The following is the full transcript of Remarkable Episode 6: Glenn the Geek on How to Break All the Rules and Make Money Podcasting
In this episode of Remarkable, I have a conversation with a veteran podcaster who has been podcasting for more than 8 years. He runs a niche podcast network that includes 8 shows with 20 different hosts, and they’ve produced over 4,300 episodes.
They have an estimated 130,000 listeners in over 92 countries, which has helped them secure more than 30 sponsors per month. He has a wealth of knowledge in the podcasting space and has spoken at numerous conferences about podcasting and advertising.
His thoughts on podcasting often conflict with much of the popular, accepted advice being shared today, and you’ll get to hear firsthand where he disagrees and why.
You’ll also learn tips for finding a niche and understanding what your audience wants, as well as the importance of where to find them. You’ll hear his tried and true criteria for finding a great host or co-host, tips for structuring your podcast network, and how to sell ads and find sponsors regardless of your download numbers.
He also discusses what types of ads you should offer and which sell the best, and he shares some specifics on where you should be pricing your ads when you’re first getting started.
He’s known as America’s Horse Husband, and he’s the founder of the Horse Radio Network. Here’s Glenn the Geek.
Dave: Glenn, welcome to Remarkable, I’m very glad to have you on the show. I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me.
Glenn: No problem, I’m glad to be here. Always fun to talk about marketing.
Dave: Yeah, that’s what I love to talk about. And podcasting. And you’re the expert on podcasting. I was really looking forward to having you on here to share some of your wisdom and expertise with my audience here.
Dave: So, let’s just go over briefly about your background a little bit. Can you give us just a couple sentences about what you do?
Glenn: Yep, I was 15 years in financial sales and insurance, and investments, and then at the same time we also did an acting company called the Medieval Feasting Guild. We did 10 years, 450 shows. We did kind of a Benny Hill version of a medieval feast.
We sold tickets, that had been pre-internet days when we had to do it the hard way, and had to market it the hard way because it was the pre-internet days, you know.
Glenn: So I learned a lot. I actually probably learned more in the acting company because it was all improv. And we were trained improvisational actors, which really helped me in sales, and really helps today in podcasting.
Dave: Yeah, I can see that.
Glenn: Yeah, that whole thing. Whenever anybody asks me I say go take acting classes. When you’re in college take acting classes. Especially improv.
And then I married my wife who’s in the horse world, and we ended up in the products business, in the nineties, ended up selling that company. We consulted for many years with product companies in the horse world in marketing and sales.
And then one day my brother said ‘hey look, there’s this podcasting thing. Some guy named Leo’s doing it. I listen on my computer, and you oughta do that for the horses.’
And I said ‘ah, what the heck.’ I called my friend Helena and said ‘hey look,’ she’s techy also, and I said ‘hey, there’s this Leo guy, he’s doing a podcast also, called ‘this week in tech,’ back eight or nine years ago. She said ‘well, we like to talk, so let’s just do it.’
And we did it. We started with a Stable Scoop Radio Show. I started right away calling it the Horse Radio Network because I always had thoughts I was going to do two or three. And now we’re nine years later, 4300 episodes later. 20 hosts, 8 different shows, and about 130 thousand listeners now. So it’s grown a bit.
Dave: Yeah, that’s fantastic.
Glenn: We’re talking about marketing. We just billed, our first months billing over 30 sponsors. We billed 32, in December, so we’re excited about that too.
Dave: Yeah, congratulations on that. So let me back up a little bit, because you just dumped a lot of great information about your history there. So were you familiar with podcasting when you decided to start?
Glenn: No, only what my brother said about Leo, and I started listening to Leo a little bit, and then it was like I’ll call Helena who’s also kind of a geek. And I was too a little bit, you know, I’m a geek. Not a coder, a programmer so to speak. Helena is really more of that.
But we really didn’t know what we were doing to start. Nobody knew back 9 years ago what we were doing, we just did it.
And I always knew I wanted it to be a business, because I didn’t want to do it if it was just a hobby, that just took up too much time.
Glenn: So, my horses take up enough time as it is. So we always knew we wanted it to be a business. We always had in the back of our mind that we were going to sell ads. At that point we thought, yes, they were going to be audio ads, but also more of the value would be, at that point, in the banner ads. Because banner ads were what was big back then.
Dave: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.
Glenn: Boy were we wrong, because nobody ever came to the website. They found us on iTunes. And about half found us on iTunes and half came to the website on the early days. And the ones who came to the website were listening at work.
And then more and more of then started falling off, and I’d get emails saying ‘I got in trouble, I can’t listen at work anymore.’ So, you know, we have less and less listening at work all the time.
Dave: So why audio instead of maybe a blog or something like that.
Glenn: Well that was easy. First of all I can’t write, I’m a terrible writer.
Glenn: I’m a terrible reader, too, so if there’s ever anything that has to be read on the shows, they don’t let me do it. My co host does it.
So that’s why. And also, I knew one of the things that horse people have is a lot of downtime. They’re cleaning stalls, some of them hour, two hours every day. They’re cleaning the paddocks, shoveling poop, you know.
Driving to horse shows takes forever in many cases, so there’s a lot of downtime being a horse person.
And I always knew that back then that iPod’s & mp3 players, was a way that they could kill that downtime by downloading our shows. And then they had to manually move it over to their mp3 player. And it was a several step process and they would go out and listen.
And I always knew that we needed to do long form because they were trying to kill time. And video wasn’t going to work it was too much work. It’s too much editing. Back then it was even worse.
Plus, one of the other problems we had with horse people was we had to bring the quality of the audio way down, because most of them had dial-up, and some still do.
They’re on farms, they don’t have good internet connections. And we knew that we had to bring the quality way down, and just make it listenable so that they could get it at all. And so that’s why we did audio, is simply because it’s long format.
