Growing Niche Podcasts and Launching 300+ Shows at iHeartRadio with Matty Staudt - S1E08
Matty Staudt, who built podcast networks from the ground up at Stitcher and iHeart, tell us what it takes to make and promote a great show.
From talking his way into an on-air radio job at 16, to leading podcast development at Stitcher and building out networks at iHeart Radio, through to his current work as a podcast producer and coach, Matty Staudt has more audio experience than most of us can dream of.
That's why we're so excited for Matty to join us on Supercasters, where he share tips and insights gleaned from decades in the biz.
In this episode, we cover:
- 🔧The key levers to pull when growing a podcast on a scrappy budget
- 💪 Why your podcast might fail without a mission statement
- 🧪 Matty Staudt’s 3Es formula for creating a successful podcast
- 📻️ What radio can teach us about making a great show
- ⭐️ The reason celebrity shows are likely to podfade
- 🌈 Why making space for diverse and local voices is so important
- 🤑 The future of podcast monetization according to Matty Staudt
In the extended episode, we take the hot seat for a real-time coaching session as Matty critiques our Supercasters show. Don’t miss the teardown! Listen by subscribing to the Supercasters premium feed.
Jason Sew Hoy: Today, I'm speaking to the nicest guy in podcasting. Matty Staudt’s the president of Jam Street Media, a premium podcast production company based in LA that creates original podcasts for brands and the entertainment industry. From morning show radio host to the founding director of content at Stitcher to launching 300+ podcasts for iHeartRadio, Matty’s a true pioneer in the podcasting industry, as well as being a passionate teacher. He created the nation's first university-level podcasting department for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. So whether it's developing original shows, coaching talent, or planning podcast strategy for hundreds of shows at once, Matty has a wealth of experience.
And in this episode, you're going to get unique insight into what a podcast coach sees and what most people are doing wrong with their podcasts. Myself included. So without further ado, Matty, welcome to the show.
Matty Staudt: Hey buddy. Good to be on. It's neat to see you behind the microphone. We've done a couple Zooms together, but it's great to hear that awesome voice doing a podcast.
Jason Sew Hoy: You're too kind. Maybe you could wind back the clock for us a little bit and tell us a bit about the radio days and how that led into the wonderful world of podcasting.
Matty Staudt: Sure. I was one of those really aggro kids about radio. I would call radio stations up and request songs over and over and over again. I had a tape deck, I would record radio shows and I would make my own shows. I think my mom has a tape or before she passed, she had a tape of me at age 10 doing a parody radio show. So I was always into radio. My mom listened to Howard Stern. I was just like, when he was just on in DC and I was like, I really want to go and do that. So when I was 16, I got a driver's licence. I lived in a little town in West Virginia. We had a very small radio station. That was an AM station and an FM rock station. And the AM station, I walked in and said I'll do whatever. And they gave me a Sunday morning 6am shift where I put a needle on an album called the Sounds of Sinatra. It was a show and I did the weather. My first day I said the word… can I curse on your podcast or?
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, go for it.
Matty Staudt: So I said shit three times into a microphone, very first day on the air. And the boss came in and just was so cool. He turned off the microphone and he said are you ever going to do that again? And I'm like no. And then he came back and he said what was the first thing I did? And I said, you turned off the microphone. He goes, exactly. Always turn the microphone off first. So from there I graduated high school and I went to West Virginia University and I was turned down by the campus radio station because I’d been doing regular radio and I guess they thought I had too much experience. And I got lucky. The biggest rock station in the state hired me and I did rock radio all through college. Paid for beers, books, all that by being a DJ when I was in college.
And when I graduated, I was working at a country station. I was sending resumes out to anybody who would take a resume. And I had sent an intern to Washington DC to an FM talk station there. It was brand new. They’d just put Howard Stern on and these other shows that I really liked. And while she was there, one of the producers for the G Gordon Liddy show quit. And I drove to DC and just basically talked my way into a job. I took a pay cut from West Virginia to go work in DC and it worked out for me because the PD of the station, Jeremy Coleman, who was now the president of the Howard Stern network, he took me under his wing.
