you were gonna do? And- but we don't know the details on some, and- and then some companies really liked the press release, you know, that is really all they care about is having a press release with a big name, to bring attention to their company, to bring in more funding.


Matt Cundill  23:40

The stock goes up.


Matty Staudt  25:01

It's not just a "let's make money from the podcast" game anymore, it's how can we use and leverage the celebrity to up our other shows or up our other things? I think celebrities are great to anchor networks that have podcasters that aren't celebrities, you know, if you can get a good one. And I know I'm critical a lot of the celebrity podcasts. I mean, I make them. I do believe in them, because you know, having somebody- it's the same thing I tell anybody that's new to the business, what kind of following do you have? Okay, you don't have a following. So you do know you have a long row to hoe. Or somebody that's got a huge following, if they can pull that following and make content that that following, again, the community likes, their community, then that's going to be a successful podcast. But just pulling in a couple of celebs to tell stories about their friends- I think those days are pretty much over, you know, the just rambling, self important, let me drop names and bring in my- I've seen so many pitches where it's, blah, blah, blah, will bring in his celebrity friends and they'll talk about their lives, like, pbbblt. Nope.


Matt Cundill  26:01

You know, some people don't want to consume the celebrity on the audio level. They- I'm fine just watching you on Instagram. I'm fine watching you on TV. I'm fine consuming you in this- in this other space. Gordon Ramsay, for instance, doesn't need a podcast, I can get him on TV, on Fox, a couple hours a week, anywhere.


Matty Staudt  26:20

I mean, it's about- you know, let's just say if I was Gordon Ramsay, and I was going to do a podcast, of course, I would do video. And the audio, I would- you know, it's got to be like something that I can only get from Gordon Ramsay, which is, dude knows a lot about cooking. And being a chef, and running a business, and running multiple businesses, and building an industry out of- out of one business. That's what I would want to hear Gordon Ramsay talk about, like, that's interesting to me, because that is- I like self made people. I don't have a lot of time for people born on third and think they hit a triple. I came from very, very, very meager beginnings in West Virginia. People sometimes look at celebrities and don't realize, like, hey, this person worked their ass off to get where they're at. And that's the story I want to hear. Not about how awesome their life is now.


Tara Sands (Voiceover)  27:06

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Mary Anne Ivison (Voiceover)  27:21

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Matt Cundill  27:36

I think I can claim that I've been in podcasting since 2007. But hear me out on how I'm gonna get there. And that's that I had the foresight to take a morning radio show- I was the program director- and put that up on Apple and into the iTunes Store and promote it on the air. And we got some pretty good numbers for that after-show. So that was my first podcast experience back in 2007. So I feel like I can say that I've been podcasting since 2007, or had a relationship with it. But I totally love the after-show for radio, or what they would call in Britain, catch up radio. And I think you pointed out, using some data from Bumper, that there is still value for radio and the after-show.


Matty Staudt  28:21

I started the first one in the United States, as far as I know, in 2007. I'd left my morning show, because of the restrictions that were coming in. I did FM talk and it was like, yes, you can't talk about this anymore. You're gonna do this, and- and my host came back and said, I don't know- I'm going crazy. I'm like, start a podcast. I have this new company, Stitcher. We'll put it on there. That podcast ended up doing millions and millions and millions and millions of downloads. And there's about 15 people at CBS who have taken credit for it since then. But I know the host and I started it, and the whole thing- when you have a community and you have what we call on radio a P1, you should service that P1 any way you can, and an after-show podcast is 100% servicing that P1. And if your salespeople can't wrap their mind around- these are more valuable than your radio listeners. Because let's be honest with you, the radio ratings, PeopleMeter, Nielsen, is bullshit. Bullshit. 1500 people on a market of 7 million are going to tell me who's listening to what and how long? I don't buy it, because who takes the PeopleMeter? I don't know. I don't know anybody who would take a PeopleMeter and carry the thing around, like, it's usually folks who are on economic hard times, the same folks who want to win stuff on the radio. So they get super served, and while you're super serving them, the actual people who- who will spend money, and want to spend time with good content, are left in the dust, and that's- that's radio in the United States in a nutshell. Mornings are the one place where you can still have personality and do that, but you've got to be there for people 24/7 like all their other content. So that means an after-show, that means doing YouTube, that means doing TikTok. But again, if there's nobody there selling it and packaging it, and you're a radio host, why would you do that stuff? You're not getting paid any extra, you know, they'll throw it in your contract maybe. But just because it's in your contract doesn't mean you're gonna put a lot of effort into it.