And today, still, I will never do video. We kind of own the space of radio. We call it a radio because nobody knew it was a podcast back then, so we just call it online radio is how we describe it.
Dave: I’ve got some experience in marketing in the horse world, a little bit. So how did you overcome the technological gap, because I know that there are a lot of people in that space that just aren’t tech savvy.
Glenn: I can tell you’ve done marketing in the horse world.
We all the time have marketers come into our world, the horse world, and think they’ve been successful somewhere else. And they fail miserably in the horse world. And it’s because horse people are addicted to one thing and their life revolves around one thing and that’s their horse.
You have to market to them, where they are, and differently.
And you know, I tell that to new marketers coming into the horse world, and they just don’t believe you, right, Dave? I mean you were there, you know the story.
Glenn: It’s a different market, they have a different mentality, and they’re a different kind of people. And that’s not bad, I’m one of them, right? I married one, and that’s our world. We live in that world, but it is different.
If you’re going to succeed in this world, you have to market to your clientele. That’s the first lesson, even when doing a podcast.
Because really, a podcast is nothing more than a form of entertainment and marketing to a specific group. And we knew that audience. We know what they like and don’t like. But our biggest challenge in the beginning was technology. They were always two years behind.
I was the second one to open a tack shop, an online store for selling tack and horse supplies in the 90s. We were the second ones to do that. And so we’ve always had that problem, is getting people to understand the market, to understand the technology, and how to listen.
So pretty much when we started , we knew that we were going to be doing it for a couple of years before the horse world caught up. And that’s in fact what really happened. It was a couple years before they started coming on. And now, they have pretty much caught up.
They were a long time in getting iPhones and stuff, because they lived so rural, they couldn’t get reception.
Glenn: There was no reason to spend all that money for a phone when you didn’t have any bars.
Dave: Yeah, even the people with the money that are running everything, the owners of the training facilities, things like that, they’re always out in the fields, hands on, always doing something.
Glenn: Yes, and that’s why we knew we had to eventually – what I wanted to do was start, years ago so that when we got to the point where we are now, when podcasting was finally turning the corner, and becoming mainstream, that we owned this space. That we were it in the horse world. And that happened.
That’s where we are now. And we spent a lot of years getting to that point, to the point where we are now, where technology has caught up, in our space, in the horse world. And people are figuring it out or their kids are showing them.
Dave: Yeah, if I’m thinking of somebody else, let’s say that there’s somebody in the audience here that’s listening that has another niche, or another industry that they feel like is maybe behind the times, or is maybe just barely catching on to technology and podcasting, what are your tips, or what is your advice?
How did you keep going for the first couple of years when you had, I assume, very few downloads, very few listeners, what kept you going?
Glenn: When you’re marketing in a niche, like we are, any niche, it could be skiing, it could be anything. There’s another very popular network, The Brewing Network. It’s all about micro brews, and he owns that space.
And no matter what niche you’re marketing in, you’ve got to make friends, because we are out here by ourselves, you know, in the little podcasting world, on our side of the fence.
So what we knew was that in the beginning when we had no listeners, we had to make friends with everybody who was anybody in the horse world.
So we went to bloggers, we went to the biggest magazines that were in the horse world, who were just coming online and figuring out the internet thing, and we said ‘hey look, in exchange for you coming on our shows and providing content, we would love for you to put our player – we’ve made this player, it was pretty simple back then – you put this on your website so people coming to your website can click on it, it opens a pop up window, they can surf around your site while listening to our shows. We both win.
And that’s what happened. We made friends. We now have 70 of those players, around the horse world, websites everywhere. And that’s how people listened in the beginning, was they found those players.
Well, then we were able to educate them after they started listening to iTunes.
You know, that was a major feat. We still don’t have very many reviews on iTunes. Because we never asked for them, because it wasn’t that important to us to ask for them and to get those ratings.
It was more important for us to educate people how to get to iTunes in the first place.
Dave: Just how to get the content.
Glenn: Yeah, no, I love all these tech guys. They have it so easy because they can just say ‘hey, look, go review my podcast on iTunes.’ I would have to explain how to do that! So that’s, we were never focused on that. We were always focused on making friends.
We knew that if we were going to be the biggest in the online radio space for the horse world, we had to make sure that everybody knew us. That everybody that was anybody in the horse world, blogger-wise, magazine-wise, now big website wise, had to know who we were.
And they had to help us advertise. And that’s how we started marketing. We have not spent a dime to this day on marketing. It’s all been through relationship marketing.
Glenn: And when you’re in a small space like this, and you have very little money to start with like most of us, right?
Glenn: Relationship marketing is the key. It’s what’s helped grow us to the point we are, and by the way, vice versa, we helped as we got bigger, some of those brands to the point where they are.
So we have a relationship, and I’ll give you an example, with Horse Nation, which was a tiny little blog a couple years ago.
A tiny little blog. And now has a hundred thousand followers on Facebook and is one of the most popular blogs in the horse world. And they come on every Monday to our live daily show and do an update from Horse Nation.
And she’s funny and she’s entertaining and we talk about a couple articles, and we review them, and we have fun with them. And we’ve grown together over those five years since they’ve started, and now they’re one of the tops in their space, so we’ve helped each other grow.
Dave: When you were reaching out to the magazines and the people that were just coming online, were you just looking up who the owner was, how did you go about logistically just reaching out and contacting them. Were there relationships already?
Glenn: I tried to figure out who the social marketing person was – which, in those days, there really wasn’t one. You know, somebody in the sales department or somewhere was assigned that job, right? They were assigned to go figure out in those days what MySpace was. You know? And it really wasn’t a full time gig for anyone then.
So I’d go to that person, and they were always looking for help. And the other thing I did back then was I said ‘well, look if we’re going to be the leader in this space,’ and this was back when we first started. We probably had a hundred listeners.
