The first ever professional podcaster!

Selling your brand

Every day I advise my clients to use their podcasts to really ‘sell’ themselves.

It’s always strange to me that they are doing such awesome jobs for their customers, and yet they’re shy when it comes to telling people about it.

For instance, one has been recently featured on Sky News.

After some well-intentioned nagging, she included the bit in her episode.

I have several podcasters who are regularly hitting audience milestones, and I have to beg them to talk about it on their shows.

We’re humans.

We don’t like to brag.

But when it comes to getting social proof for our brands and our professional offerings, ‘brag’ we must!

It was during a conversation with another one of my brilliant podcasters about making a point about ‘selling yourself’, that I was given a home truth.

I’m exactly the same!

My podcaster pointed out that I have such a gift for helping people with their podcasting journey, and yet I barely talk about the many achievements or credentials I have in the space.

This post is my way of correcting that.

And, like an over-hyped and over-stylised Christopher Nolan film, it’s starting from now and going all the way back to the beginning.

Podcasting history

This week, at the time of writing, I’m about to begin my duties as a judge at the British Podcast Awards.

It’s a huge honour, and I’m so grateful to the organisers for picking me for this role as it really validates my position in the podcasting space.

So how did I get here?

In 2020, after months of editing podcasts for people, and ‘going the extra mile’ in terms of the value I was offering, I realised it was time to start a business.

https://www.facebook.com/podknows/posts/178160420567180

I’d been giving my clients direction on their content, and offering other advice regarding their branding. My advice was getting them results.

Years after other people were telling me I had a gift and talent for this stuff, I finally started to believe it.

And so, during the height of lockdown, when there was nothing else to do, I started the first incarnation of my podcasting business.

Initially, I was creating audio of all kinds including radio commercials, radio shows and various other bits of digital content.

In November of last year, I decided to niche down further, and Podknows Podcasting was born.

I’d been creating and editing podcasts regularly since 2001.

This is how I’ve remained unchallenged when claiming I’m the first ever professional podcaster. It’s a fact.

Podcasting’s history

In Februrary of 2001, during the ‘dot com boom’, I was working for a national digital radio station. This was a truly digital radio station because it wasn’t on DAB. That wasn’t yet a thing.

It was on Sky Digital TV, (channel 964, now BBC South) online and on search engines. Remember those?

Before Google was the internet, we also had other search engine options available, including Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Alta Vista, and Freeserve. That was the search engine that pumped Stormlive automatically to visitors.

And that’s exactly how I quickly built an audience of one million listeners a week.

Yes, you read that quickly.

One million per week.

See, back in 2001, I knew what I was doing with audio, and was radio’s new up and coming hot property, snapping at the heels of Chris Moyles.

Radio executives were clandestinely meeting with me to try and poach me (Hi, Roger! Still really sorry it didn’t work out in the end!) and PR executives were plotting to get me in the papers.

The radio station had a suave city boy named James working the comms team. He knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who was going to arrange for me to be photographed leaving Martine McCutcheon’s West London flat.

Sadly, my then girlfriend and now ex-wife threw an absolute poop sack over the whole thing, and it got called off.

And then we divorced about three years later.

Sadly, by this point Martine had moved on.

Can’t blame her.

My hair had started to recede in the early 2000s…..

And then, in June of 2001, the dot com bubble burst.

I was one of twenty talented radio professionals who lost their jobs that day.

You won’t be able to read that much about all of this, because despite having around ten overpaid D-list celebrities steering all the press, the station went largely unnoticed in the media.

This was despite presenters like myself bringing in a million listeners per week.

Yep, we were well and truly punching above our weight on this thing.

So, roll forward a few months, to the summer of 2001, and the ride, as fun as it was, was over.

Out, were the secret meetings. Out, was the offer of free champagne meals at Cafe De Paris.

In, was ferociously clambering together my audio so I could try and entice another radio station to platform me, and allow me to reach my dreams.

Eventually, that station turned out to be national sports station “talkSPORT”.

After a short period of working as a producer for other presenters, I was slowly given the microphone and began fronting some of the overnight shows.

Within a few months, I found myself sitting in for the legendary James Whale.

After a short spell at talkSPORT, I began to get the attention of regional commercial radio brands and spent a stint at London’s Capital Radio, Essex Fm, and ultimately, Oxfordshire’s JACK fm.

I remained with JACK fm for ten years, and only retired from full time radio in 2019.

And I loved every minute.

My radio demotape is still online to this day.

Podcasting future

But now, I’ve rekindled my love for a my former side action.

Ever since I posted that clip of audio of my co host opening up about her bullying on to my webpage on the Stormlive website, and watching it being listened to thousands of times, I knew that on demand audio was special.

There was something wonderful about the realness of it. The quantifiable stats. The dynamic realtime feedback.

You didn’t have to wait three months to find out if a bit had worked.

You knew there and then.

If you asked me to pin-point the moment I realised my love for telling other people’s stories rather than my own, I honestly couldn’t do it.

It might have been the time I headed out to Iraq with the British Forces Broadcasting Service.

It might have been the time that a caller to my radio show inspired a radio documentary about cystic fibrosis.

It might just have been the time I finally realised I absolutely love making other people feel like absolute stars.

Whenever it was, it’s something I still adore.

The passion for storytelling through audio burns bright.

And now, Podknows Podcasting is here to help others achieve their dreams.

If you want some free advice on your podcast or want Podknows Podcasting to help your business or brand with a professional sounding podcast, book me for a free chat!

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