Matt Cundill  30:09

Did we solve the problem about pitching ideas and not having them stolen? And this is an old radio thing, because I used to have to write reports to prospective employers. Give me a report on the radio station, and how you would fix it. Then I would send the report off, I wouldn't get the job, but all my ideas would wind up on the air two weeks later. Do we have that issue in podcasting?


Matty Staudt  30:32

Of course, I mean, I've- I literally had a company reach out to me about a branded show. And I put together, here's what- here's what I would do for this show. And they didn't hire me. And then, three months later, they launch a show. Exactly the format, exactly, everything that I pitched them. I did send them a note and say, hey, I'm glad that you used all my ideas on your podcast. But that's about all I can do. Now, we will do NDAs now. So that- Okay. You know, when we talk, it's under a disclosure agreement, you're- you know, you can't use the ideas. I don't do that all the time. In fact, I rarely do it. You know, I'll do it with like a big company. But I think that's- that has just been the case in creative forever. Everybody claims to have started something, you know, Opie and Anthony, when I worked for them, we did Whip it Out Wednesdays, which- horrible, but anyway, that's what we did. Every radio show in the country started doing their version. Flash 'Em Fridays, or Take 'Em Out Tuesdays or something like that.


Matt Cundill  31:31

Okay, I ripped that off, too.


Matty Staudt  31:33

Okay, exactly. You can't get mad at that because, again, you know, imitation is the highest form of flattery. But yeah, it is galling, to do it. And what- what's happened in radio in the United States is one- one radio show comes up with one good radio bit, and then everybody does it. And you know, they all use the same actors. So that the same actors, which by the way, if you listen to radio, and somebody is calling somebody, and they had this fantastic story, and they've cheated or something like that, that's all fake. Those are actors, all of it. It's all- it's all theater of the mind. You can't call people on the radio, and put them on the air without them knowing. Anyway, my class hates it when I point that out to them. But then you end up having cookie cutter morning shows, because oh, this worked here, let's do- make every show do it. Even though at night- might not fit the tone of the show, or the people on the show, or the- the audience in that city. Because as you know, cities vary greatly. You know, there's- I look at Mojo in Detroit, a really good friend of mine and somebody I respect immensely in industry. That dude is Detroit. Knows Detroit, when people leave, they still listen to Mojo, they go online and find Mojo because he talks to the city. San Francisco went through a phase where like, you know, I went back to radio for a little bit to Live 105. And they wanted to bring in a show from LA, and it failed miserably. Because people in LA and people up north are different. Different folks. People up north hate LA. San Francisco, Oakland, hate LA. Hate everything about it, hate the people... for no good reason. People in LA love the Bay Area. So they don't understand like, what do you mean, you guys don't like this? It's like, you just don't understand. It's ingrained in us not to like you.


Matt Cundill  33:12

We know this story, when people in LA are putting caps on 49ers fans buying tickets at Sofi.


Matty Staudt  33:19

Just like I'm from Oakland.


Matt Cundill  33:21

Yeah, you know it's on, right?


Matty Staudt  33:22

I will never root for the San Francisco Giants. But it's funny, people in San Francisco are like, well, we like Oakland, we like the- the- the A's. Like well, you- That's nice. But that's not how we operate.


Matt Cundill  33:34

You said the word "community" a few times so far. And when people come and talk and pitch about their podcast idea, it's going to be big, it's going to have a lot of this, we're gonna get a lot of advertising. It's funny, the word community doesn't come up in those conversations. They're thinking more about downloads and ads. So walk me back to get people thinking about community building and podcasting.


