Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Podcasting my fate to the wind

It’s taken a few months but I’m really starting to get the hang of this podcast business. Like with my blog, when you present a variety of topics you need a little time to figure what works and what doesn’t. Eventually you get more comfortable and more into a groove.

It also helps to have some steady listeners. I don’t feel obligated to “introduce” myself every episode.

I’m still experimenting with subject matter, length, and the number of interviews. Thanks to your suggestion, between 30 and 40 minutes seems to be ideal. I don’t want to have interviews every week because then I spend most of my time being a booking agent. I’m also looking for some different more offbeat interview subjects. I think we’ve all heard enough stand up comedians on other podcasts.  Marc Maron is down to interviewing guys from open mic night.  In the future I also want to bring on some of my writer friends – names you may know but only via credits.

I continue to enjoy flying solo and not having a co-host. Especially now that Ryan Seacrest has been taken. I prefer talking directly to YOU. And all too often I hear podcasts where the first five minutes is the two hosts chatting about their weekends. I don’t care about MY weekend much less theirs.

I attended a seminar on podcasts recently. It was part of a larger international radio convention so naturally most attendees were forcing their voices down. I learned a few interesting facts. The largest segment of the population that listens to podcasts is Men 25-49. I might’ve guessed Women.

20% of all audio listening (radio, Spotify, satellite, podcasts, etc.) is done on smart phones. Podcast listening is up every year. Close to 30% of the radio audience listens to at least part of a podcast. What that says to me is that there are still 70% of listeners to go. So there’s still a large untapped audience. (Now I just have to figure a way of getting them.)

The most listened to genre is true crime. Duh! SERIAL kicked that into gear. Second most popular is storytelling/humor. Hey, that’s me! So I’m encouraged by that fun fact. It’s nice that what I present is not way down there with podcasts about lint.

One difference between podcasts and radio is that in podcasts everybody starts from the beginning. And most listen all the way through (another reason why a half hour is better than say two). In radio your audience is always coming in in the middle (and leaving the minute commercials come on). 

The bottom line for me is that I’m really having fun with it. It’s like radio except I can’t be fired and I don’t get any program directors telling me to just shut up and play the records (which is especially disconcerting when I’m doing a talk show).

I’ve got some cool things coming up, and as always I’m interested in your feedback – what you like and don’t. So if you haven’t listened to the podcast (or you did when I started but haven’t in awhile), I hope you’ll check it out. And subscribe. That and reviews are the best way to build an audience. (I don’t know who reads these reviews but I’m told they’re important so I plug them whether I know why or not.) Oh, and tell your friends. I’m hoping you each have 10,000 friends.

Thanks for listening. And if you haven’t listened, just click the gold arrow right under the masthead.  The current episode is all about the final episode of CHEERS.  And the new one coming tonight is my interview with Robin Schiff all about ROMY & MICHELE.

So far HOLLYWOOD & LEVINE is the most listened to podcast on my phone. I’m hoping to extend that to your phone.

UPDATE: People have asked how they can subscribe if they don’t have iTunes. Two of my readers graciously explained other ways you can subscribe so I thought I would share them. Thanks Jeffrey and Chris!


Jeffrey Graebner says:

You can subscribe from just about any Podcast application, actually. I use PocketCasts, which is one of the most popular options for Android and was able to easily find it with a search. I did just check and was a little surprised that it isn't available from Google Play. You might want to look into getting it added there.

There is also a direct RSS link that you can plug into pretty much any Podcast application to subscribe if it doesn't show up via a search. That link is found by clicking here. By the way, the RSS address is actually available from the banner at the top of your site. It is the little icon with two quarter circles above a dot.

I just checked and was a little surprised that it isn't available from Google Play. You should be able to add it by going to https://play.google.com/music/podcasts/portal and clicking the "Add a Podcast" button. You will then need to enter the RSS address I gave above and provide them with some information so that they can verify that you are the owner of the Podcast.

Chris Ledesma then adds:

To "subscribe" to any podcast, you just need a podcast app from your app store. Search "podcast" and you'll find many to choose from. Of course, most iPhone users use iTunes, but you don't have to. Once in the app, search for "Hollywood and Levine", when it finds it there should be the option to subscribe. This means that you don't have to go looking for the podcast each week. As soon as Ken posts an episode, your podcast app will get it for you. You can even set the app to send you a notification on your device, but that's not required. Finally, if your app has trouble finding "Hollywood and Levine" then you can search using an RSS link. Poke around your app for "search by RSS" and put this link in the search bar: click here.  http://hollywoodandlevine.libsyn.com/rss Good luck and happy listening!

