Earwolf: The Making of a Podcast Network | Scott Aukerman

Earwolf: The Making of a Podcast Network | Scott Aukerman

I think a lot of the comedians, when they
are working on what they’re doing, a lot of them don’t want to be businessmen as well,
they just want to go up and be funny. They want to come to the club, they want the
mic already to be there, and they just want to talk into it—and then they want to leave
and they want to get their check and they want to go. When I was starting out I was in a situation
where there weren’t theaters in town that I could perform at, so I would have to literally
rent theaters that I was at. And I remember I did a show for two nights
and we spent $1500 on the show and I had to do every aspect of like buying all the props
and figuring out where the mics were going to go. And a lot of people don’t want to do that,
and so when I first started podcasting there were very few comedians who wanted to do it
because the first obstacle that’s right there is like the equipment. How do I record it? Most comedians don’t have a portable recording
set up on their own so right there it disqualifies people. And they’re not interested in buying it. And then the other part of it is, when you
podcast it’s like, “Well okay I recorded it, how does it get onto the Internet?” And most people don’t want to take the time
to figure that out. When I first started podcasting I was also
a producer as well so I was used to wrangling talent and figuring out equipment and just
kind of involved in all aspects of it. So when I first started my podcast I would
get really interested in how it would get onto the Internet, and I didn’t really know
what it was, and I didn’t know that you had to put it up on a hosting site then that hosting
site feeds it to the rest of the world, including iTunes and all that. I just thought like, “How do I put this
on iTunes? Do I call iTunes? How do I do this?!” And someone said, “No, no, no, you find
yourself a hosting site, it feeds it. Everyone else, once you ping it in iTunes,
they’ll start automatically refreshing it anytime you put up an episode.” So I got very into that and I started looking
at the numbers and I started looking at the cities that were the most popular cities to
listen to the show in, and I started seeing the trajectory of the numbers, and all that
stuff is honestly very fascinating to me. A person who ended up being my business partner
in Earwolf, the podcasting network that we created, when he came to me originally he
was just asking me about managing the show, maybe he was a business manager. When we had that meeting I was kind of not
interested because I had a manager, and on my way out the door he said, “You know what
would be really interesting—but it’s probably too much work for you—is doing like a podcast
network where we get a bunch of shows and we all gang up and we try to take on the industry
together.” And I said, “Yes! That’s the idea I like.” Because I like doing really complicated things
that are ambitious. I love doing the ambitious thing. So the problem at the time though is, to try
to get a comedian to do a podcast, how do you get them to do it? And what we found was, well, we’re a network,
we’ll buy all of the equipment, we’ll rent the studio. The comedian can just show up, record it,
leave, and then we’ll upload it to the Internet. We’ll track all the numbers, we’ll sell all
the merch. We had a garage that all the merch was in
that we would mail it all out to people on the weekends. If you start to take care of that for everyone
then that can be a business. And so the comedians who we had shows with,
most of them are just interested in the side of the business where they can increase their
popularity through the podcast, which helps their touring, which helps their merch sales,
which makes them money. And I was always interested as well in the
other side of “How do we help people make money?” So to me that always made sense to me—to
be the person behind the scenes working with people rather than just kind of being the
comedian who’s like, “All right, someone record me, I’m going to be brilliant.” It made more sense for me to be the guy who
was pushing other people up as well.

17 thoughts on “Earwolf: The Making of a Podcast Network | Scott Aukerman

  1. You don't always need to be the talent sometimes it's best to be the person who finds talent. Good episode.

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