Matty Staudt  34:01

Look at any successful long term podcast that's out there. And I hate ever using Joe Rogan as an example, because he is an outlier. Joe's built a fuck- a community, there's a community, and people, like, are obsessed with him. And- and it's just like I tell hosts, like, yeah, you can have every celebrity guest on you want, but people won't come back because of that. They come back because they like you. They like the host. They want to be part of this community of a show that you've built. And people forget that. And it's like, again, we have so many products, like get guests, have guests, all the guests. It's like, if that's all you're relying on, then your show is not good to begin with. You know, a good show isn't "Hi, I'm Bob. And today we're talking to so and so." Bob, I want to know, do I like Bob? You know, I need to like Bob in order to understand, you know, and know that he has a unique perspective on what he does with his guests. You know, when I did radio, when we had comedians and things on and we were really innovative, and in that sense was, they would come on, and the minute they would start to say, like, can you guys set me up for- Nope, we do not set you up for jokes. You come in and play, and if you play well, you'll be here for hours. If you don't play well, you'll be here one segment. Rogan was a great example. Joe would come in and expect to have to do a Fear Factor interview. And we're like, no, talk about whatever. Then he got into isolation chambers and all this other stuff. And- and then we would have Joe on all the time, because we knew Joe was good content, he'd just come in and, like, here's the news story we're talking about. Joe, what do you think? Blah blah blah. I haven't done my morning show in San Francisco in 17 years, 16 years, something like that. I still have fans who follow everything I do. That's how much of a community we built. And I think that's what's- you know, people forget about podcasting is like, are you interacting with them? And do they want to make you famous, you know? Do they want to tell people about you? That's the most important thing. It's the only thing.


Matt Cundill  35:53

So I did get a chance to go see you at Podcast Movement. You were on a panel, the world famous Podcast Makeover. And here's what happens in this. The artwork goes on the screen, you get the first 30 seconds of the show to listen to. And then you have to make discernments and judgments about the whole thing. And this is something that has changed over the last number of years. Jacobs Media, for a long time, put it on, and Seth Ressler was moderating it. And you were on the panel. But tell me about artwork and tell me about the first 30 seconds of a show, because I still think it's- it's something we don't talk about enough.


Matty Staudt  36:28

No, in fact, I just got- I'm doing a consulting for a niche podcast network. And their problem is that their hosts just start talking, and just start talking to the guests. And they do things like, tell us about yourself. So remember, you have a finite time for a listener to lock into your show. And- and yes, it is fun to start off with cute little clips from the show, and things like that. But unless they're very captivating, they're not going to interest anybody who's never listened to your show. And those are the most important listeners. You know, within that first minute, I need to know what the show is, what it's about, who you are, why are you hosting? Why should I pay attention to you? And then set the table for the guest. So that by the time- you know, this is why we do all of our intros after interviews. I tell people all the time, I'm like, don't do an intro before an interview, because you don't even know what you're going to tease, because you don't know everything you're going to talk about with that guest. We do them afterwards, so that we can really set the table for any guest. I don't care how big they are. So that people are like, oh, can't wait to hear what they say about that. As shows get bigger and grow, yeah, you can have- you have more leeway with that stuff. You know, people will come in, but when you're new, you can't afford to lose somebody. And the other thing is the sound quality. When I come on, and I hear (distorted) here's the host talking, and then (distant) and then the guest is over here. And you know, and- like, I'm out. You know, I say this all the time. I've never met one podcast listener who has said, I listened to x podcast, it didn't sound good. I'll try them back in three months and see if they figured it out. Doesn't happen.


Matt Cundill  38:02

Yeah, well, you hit on about like five or six things right there, including "tell me about yourself." That is- you've lost control of your show, the minute you ask that. Because the answer could be eight seconds, but it is often eight minutes, eight minutes!


Matty Staudt  38:16

Could be eight minutes. You know, I pitch myself all the time. So in 60 to 80 seconds, I can tell you my entire career, like that is-  I'm used to doing it. I do it all the time. Most people aren't- don't do that. And the other thing is, there might be things interesting about them that they don't say, or they won't know to say. Your job is to say the interesting things, so that people want to listen to the podcast. Especially if you're relying on guests that nobody's heard of. Like, oh, I've got Dr. John on, and we're going to talk about heart health. Who's Dr. John, where do they work? Why do I care about Dr. John? What kind of insights does Dr. John have that Dr. Bob doesn't have? You know, those are the types of things.


