Building an Indie Podcast Network with Myke Hurley
Myke Hurley is a well-known podcaster and founder of Relay FM. To kick off Season 6, he gives us some fantastic advice on starting shows, sponsors, and lots more. His story is incredibly interesting and I think it’s a great way to start this season and the new year.
- Myke on Instagram | Twitter
- Relay FM
- Brad Dowdy and Nock Co.
- Stephen Hackett / 512 Pixels
- The Best Advice I Never Took
Intro: Hey, everybody. Welcome to season six of How I Built It. In episode 106, kicking off the year and this season is a person I’m a huge fan of, and that’s Myke Hurley from Relay FM. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that for the last two years my favorite podcast have been podcasts where he is a co-host, and indeed most of my favorite podcasts are podcasts from Relay.fm. In this episode, he’s going to talk about starting a podcast network and podcasting in general. He gives us lots of great advice on how to figure out how to determine your podcast format and your topic, what your interests are and things like that. As a little bit of a bonus, I wasn’t going to ask him about this because it seems subjective, but he gives us fantastic advice on how to get sponsors for your podcast. He is someone that you should definitely listen to on this because that is primarily how Relay FM is supported. Without further ado, I’d love to introduce you to Myke Hurley. This is a great episode to kick off the year. But first, a word from our sponsors.
Break: This season is brought to you by Plesk. Do you spend too much time doing server admin work, and not enough time building websites? Plesk helps you manage servers, websites, and customers in one dashboard. Helping you do those tasks up to 10 times faster than manually coding everything. As someone who just spent a bunch of time finding the right tools and automations to save myself time, I can tell you that Plesk is invaluable. You can try Plesk for free today at Plesk.com/build. This episode is also brought to you by our friends at Castos. Castos is a podcast hosting platform built specifically for WordPress. They’re a Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin that lets you manage all of your episodes and podcast RSS feeds from your WordPress site, but have your files hosted on a dedicated media hosting platform. I love how the Castos team takes a common sense approach to their pricing, too. You can create as many episodes and podcasts as you want. You don’t have to worry about how much storage you’re using or silly bandwidth restrictions. If you’re like me and already have a ton of episodes from an old host, they’ve got you covered there, too. Castos will import all of your podcast content into their platform completely free of charge. It is just one click of a button. The Castos team has put together a special opportunity for listeners of this show. They’re giving away their most popular package, the YouTube republishing tier where they automatically convert your audio files into a video format and publish them to YouTube completely free, for one listener. For a chance to win tweet at me @jcasabona, and [@castoshq], and tell us why you think you should win this free year of Castos hosting. On February 1st, 2019 they’ll pick one winner to get this $340 package completely for free. Thanks so much to the Castos team for sponsoring today’s episode.
Joe Casabona: Myke Hurley, founder of Relay FM. Myke, how are you today?
Myke Hurley: I’m very well, thank you for having me.
Joe: Thanks for coming on the show. I am a big fan of your work. I would say 50% of the podcasts I listen to are Relay FM podcasts, and I’m excited to talk about podcasting in general, and how you built this podcast network.
Myke: Thank you very much for subscribing to the shows, I appreciate it.
Joe: For all of you listening, if you haven’t heard anything from Relay FM, there’s a lot there for people if you’re into– Like Automation is a newer show that I’ve been a big fan of. Let’s start at the beginning, why don’t you tell people who you are and what you do?
Myke: I have two main jobs. The one that most people will see is that I am a podcast host, and I host many shows mostly around technology. But also creativity is another general theme, and video gaming, and stuff like that. They’re the three main areas that are the types of shows that I make. I make a show for everything that I care about, which is– That’s the podcaster’s problem. When you’ve been podcasting for close to ten years like I have, you end up amassing many shows based upon all the various things that you’re interested in. The other part of my job, which over time is becoming increasingly more time demanding, is running my company. I’m the co-founder of Relay FM, the podcast network of which my shows are a part of. My daily roles go between tackling issues that the people that we work with need sorted, and also the main part of my role is managing the advertising sales for the shows on our network.
Joe: You wear a bunch of hats. I like your podcaster’s dilemma, and I’m starting to feel the same way. I have this show about people building their products, and then I have another show that’s toolkits for web development. But I’ve thought, “Maybe I should start a podcast about–” Whatever other general interests I have.
Myke: It’s funny– It will get you.