We invited everybody to Kentucky, did this on a shoestring, too. I found 50 people that I knew that were kind of the leaders in internet marketing, for companies, or wholesalers, or retailers, or blogs, or magazines, and we had what we called a New Media Meetup in Lexington Kentucky.
And I called the horse park down there, the biggest horse park in the country, and I said ‘look, we’re going to have 50 of the most influential people in New Media coming in,’ and he said ‘what’s New Media? I don’t even know what that is?’
They donated the room to us, kindly, and we spent the weekend.
We did that for three years in a row, and it was hosted by the Horse Radio Network. Well, that got us out hugely to all of these very influential people. And we sat around for a few days and talked about – Twitter was just starting, Facebook was jut an inkling back then, and every year we’d cover the new things that were coming out and spend two days together.
Well, those relationships today are what has bloomed into a very large network.
Dave: It sounds like what your saying is that the people that want to grow their audience, it’s a lot of hands on work. It’s not necessarily sitting back and looking to buy some ads or shooting some emails out. It’s really hands on.
Glenn: You’re not going to post it on iTunes and have a million listeners. There are certain celebrities that can do that. But they already have an audience.
If you’re just starting out, you’re going to have to do the grassroots, because you don’t have the money to spend a ton of money on advertising either.
I tell everybody when they’re starting to podcast. You have to make friends. You have to make friends that have an audience.
I don’t mean just get them on your show as a guest – because they’re maybe going to promote you, maybe not, you have to have them on your show as a contributor.
You have to find people in your space who are also looking for another outlet, another inexpensive way to advertise, and make it a hand washing situation where you’re helping each other. And that’s really how we grew to the point we are now. That does not happen in two weeks. That’s a long term goal.
If you’re planning on doing a podcast or any business for 6 months or a year, and that’s all you’re planning it out anyway. Don’t do it. You’re not going to be around.
So you have to be thinking long term. As well as, I realize, you have to be paying the bills in the short term, too. So if you’re going to commit to anything, like I told you when I first met you, if you’re going to commit to anything, it takes time, it takes effort, and if you want to grow it to the point where you’re the leader in your space, then you’re going to have to put a ton of time in.
We just did a radio-thon, twelve hours live on the air.
Dave: That’s awesome.
Glenn: Huge success. Huge success.
But it probably took my wife and I three hundred hours in the last four weeks to get it together, because we had 30 guests, we had hundreds of callers, we had 17 sponsors. We did almost 45 commercials during the day.
All of that had to be prepared to make it sound like a true radio show. And it did. But it took a lot of prep time. I tell everybody, for an hour of podcasting time, you’re spending 7-8 hours in pre and post.
Glenn: For an hour of podcasting time. And that’s probably conservative.
There are times we spend more than that. But that also includes marketing, the time you’re spending sending thank yous to your guests, that are also including instructions on how to put it on Facebook.
Everything you do is marketing. Especially we’re talking to podcasters here. That includes your guests. They’re there to market for you, but if you just send them a link, half of then aren’t going to do it.
And I get that all the time, hosts saying ‘well, my guests aren’t marketing it.’ Well, are you giving them exactly what to post?
Dave: Make it really easy.
Glenn: You have to. You have to make it to the point where in that email thanking them, its a copy and paste. And you write it out for them. ‘I was thrilled to be on such and such a show.’
Glenn: We write it out, they copy it, they paste it, they’re done. And they’ll do that. They won’t write it themselves 90% of the time, because it takes time to long and too much effort on their time.
Dave: Well, and they’re scared they’re going to say the wrong thing, or it’s not going to come across as professional.
Glenn: Well, and they don’t even know where to send it in my cases, unless you’re dealing with tech people, but we’re not.
So, you know, if you’re in a niche market, you really have to educate all the way along with your guests, with your host, with everybody – your listeners. Everything is an education, and all of that comes back to marketing, right?
Because if you’re educating your listeners, they can educate their friends.
If they don’t know what they’re doing and they’re just kind of half figuring it out, they’re not going to talk to anybody about it. But if they know what they’re doing and they’re proud of it, and they’re really into it, they’ll go talk to everybody about it.
All of that is marketing.
Dave: Yeah, and one other aspect I’d like to touch on if you don’t mind. So one aspect of marketing that I think a lot of people miss is the product itself. That’s what I’m looking for is not only picking a niche, but having something that’s remarkable.
So how did you come up with the content for the shows that you initially started? How did you know what people wanted to listen to?
Glenn: I didn’t. And I didn’t do market research. I just determined what my wife and I like to listen to.
Glenn: We just determined what we like to listen to, and in the early days, with that first show Stable Scoop, Helene and I, my co-host, you know what we like to listen to is what we did.
So if we were into it, we figured well, somebody’s going to listen. And after three months, there were 12 people that were listening.
And we were thrilled that there were 12 people that had actually figured out how to listen, and they maybe enjoyed it, because they kept coming back every week. You know it started growing from there.
And all of our shows have changed a little bit, and you have to be willing to change – you have to do that. But every show we do is a little different format.
Our Horses in the Morning show, for instance, is life 5 days a week, an hour and a half every morning.
And yet, only about a tenth of a percent listen live, the rest listen to the recorded version. But we do it live because it has a feel – it feels like morning drive radio. I like the Bob and Sheri show, which is kind of a nationally syndicated show.
So we designed if after Bob and Sheri. I got a female co-host who was as dynamic as Sheri, and we do segments, it’s shorter segments, shorter interviews. It’s funny, it’s entertaining. It’s morning drive radio. We designed that how to be like that.
The Stable Scoop show is a little bit of a long format. So it has longer and more educational segments than the morning show, but we always went with entertainment first, education second. I think people have to be entertained to be educated.
They’re not going to stick around if they’re not entertained.