Matt Cundill  38:54

Yeah, and that's something that you learned in radio. And that's something I also wound up learning, because I was doing a lot of artists interviews. They were sounding a little bit the same. But then at the same time, some of these bands just weren't interesting beyond the turntable hit we were playing, and I don't mean to finger a band, in particular, in the 90s. But Tonic was coming into the station.


Matty Staudt  39:15

I have had experiences with Tonic. So tell me, I bet they're the same.


Matt Cundill  39:20

So the band Tonic, you know, You Wanted More, hits like that. But how was that gonna make this interesting to talk? I don't think we can talk about the music very much. I mean, we could, it's just not that interesting. So Rolling Stone magazine had a little section on their website that said, interesting facts about Tonic, and somebody had posted up there that the lead singer could do armpit farts. 37 different varieties of armpit farts. We had a good radio show that day. It was pretty funny as he demonstrated them all on the air.


Matty Staudt  39:46

Yeah, I mean, and that's another thing that AI is good for, is prep. You can find a lot of stuff out about people, and you've got to double check it and all those other things. I love it. I've heard this before, in interviews, where somebody will ask somebody a question like, oh, you've been on IMDb. Yeah, that's not right. I've been in interviews where it's been said to me, and I've been- so I- you know, again, learned my lesson, you know, that I don't ask those obvious things. And what I tell people is, when you're prepping for a guest, if they've done past interviews, go listen to them, go read them. If they have a cool story that they told in that interview, asked them to tell him on your show. Very few people will have listened to the other thing. And then you know you've got some good content. And my other thing is, when I start an interview with somebody, I call it the Tom Cruise rule, which is first time we had Tom Cruise on our show they were like just talking about Mission Impossible, don't do this, don't do that, dadadadada. So my partner No Name is a big motorcycle guy. Tom's a big motorcycle guy. Tom had just bought a new motorcycle, and- and the first question was, Tom, I heard you bought the bla bla bla bla bla bla bla, and you could hear him fucking breathe in and smile, and go, yeah, oh, let me tell you about this bike. And at the end of the interview, I don't know if you ever did this, we'd always leave them on to hear what they said about us. And Tom was like, I like them a lot. I'll go back on anytime. And we had Tom on probably six times, probably more than most radio shows ever got him. And it was- and I always say, it was that first question. That first question, because (a) we show that we care about Tom as a person. And we have something in common with Tom. And he's not some elevated, you know, like, oh, we got to, you know, follow the rules. And you know, and- and guess what? The- the people who scheduled the interview also know, yeah, we got to the movie stuff. We'll always get to the stuff you want to promote. And I will tell that to guests too, like, listen, I know, you want to promote X, trust me, we will get there. But I want people to like you first. And once they like you, then we'll promote the stuff so that then they want to go do it. People forget that. They just want to start promoting. And it's like, listen, you can promote all day. But if I don't like you, or I don't have a reason to feel like I've connected to you on an empathetic level, why would I go buy your book?


Matt Cundill  42:01

Yeah, and if the listener knows that you're just there to promote, and you don't give them a reason to listen, they're not gonna stick around to the end. And we've got PPM data in radio to show that that happens.


Matty Staudt  42:09

Yeah, radio got rid of was time spent listening. And that, to me, is the same thing as why I look at podcasts consumption rates, it's really the most important thing. If you want to spend 30 minutes with me, then I'm doing something right. If you only want to spend five minutes of 30 minutes with me, I'm not doing some- I'm doing something wrong. And I need to fix it.


Matt Cundill  42:28

You know, I've got the honorable distinction of being the only member of the Podcast Academy that has prepaid for the next two years. And I did so by-


Matty Staudt  42:38

Can we talk about that?


Matt Cundill  42:39

Well, I know I- because I accidentally hit, like, submit on my credit card twice. So there I am, I'm now- I'm now in for the next two years. But I know you mentioned it, and you- and you, I believe you sit on the board. Talk about the Podcast Academy and its- and what they're up to.