Joe: I’m in a mastermind group, and my friends are like, “You need to do fewer things.” So I’m trying to keep that in mind. One of the shows you do host is The Pen Addict, and I’ve had Brad on this show before so I’ll link that in the show notes. [He was] talking about how he built Nock Co. But I want to ask you, and you said you’ve been doing this for ten years. What was your first podcast?
Myke: My first show was mostly focused– It was me and a friend, Terry. We had conversations on the phone quite frequently about the things that we were interested in. Apple technology and video gaming, stuff like that. So we started a show talking about those things, and we did a bunch of episodes, this was back in 2010. Just as the iPad was originally coming out, I remember that being the focus of our first few episodes. Then we had a couple of guests on the show because they were people that we were interested in who seemed to find the show, which was awesome. Then from there, this show ended up having a guest host every single week, and I got to meet a lot of interesting people that way. That show eventually morphed into becoming a full-on weekly interview show, which was called Command Space, when that show moved to the 5by5 network. That show then became Inquisitive on Relay FM, which had a few different lives of its own as well. That was a show that I did every single Wednesday for, and I don’t know six or seven years. I have since moved away from guest format shows, but that’s where it all started.
Joe: You’ve said this– This is so weird because I feel like I know you way better than you know me because I listen to a couple of your shows. I know you’ve said that interview shows are tough, and as somebody who does an interview show, I can definitely relate to that. The other shows that you have are pretty much you and a co-host, or two co-hosts talking about some topic.
Myke: They’re fixed panels, mostly talking about a specific interest field.
Joe: Gotcha. I’m assuming that that’s a lot easier for you now that you are dividing your time between being a podcast host and managing Relay FM.
Myke: Yeah. Because finding guests and booking guests can be difficult. That is a tricky endeavor. Also when you do shows with people who don’t have fixed setups, because they’re not recording every week or whatever, it can end up introducing various technical issues. Audio quality and stuff like that, so those episodes typically take longer to edit and to finalize and to master. But also as well, those shows they take a lot of preparation. I would prepare a lot. I do a lot of research on the hosts and all my guests, and we’ve put a lot of effort into that. Honestly, for me I’ve found that over time those sorts of shows became less feasible from a business perspective. I ended up moving to stuff that was easier, or more creatively fulfilling for me, which is the types of shows that I do now.
Joe: That makes sense, and I’ve definitely hit all of those stumbling points over the last couple of years of doing this show. That and also trying to get maybe a diverse lineup of guests, especially in the web development. There’s a lot of dudes, and I want to try to have more than just people who look and sound like me on the show.
Myke: That is a definite thing. That’s a thing that I would want to do, and we try to– With the hosts that we have on the network we try and have as much of a balance as we can. It’s something that we’re always trying to improve. But yes, that’s another challenge of working on these types of shows today.
Joe: Absolutely. The audio quality thing, I’ve always thought “Maybe I’ll buy a cheap microphone and mail it to my guests,” but that’s more trouble than it’s probably worth.
Myke: You could do that.
Myke: That is definitely a feasible thing. I know many shows that have done that kind of thing. I never have, but it is definitely an option.
Joe: Absolutely. And you mentioned that your shows were on 5by5, and it’s about five years ago now that you started Relay FM. What was that like? What was the decision-making process for that like?
Myke: Like, “Why did I decide I wanted to work on Relay FM?”
Joe: Exactly. And what factors did you weigh, because you worked a full-time job as well as podcasting before Relay FM?
Myke: In our beginning. It was a few months after Relay FM was founded that I was able to leave to do this full time. And that was part of the reason, and I felt like if I was in control of everything financially, it would make more sense, owning the company as well as being a host. But also I felt like I had done everything I had set out to do, like when I was running things on my own I had– We started a small network called 70 Decibels which was transitioned into 5by5 in 2012, and that was a goal. That was a goal for me that when I set out I was like, “This is what I want to do. These are the people that I want to work with.” And I achieved it. I didn’t have anything to focus on, so I decided that the best way for me to be able to push myself and to be able to get to where I wanted to be, was to go out and do everything all over again. I spoke to Stephen Hackett, my co-founder because he was– We’d never arranged anything before with 70 Decibels. It was just my thing. Stephen was instrumental in helping me get everything set up, so I went to him, and I was like, “I have this idea. What do you think?” And he was like, “I was thinking of doing the exact same thing.” So we decided to– It just felt natural that we would do it together because we have complementing skills. He’s good at things. I’m good at things. Together we’re able to build a business out of it.