And there’s plenty of that in the horse world. Really dry boring instructional videos and things. We said we didn’t want to be that. We want to be entertainment. We want them to come to us with a chuckle, and then maybe learn something along the way.
And so we designed our show around that. Some shows have segments to it. You know, 5-10 minute segments.
A training tip, a cooking segment, because you know all horse people still have to eat.
Glenn: So we do cooking, we do everything that involves horse life. We’ll do segments on. Health segment for your horse, health segment for you. We do all those segments in the different shows.
We really did what we wanted to listen to. And we figured you know, if we got bored with it, we changed it. And that’s what happened. As the shows have come on, if we get boring for us, we change it. Because if we’re not excited about it anymore, probably the listener isn’t.
Now, we have a big enough listening base now that we also hear from listeners. But we didn’t have that in the beginning, and you know, new people starting out don’t either.
Dave: It sounds like it helped that you were your own audience as well. So you were producing something that you would, in turn, like to listen to if somebody else was producing that same type of content.
Glenn: I could not find entertaining radio in the horse world. And that’s what we went for. We went for entertaining radio. That we wanted to be the one. And that comes back from when I was doing comedy in the acting company for 10 years. You know, 450 shows of comedy. That’s what my niche is. That’s what I like.
And we have had emails along the way that say ‘your shows are too much fluff’, and you know, there’s still a couple of radio shows out there that I think are boring, my opinion, in the horse world, and that’s where I send them.
So, you know, we have 130 thousand people so far that don’t think we are. They like that fluff. We get tons of emails. We get thirty emails, for every one [negative], that says ‘you make me smile on the way to work.’
Dave: That’s great.
Glenn: Or cleaning a stall. You know, shoveling poop. You know, you’re laughing in the stall, and my friends are coming in saying ‘what are you laughing at.’ Because, you know, that’s not a funny job.
Dave: No, definitely not.
So when we met at podcast movement back in the summer of 2015 here, I was just getting started with my ideas and lining up some interviews and you gave me some advice about narrowing my target audience and my niche down, which was extremely helpful.
And then you mentioned adding some additional shows if you want to reach additional audiences. But what’s your advice for how niche should people go, or anything you’ve learned where maybe you’ve started a show that was maybe too narrow and you’ve had to expand it a little bit, or maybe have you started a show that was too broad and you narrowed it down?
From my experience in the horse world, I know there’s hunter, jumper, dressage, eventing.
Glenn: There’s a million micro niches.
Dave: Yeah, yeah, but they’re kind of already set, based on, if somebody’s not in that world where there’s defined sets, do you have any advice?
Glenn: Yeah, yeah, I do actually. We’ve had shows that we’ve canceled because they just haven’t gotten the audience, or we haven’t gotten the sponsors, or a combination of both, for those shows, we won’t keep the around forever. Because we’re a business. We have to look at it that way.
Dave: Yeah, how many shows do you think you’ve canceled, just out of curiosity?
Glenn: Uh, we’ve canceled five, I think, along the way. And some of those shows were meant to, they were about a specific event. Like the World Equestrian Games, and the show was over, because the event was over. There have been shows that have been that way.
But we’ve had a couple of shows that we’ve given four years, and we just couldn’t develop the audience in that niche.
You know, will that change? Will we be able to do that same show again in the future? Probably. As that niche gets more educated. And starts opening up to new technology things.
Or, you know, the other thing is you don’t necessarily have the right host in that spot. That’s the other thing. You’ve got to have hosts that fit your audience, too, and are entertaining. You know, we haven’t always had that.
You know, I have 20 terrific hosts now, but there’ve been some along the way that we’ve had to work with. So, it doesn’t always work, but I will tell you this. We have a show, the Driving Radio Show is our smallest show, it probably has 5-6 thousand listeners, around that number every month.
It’s a weekly show, it’s our smallest show, but it’s our most profitable show.
Glenn: Because there’s only one magazine in the world of carriage driving. There’s really nothing – there’s a couple of little websites in the world of carriage driving – by the way, we work with both of them, and they contribute to our show. And they have the players on their websites.
Dave: That’s brilliant. Yeah.
Glenn: So, we were sponsored in the beginning by the American Driving Society, the ADS, which is the governing body for carriage driving in America. They actually pay to sponsor us every month, from the beginning, four years ago, in that show.
So here we have that show which is smaller in nature for us, and I’m a carriage driver, which is why I wanted to do that show, but yet it’s been the most profitable because those advertisers also don’t have any other place to go.
Dave: Yeah, not a lot of outlets.
Glenn: Yeah, exactly, they don’t have a lot of places to really advertise, so we offer them an alternative that’s affordable, and they still advertise in the magazine, but they also advertise with us as a way to get some extra sponsorship.
The other thing we do too that we’re not afraid to do, rather, is that we’re not afraid to trade for product.
If it’s a product that one of the hosts, or my wife and I, is going to use anyway, we’ll trade for advertising. And we did that – you know, my carriage sitting out here, we traded for advertising, and he was our official carriage sponsor for six months.
And that’s how we worked out – I would have had to buy it anyway. I went to the same company that I was going to buy it from and I said, look, let’s do a trade, and we wrote up a contract and we did a trade.
So we’ve done many of those over time, too.
Dave: And the fact that you’re driving it around, I’m sure, it’s recognizable and has a logo of some sort on it.
Glenn: Every picture I post is of his carriage. And you know, all of those listeners are looking at the pictures of I post with me in the carriage. And it’s his carriage.
So it’s a smart move on his part, because even though his sponsorship has ended, that period of time ended that we were doing ads for the carriage, he’s doing advertising forever.
Glenn: I’m sitting in that carriage.
Dave: And it just goes on and on. It’s indefinite as long as you have that carriage, and now you’re talking about it on another podcast like this.
A question – one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you as well, was because in the back of my mind I’m thinking about this network as well, because I believe that we’re still in the early stages of podcasting becoming mainstream.