Matty Staudt  42:56

So, you know, we are the folks that want to be there for professional podcasters. And if you follow, you know, our posts on LinkedIn, you know, we're always doing seminars, trainings. The biggest thing about joining the podcast Academy is the networking. You know, I do the mentorship program. And I would say- I've been doing mentorship for- since we started that in 2020. Almost every time I do a mentorship session, one of the people in the group is somebody I ended up doing business with down the road. So it's a great way to make connections with that. I'm not pointing fingers, but like, it just seems like the folks we want to get to join, you know, the people who are actually- you know, this is what we do for a living, aren't. And, you know, that puts us in a place where we're, you know, constantly trying to raise money, you know, for- you know, to run all these other things that we want to do. There's so much stuff I want to do for the academy, that right now we just can't do, because we- you know, we need more members. So there's certainly a membership push. And again, if- if you thought about joining the podcast academy or want to join, just reach out to me, that's the other thing. You know, our board is very accessible. And our board is a lot of heavy hitters. I don't know how I'm on it. But you know, it's- it's- it's a lot of folks who have a lot of weight. And you have access to these folks when you're in the Podcast Academy. And I think that's- it's really important. It's not just a United States thing. It is a global thing. Obviously, you're in Canada, and you're a member. But I think that's what we're really pushing now is just more of an awareness thing, that we're not just the Ambies, you know, the Ambies are fun and nice. And you know, cool. That's not all we do. I work on a lot of committees for education and other things. And you know, my goal was to help bring more knowledge to the people who are working in the industry to make them better.


Matt Cundill  44:38

Yeah, and thanks for mentioning, you know, about the mentorship that goes on. Because you can be a mentor or you can be a mentee, and it's possible to be both. One of the other things I really like is there's a Slack channel. I have a question that needs answered. I'm in contact with people in the industry, and they're in the bottom right corner of my computer and at Slack. You guys were there when, you know, Canada had some legislation that was a little bit worrisome. We don't know if that's going to impact podcasters. And I approached you at the Academy, and I said, I think we need to pay attention to this. And we have, and you know, this stuff does sort of blow itself into a particular direction. And for those of you who are wondering, it's Bill C10. And- or Bill C11, Bill C18. And, you know, the end result is that news is not being shown on Facebook in Canada, Facebook is just out of the news business, that's the way the legislation goes, we can talk all day about the legislation being wrong. But when I did approach the academy, they had an interesting approach. They said, let's educate, you know, let's educate everybody about this before, you know, it gets into advocacy. And, you know, Podcast Academy is something like- you know, advocacy is something that they can stay out of. And I said, well, what point would they jump in? Let's say, Apple and Spotify turn off Canada, and there's no podcasts. Do you go in then? I don't know, maybe. Maybe that's what the Podcast Academy has to do. I mean, again, everybody wouldn't like 80% of their downloads in Canada to disappear. So.


Matty Staudt  46:01

And as far as advocacy, like, that is something I'd like to see us do more of, especially like, you know, the things we've talked about, like, you know, what are these IAB standards? And how are we letting people circumvent them? And, again, it doesn't help our industry to do that, you know, inflating downloads does not help our industry. But we can't do those kinds of things, if we don't have enough members to support us to do them. That is kind of the position we're in right now. It's not that expensive, I think it's $100 a year, but with codes and things, you know, you can get that down to, you know, stuff. You know, one of the things I really pushed is, we give free memberships for underserved communities. And one of the underserved communities in the United States that is always overlooked is my community of Appalachia. We are a minority of people in the states that are still made fun of, and it's okay to make fun of. I can't tell you how many times I mention I'm from West Virginia, and the first thing out of somebody's mouth is hillbilly, incest, or teeth.


Matt Cundill  46:54

I had dental plan, by the way, on that. I was- he's gonna mention teeth, right. And so I knew that, right? So the stereotypes are there.


Matty Staudt  47:00

I'm not at the point where I laugh at that stuff anymore. I will point out to folks that those are really horrible stereotypes. And if- and if- you know- you know, I go back home and it breaks my heart. And I try as much as I can to get back to Appalachia. You know, I'm very proud to be from Appalachia. But I bring all that up is that, at the Academy, we say we're serving underserved communities. It's everybody. It's not just LGBTQ and bipoc creators, but also underserved, you know, economically underserved communities. You know, that's why- you know, I do a lot of work with inner city folks. And folks that have been in prison. And when I talk to people, they're like, what do you have in common with those folks? You grew up in a trailer park, and I'm like, I have everything in common with them. Because we grew up in areas where we had no way to get out. You know, you have three or four options, join the military. We used to have places you could work, you don't have that anymore in Appalachia, the mines are closed, there's no factories, you know, there's more coming in. There's a lot of- lot of- a lot of stuff coming in. But getting out is daunting, to say the least. I was lucky, my mother refused to let me date in high school. She was like, nope, not knocking anybody up. You're getting out of here. I went to college, came back home the next week, didn't have a bedroom anymore. I was out the door.