I ended up in New York City. I had a morning show there, produced a bunch of shows there. And then I ended up in San Francisco where I had the number one morning show for six years until I decided I was bored with getting up at four in the morning and I wanted to try something too. All I'd ever done is radio. And there was these four guys that started this company called Stitcher. And I was just like, what's a podcast, but sign me up, whatever.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah. Nice.What was your role at Stitcher?
Matty Staudt: So. When I got there, it was pretty obvious that these guys understood tech but not content. And I sourced all the content, all the first podcasts. There's a lot of podcasters out there who have been around a long time who remember getting emails from me and asking them, Hey can I put you on Stitcher? So I did that. I created all the stations for Stitcher. It was a lot of fun. But in the early days, we were a tech startup, it was a tech company, wasn't real content-driven. So I was getting antsy to do content and I left Stitcher after three years to go work for a brief period of time with Kevin Smith here in LA, before ending up going back to San Francisco and starting the university program and just starting my own kind of podcast consulting and coaching business there, which I tell everybody, there's so many people in the business now who weren't in the business three years ago.
And they certainly weren't in the business 10 years ago when we had, like everybody thought we were idiots for getting into podcasting, every radio person in the world asked me why would I not go back and do mornings again? Why would I leave a really good gig to go do podcasting? And I couldn't honestly at the time I couldn't give them a good answer because I didn't know either. I was like, I don't know. I like it. I think it's going to be something big. I always believed in it but it was really hard to stick with it during the drought, up until Serial. Serial changed things a lot for a lot of us, but it was really a tough go for anybody who wanted to be making money in podcasting. And I somehow have always the last 14 years been able to make a career and a living off of podcasting but it was not easy back then.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, I remember Stitcher was certainly my gateway into podcasting, was the first podcast player I ever downloaded. Do you remember back in those days, what were the genres that were doing well in podcasting and what were the kinds of shows that you were prioritizing to get onto the platform?
Matty Staudt: Anything about Macs. Anything about Macs was always big. They were like the big shows that we had. I hosted a Macworld show and I hosted one for a… we did something for TechCrunch. So it was a lot of tech people that really liked podcasts. The first deal that we signed a partnership was with NPR and that just made sense. And it's funny because when NPR got into podcasting, they were the same arguments that I heard when I started podcasting at iHeart, which is well, people won't listen to the radio now and we're going to lose listeners. And when I was at iHeart I kept pointing back to NPR and going just the opposite, it's increased listenership. There are people who find NPR through podcasts now, and now NPR makes as much money from podcasting as it does from their stations.
So that was the smart bet but still terrestrial radio… and to this day, like I just got an email back from some guy on LinkedIn and he's like, Oh, I work in radio, I'm not interested in podcasting. It's like, you're a dinosaur dude. Good luck. Your career is not going to be very good if that's your attitude. But that still was the attitude with a lot of folks. And any content that was out there we would put on Stitcher. But the shows were very long. And even going back to when I used to teach podcasting, the first shows that I made my students do were all an hour. Because that was kind of standard back then. It was an hour, at least for a show. As compared to now, where if you go over 40 minutes, I'm going to slap your wrist and tell you you've gone on too long. So it's changed quite a bit. But yeah, long shows, tech shows. There's still some of the guys out there that have that. They're still doing the same podcast. And I always like running into them at Podcast Movement and stuff.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah. And then tell us a little bit about your role at iHeart. What was the situation when you arrived there and obviously you had 300+ shows under your belt. Can you tell us a little bit about what you were doing there on a day to day basis?
Matty Staudt: When they hired me at iHeart, they hired me because they wanted me to run digital for San Francisco, for that market. And I agreed to do that with the caveat that I could do whatever I wanted with podcasts. Because they really weren't doing anything with podcasts. They were keeping all their podcasts just on iHeartRadio. There just wasn't a real strategy to them yet. During that first year, I created about 40 shows in San Francisco alone and we launched and our numbers were really good.