Glenn: It’s finally getting its exciting!
Dave: Right, and I’m interested in looking at other networks and what they’re doing and how they’re set up.
So a couple of questions about your network. I know you wanted to start a network from the beginning. I know you don’t host all of your shows, how did you pick and choose and bring in other people to host those shows. How did that go?
Glenn: Well there were shows I wanted to do. There are three Olympic disciplines in the horse world, and I knew I wanted to do shows about those three Olympic disciplines. By the way, only two of those three shows did the shows succeed.
So, you know, I knew I wanted to do those shows. I also knew eventually I wanted to do a driving show, because I’m a carriage driver – I’m actually not a rider. And then I knew we – and then the other shows have really evolved. I’ve also always wanted to do my own morning drive radio show, but I knew I was never going to get a gig at a radio station to do it.
So, I said, well, I’m going to make my own. And that’s where horses in the morning, our most popular show now, came along. So, its’ the shows I wanted to do. Along the way we owned all the shows in the beginning, so we would go out. I have a funny story if you want, about finding hosts.
I found my host for the morning show – again, that’s our most popular show, 40 thousand listeners, so it’s five days a week – an hour and a half every day, which by the way dispels everybody that says you can’t do a long form show.
Dave: And frequently.
Glenn: Frequently. Wrong. They listen every day. I put an ad on Facebook. That was the early days of Facebook. I said I’m looking for a new host, I didn’t even say what it was for, but I made them leave a voicemail. I knew right away in the voicemail I’d be able to tell.
Glenn: We had 80 voicemails, my wife and I got two bottles of wine, we each had one, we sat down one Thursday night. We started going through these voicemails getting drunker and drunker as we went. They were all kind of boring, and they just didn’t fit with a morning drive radio show.
We knew exactly what we needed, we needed a morning drive radio host.
And then this Jamie Jennings hops on there and says ‘I’ve been in morning drive radio in Atlanta for ten years. And I have horses, I could combine the two, and I could finally talk about something that I really want to talk about instead of traffic and my dating life.’
And I said to Jennifer that’s her. And I called her up within five minutes. This is like our 82nd voicemail. I called her up within five minutes.
Dave: After a bottle of wine.
Glenn: Yeah, I’m not sure what I said, but we actually had four good candidates out of that group, and I had them all co-host my Stable Scoop show.
I had them book the guests, and I just showed up to help, and record it, and co-host it with them. And I knew it would be a good test. And then we put those four shows out and asked for votes.
We got the votes back, we’re 90% for Jamie Jennings, and that’s who I wanted anyway, after working with them, and we found Jamie.
So we found them, people I knew, people found us, and it’s been all different ways.
Dave: When you brought her on did you pay her, or did you offer her commission, or how did that arrangement go?
Glenn: We pay our hosts, but not a lot.
Dave: Sure. So they do it for fun as well?
Glenn: They do it for – well, most of them do it for the exposure, because they’re a leader in their discipline, so they’re doing it, or they own another business or something.
Jamie does it because she loves it, you know, her husband is an air force fighter pilot, and she loves horses, and really she’s now 3 days a week on that show.
You know, it’s three mornings, she’s west coast time, so she’s done by 7:30 in the morning. You know, makes a few extra bucks, gets done by 7:30 in the morning. It’s perfect for her.
Dave: And you do all the post production, she just does the show, and then she’s done.
Glenn: We do everything. We book the guests. My wife produces that show. That shows really more like a regular radio show than a podcast. And we treat it like that. We treat it like a regular radio show.
And you know, I think that’s the way it kind of comes across, and it gives people in the horse world who don’t have a morning drive radio show for the horse world, it gives them a radio show.
Glenn: So it was a smart move we did in the beginning with that. But I think you have to – one, I only have co-hosts that I like to work with. If I don’t like to work with them they’re not here.
Dave: Yeah, that was going to be one of my next questions. How do you pick a good co-host?
Glenn: You’ll know. You’ll just know. If you have no synergy, if it just is not working, if you’re not enjoying it, then it’s not going to work. The audience isn’t going to enjoy it.
So I only work with hosts, people, I truly like. If we truly like each other and get along and that’s all the hosts I have now, then it’ll work.
We also apply that to – we have what we call affiliate shows now, they’re shows that have come on and they actually pay us for the production and to be on the network, but they sell their own ads.
So we have two types of show. We have Horse Radio Network shows where we sell the ads, or they pay us to be on the network and we do post production. They book the guests but we actually record it. Some of those shows I’ll co-host if they pay extra, I’ll help and co-host that. But those shows, it’s written in a contract, we have to approve the hosts. Because I know that they’re not going to be here.
So we’ll actually approve the hosts. And I’ve said no to affiliate shows that have tried to come on, too, because they just didn’t fit the brand.
Dave: Have you had a host that didn’t work how, did you replace them, or did you cancel the show?
Glenn: Early on I had a lady who was doing really well and then things started to go south for various reasons, and one day I just had to fire her, and to say we can’t use you anymore.
Well, she was hosting several of our shows, so we just turned around and I went out looking, and we put up – we are very proud of the fact that we have never missed an episode in eight years of any of the shows.
We put up reruns, we do whatever we have to. We share content among shows – we put out a show.
I’m a firm believer in that – that’s one of my biggest pet peeves. If you have advertisers you have to, right? They’re paying fro the space.
We had advertisers, for those shows. So I went out and I found a replacements. I knocked on doors until I found the people I wanted to do it.
And by the way, both of those shows now have grown now by almost fifty percent.
Dave: That’s great. I don’t want to talk too much about the avenue and revenue generation part of this, but I do want to get there. I know you talk a lot about this, so I did want to ask you a little bit. How did you go about getting your first few sponsors?