Joe: That’s fantastic, and that’s something important. I talked to a lot of people, and they’re like, it’s a mixed bag of “Don’t work with a co-founder, especially one that’s your friend.” And then there’s, “Co-founders are so important,” and it sounds like you’re in the latter camp. Because you both complement each other.
Myke: Yes. I understand why some people have those reservations, but a healthy balance can help. For example, me and Stephen separate our personal and business conversations. They don’t happen in the same place. Those two things never intertwine. We’re able to keep things pretty separated, and working together at a pretty high level, we have a lot on the line for five years, and it has not affected our friendship. I don’t know if we are unicorns in that, or maybe we just took extra steps that a lot of people don’t think about. But it’s been fine for us.
Joe: Absolutely. That’s great. If you are thinking about starting a company with a co-founder, Myke just offered some really good advice. Try to keep the personal and the professional things separate.
Myke: I can’t imagine how people would want to found companies on their own. That’s a lonely endeavor.
Joe: It’s tough. This podcast is the most personal interaction I get in being self-employed on the internet. If I was starting a big company, I would definitely want somebody else to bounce ideas off of. So, when you set out to start Relay FM what research did you do? Did you know the logistics of setting things up, or were there things that you had to look into for bringing podcasts together under an umbrella and setting up a website, and things like that?
Myke: I didn’t need to research, because I was already doing it. Relay FM didn’t start from nothing, and it started from four years of knowledge in the field. I knew how to make the shows, and I knew what a system needed. We ended up working– We licensed a product which we eventually bought out and changed the entire code base of to build our [CMS], our publishing platform. But that was a real important part for us, of being able to find someone that we could work with to give us the skeleton to be able to build the system that we now use. That was very important. But honestly, I was bringing to the role my own beliefs for how something like this should be done. So, I didn’t feel like research was needed because I had a very strong vision of what I wanted and Stephen had a very strong vision of what he wanted. We made our company based on those ideals, as opposed to being like “What is the best way to growth hack a podcast network?”
Joe: Absolutely. I like what you said there, and you said that you were bringing four years’ experience. Because I might be a little fuzzy on your relationship to 5by5, I know you had shows on 5by5. But were you a deeper– More deeply involved in that?
Myke: I was running a small network called 70 Decibels beforehand, and 70 Decibels was a company that was making small amounts of money, but it was making money. We had sponsorship arrangements and stuff like that. When we joined 5by5, we moved pretty much all of our shows there, and I maintained the relationship with the people that I brought in. I was helping to manage those people even within that network. I had a small– I had an idea of what it would take to run things, anyway. I was a host on the network like everybody else, but I was also doing some logistics and administration for the people that I was working with, just so we could make sure that the responsibilities were split because it was bringing in a lot of new people at once and it seemed strange to change their main point of contact.
Joe: That makes sense. It’s almost like when Disney bought Pixar, John Lasseter was still at the helm and Ed Catmull will still at the helm for that company.
Myke: Sure. And also remember, [Slack] [inaudible].
Myke: There was no way for people to communicate with each other in the way that we think of it now.
Joe: Absolutely. That’s a super interesting point, too. I like what you said about this, because some of the best advice that I got out of college that I didn’t take immediately was, “If you want to start a company, get a job in the field and learn the ropes from somebody. Make the connections that you need to make under the umbrella of somebody who’s done it before.” It almost sounds like you did that with starting Relay FM. You had 70 Decibels, and then it was brought under the umbrella of 5by5, which is still a very successful podcast network.
Myke: Yeah. I had a sense of what I wanted, I learned from other people and then was able to combine that knowledge together into what I wanted to do for the future. So yes, I would agree. It’s difficult to start something from nothing.
Joe: Absolutely. So, you had a relationship with a bunch of hosts. You had a relationship with sponsors. I know a question that I get frequently is, “How do I get sponsors for my podcast?” I won’t put you on the spot and ask you that advice because it’s hard. Right?
Myke: You can ask me if you want to ask me. You can ask me. I have an answer if you want it.
Joe: I would love to hear your answer. Because mine was very much like, “I knew people, and they trusted what I did, so they decided to sponsor my podcast at first.”