Jason Sew Hoy: And was this just syndicating radio shows onto podcasts or was it more than that?
Matty Staudt: Both. But for me it was creating new podcasts and mostly creating aftershows. So I created the first podcast aftershow of a radio show 14 years ago. So when I left my morning show, they were complaining because after I left, the PD wouldn't let them talk about as many things and it was really annoying them. And I said, why don't you start a podcast after the show, go say whatever you want. Curse, do all that. And that show was very successful. Millions of downloads. So when I got to iHeart, I'm like, we need every morning show to do this because it's good for the brand. It's good. People want that extra content and if you can give that to them, you're just making your brand better. So that was my dogma. And after I did that, they gave me the whole country.
So I went around to every radio market, mostly just the top 25 markets, and started podcasts with the radio talent. And then when we had How Stuff Works came in, I did a lot of liaison stuff because I always tell people I speak both languages: I speak radio and I speak podcasting. And there's not a lot of people that can speak both because the two worlds haven't mixed as much as they are now. Now yes. But back three years ago, there wasn't anybody who could go to a program director, a radio station and really explain to them why it was important to do podcasting because their mindset is it's going to hurt ratings. I'm all about ratings. I get paid for ratings. I don't get paid for podcasts, but that was shortsighted as a lot of things have been with radio. And it's why the business is hurting right now. you know, that's what I did and I had a great time doing it.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, that's fascinating. I mean, that's the whole idea of bonus content being seeded right there. That transition from what's on the morning show, the main segment of it, to then hey, come and listen to the unfiltered extra content afterwards that is where you get a true piece of what's on the host's minds, I guess.
Matty Staudt: And unfortunately with radio, especially if you're not on a morning show, your talk time is what, 10 seconds maybe? If you're lucky. It's just a different world and I could get into why that is, but the whole rating system and all of that, but it hurt radio, I think. And it's why so many radio listeners flock to podcasts now. That's why people like myself, who did FM talk radio, went into podcasting or Sirius XM. Pretty much everybody I worked with in New York either went to Sirius XM or is now in podcasting.
Jason Sew Hoy: And who's left behind? Do you think that all of the smart minds in radio, the people that are at the front of the curve, they've already left and, therefore, like you say, they're already on a podcast or digital-first platform, or do you think there's still a lot of that transition still to come?
Matty Staudt: I think that when it comes to talent, there's still a lot of great talent in radio. I think that they're getting stretched though. If you used to do a shift, you did a shift in one market and that was it. Now you're doing a shift and you're doing maybe 10 other markets and that's really like what's happening to the good talent, they're getting stretched. But they're also they're using the radio to enhance their digital platforms. So their social media, their podcast. I think a lot of the smart people have learned that. I think that's still very powerful. I mean, if you're in radio, you still have a giant microphone or a megaphone to get the word out to people about things, including your own stuff. So I think radio is still very powerful and I think there are a lot of really smart people in radio still, I think that radio is adapting.
I think iHeart by far just kind of way ahead of the curve for the other companies, but they're kind of showing the way. I mean, it's a shame that there's been so many people who have lost jobs in radio, but that was going to happen unfortunately. I think COVID was kind of a rip the bandaid off kind of situation where it was like, all right, we're going to have to scale down anyway so let's just do it. I hate that. I hate to see radio people go. I don't think there's much of a farm system left for young people. I was 16, walked into a radio station and got a job. That doesn't happen ever anymore. There's no way a 16 year old is ever getting on the air in a radio station. So that's the tough part.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, absolutely. And then Jam Street Media, you gonna tell us a little bit about how that came about?
Matty Staudt: Yeah. So when I was at iHeart, I saw that there was a need for a lot of… we had brands coming to us that wanted to do podcasts, but there was only one or two companies out there making them. I was making them with a smaller company called Mattyy Media that I was doing on the side and then Steve Pratt at Pacific Content is the godfather of branded content. And he actually took me under his wing and showed me a lot of things and actually gave me my first client. So originally I left with someone from the television film world to start a brand, a company. Couple months in realized, as a lot of people do when they have a new partner, it didn't work out. She wasn't as into podcasting as I was or I decided that I was just going to kind of take the company and take it in a different direction.