Glenn: You can’t sell numbers. Cross that out, forget that. You can’t sell CPM, or whatever that term is.
Dave: Yeah, CPM.
Glenn: Yeah, I have never done that, and I never will do it. We don’t do that. You have to sell you.
In sales, whether I was selling shows to corporations to come out and do a silly medieval feast – you know, charge them 10 grand to show up with 20 performers at their company dinner, and make fun of them all night.
You know with AT&T, we had some of the biggest corporations that hired us to do that. What you’re selling is you. Whether I was selling insurance, or investments, or whatever you’re selling, you’re selling you. Am I wrong about that?
Dave: No. Absolutely.
Glenn: You’re selling you. And in the beginning, that’s all I had to sell. We didn’t have numbers. I sold the dream.
You’re really selling the dream. And I would go to the sponsor, our first sponsor, I’ll tell you who it is – Kentucky Performance Products, because they’re still advertising with us 8 years later. They’re still one of our biggest advertisers, 8 years later. You know, she believed in me.
And she’ll tell you that. She’ll say ‘I believed that Glenn was going to make this, because I knew that he’s unstoppable in whatever he does.’ That’s what they want. They want to believe and be part of something that’s growing.
So now guess what rates she still has – she still has the same rates she had 8 years ago.
Dave: Seriously? Wow.
Glenn: I’ve never raised her rates because she believed in me when there was nothing. So I’m paying her back by doing that.
She’s still one of my biggest sponsors. And we’re proud of the fact that we’re still together. She visits me every time she comes to Florida, we have a good time, we’ve become good friends. We get her involved in the shows, she’s just thrilled to be part of the whole thing, especially now.
But you know, that’s how I paid her back, is by not being greedy later on and say ‘okay, we’re going to double your rates now’ after she was so helpful in the beginning. You know?
So yeah, you have to sell you. You have nothing else to sell. You don’t have enough numbers.
You can’t do CPM unless you’re people that are at the top of your game, you’re a famous celebrity. But unless you’re starting out like we did – we had nothing. With no listeners – nothing. You can’t sell that, you don’t have it, don’t even try.
To this day, most of my sponsors don’t even ask for numbers. I’ll give them to them if they ask – I’m proud of them now, right?
Dave: Right. Right.
Glenn: They don’t ask, because they see results, one. Our listeners are saying ‘hey I heard about you on the radio, and they know what we’re talking about. And by the way, they don’t call them podcasts, my listeners, they hear about us on the radio. That’s how they refer to it.
So they see the anecdotal results, and an increase in sales! Their companies are growing, so, you know, one of the thing it’s hard to sell in podcasts. And I tell my advertisers this, I said ‘you’re not going to see a direct ROI.’
By the way, throw ROI out the window, too , because you’re not going to see a direct ROI.
Nobody goes to my website, so they’re not clicking on your banners. I’ll put them there because the occasional people that do try to remember the name of the company will go there. But nobody goes to the website, they listen on their phones.
So, forget ROI, that’s out the window. What you’re going to see is an increase in traffic, an increase in people coming from Google, an increase in people typing your name in directly, and you’re not going to have any other place to attribute it to, that’s me.
Dave: That’s good.
Glenn: And that’s what they see. That’s what they see. So, and then they’re going – then they go well ‘I guess it is working.’ Because they have nowhere else to attribute it to.
But if you think about magazine ads, which is what these companies are used to doing, these small to mid-sized companies, right, are used to doing magazine ads, and they can’t attribute anything to that either.
So that’s become harder, too, and they’re spending thousands of dollars a month in those ads. They’re not spending that with us, so it’s less risky, actually, to do work with us.
So you’re selling you, you’re selling the dream, and you’re making them part of it.
That is the key. You make them part of your shows. And you keep them involved in your shows year after year. We have a 70% retention rate over 8 years because they’re part of our shows. And they like that.
Dave: Yeah, and I’ve listened to a couple of your shows just to make myself familiar, and you actually bring the sponsors on the show to talk about some of their new products or what they have going on, is that correct?
Glenn: Oh yeah, you know, with the radio-thon, the 12 hours, we tried. We had the sponsors directly involved in that show. We had them part of the opener.
You know, our title sponsor, one of their customer service people actually helped us do the opener for the day, and then our first guest was the president of the company.
This is one of the biggest wholesale companies in the horse world in the world. And the president of the company – I asked for the president, I wanted her. She came on.
Within four minutes of the show starting of the whole 12 hours she was there, we talked about her company and then she told us her favorite holiday memory with horses. And that’s how we started the day.
You know, you get them involved with you, in some way, whether it’s in products that are being launched. Because you know what? Your listeners want to hear about new products, too, from somebody they trust – you.
Dave: Yeah, I was going to ask – I heard you on the School of Podcasting with Dave Jackson.
Glenn: I love my buddy Dave.
Dave: Yeah. And I thought it was a really good show.
Glenn: He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to podcasting.
Dave: It was really good. Talk about little bit about pricing. How did you – what would you recommend for someone as far as picking a price? I know it’s different for different audiences and things like that, but I know you mentioned with him about the flat fee per show.
Glenn: Yeah, that’s the only way we do it. We charge a flat rate per show. And then, what we do is if a company wants to pay in advance, six months in advance, we will give them a 10% discount.
Dave: Okay. Any idea what a new show could ask for?
Glen: You’re probably going to start at $50, you know? It’s not going to be a lot of money in the beginning, and it wasn’t for us either. And it’s still not a ton of money, I’ve done other businesses where I’ve been asking more money than I am now.
Am I having more fun now? Yes. I’m having a ton more fun.
But yeah, you’re not going to get $1000 an episode. You’re going to get probably $50-$200 an episode depending on what market you’re in. That’s still what range we’re in after all of these years.
This next year we’ll be raising our rates a little bit because we can – because the demand is there. But until the demand is there, you can’t. You’re going to be happy to have those.