Myke: That’s a part of the answer. One of the things about getting advertising in the podcast industry today is that the podcast industry is growing and audiences are growing with it. When I started, if you had 1,000 listeners on a show you could quite easily get an advertiser. But now you’re looking at– You want to be in the– If you have one show you want to be in the multiple tens of thousands of downloads before a lot of the traditional advertisers that you hear on most podcasts will want to consider you. If you are part of a larger organization like Relay FM, like how we do it, we have shows that vary from thousands to hundreds of thousands of listeners. We’re able to sell things at a larger scale, like in packages. But if you are one individual with your one show you need to be in the tens of thousands of downloads range before a lot of the traditional podcast advertisers will want to consider you. Because it’s a lot of work for them to put something in, so they want to feel like they’re going to get a good return out of it. But that’s if you’re focusing on the traditional podcast advertiser, which you don’t need to. It’s not what I did. When I was starting out, I contacted small companies, like companies that I believed in and companies I thought, were interesting. To start with, initially, I was doing podcast advertising for next to nothing. Very small amounts of money so I could get used to it. So I knew what the relationship would be like, I knew I would understand how to work on a contract, I would understand how to write copy and deliver that copy. Because if you’re starting out you’re asking a lot for a larger company or for any company to give you a lot of money, so I was doing it as a way to help understand. Also, when I was then going after the larger advertisers for charging what I considered to be more fair amounts at that point, I had a body of work which included advertising which I could say “Look. You can go and listen, and this is what we do.” So, that’s my advice. Don’t go off the square space if it’s your first if you’ve never had ads before. Find a company that is small that relates to the topic that you’re doing and pitch to them.
Joe: That’s fantastic advice, and it makes a lot of sense. It’s almost like you’re not charging the advertiser for the learning curve of selling sponsorships. You’re selling them because–
Myke: Exactly. Because I would say, you’ve got to be effective. If you’re selling ads, you have to be effective for the company. They’re not giving you free money, and they want people to come to their product through you and your ability to tell their story. You need practice in that. It might be a good idea to work on a fair arrangement with a smaller company and then move on from there. That’s my advice.
Joe: That’s good advice. It shows that in your experience because something that you do very well is those live reads. And it’s not just like, “Do you need a new mattress? Get Casper.” It’s like, you tell Casper’s story and your story along with it, and how Casper relates to you.
Myke: Thank you. It’s something I do genuinely try very hard with. I don’t take our advertisers for granted. They are putting food on the table of my home and many others, and I want to try and always do the best job that I can. Plus it helps that we are very choosy about advertisers. We only take advertisement from companies that we believe in the products of. We don’t take advertisement for products and services that we don’t think are valuable. Sometimes we get to try the product, and sometimes we don’t. But if we don’t then, we’ll do a lot of research into understanding if it is a good product before we will go ahead and work with that company. It’s something that we take very seriously also because we know that every time we are doing an advertisement spot, any host is, it sounds like an implicit recommendation or endorsement from the person. Even if that person is not saying so. Even if that person is talking about objective statements, they never had the product, they’re just telling you what the features and benefits are. It always sounds like an endorsement because it’s something in our brains that’s wired that way. By the way, that’s why podcast advertising is so successful and so effective. Because we know that exists we won’t take advertisement from companies that our hosts aren’t willing to read.
Joe: That is a great philosophy, and you’re right. Podcasters are big influencers. Like I said earlier, I feel like even though we have never met and this is our first time talking that’s not a tweet, I feel like I know you better because I listen to your shows.
Myke: You trust me.
Myke: You trust what I have to say, and I take that to be a very important thing. It’s part of what makes us successful. It’s because of the trust and the relationship that we have, so we don’t take that lightly.
Break: This episode is brought to you by Pantheon. Starting a new project? Looking for a better hosting platform? Pantheon is an integrated set of tools to build, launch and run websites. Get high performance hosting for your WordPress sites, plus a comprehensive toolkit to supercharge your team and help you launch faster. On Pantheon, you get expert support from real developers, best in class security and the most innovative technology to host and manage your websites. You can sign up a new site in minutes with a free account, and you only pay when it goes live. That is my second favorite feature to Pantheon, only to the easy ability to create dev staging and live servers, and push to GitHub. It’s very easy to set those things up on Pantheon. You can head over to Pantheon.io today to set up a free account and pay only when it goes live. Thanks so much to Pantheon for their support of this episode and this season of How I Built It.
