“And what really struck me from that was that not only was this audience a fan of the show, they were more like family, and it really changed my appreciation for the listener, so I really took a lot of care following that to understand their value. So, even though we’re creating great audio, great content, we’re putting out consistently, I didn’t realize how tight [that connection] was until that particular episode. So I think, from my perspective, that one stands out in a big way, not only in the ability to talk about what’s happening but also, at the same time, just this whole community element that goes along with creating podcasts and the power of audio.” — Todd Cochrane
This episode’s guest is the CEO of Blubrry Podcasting and the author of a book on podcasting, “Podcasting: The Do-It-Yourself Guide.” He’s the founder of the People’s Choice Podcast Awards and the Tech Podcast Network and is credited with introducing the first advertisers into podcasting, GoDaddy. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the Podcast Hall of Fame in 2015, but perhaps his biggest influence on podcasting is Blubrry Podcasting and its parent company RawVoice, which offers a directory of more than three million shows, the number one podcasting plugin for WordPress, and much more. A United States Navy Veteran who served for twenty-five years and retired with the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer, he now lives in Quincy, Michigan after spending the majority of the past 25 years in Honolulu, Hawaii, with his family.
His name is Todd Cochrane, and I think you’ll agree he knows a thing or two about podcasting. We’ll not only be discussing that but also getting his perspective on what it takes to really make a mark in podcasting and in sound these days. I definitely learned a thing or two from our interview, and you too might want to take notes.
As always, if you have any questions for my guest, you’re welcome to reach out through the links in the show notes. If you have questions for me, just visit www.audiobrandingpodcast.com where you’ll find all sorts of ways to get in touch. Plus, subscribing to the newsletter (on the www.audiobrandingpodcast.com webpage) will let you know when the new podcasts are available.
Times Have Changed
We start things off with a look at Todd’s formative memories of sound and his first experiences with sound and internet radio back during the turn of the millennium. “In the early days, sound was largely music,” Todd explains. “It wasn’t talk, that’s for sure. But times have changed.” The topic turns to how BBSes, FidoNet, and a brief stint as a blogger led him to find his calling as one of the first podcasters in 2004. “My introduction into podcasting was really just wanting to communicate verbally,” he says. “For me, it was the perfect venue. It just felt natural for me to pull up a mic and talk.”
Forgiving Bad Audio
“If you think about what was different,” Todd tells us as we continue our look back at the early days of indie podcasting, “there was no podcast host, so we were on our own for our media.” We discuss how improvements in online audio helped pave the way for podcasting as we know it today, and how his firsthand experience with the importance of editing and audio quality to an audience: “I’ve always said that they’ll forgive you for bad video,” Todd says, “but they won’t forgive you for bad audio.”
More Like Family
Next, we talk about one of Todd’s most memorable podcast episodes, and how a personal tragedy gave him new insights into the bond between podcasters and their listeners. “What really struck me from that,” he notes, “was that not only was this audience a fan of the show, they were more like family, and it really changed my appreciation for the listener.” He also gives us a startling reminder that we never quite know who might be listening to a show, as he found out for himself after an episode in which he gave the Mac Mini a scathing review: “Two weeks later,” Todd recalls, “I get a phone call, and it’s Steve Jobs’ secretary who says ‘I’ve got Steve on the line for you.’”
A Diversity of Content
As the first half of the interview comes to a close, Todd tells us about his ongoing podcast New Media Show with co-host Rob Greenlee. “Kind of our tagline,” he jokes, “is that you can get a Ph.D. in Podcasting if you listen to the show.” We also talk about how independent podcasters have continued to dominate the online audio landscape, providing a wealth of diverse voices and perspectives. “I never could have imagined in the early days,” Todd adds, “when it was really just a bunch of geeks… that the medium would grow into what it has grown into and the diversity of content.”
- Todd’s first impressions of sound and music as a teenager
- His podcasting debut during the pioneering days of streaming audio
- How Todd’s early experiences helped shape BluBrry and RawVoice
- The future of open-source podcasting and the indie podcast field
- The growing diversity of podcast voices around the world
Check back next week for the second half of our interview as we discuss some simple steps for improving your podcast, as Todd offers advice on everything from books to sound quality to overcoming procrastination, and as we take a peek at some of his upcoming projects.
Connect with Todd:
Website: https://blubrry.com (use promo code Founder for a 60-day free trial)
Follow Todd Cochrane on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cochrane/
Connect with Todd Cochrane on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/toddcochrane/
Follow Todd Cochrane on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeekNews/
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This interview episode was very skillfully made to sound beautiful by the talented Humberto Franco.