And if you’re paying your bills and making a little money too, you’re going to be thrilled. But, you know, it’s going to depend on what you’re doing.
We have three levels of sponsorship. We have title sponsor, and their name is in the title of the show ‘ Driving Radio Show by so-and-so.’ we charge more for that and they also get the first ad within the first 15 minutes of the show.
That’s what we do for title sponsors and they show up in iTunes and everywhere else. And then we have a secondary sponsor, which is the ads that show up in the content of the show.
And then we also have a segment sponsors. You know, ‘this training tip brought to you by’, and those are even a smaller amount because it’s just a shorter ad.
Glenn: So we have three levels of sponsorship that we do.
Dave: That’s great. And I’m going to include a lot of these notes and things like that in my show notes as well. I think that’s really helpful to hear you break those down into different levels.
Glenn: Yeah, title, regular, and then segment.
By the way, we’ve found it easier to sell segments than anything else, because people like to know that piece. They feel like it’s theirs. And it is theirs.
So when you have the training segment brought to you by– you know, one of our other Sponsors, to the Total Saddle Fit Training Segment on the Dressage Radio Show.
They’ve been doing that for years. And he likes to own that segment because he knows people like to hear those tips. And his product is directly revolved around those tips. So he’s on both sides of that training tip – he’s at the front with a bumper, and the end with a commercial. So he loves that fact, that he owns that piece.
We have one of the funniest things we do every week, and one of the most popular, our audience doubles on Friday on Horses in the Morning, because we do a segment – we have for five years called ‘Really Bad Ads.’
Our listeners send in bad Craigslist ads about horses or horse trailers or something for sale, and we read them and make holy fun of them.
We do it for a half an hour, it’s the last thing we do on the show on Fridays, it ends the week – you see our listener numbers just quadruple on Fridays.
And we give a prize every week that’s donated to the winner – we pick a winner every week. We’ll have 150-200 ads every week that my wife has to shuffle through, and we pick 12.
But that’s our most popular segment, and that’s branded and owned by a manure fork company because we felt like that was appropriate, right?
It’s expensive manure forks. I mean these are $80-$250 manure forks. The most expensive in the industry, and we’re the only advertising that he does now. Because people buy the manure forks because they hear about them on really bad ads.
Dave: I like that a lot. Any tips that you hear around the podcast world as far as maybe marketing or building an audience that’s maybe wrong or misleading? Anything that seems like it’s common knowledge, but based on your experience, you feel like people are being mislead?
Glenn: Well, you saw this at Podcast Movement, and I know I’m going to probably – I know I probably make other podcasters mad.
But I didn’t grow up in the podcasting world. Until I went to the Florida podcasting, Podfest, last year, and that was in February, I was not involved in the world of podcasting. I was just doing it.
Dave: Okay. Right.
Glenn: I was just out there doing it on my own. I didn’t know anything, I didn’t know any rules. I didn’t look around – you know, I listened to a couple of podcasts, but you know I wasn’t involved in – if you know what I mean by the ‘world of podcasting.’
Dave: Right. Right.
Glenn: So until I went down there and was like, ‘wow, there’s other people doing this.’ And, you know, actually talking about it. Then I went to Podcast Movement.
But one of the things was, there seems to be thee rules developing in podcasting.
Dave: It’s just the same in social media. People think there’s all kinds of rules about how to use Twitter and how not to use Twitter.
Glenn: That’s all crap. You know, it is crap. You make your rules.
You know, people told us … how many times did you hear at podcast movement that you have to keep your podcast short because nobody listens for more than 20 minutes – a half an hour.
Dave: Over and over again.
Glenn: Over and over again. Our most popular show, 40,000 listeners every day is an hour and a half five days a week, so that’s just crap. It’s what expectations you give your audience. And if your show’s good, they’re going to allow the time to listen. They’re going to book it in their schedule to listen. So it’s all up to you to develop that contract with your audience.
And once you develop that contract, you’d better damn well live up to it. So, those, and there’s a couple of other things that drive me nuts – and my pet peeves, because we’re such sticklers about it. If you want to make a living doing this some day and make money podcasting, with sponsors and advertisers, you can’t skip episodes.
You know, there was a thread on one of the Facebook pages, you probably saw it, where a guy asks, you know, I don’t feel like basically doing a show this week cause I don’t feel like I have great content – I’m just going to skip this week.
Well, if I’m a sponsor down line, and I see you’ve skipped a bunch of weeks, am I going to put any faith in you?
Dave: No, not at all, and it’s going to damage the reputation for a long time.
Glenn: You know, a lot of the people were saying, you know if you don’t have great content to put out, I’d rather you skipped.
Well, that’s great, if you’re doing it as a hobby, go ahead -skip all you want. But if you want to actually make money podcasting someday, you’ve got to be professional.
You put out a show. Even if it’s shorter – we’ll do that.
Some weeks we intentionally do shorter shows. Cut the length of the show in half about every six weeks, because I want people wanting more the next week – going ‘oh, man, it was only a half an hour this week.’ You know, I want them wanting more next week.
So that’s one of my pet peeves. There are no rules. We just did a twelve hour radio-thon, and it was hugely successful. We made money our fist year on it, we had a ton of listeners.
We had a hundred of our listeners send in voicemail’s where they sang songs, wrote poems, and guess what all those songs and poems were about? The Horse Radio Network and the hosts.
You know, we had 200 callers. If I went to the podcast movement and said we were going to do this, they would have told me I was nuts. We had 17 sponsors! We gave away $3000 in product, and had 30 guests including Charlie Daniels and Bob Baffert, American Pharaoh’s Trainer.
You know, they would’ve told me I was nuts, wouldn’t they have? Most of them?
Dave: Yeah, I think they would have. And I think what you’re saying here, and I want to make sure that this is very clear to people, is that when you know your audience, then forget about what everybody else is.