Joe: You and [Federico] have convinced me to try to do the iPad only lifestyle, at least when I’m traveling. I cheaped out on the 13 inch MacBook Pro with no touch bar, and it’s been very disappointing to me. I’m like, “I’m just going to try–” I got the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, the new one, and I’m like “I’m going to use this for travel through the rest of the year and see if I can do everything I need to do on it.”
Myke: I think it’s possible.
Joe: So, speaking of that trust– I think so too. The biggest thing for me is coding, but there are a few ways around it, and I’m not coding at the same level that I was two years ago. So I’m excited to give it a go, I have my first big trip in a couple weeks, and I’m going to leave the laptop home and bring the iPad. Cool, we’re 20 minutes in, and I haven’t asked the title question, which is how did you build it? This network? This show focuses a lot on the technical aspects, so we talked about the philosophy and the logistics a little bit, but you mentioned that you licensed and then subsequently bought out your CMS. It’s safe to say that you’re not using one of the more common ones. A lot of WordPress users and developers listen to this show, and it sounds like you used maybe a custom build?
Myke: It is custom. Yes, it’s completely custom at this point. This is the funny thing, and looking at the technical parts of this, this is why I have a co-founder. Because I am not technical, but I have some basic knowledge. It’s a Rails app. That’s what I know. But we were looking around at some stuff, and there were some options that we could go down, but then we found this product which was great, and we worked with the developer of that product for a while, and they were unable to continue with the development. We were able to buy out the license and build on the code base ourselves. At this point, we’ve rebuilt everything just because it wasn’t necessarily built for the scale that we would end up moving towards in a bunch of different ways. Stephen is effectively the CTO of our company, and he manages that stack, and we have worked with multiple developers. We have a developer on retainer right now who we work through projects with, and we also have some behind the scenes stuff which is even more behind the scenes. Like how we manage our advertising inventory and stuff like that, again we have another program that we license from a friend and we’re now looking at how we could make advancements to that because one of the problems is there aren’t off the shelf tools to manage the type of thing that we’re doing at the scale that we’re at. We have to start with something, and then eventually we outgrow it, and we decided to make the decision a long time ago that we would invest financially into those tools, so if we’ve outgrown something, then we need to build something.
Joe: Gotcha. That makes a lot of sense. Because if you visit Relay FM, you’ve got this joint feed that is all of the most recent episodes, you have a live stream. You stream all or most of your shows live, and then you edit later, you have the advertisers, and then you also have memberships built into that. So somebody can sign up for a membership, and I suspect there’s– Are there secret feeds for members, or–?
Myke: There sure are.
Joe: So there’s a lot going on, and what you said about the importance of investing in this software because it’s running your company is something that a lot of people in the open source space, which is the WordPress space or if they’re part of the WordPress space, needs to hear. Because it’s a lot like Android and iOS. When I was on Android, I was like, “I’m not paying for an app,” because I could get something for free. And when I moved to iOS, I was like, “I’ll pay $70 OmniFocus because it helps me.” The latter is more important there. If this is how you make your money, then you need to invest in it.
Myke: I agree.
Joe: Cool. So, it’s a Rails app. What was the biggest challenge of building out the website for you or for your company?
Myke: It wasn’t initially, but it was soon after, which was scaling. Things grew for us quicker than we were expecting. Our system couldn’t handle it. Getting the right caching and stuff in place took some time, and there was some real– We had some real problems for a while. Every time an episode posted it brought down the website if the show was big enough. We had some real teething issues that we worked out, and we’re in a much better place for it. But that was probably the hardest time of the actual building of all of our technical stuff.
Joe: Gotcha. That’s a crummy problem to have, but it’s on the list of problems that shows that you are growing.
Myke: It’s a frustrating thing, but it’s a good problem. It’s good if you can have that problem. Unless things are really bad, like if it’s so bad that you have ten listeners, but it brings down the website. That’s not so much of a good problem. You know what I mean?
Myke: But we were in a situation where it was a good problem for us. We did not anticipate the way that things ended up going., but we got there in the end.
Joe: Gotcha. That’s a good thing to hear. If you can share this, I’d be curious to hear what you’re hosting set up is like. If you can answer that, like if you’re working with a hosting company, or–?