We were working on branded deals up until February and then COVID hit. I had this team of amazing producers, most of which are former students of mine. I've always had people coming to me, wanting me to do shows for them or give, you know, they had IP. And I was like, let's just do that. We're going to work for free. We're going to put out some shows just to show that we can build these shows and do it. Over three months we got together four shows, put them out and we had a half million downloads within two months on these shows without any paid promotion or any funding, which has shown that we can do that so it's going to make it easier for us to get funding down the road.
But yeah I think that there's not a lot of companies that make good premium podcasts that know how to do storytelling, that know how to do really work with entertainers to make a podcast that is not just them and their celebrity friends talking about nothing. That's the kind of stuff that drives me, is to make sure that we make podcasts that hit my three Es: empathy, education, and entertainment. And I think when you hit the three Es, you've got something good and we know how to make those good podcasts. So we've got a lot of really cool IP that's been kind of dropping in onto me. And in LA in particular there's a lot of projects that are out there that aren't going to get made right now.
And if we can make those into podcasts and they're successful, well, that makes them selling that idea to a Netflix or an HBO a lot easier because they have a track record of hey, this podcast had 10 million downloads. So that's kind of the future of the business that I'm creating and I think is the future of a lot of podcast companies. I think Wondery has kind of led the way on that. And we're kind of following the lead.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, interesting. There's a lot to unpack there. The shows that you have already played a hand in helping produce, how did you meet those hosts and who pitched who, did they come purely to you or did you see the potential and take the idea of doing a podcast to them?
Matty Staudt: I’ll tell you a couple of them, but the one I think I like the most is Deep Cover, the real Donnie Brasco. So if you don't know, Joe Pistone is Donnie Brasco. He went undercover. He still has a hit out on him from the mob. When I was in Philadelphia working at iHeart Philadelphia for a few days, I met a guy and he was like, yeah, we were talking to this guy Joe Pistone about doing this podcast. I'm like, I'm in. Tell me all about it. They started recording some episodes and it wasn't anything happening. They weren't even, you know, they didn't put it out or anything. And when I started Jam Street, I got a call from a guy in Philly and he's like, Hey, listen, we heard you're a standup guy. Joe's heard you're a standup guy. We'd like to work with you if we could. And if you get to know Joe Pistone, if Joe Pistone thinks you're standup or you're like one of us, that's what he says about his... if you're a friend, that you're one of us, it's a big deal. People treat him like he's a mafia don. Really cause Joe doesn't talk… ]he doesn't mince words. You're just, you know where you stand with this dude.
Jason Sew Hoy: You gotta live up to it at that point.
Matty Staudt: Yeah, so that way, I guess the little Italian kid from West Virginia must've made a good impression on somebody. That's how that one happened. And then the other one, our other big podcast is the Big Swing with Ross Stripling who's a pitcher from the Dodgers and now the Blue Jays, but he was working with iHeart on some stuff and had come to me for some coaching. And I really liked Ross a lot. I see a ton of potential in Ross. In fact, we're developing another podcast just around Ross. So when we launched that was one of my first calls was like, Hey, let me take your podcast. Let me fix it the way I want to fix it and let's distribute it and get it out there. My producer brought Vanessa Mdee to us who was the Rihanna of Africa and so that podcast had one season. It had done really well in Africa. And our season two was top 10 in Africa. And we've had a couple more kind of come in through friends and people that have heard. I've got a couple coming in from a couple of producers in Hollywood that somebody knew somebody.
That Deep Cover… and actually when you have a podcast that people like…so Deep Cover, people love it. It's got like a hundred percent listen through rate, a hundred percent listen through rate. I've never had a show that it had that and it's brought me other folks. So I've had other people who are celebrities who listen to that show. And they're like, Hey, if you can do that for these guys and make it sound as good, can you do that for me? So I think that when you make good stuff, people will come to you. I'm very upfront and straightforward with people, especially new ones in letting them know, Hey, we're a small company. This is what we can do. We're going to give you really good service but just know we're not iHeart. We're not going to be able to pull a trigger and have 300,000 people listen. Everyone who's come on board with us is willing to grow with us. And I think that it says a lot about my team and our company that so many people put their trust in us to do that.