29 comments :

Mike Barer said...

Yea, I tend to tune out podcasts quickly, but I really enjoy Hollywood and Levine. You seem to add something new every week.

Bill May said...

Enjoy the podcast very much. Understand the need for ads, but would rather have them shorter and distributed (perhaps before the "breaks").

Would love to hear an interview with Mrs. Levine. You've had a very interesting career; would love to hear her perspective.

Roy DeRousse said...

Glad to hear that you're enjoying this! I was wondering if if it would become a chore. If you would run out of things to talk about. If you ever felt the need for a co-host. Thanks for answering those questions (and more).

I'm certainly enjoying it, and it's a lot less work on my end!

Question: You mention subscribing to it and rating it. I don't understand how or where to do those things. Is that an iTunes thing or something? (I don't use iTunes.) Each week, I simply go to the top of your post and click the download button.

Thanks again!

Ken Levine said...

If you don't have iTunes I don't think you can subscribe (although keep in mind I know NOTHING technically). Thanks for your support.

Big B's Random Blog said...

It would be funny to morf into DJ mode once in a while and play a song... we won't alert the royalties police.

Lester St. James said...

Excellent job Ken, got turned on to your site after you did the Bandwidth podcast with David Martin & Kipper McGee, look forward to listening to your story telling in the future. Lester

Roseann said...

Will you be interviewing some of your faithful blog readers and commenters? I'm available.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

First, your podcast is excellent because it's a one-on-one presentation filled with items folks like to hear about. Show biz and baseball. They might feel different if they were gangrene and spider species. So, you've got the content cornered.

My suggestion is to trim. Conform the length to fit with the commute times across America. Fortune magazine listed the top ten cities' commute times from a high of 34 minutes in NYC to a low of 29 minutes in Atlanta. Figure another 10% reduction for folks to get settled in their cars and I think you'll have the ideal length.

That, and give away albums, hats and t-shirts...

:)

Jeffrey Graebner said...

You can subscribe from just about any Podcast application, actually. I use PocketCasts, which is one of the most popular options for Android and was able to easily find it with a search. I did just check and was a little surprised that it isn't available from Google Play. You might want to look into getting it added there.

There is also a direct RSS link that you can plug into pretty much any Podcast application to subscribe if it doesn't show up via a search. That link is http://hollywoodandlevine.libsyn.com/rss. By the way, the RSS address is actually available from the banner at the top of your site. It is the little icon with two quarter circles above a dot.

I just checked and was a little surprised that it isn't available from Google Play. You should be able to add it by going to https://play.google.com/music/podcasts/portal and clicking the "Add a Podcast" button. You will then need to enter the RSS address I gave above and provide them with some information so that they can verify that you are the owner of the Podcast.

By the way, I thoroughly enjoy the Podcast each week. I think the length is just about right and the content has been both interesting and entertaining. The only minor suggestion I would make is that you should more clearly state when you are starting an advertisement. The need for ads is completely understandable and now pretty common in Podcasts, but it generally is a good idea to preface them with "Here are a few words about our sponsor" or something similar.

Earl Boebert said...

Friday question: Did you see "Charles III" on PBS this Sunday? A filmed version of the play (about the succession of the current Prince of Wales to the throne), the dialog is all blank verse. I'd be interested in your reaction to that -- I figured it might work on stage, but I found it distracting in a film set in contemporary times.

Chris Ledesma said...

To "subscribe" to any podcast, you just need a podcast app from your app store. Search "podcast" and you'll find many to choose from. Of course, most iPhone users use iTunes, but you don't have to. Once in the app, search for "Hollywood and Levine", when it finds it there should be the option to subscribe. This means that you don't have to go looking for the podcast each week. As soon as Ken posts an episode, your podcast app will get it for you. You can even set the app to send you a notification on your device, but that's not required. Finally, if your app has trouble finding "Hollywood and Levine" then you can search using an RSS link. Poke around your app for "search by RSS" and put this link in the search bar: http://hollywoodandlevine.libsyn.com/rss Good luck and happy listening!

Chris Ledesma said...

To "subscribe" to any podcast, you just need a podcast app from your app store. Search "podcast" and you'll find many to choose from. Of course, most iPhone users use iTunes, but you don't have to. Once in the app, search for "Hollywood and Levine", when it finds it there should be the option to subscribe. This means that you don't have to go looking for the podcast each week. As soon as Ken posts an episode, your podcast app will get it for you. You can even set the app to send you a notification on your device, but that's not required. Finally, if your app has trouble finding "Hollywood and Levine" then you can search using an RSS link. Poke around your app for "search by RSS" and put this link in the search bar: http://hollywoodandlevine.libsyn.com/rss Good luck and happy listening!