Myke: We work with Libsyn. Libsyn hosts the audio files for us. Our system is built in such a way that the audio can come from anywhere, so we are not reliant on one company. That was very important to us that we would not be reliant if somebody changed terms of service or had issues or we weren’t happy with them. We use Libsyn, Libsyn are the best in my opinion. Their interface is not so great, and their interface is really bad. Their publishing tools are very bad. If you want to make– OK, not very bad. They’re very good. They’re just out-of-date from a styling perspective, and there are some companies like Simplecast that do a better job of that, but they have their own problems. I recommend Libsyn. If you are building your own website, Libsyn is 100% the place that you should be hosting your audio. Because the stats are solid, their system is rock solid. We have never ever had an outage in five years with them. They are an incredibly technically rock solid company, but their publishing tools have– They could they could use a refresh. But it’s difficult, they focus their efforts in the technical side and honestly I wouldn’t want them to do it any other way. But there are various platforms available, and this is the one that we’ve chosen to use.
Joe: I’m in agreement. I host this show on Libsyn, and my other show is hosted on Blubrry because I wanted to try them out. But I consider Libsyn an audio-only host. Like, you have Simplecast which is everything, and you can publish episodes with show notes and all that on Libsyn, but I publish the file and move that over to WordPress because that’s how my site is built. So, I agree with you wholeheartedly. The fact that Stuff You Should Know, which is one of the– For a while at least they were using Libsyn, and that was a big boon for me for when I was trying to decide the audio host.
Myke: Yeah, a lot of those– There’s a bit of a consolidation around a platform called Megaphone right now, which is making a lot of promises that I’m intrigued to see if they can actually deliver on. They are a whole platform that we don’t need. We already have our platform, and we’re happy with it as it is.
Joe: I don’t want to go down this rabbit hole a little bit, but I was introduced to them at Podcast Movement over the summer, and it sounds like they are doing some interesting things. Talking about automatic ad insertion, and–
Myke: Stuff that I’m not interested in.
Joe: Exactly. Cool. I had one more question for you, and I already know the answer to this, but do you edit your own shows or do you outsource that?
Myke: By and large I edit my own shows. We work with editors as well, Relay FM works of a couple of talented people who edit shows, but I edit my own shows.
Joe: Cool. That’s one thing that I knew I wanted to outsource in episode 3.
Joe: I was taking out [inaudible], and I’m like, “This is too much work for me.” That was part of it. I didn’t have enough chops to do it in the beginning, and I wanted to outsource it.
Myke: OK. I didn’t either, but I learned as well that I didn’t have the financial ability to be able to do anything different. But the reason that I edit most of my shows is I do believe that a lot of the show is contained in the edit and in the way that it is presented. Yes, that can 100% be handed to somebody else, but that’s not what I want to do for the majority of my stuff. And there are other things, some shows I edit for that reason because I want them to sound a specific way. For some shows, I want to be able to publish them as soon as possible, and the fastest way to get that done is if I do it, because I’m not working around anybody else’s schedule. I’m just working on my own.
Joe: That’s a good point. What do you use for editing?
Myke: Logic Pro.
Joe: Logic? OK. That’s the thing to use. I recently made a bad mistake and moved to a PC as my main work machine, and I’m not–
Myke: Adobe Audition is a very competent editing software, it’s just not the software I use. I use Adobe Audition for some other things, and I use it for volume leveling and noise reduction, stuff like that. But it is a very competent multitrack editor.
Joe: Yes. That is the case. Adobe Premier, I do a lot of video editing too, and Adobe Premiere is supposed to be the thing I’m using. I’m using Camtasia, and that’s a dumpster fire. But I’ve spent too much time trying to get parity between things I use on the Mac and then things I can use on the PC. OmniFocus is one of those things. There’s very little cross-platform tools that I like using on iOS, Mac OS and the PC, so it’s been a weird year long journey. But I’m going to buy an iMac Pro very soon to do all of that stuff. I was just curious as to what you use. I was using GarageBand originally, and now I’m using Audacity here because I don’t do too much editing, but maybe with the right tools and the fact that I know what I’m doing now I’ll give it another go.
Myke: It’s a skill to learn, it’s not easy, but it’s like anything. You can do it.
Joe: Thank you, I appreciate that vote of confidence. As we start to wrap up here, what are some of your plans for the future of Relay FM? Do you have any big things coming down the pike that you can talk about?