Jason Sew Hoy: Absolutely. Being a small team, I'm sure you also have to be selective about which projects you get involved with. What are the things that you are looking for? You have these deals from time to time, you mentioned the three Es, how does someone catch your attention and how do you realize, okay, I've got something I can work with here?
Matty Staudt: Well, I want something unique. I want to tell stories that haven't been told. We have two podcasts that we're in development on that are about big crimes. So one of them is called Defending Dahmer. And it's not about… I have the person who covered from the very first time the police showed up, she covered the whole thing and wrote a book and we're not telling the story of Jeffrey Dahmer. We're telling the story about his defense attorney, and what it's like to defend a monster. That's what I look for is like, give me something that people might know, but I want to tell a story that's not been told about that story.
And just raw talent. I mean, I've worked enough with talent and done enough talent coaching that I can listen to something in a few minutes and tell you, okay, this person's got something. This person does not have something. I would say that the majority of inbounds you get, if you're a podcast company, are not great. They read all the articles about starting your own podcast and they've started one, but they haven't put a lot of time into thinking about target audience and really how they're going to grow their show. What their episode structures are going to be. All the things that we do when we work with talent and coach them.
We look for more podcasts that have good IP so I'm looking for podcasts that I look at and go, okay, this is something that can be made. And then also when we have that, then sometimes we need to find the talent to go with that podcast. We've got a podcast about underprivileged Olympians, and we're looking for a former Olympian to be the host. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I don't know how you want to look at this. Right now, there is just celebrity fever in podcasts. So if you have a celebrity attached, it makes it a lot easier to sell the podcast and get it going.
Some companies do it really well. Wondery has done a good job with that. They don't really think the idea through, and it's just they kind of let celebrity run roughshod and go with their idea, which is something you have to be able to rein people in and go, listen, I know what people will listen to. And I know that you and your friends are funny to you, but you might not be funny to anybody else. I always give the Amy Schumer example, Amy Schumer's first podcast for Spotify was horrendous because it sounded like, Hey, this is what we think a podcast should sound like. Let's take you and four of your friends and put them in a room and talk about whatever.
No knock on Amy Schumer. She's a very funny person, but that was just an ill-conceived concept because it wasn't strong. It didn't really highlight what she's good at. I didn't think so. And that one made the rounds for a lot of us in the industry and we're like, yeah, this is not good. So now I'm going to get crap from Amy Schumer's people, but anyway.
Jason Sew Hoy: All right. So tell us a little bit about the Matty Staudt formula in. As you're bringing on board one of those shows, what are the things you're thinking about in terms of how that show gets created or relaunched or whatever it is that you're doing?
Matty Staudt: I always start with a mission statement. If you can't tell me what your show is in one paragraph, then you haven't thought it through enough. I take a lot that I learned working in the Valley about pitching companies and elevator pitches. I teach that to my students and they're often like, why am I learning this? I'm trying to make podcasts. It's like, well, do you want to make podcasts or you want to make podcasts for people that want to listen to? So we always look at who's the target audience, what's the mission statement of the show. And then if it's a serial podcast, if it's something we're going to do as a series, then we start mapping out what each episode is, what's going to be the cliff hanger, what's going to keep going to the next one.
We do all of that before we even start recording anything. There's a lot of work that gets done on paper before we ever get to a microphone. And I think a lot of people don't spend enough time with that prep, and making sure that doing test episodes and knowing that, you may get three episodes into a podcast and decide we need to change this and do this before we launch it. So that's one thing I have to do sometimes with a lot of folks is kind of calm them down. They're like, Oh, I got an episode done. Let's release it. It's like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We need to… at least three. I gotta make sure this is going to work and we're putting the right stuff out.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah. Interesting. And how about growing traffic once you've launched it, let's say those three episodes. How do you think about the key levers to continuing that growth?