John Hammes said...

Very clever, knew that title was familiar: now, going to have that Vince Guaraldi composition play in my head all day.

Which is a good thing to happen.

Greg Thompson said...

I think your radio skills are really paying a dividend with the podcast, Ken. It feels neither rushed nor padded. You cover a lot of ground in a compact 30 minute-ish length. Just keep it coming!

Mike Schryver said...

I know everyone's excited about the podcast, but I'm realy only interested in reading. I hope you'll continue to think of those of us who aren't listening to the podcast. As always, thanks for providing the blog.

Arthur said...

I enjoy the podcast as I like good storytelling (grew up listening to Jean Shepherd on the radio) and enjoy the conversational style and the fact that you are talking to and not at the listener. I always listen to the podcasts at work on the web site, but I do have an itunes account (which I rarely use) so I will log in and figure out how to officially subscribe and add a 5 star review so I can at least get measured in your official listener base.

YEKIMI said...

Yours is the only podcast I listen to [no, I'm not sucking up]. Most of the others just don't hold my interest. My hearing is slowly fading away so I have to really concentrate to be able to catch everything or use headphones. Or maybe hire someone to yell loudly, like the old Garrett Morris bit from SNL for the hard of hearing. Don't know what I'm going to do once my hearing is gone.....guess I'll have to find some type of speech to text application. Other than that, I really enjoy the podcast!

Melissa C. Banczak said...

My husband (59) subscribes. He listens and then when we walk the dog he tells me everything you said!

Anonymous said...

And, as far as I know, 'ratings' are only via Apple iTunes (use a star method and you can leave a written review which helps boost it within the store)

Fred Nerk said...

There is a touch of 1970's Casey Kasem in the podcast, you should stick in some bizarre 70's commercials occasionally.

James said...

I listen every week.

If I want regular interviews, I'll listen to Fresh Air. But I do like it when you interview people who wouldn't otherwise be heard, like the v.o. artist a couple weeks ago, etc. How about Earl Pomeranz?

andrea frazer said...

I only have 9,999 friends - one of them being your cousin, Julie. But she talks more than most people, so I will count it as 10K friends. Look forward to listening!

LouOCNY said...

I listen every week also - on an Android app called Player FM - remember Android users DO outnumber iPhone users.

I would like to hear something from Annie - to hear how you did or did not influence her, what it;s like to follow in your career choice and so on - as long as she explains how she had the family nickname 'Porntrip'

sanford said...

You can also try google play, stitcher, or Tune In

Johnny Walker said...

Not sure if doing longer would be too much pain for you, Ken, but as someone who regularly listens to podcasts, yours is uncommonly short. I don't know if the "30 mins" recommendedation came from folks who are scared of podcasts or what :-/

I especially feel this when you're interviewing people. I'd love to hear more.

Just to put this in perspective: The Joe Rogan Experience has 90+ million downloads a month and releases a new three hour episode nearly *every day*...!

(A bit like Howard Stern, I guess?)

My point is that if you have more to give, regular podcast listeners will gladly take it.

Of course, it's only really with interviews that you can achieve longer than 30 mins without going insane. I'm just throwing it out there that you shouldn't be afraid of breaking the 30-40 mins barrier if you *wanted* to!

Really enjoying the show. I listen every week and agree that you're really finding your feet now! Great stuff!

Johnny Walker said...

Also Ken, your podcast is the only one my Spanish gf and I can listen to together with ease, thanks to your clear and professional enunciation. So thanks for that! :)

Mike said...

@LouOCNY: That would be Porntip, Lou. Not Porntrip. Freudian. As in the name of a beauty queen whose poster once adorned a now extinct restaurant in LA.
Unless others want to chip in.

Jahn Ghalt said...

I second the idea of an interview with the Missus. Don't worry - no live audience - not much chance you will become Burns to her Allen!

Brian said...

I too enjoy the podcast. I use the Podcast app that came installed on my iPhone. Tap the magnifying glass icon that says "Search" underneath it and type in "Hollywood and Levine". You can download the podcasts when you are connected to Wifi to save cellular data.

I like interviews and guests, but they doesn't have to be one every time. I enjoy trivia, insider stores, etc. Pretty much the popular topics of the blog. Baseball stories too.