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State of podcasting with Podcast Legend Dave Jackson

What Podcasting Legend Dave Jackson Says About the Future of Podcasting for Hosts and Guests

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How are you doing in podcasting as a guest, host, or both?

Discover the future of podcasting with industry icon Dave Jackson. In this session, we explore the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities shaping the podcasting landscape. Drawing on his vast experience and deep knowledge of the industry, Dave shares valuable insights on what he’s learned since getting into podcasting and where he sees this industry heading. Join us as we explore the future of podcasting with one of its true pioneers!

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Read the Blog Post: Insights on the Future of Podcasting for Hosts and Guests from Dave Jackson

Alex: Welcome Dave. Today we will be talking about the state of podcasting – past, present, and future. You’re one of the OGs in this space, so I’m excited to hear about your start in podcasting. How did it all begin for you?

Past State of Podcasting interviews: Tom Rossi, Todd Cochrane (Founder of Blubrry Podcasting), Tracy Hazzard (Founder of Podetize), Travis Albritton (Buzzsprout), and Chris Krimitsos (Founder of Podfest).

Dave: Absolutely. It’s funny because my podcasting journey started in my brother’s basement. I had just gotten divorced and was recording with a water cooler on my right, a flush pipe behind me, and a dryer on the other side of the wall. It was not the ideal recording studio, but it got the job done.

I remember a friend came back from a marketing event and told me that the next big thing was going to be podcasting. I had never heard of it, so I Googled it and found one and a half pages of information. When I finally figured out how to upload a file and saw it come back down in an app, I knew that podcasting was going to be my next big thing.

The fun part was that nobody knew about podcasting, so I would ask people if they listened to podcasts, and they would say things like, “Do I need an iPod?” It’s been amazing to watch the growth of podcasting over the years. I remember when they parodied Siri on Saturday Night Live, and I thought, “Ah, we’ve hit the mainstream if they’re making fun of it now.” It’s been a wild ride.

Alex: It’s interesting how podcasting has become so mainstream that it’s even being mentioned in TV shows and news channels now. Back in the day, you could only find a page and a half of results on Google when searching for it, which seems unbelievable now.

Dave: Absolutely, and according to Edison Research, almost 70 to 73% of people have heard the phrase “podcasting.” We still have some work to do to reach everyone, but it’s come a long way. I find it interesting that even news channels now promote their podcasts. I remember an experience at a family event where my cousin had to work up the courage to ask me about podcasting. None of my other cousins wanted to admit that they didn’t know what it was. That’s why I think it’s essential to educate people about podcasts. Not everyone has caught up with the trend, but that’s okay. 

Alex: It’s funny how even your own family members had to work up the courage to ask you what podcasting is, despite you being such a well-known figure in the podcasting community. I think my grandma still thinks I’m a radio show host.

Dave: I always explain it to people that my podcast is a radio show on the internet, but with a worldwide audience. Some people still don’t quite get it, but that’s okay. The fact that podcasting has become so mainstream is a testament to how far it has come.

Alex: Before we dive deeper into the role of podcasting in multimedia, can you recall who your first guest was or when you started featuring guests on your show?

Dave: It’s a great question. At first, I was a solo podcaster, but I think my first guest was a musician named Joe Lynn Turner, who was part of a band called Rainbow in the eighties. I reached out to him and explained the concept of my show, which was about sharing advice for young musicians. To my surprise, he was willing to be on the show and we recorded over Skype. Looking back, the sound quality was probably terrible, but I was blown away by the fact that I was able to interview people who were huge in the industry. Other notable guests included Carmine Appice, the drummer for Rod Stewart and Ozzy Osbourne, and Joe Bonamassa, a guitarist who has now become incredibly successful. 

Alex: That’s really interesting. When did you start featuring guests on your show?

Dave: I started in April of 2005, and I probably started bringing people on by the end of that year. I remember using Skype for interviews, which was the best option available at the time. If someone declined to be on the show, I learned to be patient and wait for them to have something to promote before approaching them again.

Alex: It’s funny how easy it is now to get on podcasts as a guest. But back in the day, it took effort and some know-how.

Dave: Yes, and even if you had the right equipment, sometimes the phone quality was still an issue. But despite that, guesting on podcasts is a great way to grow your network. I personally do a mix of guesting and solo shows to expand my reach. Jordan Harbinger is a perfect example of someone who built up a network through guesting and was able to leverage that when starting a new show.