Matty Staudt: Well, that's the tricky part. And that's the part that is the hardest for most people. Some of our podcasts, we had a celebrity attached and it's a lot easier. You tap into their fan base first, and then you go there. For the Donnie Brasco what we did is we've really targeted people who like mafia stuff. Spent very little money on a Facebook campaign to reach those people with really good targeted content for them, videos, all kinds of stuff. And that worked out really well. So that one, I'm probably the proudest of because we built a really big audience with that podcast without any… like Joe, none of the hosts have social media. They're not guys that can pull a trigger and everybody pull a lever and have a hundred thousand people tune in. So we've had to figure that out. I always tell people that you got to find where the people are who want to listen, which is why you do the first exercise.
It's why we do the target demographic psychoanalytics of the person, like what do they like, what do they listen to? What movies are their favorites? And then we go find where those people live. What groups do they live in on Facebook? What groups do they live in on Reddit, and then go after them and let them know about the show. That's a little different than a company that's properly funded. Because we have to be very scrappy and we don't have money to spend on this stuff. If we have money, then it's finding the right podcasts that we can buy some promo time and do some swaps with and the kind of traditional ‘you build a podcast’ system. And that's why it's a lot easier for a company like iHeart to put out a podcast and have it be in the charts right away, because, they'll just blast the heck out of it over all of their channels, put it in feeds of other shows and that's something that we just can't do. And it's something most people can't do.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah. I think utilizing Facebook groups and Reddit groups is really fascinating. It's a theme that I've heard in a few different places now. How do you go about approaching those communities and the community owners?
Matty Staudt: We'll do some paid ads but the main thing is creating the content that's going to work and A/B testing it. And we'll do a test of, I think we did 20 pieces of content for Deep Cover, found the five that tested best, blasted them. Had one that was really getting a good response. And then it's mega blasted that one. So we did it in phases. I'm lucky I've found somebody really good to do that who had not done that for podcasting before. And this is something I tell people all the time, if you can trade out, trade out. So I traded him podcasting stuff and he does marketing stuff for us on that level.
When you're scrappy and you're not funded, you have to come up with ways to get things done and trading out and doing favors and returning emails to people that you don't know if they'll have any, if they're not going to help you out in the future, that's super important. It really is. I mean, I'm a LinkedIn junkie, I'm on there all day, and I'm always reaching out to people and talking and getting to know them and responding to emails and taking meetings. Even if it's not a meeting, I don't think it's going to do anything, it's important to take them anyway.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, absolutely. And certainly be very generous with your advice and so on with Supercast and just even jumping on with this and supporting our efforts for the Paid to Podcast competition.
Matty Staudt: Let me say this too. I really do believe in what you're doing and your mission and liking the people who are doing the company goes a long way. I like you and I have liked everybody we've talked to with your company and I can't stress that enough. I joke on Twitter that I'm the nicest guy in podcasting because somebody called me that the other day because I was getting angry and they're like, you can't, I can't take you seriously, you're the nicest guy in podcasting. But I do think it's important to be nice. I gave a high school commencement speech and it was one of the main points I made is just being nice to people. Just that simple. It's something that's lost a lot today, but just I think it goes a long way.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah. So contrasting I guess with what you were seeing in the early days with Stitcher and tech and anything to do with Macs being the most successful genre, what are you seeing today?
Matty Staudt: I did all the podcast upfronts this fall and watched and there’s a lot of celebrity podcasts that I don't think will last very long. Here's what happens. And I went through this, I used to produce a sports talk show in New York City. And we would try out NFL and major league players to do the show. They really wanted to be on the air until they actually had to do it every day and get up at four in the morning and be at the station every day. And I think that with podcasting, we've seen that with celebrities. A lot of them are like, I got to do a podcast and then oh my God, I gotta do it every week? I don't want to do this anymore. So I think we'll see some podfade with those.
