A couple of months ago I shut down my pop culture podcast, Geek This, after almost seven years. If I were to be totally honest with myself, it should have been stopped a couple of years ago because I started losing the passion for the subject matter. It was simply too hard to keep up with everything. Looking back at it, what I was trying to do was just too broad of a scope.
Over the last week or so, the show has been on my mind. With my support job at Blubrry, I have seen a lot of new creators enter the space and a lot of them are asking questions I should have asked when I started. This has led me rethink what I could have done differently and if I could bring it back in a more successful and consistent fashion.
Geek This is an entertainment podcast, first and foremost. Where I think I failed is trying to make it an entertainment podcast that covered everything under the sun – movies, television, video games, comics, and entertainment news. As a one-man-band, this was absolutely not sustainable.
If I were to bring back Geek This, I would find its focus, which would be one particular niche. Off the top of my head, I would lean toward comic books and superhero films. Those always seemed to be some of the best episodes from a writing/recording standpoint and a listenership standpoint. I believe this was largely because the group of friends I had created online prior to starting the podcast.
The hard part of making this particular niche the focus of the podcast is that in recent years it has become increasingly saturated. And frankly, there are better shows out there with actual teams of people producing. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room in the space for indie shows, though. It just means I would need to really sink my teeth in and make a show that takes advantage of the niche and isn’t all over the place.
Doing a podcast like Geek This makes it difficult to nail down a specific demographic. Being a white male with no particular insight into the industry makes it a little more so. Over the last few years, the demographic of those who read comics and watch superhero films has changed leaps and bounds. It isn’t just men who read; women do as well.
The ages vary greatly from 10 to 50 when it comes to people I know personally who read comics. This is why (generally) I’ve aimed to make Geek This an all-ages show. If I were to really narrow it down, I’d say my listenership was between 20 to 45 years of age. I fall about smack-dab in the middle, so I’d say that works out.
Along with the demographic I’m looking to present the podcast to comes the kinds of content I need to make that is appealing to the audience. For a long time I stated that Geek This was first and foremost for me. This is still true for the most part, as I’ve learned I won’t be interested in making new episodes if the subject matter isn’t interesting. On the other hand, no one will listen if the episodes are interesting.
Over the course of 110+ episodes and almost seven years, I did reviews, discussions, and news-related content. On a personal level, the discussions with my co-hosts and friends were the most fun and if I had the option, I think I would choose to go that route every time. However, when I reviewed a book or film, I felt like I was learning more about who I was and, in turn, letting the audience know me in the process.
Were I to bring Geek This back, I would stick with review-centric episodes and oscillate between comics and superhero films. This enables me to read/watch and write up each episode without the stress of deciding what I’m going to talk about and what the format would be.
For the majority of the podcast’s life, the broad strokes in topics and formats made consistent episodes impossible. Not only was I spending so much time developing how I was going to produce a single episode, I was constantly changing the formula.
With a strict topic/format/content template set in place, new episodes can be produced a ton quicker. And that template isn’t just limited to an outline typed up in Google Docs. It includes a template within the audio editing software, for show notes on the website, and for social media posts. Saving time is the key.
This post is an exercise in understanding what my podcast was and how I could improve its production. The quality of the audio isn’t really an issue, so I didn’t address it. That’s really something that you can improve a little at a time.
If I didn’t have so much on my plate, I would definitely bring Geek This back as a solo-host podcast. Going through this has helped me understand what I was missing and where my weak points are. A self-assessment was needed and I wish I would have done it sooner.
If things slow down and I gain some free time, there’s a chance it could return, but that’s not a promise. I’d hate to bring it back only to stop it again.