Alex: Building relationships with hosts is key. If you keep in touch with past hosts, you can build a great list of contacts that will come in handy when you start your own show or need help in other areas.

Dave: Exactly. The relationships you build can lead to unexpected benefits, like being able to recommend someone for a job or finding a solution to a problem. And there are tools like Less Annoying CRM that make it easy to keep track of your contacts without getting bogged down in sales funnels. Even if the hosts themselves aren’t the ideal guests, they likely know others who are. Keeping these relationships over time can lead to a bigger network and more opportunities. I shared that this has been a successful strategy for me, as I’ve kept in touch with everyone who’s ever been a guest on my show or whose show I’ve been on, leading to a large and valuable network.

Alex: Let’s move right along here, Dave. I promised I’d revisit the radio vs. podcasting debate we had earlier, but I don’t want to dwell on that. Instead, I’m curious about your thoughts on the current state of podcasting. It’s clear that podcasting has disrupted traditional radio and even parts of TV. But, putting that aside, where do you see podcasting today? What’s your take on where we stand with it?

Dave: That’s a great question, Alex. I think podcasting is in a really exciting place right now. With the rise of audio streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, it’s easier than ever for listeners to discover new shows and for creators to distribute their content to a wider audience.

At the same time, the diversity of content being produced is really impressive. There are podcasts covering just about every topic under the sun, from true crime to sports to business and everything in between. And the quality of production has really improved as well, with more and more shows investing in professional sound design and editing.

Overall, I think podcasting has become a mainstream form of media, and it’s only going to continue to grow in popularity in the coming years. It’s an exciting time to be involved in the industry, whether as a listener or a creator.

Alex:  I want to flip to the podcast guest side of things. I’ve noticed a trend where there seems to be a flood of people trying to get into podcast guesting. In fact, our own product, PodMatch, is experiencing a surge in sign-ups from the guest side of the platform. What do you make of this phenomenon? Do you have any insights you could share with our audience?

Dave: Yes, I think there are a few factors at play here. First off, people are starting to recognize the power of podcasting as a medium. However, many of them are finding that it’s more time-consuming and challenging than they initially thought. Between coming up with ideas, recording, and editing, podcasting can quickly become a time-consuming endeavor that may not fit into everyone’s schedule.

That’s where tools like PodMatch come in. They make the process of finding guests easier and more efficient while also ensuring that the match is a good fit for both the guest and the host. By using PodMatch, guests can get in front of the people they need to and share their message while also saving time and resources.

This is especially true for authors who used to go on book tours to promote their work. Now, they can set up a podcast book tour and reach their target audience more effectively. Overall, I think the rise in guest sign-ups for platforms like PodMatch is a reflection of the growing popularity of podcasting, as well as the need for more efficient and effective ways to participate in this medium.

Alex: It’s interesting to see how competitive pitching to be a guest on podcasts has become. My success rate used to be 97%, but now it’s dropped to under 60%. I used to only pitch to podcasts that I knew would have me on, which contributed to my high success rate. However, now that there are more people pitching the same topics as me, even a good pitch isn’t as effective. I’m wondering, Dave, what your thoughts are on finding podcasts in their early stages that have the potential for growth rather than going for the shows that have thousands of episodes.

Dave: I used to only do interviews for podcasts with five to 10 episodes, and now I’ll do one for any podcast that has published at least one episode. My reasoning is that those early-stage podcasts have the potential to grow and gain more downloads over time. Also, building relationships with those podcasters can be incredibly valuable. Todd Cochrane from Blubrry interviewed GoPro before they were a big name, and they still remember him and the boost he gave them. I rarely say no to interviews, but I’ve also learned that I don’t have to say yes to everyone. If the topic isn’t a fit for me, I’ll pass and know that there are plenty of other opportunities out there.

Alex: You make a great point about the power of niche podcasting. In today’s world, where there are countless podcasts available on any given topic, it’s becoming increasingly important to have a clear niche that differentiates your podcast and makes it stand out from the crowd. As you mentioned, the more specific the niche, the more likely you are to attract a dedicated audience who shares that particular interest or experience. By addressing a specific topic or theme, you can provide valuable insights and information that resonates deeply with your listeners and creates a sense of community and connection around that shared interest.