Matt Cundill  47:00

Yeah. I mean, and the complications of that- I mean, we're talking about poverty. And at one point, you know, you can exhaust some jokes, but once it starts to intercede and go into like multiple generations with the same issue, it's not funny anymore.


Matty Staudt  48:30

There is trauma that is genetically brought down. You know, I think people understand that when it comes to African Americans and slavery, and that there is just- there is a trauma that is carried through genetically, and I will say the same thing for Appalachians as well. That we have- we have a chip on our shoulder. We are- we are pessimistic. I've been watching the show, Welcome to Wrexham, which is about a Welsh soccer team. And I watch it and I go, oh, now I understand West Virginia, because we were founded by a lot of Welsh people and Italians, and- and I'm like, they brought their- their crappy attitudes over here too. Because always finishing second, never making it, nobody likes- everybody puts us down, you know, that kind of thing. And I'm like, oh, we have so much in common.


Matt Cundill  49:13

I would think one of the problems in Appalachia would be internet access.


Matty Staudt  49:18

That is it. And also education. You know, in my state, if you have a hearbeat, they'll pretty much let you be a teacher at this point. And few people want to do it, because they don't pay. So it starts there, you know, with education, you know, I'm lucky that my mom and dad were very well educated. And also, my mom tended to answer questions with, here's a book, go read it. Wanna know? Go to the library, here it is. And when I was in school, the education system was much better, you know, but now, you know, I have friends that are teachers, you know, and I try to give back and do some stuff with my high school in my hometown, and if I had money, if you gave me $2 million, I would immediately start putting podcast studios in high schools in West Virginia, because the one thing about Appalachians are, we're the best storytellers. You know, my wife went home with me the first time, met our neighbor Gene. And Gene told her story about going downtown and getting eggs. And it took 20 minutes for him to tell the story. And it was riveting. And she's like, I get it, I understand you, you people tell stories. I'm like you- that's his first- wait till two weeks from now, that story will be even better. You know, so we have this rich history of storytelling. And it is also a way that I have found over the years, storytelling and talking, and- you know, that's a way to really exorcise a lot of those demons, and to feel- to get a sense of self esteem and pride in being from Appalachia, like I take pride in being from Appalachia. And I didn't for a long time. Man when I went out the door, I was out the door. It was in my mirror like, whew, got out of there. But as I got older, I'm like, no, no, no, I'm very lucky I grew up where I grew up, in the sense of family and pride and community that was built into me from my hometown is part of my DNA.


Matt Cundill  50:58

Are you still consulting independently?


Matty Staudt  51:01

Yeah, networks, individuals. Especially, you know, folks are like trying to figure out the new technology and how to use it, then, you know, we do the pilot production for, you know, folks who want to sell a show to a network, they are still buying shows. These days, you can't just have a deck and say, here you go. No, you need to show it, you have to have a pilot, show video, all of that kind of stuff. So we're doing that. And I have started to dip my toe back into the branded space a bit. So we're doing some of that as well. But also looking for a job, because I miss people working at a company. Entrepreneurship is- is in my DNA, it will always be my DNA. Podle will be- you know, that's another reason why we haven't taken any funding. It's like, we want it to be ours. You know, we want to build it the way we want to build it and do it the way we want to do it. So short answer, yes.


Matt Cundill  51:51

Good. That's pretty much where we started, too, so. Hey, Matty, thanks a lot for doing this. Really appreciate it, and all those things that we've spoken about, whether it was Podle, or to get in touch with you for consulting, or for anything and everything Matty, it's all in the show notes of the episode.


Matty Staudt  52:04

Thanks, Matt. Love being on with you, brother.


Matt Cundill  52:07

Thank you.


Tara Sands (Voiceover)  52:07

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

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