Because what might work in the gaming industry, and what might work in comedy might not work in the horse world, and if you know your audience, then you know what you can bring to them.
Glenn: That’s exactly right. But don’t – you know, listen and learn, but don’t take it as gospel. Don’t be afraid to try.
But if you’re going to do this – and this is my biggest lesson – if you’re going to do this and expect to make money and have it be your full time business, or even a part time business, but you’re making money at it, you can’t treat it like it’s a play thing.
You have to think of it as a business. If you’re not thinking of it as a business, you’re never going to be able to convince a sponsor to think of it as a business.
Dave: Yeah, and it’s like if it’s a brick and mortar store, and you show up, and it’s just closed from time to time, eventually people are just going to stop coming by.
Glenn: And sooner than later. It’s true, because you’re making a contract with your audience the first episode you put out. You’re saying ‘I’m going to be here every week, or twice a month, or daily, or whatever it is – I’m going to be here for you.’
And they kind of like the show, they listen to the first couple, they go – ‘okay, well I’m going to contract with you an hour a week, and then you don’t show up. You just stood me up. By the way, I’ll give you twice. I’ll give you the first time, something happened. The second time? I’m not listening to your show anymore because you broke our contract.’
Dave: I don’t want to take up too much more of your time, just a couple of questions. Do you have any podcasts you listen to that you really love?
Glenn: Yeah, I like Tom Merret’s Daily Tech News. Because that’s where I get my tech news is through Tom. So I do like that one. I love, and I email her almost every week. I love Katie Krimitsos Biz Women Rock. I like her delivery, I like her style, I like the women she has on, I learn a lot from that show.
Don’t tell her, but guys listen too.
And then, you know, I listen to School of Podcasting, Dave Jackson. I’m not just saying that, you know. I do listen to his show every week, because he kind of keeps me up on the world of podcasting. You know, he does news. You listen to that show, too, so you know he does news about podcasting, things like that.
I love Rotten Tomatoes Podcast. You know, Rotten Tomatoes the movie rating site? They have a great podcast, and that’s how I learn what movies are coming up that week.
Dave: What do you think makes a podcast remarkable?
Glenn: Entertaining. It has to be entertaining.
Glen: You know, Dave does that show by himself, and I can’t do that. I always hire co-hosts, and I always hire co-hosts better than me. They’re funnier, they’re more opinionated, something. They’re better than me. Because they make me look good.
So, Dave does that show himself. But he’s entertaining, he makes it fun.
I think entertainment first, education second.
That’s just me, I’m an entertainer, that’s what I do. So, I’m a true believer in that. I listen to podcasts that are entertaining.
Another one I’ve listened to for 8 years is Giz Whiz. That was one of Twits podcasts about products with Dick DeBartolo of Mad Magazine fame. Because it’s entertaining.
And the other one I really like is my newest one. Chris Krimitsos, a host who does Story Jam Theater.
That’s like a tiny TED podcast. 10 minutes. But I like the stories, and I like how he produces it. So those are the ones that I listen to the most.
Dave: Does any one of those, or one that you didn’t mention, stand out as maybe the most remarkable one, the most unique?
Glenn: Well, you know, I think maybe Daily Tech News is big because Tom is big. You know, he’s a big name in the Tech world.
They take in a ton of money every month with Patreon. You know, I think – you want to know the other one I listen to?
Dave: Yeah, please.
Glenn: Still, to this day, four hours, is Bob and Sheri. And they are mainstream radio, as a podcast. Because it’s mainstream radio, morning drive radio, they take all the commercials out, they’re podcast is 15-20 minutes every hour.
That’s how much they actually talk in mainstream radio. It’s 15-20 minutes. So the podcast is four like 15 minute segments. The rest is all commercials and weather, and news, you know.
Dave: Yeah, that’s why I listen to podcasts instead of radio.
Glenn: Yeah, exactly! Boy, if we had our morning show, we’d only talk 15 minutes for the hour and a half. Yeah, so I still listen to them every day, and they’re what I designed our morning show after was Bob and Sheri.
Dave: Do you have any recommended resources where you go, or you recommend websites or podcasts where people can learn more about building a podcast, or specific niches or marketing?
Glenn: You know, there’s a ton of good podcasts on podcasting. There’s a lot of them out there. The Facebook pages are good, too. I really like – do you want me to mention the names of a couple of them?
Dave: Yeah, please, and I’ll include the links.
Glenn: Podcasters Hangout, which I think you’re in.
Dave: Yep, I’m in there.
Glenn: The Podcast Movement has one, too, that’s pretty active.
I think Podcasters Hangout is probably the most active for how to do stuff. I really like that one for how to do stuff. I highly recommend, if you’re getting into podcasting, you need to go back and listen to – I hate to plug it again, but I learn a lot and I’ve been doing this for 8 years, is School of Podcasting podcast.
Because he goes over the nitty gritty stuff. And he reviews everything. So microphones, everything. I mean just everything. He’s seen it, reviewed it. To this day, if I have a question about a new service, I talk to him. I write to him first, because I know he’s going to have reviewed it already.
So I trust Dave Jackson over at School of Podcasting.
Dave: Before we sign off, where’s the best place that people can go to learn more about you or check out what you’re doing?
Glenn: Horseradionetwork.com, and get our app, go to the app store. IOS or Android, search for Horse Radio Network and it’s a free and easy to use, and we have almost 25,000 people now that have downloaded it.
Dave: That’s great.
Glenn: Yeah, our app is how a lot of people listen now.
Dave: Well, Glenn I appreciate your time. This has been really insightful. I love the stories and all the helpful information that you’ve given. So let me just say again thank you for your time. And I will be keeping in touch with you and following what you’re doing.
Glenn: Sounds good.
Dave: Take care. Bye Bye.