Dave: It’s also possible to niche yourself right out of an audience. It’s important to strike a balance between being specific enough to appeal to a dedicated audience while also being broad enough to attract a wider range of listeners. Ultimately, it’s about finding the right balance that works for your podcast, your goals, and your audience.

Alex: As we wind down our conversation, I’d love to get your thoughts on the future of podcasting, particularly with the emergence of AI and the concept of Podcasting 2.0. You’ve always been on the cutting edge of podcasting trends, and I’m really curious to know where you think this is all heading.

Dave: Absolutely. Podcasting 2.0 is an exciting concept, although I do think it might be a couple of years ahead of its time. Essentially, it’s like adding more features to a car, similar to how power steering was added after the invention of the radio. Media hosts are currently incorporating some of these features, which will eventually lead to apps adopting them as well. I’m particularly excited about the idea of letting your audience determine the value of your show, where they can choose to give you money if they think your content is worth it. This gives power to the audience and eliminates the need for advertisers, who can sometimes be unreliable.

However, I do have some concerns about AI transcribing shows and giving them a rating. I don’t want podcasting to become too sanitized and whitewashed. It’s also great to see more advertisers coming into the industry, but I think we’ll still see a range of shows, from big ones with advertisers to middle-class shows that rely on crowdfunding like Patreon or Supercast.

Finally, the emergence of value-for-value models, where listeners can tip in Satoshis or Bitcoin, is an exciting development. I recently did a test where I calculated how much I could have earned if I had invested in Bitcoin a couple of years ago, and the potential return is impressive. Overall, the future of podcasting looks bright and full of possibilities.

Alex: It’s fascinating to see how crypto and podcasting 2.0 are merging together. Real quick, what are your thoughts on hosts using AI to generate their descriptions, titles, and questions for guests? Do you think it’s healthy or unhealthy for the future of podcasting?

Dave: I’ve been experimenting with Capsho and SwellAI.com, which transcribe my episodes to generate summaries that sound like me. However, I’m a little scared about going into the world of ChatGPT, where AI types something based on whatever is on the internet. It’s like a superpower that could be used for good or evil. It’s exciting but a little spooky. I’m interested in seeing if AI can create a personality like humans have, but my buddy Daniel J. Lewis said it best – “It’s an assistant, not an employee.” Even Capsho’s Deirdre will tell you that a human still needs to come in and edit or tweak it. It’s exciting to watch as a technology nerd, but we’ll see how it goes.

Alex: Thank you so much for always bringing your guitar and entertaining us at PodFest. I remember the first year I saw you, and I was blown away by your talent. Before we finish up, I just wanted to touch on something you said during a podcast interview. “You may be able to outsell me as a podcast coach, but it’d be very hard for you to outserve me.” Can you tell us more about your philosophy on service in this industry?

Dave: Sure, Alex. I believe that every successful podcaster has a servant’s heart. You have to prioritize the benefit of your audience before your own benefit. That’s just the bottom line. My background is in training, and serving others is something that I’ve always been passionate about. For example, Marcy Rosenbaum once called me up crying because she felt she couldn’t do it. But with some encouragement and guidance, she submitted her podcast to iTunes. Seeing her succeed was such a boost for me. I love helping people realize their potential and grow their audience.

When I started podcasting in 2005, I saw it as a tool to bridge the gap across cultures and learn from others. For me, serving the audience has always been my top priority. Successful podcasters I’ve interviewed share that mindset and their shows reflect it.

Alex: Thank you so much for sharing your perspective, Dave. I truly appreciate the time you’ve given us today and the education you’ve provided through the School of Podcasting, and your appearances at PodFest. Your wisdom has been invaluable.

Dave: Thank you for having me, Alex. It’s been great talking to you.


About Dave Jackson

Dave Jackson launched the School of Podcasting in 2005. He has been helping people understand technology for 20+ years as a corporate trainer and podcast consultant. Dave Jackson was inducted into the Podcasting Hall of Fame in 2018. He is the author of the book, “Profit from Your Podcast: Proven Strategies to Turn Listeners into a Livelihood.” Over the years, he has launched over 30 different podcasts with over 4 million downloads.


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