I think there's always going to be a place for good storytelling podcasts. I think hearing more, and I feel like this phrase gets used overly but I think it's important, “diverse voices.” The good thing about podcasting is, the more niche you are, the better. Podcasts that are reaching communities that haven't been reached by traditional media before. Where in traditional media are you reaching out to black women? Very few places, if any. Podcasting, we can do that. And the thing I like too with podcasting that I know we do is, I'm a middle-aged white guy. I don't produce Vanessa Mdee. I don’t. I have a young producer who's a female produce that show because that show was for young women. And that's what I, that's for me, I always want to make sure my production team is.. We've got a podcast that we're working on and they wanted a team of color and I'm like, cool, that's fine with me. We'll do that.
Because my biggest problem with media is that it's been controlled by old white guys who think they know what people want to hear. I remember selling a live podcast series to a company in San Francisco. I'm not gonna say what company. And they were like, Oh nobody's going to come to see a live podcast. At one point I may have said, listen, this isn't for you. Your audience are young 20-somethings. I don't really care what you, what you like and what you think. It's what they like and think. And they agreed and guess what? They were a huge success. We sold out every time. But that's the thing, you've got to let the people who know the content, are close to the content make the content and not make it for them. That drives me nuts.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, this is hugely powerful and I totally agree. The internet enables all of these tiny niches or what are seemingly tiny niches, to be quite scalable opportunities where you can take a certain subsection of the population and sure at a city level or a country level it might seem small, but then at a global level it's actually a lot of people that you can reach.
Matty Staudt: We had a podcast in Detroit. It was a morning show in Detroit, Mojo in the morning and Mojo, only market he's in is Detroit. He's been there forever. His podcasts brought in two, three million a month. I mean, this is one city. So yeah, there are markets that you can do that and build that big audience and not have to worry about appealing to a mass audience.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah. And so what are the other things that you're thinking about when you're enabling underrepresented voices like that. You mentioned the production team and making sure that the people that are producing the content are people that identify with their content and with that audience. What other things are running through your head?
Matty Staudt: I'm a bit arrogant in the fact that I think I know everything about content and what's good and what's bad and I have to check myself and defer to the folks making the content sometimes. I mean, I can tell you if it sounds good or not, but not always speaks to me. But I think that as I'm looking for more content for our company, we are looking for more folks who have a unique voice and that includes old people. And by old people I mean people over 45. I tell my team all the time, listen, that's a market that still hasn't gotten it yet and they're getting it right now. So I'm working on a podcast now where we're interviewing senior citizens about their lives. And one of them had his transition when he was 80. This 90-some year old woman who's run a dry cleaner and still runs it. That kind of stuff too I'm really interested in. And when we talk about diverse voices is also bringing that.
One of the podcasts we signed was Appalachian Mysteria. I'm from Appalachia. I've spent my whole life hearing West Virginia jokes and we're kind of one of the last areas you're allowed to make fun of. I had found Appalachian Mysteria, this podcast had done amazing numbers on SoundCloud, and they'd never thought about making it something that they can make money off of. And we put the first season out and the second season out, it's our top downloaded podcast and we're working on season three right now. But I love it because all the music has done by folks in West Virginia. The reporters are from West Virginia. And the stories are from West Virginia, anywhere in Appalachia. We're doing one in Tennessee right now, but these are the other voices that are underserved that I'd like to give voice to.
Jason Sew Hoy: I had never thought of that until you just mentioned it, but it's such no-brainer. The medium is so accessible to the older generation and they might not all be on it yet but that will absolutely come in time. I have no doubt about it and I'm thinking of my dad. My dad's 85 years old and he can talk your ear off and he's got so many stories from how he was, as a kid was evading the Japanese in China and escaping their clutches and then migrated to New Zealand and all the stories of his great-great-granddad being a gold mining pioneer in New Zealand. That sort of stuff I would love to capture at some point and has been captured, but yeah, audio is the perfect place for those kinds of stories to go.