Myke: Not particularly. We are not currently working on any new shows actively, which is a rare thing for us. We have some stuff coming later next year, which just some changes to some stuff that exists already. Which is exciting. But for me, one of the big things that I’m focusing on right now is making sure that we have a sense of stability for the future, and how we are able to get to that position. That’s what I’m focusing on. We don’t have a ton of options, things have gone well for us. Luckily we’ve been seeing consistent growth of the company since its beginning, and it doesn’t seem to show any sign of slowing down, but we don’t have grand visions of trying to take over the podcasting industry or change it in any way. We’re comfortable of where we are right now and moving with the industry in the ways that we feel are necessary, but we’re quite lucky that our audience has a strong belief of how they want things to be presented to them. Which is similar to us, so we’re looking to stay the course for a while. We’ve always got projects, I always have projects that I’m working on, but I can’t have anything that is specifically ready to go or that I would even call something that’s going to happen in the next year. Things come and go. A lot of the stuff that we work on, a lot of the time when something it’s because a great idea happened two months before. Because we have the ability to make things happen if a project comes along, and it’s exciting to us, we will move it through until it’s completed. I don’t have anything going on right now, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t have something new in February. If that makes sense.
Joe: Absolutely. That makes sense. I like that. When you see something, it’s because a great idea happened two months before. That’s a solid pull-quote. Though I do need to ask you my favorite question, which is, do you have any trade secrets for us? Trade secrets in the sense that, any good advice around podcasting or running a podcast network?
Myke: I gave you my advertising tips, which is what most people that do this thing typically want. Outside of that, I don’t necessarily– I would say that I don’t think people need to do what I do now. I don’t think that it is a necessity to start a podcast network. I feel like that was a trend and people [inaudible] networks, but I don’t necessarily think it’s something that you need to do. A lot of the resources that a network can provide can come from different areas now. There are companies that are set up that can try and help you of this where needed, and I don’t think that it’s worth– Counting out the independent podcast, I look at a show like a podcast I enjoy called Do by Friday. They are completely listener supported, and it seems to be a wonderful model for them. What I would suggest is, don’t necessarily base your idea of what you want your show to be on the shows that you already listen to. There are many different types of things you can do out in the world, and I would also recommend from a thematic perspective, from a topic perspective, to do the same. If you want to stand out, you have to stand out. That’s a tricky thing to do, but find the thing that makes you different and focus on it. If you can’t pinpoint the thing that makes you different, you’ve got to keep working on it.
Joe: I like that. There are a lot of good pieces of advice there. “Don’t base the idea of your show on the shows that you listen to,” and “If you want to stand out, you have to stand out.” That’s reminiscent of– I did track and field. Mostly the field part, I’m not built to run fast, but our track coach said “If you want to run fast, then you got to run fast.”
Myke: That’s good advice. I mean, it’s bad advice, but it’s good advice. You can’t do anything with that, but it’s good to hear.
Joe: Right. It’s like Nike’s Just Do It. Just do it. If you’re thinking about starting a show, then start it, and figure out the way that makes you stand out. Myke, I appreciate your time today. Where can people find you?
Myke: Couple of places. If you want to find me personally, I’m @imyke on Instagram and on Twitter. But I host many shows on Relay FM, and you go to Relay.fm/shows to find those and all of the other wonderful podcasts that we have as part of our collective of shows.
Joe: Awesome. I will link all of those in the show notes. Myke, thanks again for your time today. I appreciate it.
Outro: Thanks so much to Myke for joining us today. Again, I love all of the advice that he gave us. Things like how he started Relay FM and why he built the website he did, that’s always really interesting to me. And how he got comfortable with going after sponsors, and his approach to it. The thing he said that stuck out to me the most was, “I don’t take our advertisers for granted,” and “We only take ads from companies we believe in.” That’s so important. Because like Myke said, podcasters have a responsibility to their listeners because their listeners trust them. Myke and myself included, we don’t want to hawk anything that we don’t believe in. So, my question of the week for you is, are you going to start a podcast this year? And if so, what is it going to be about? I’d love to hear more about that. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter, @jcasabona, or email me Joe@HowIBuilt.it. I want to once again thank our sponsors, Plesk, Castos and Pantheon. If you liked this episode, be sure to head over to Apple podcast and leave a rating and a review. When I last checked the show is in the top 25, it’s at 21 for technology podcast on iTunes, and that is absolutely thanks to you and your support. Thanks so much. I’m excited for 2019, and I have a lot of cool things in store, be sure to stick around. Of course, until next time, get out there and build something.