Matty Staudt: I'll tell you the first time my wife, who's from California, went home to visit my family in West Virginia, our neighbor came over and told us a 25-minute story about going down the road to the store to get some eggs. Full of detail. Twenty-five minutes. And my wife looked at me afterwards and she goes, I get it. I get why you do what you do. Your people tell stories. They love talk. They love to tell a story. And I'm like, yeah, you should hear one of his good stories because he's been working on that one for years. It gets better every year when he tells it. I think there's a lot to be said for tapping into some of these voices and some of these stories that don't get told.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah. From a monetization point of view, where have you seen podcast monetization be really successful and what excites you about where this is going.
Matty Staudt: I think right now, the ad model is still tough. CPMs are lower than they should be. I think COVID has been very helpful in the fact that again, a lot of these folks who make these decisions at agencies and advertisers are starting to see, you know what, it's more powerful to have 10,000 podcast listeners than it is to have a million radio listeners because the podcast listeners are real and they're very niche and I can reach them in a way that's more personal. We're not there yet. We're still getting there. I don't plan to make a lot of money off of our ad sales this year and hopefully next year that'll get better.
I like the hybrid model of pay and free. I think Wondery+, companies that are doing that, which is like, Hey, here's some free content, if you want stuff first or you want extra stuff, it's a couple bucks a month—I think that's really smart. I don't mind paying a couple bucks a month for content that I really want, and I've seen it be pretty successful for some ex-radio folks. And I think that's another thing I tell radio folks is that you leave radio with a big audience. Don't let them go. They want to hear you, they'll pay a few dollars a month to listen to your show. So I think that's the way to go. But I think the hybrid is really, to me, the future is kind of the hybrid of free and paid.
Jason Sew Hoy: Right. In that hybrid model, where do you draw the line in terms of what do you offer free and what you put behind the paywall?
Matty Staudt: I think it just depends on the personality and the show. I think that with celebrities, I know it's known for porn, but OnlyFans is a good example of people want behind the scenes and they'll pay a couple bucks months to go behind the scenes. Unfortunately, with that product, it's usually porn stars. In general, it's a good idea that if I'm a celebrity, I'm going to do what I do on a podcast, but then hey, I might just… Like an aftershow for a morning show. I might have the podcast where I get on the mic. It's in the morning, I talk about how shitty my day is and how hard it is to be me, the maid didn't show up or whatever celebrities complain about. But I think that's the kind of content that people want.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, exactly. So it's access, right? It's access to somebody that you already identify with and just getting a little bit more insight into their life.
Matty Staudt: Yeah, absolutely. And I think the other thing is, as we see, we can't tour with podcasts now. I think doing a live podcast, pay-per-view, is another thing I haven't seen a lot of folks doin, but the podcast touring industry was about to blow up this year. And that's something we, in all of our shows, we have provisions for taking them on tour because people love to go watch a good podcast. Shockingly to me, I don't get it, but I did a podcast once in Boston with Holly from Stuff You Missed in History Class and we had geez I think 400 people show up and I'm still like, we're just talking. But people like it. So I think that's another thing.
Jason Sew Hoy: All right. So we have just clocked over your magical 40-minute mark. As I mentioned before, Matty is also a mentor in Supercast's Paid to Podcast competition where he has very generously offered to provide a year of coaching and consulting calls for our winner, which will only make that person's show infinitely better. So we're going to tap into a little bit of that coaching goodness right now and get Matty's views on the most common things that podcasters get wrong, as well as doing a live critique of a Supercasters episode as well. So that means, yep, I'm going to get into the hot seat and Matty's going to tell me all the things I could be doing better, which is making me slightly squeamish, but I'm sure will result in some major improvements.
So if that sounds entertaining, you can listen to Maddie's coaching advice by subscribing to Supercasters Premium. Sign up for free, and then you'll have the Premium Supercasters feed in your podcast player in just a couple of taps.
Matty, always a pleasure speaking with you. Thank you so much for coming on. And where can people find out more about you?
Matty Staudt: Sure, you can go to jamstreetmedia.com and I am on all socials at Matty M A T T Y Staudt, S T A U D as in dog T as in Tom. So at Matty Staudt, follow me on Twitter, all of them. Same on all of them.
Jason Sew Hoy: Thanks for listening everyone. Bye for now.