Today, we are talking to the Showrunners who are running a podcast and are thinking about starting a second one — or maybe even a third or fourth.
Jerod and Jonny are both thinking of starting new shows and this conversation goes deep and personal on many levels:
- A point of caution from Jerod before beginning
- When can you be a producer, but not the host?
- The three times it can make sense to start another show
- Jerod’s excellent advice to Jonny about his new show idea
Listen to The Showrunner below ...
The Show Notes
No. 071 When is the Right Time to Start Another Podcast?
Voiceover: Rainmaker FM.
Jerod Morris: This is Rainmaker FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free, 14-day trial at RainmakerPlatform.com.
Welcome to The Showrunner, where we have one goal: teach you how to develop, launch, and run a remarkable show. Ready?
Welcome back to The Showrunner. This is episode number 71. I am your host, Jerod Morris, VP of Marketing for Rainmaker Digital. I will be joined momentarily, as I always am, by my sandwich-loving, punk rock-drumming co-host, Jonny Nastor, also the host of Hack the Entrepreneur.
But first, real quick, I want to let you know that this episode is brought to you by Acuity Scheduling. Acuity Scheduling makes scheduling meetings online easy. Clients can view your real-time availability, self-book appointments with you, fill out forms, and even pay you online. To learn more and get a 45-day free trial, visit AcuityScheduling.com/Showrunner. That’s AcuityScheduling.com/Showrunner. What do you think, Jonny? First Acuity ad read.
Jon Nastor: I think I quite like it.
Jerod Morris: Yeah.
Jon Nastor: It was done really well on your part, so now we’ve got to … You’ve set the bar really high.
Jerod Morris: All credit to the copy. The copy made it easy to read.
Jon Nastor: True. Yes.
Jerod Morris: Hey, it’s an exciting time for The Showrunner and for Rainmaker FM. Growing up a little bit, expanding that fourth element of a remarkable podcast, profitability, that we talk about. Expanding into an additional one here with some paid advertising.
Jon Nastor: I think it’s really cool.
Jerod Morris: Exciting. Very exciting stuff. Speaking of that, we talked about sponsorships some on our last episode and I shared some stories about some things that are going on over with The Assembly Call. We’ve got an extension of that conversation today, which I’m excited about. You want to hop into it?
Jon Nastor: Yeah. Let’s do it.
Jerod Morris: Cool.
Jon Nastor: All right, so as Jerod alluded to there, this actually brings a few past conversations together. You said something at the tail end of the last episode. I think you actually forgot about the fact that you said it, but I immediately took that idea and went to — another episode we talked about this, which was our Trello board. The free software we use to keep ideas for future shows, anything for the course, anything we want. I put it there. When you hit me on Slack a few hours ago and you’re like, “What’s exciting you? What should we cover for today?” All I did was copy and paste that question that I posted to myself in Trello to remember this.
You responded and answered the question and I was like, “No, no, no. I don’t want you to answer it. That’s what I think we should do for a topic.” Which to me, shows that power, and why I just wish … I want everybody to be using Trello to keep your ideas. I have boards for every project. To-do lists I want to do, all kinds of things. These ideas for shows and topics come through you, or come to you throughout the day and week, but not necessarily when it’s time that your co-host Jerod is hitting you on Slack and being like, “Dude, what should we talk about today?” That’s not always the time you’re inspired, but you’re inspired throughout the week, so keep track of those.
Jerod Morris: By the way, for the record, Trello and Slack — not paid advertisers. These are recommendations that we just make.
Jon Nastor: Yeah, I don’t even know how Trello and Slack would be paid, because they’re both completely free software.
Jerod Morris: I know. The point is, whatever system you use — we’re system agnostic, we like Trello — but anything you use, just keep track of those golden nuggets of ideas so that you don’t lose them.
Jon Nastor: Exactly. Exactly, so now to today’s topic. At the very end of the show we were talking about The Assembly Call — your other show — and your new deals with sponsorships. That was really cool and informative. Then you somehow just brushed by that you’re thinking of starting a new show. I think you said you were thinking of it at that point. Now it seems very definite because there’s a time.
Jerod Morris: Yes.
Jon Nastor: I want to go over what … We talk about coming up with the show, your format, all those things — the title. But what happens when it’s time to possibly start thinking about starting another show? When is the right time to start another show? I want to explore that with you, because not only are you doing it, but I’m also really … I’m going over this in my head right now myself.
Like you, I have multiple shows, but I also have an idea for another one, and I’m really mulling it over. It’s funny, because I’m going through all the same fears in a different sort of way. There’s obviously a ton of stuff I know about starting a show, but there are — it’s a new topic, so there’s those fears and anxieties about it that I need to work through again. I would love to explore this with you to see how and why you’re deciding this.
A Point of Caution from Jerod Before Beginning
Jerod Morris: Might I begin this conversation with a point of caution?
Jon Nastor: Sure.
Jerod Morris: I would say that the default — if you’re thinking about launching a new show — should be no. You and I often talk about this when it comes to a co-host. We say something similar. Your default for adding a co-host if you’re wondering, “Should I add a co-host or should I not?” Your default should be no. Which means that the burden is on this new show idea that you have to so overwhelm you with its potential.
Not just the potential, actually. The potential part is easy. You go on a walk, you take a shower, you work out — when you get into showrunning and you’ve launched a show and you’re out there being intellectually curious and just doing things, you’re going to start thinking, “Wait a minute. I could do a show about that. I could do a show about that. Oh, my god. That would be a great show. There’s not a show … “
Literally you will start to think like this. I think like this all the time and probably have a different show idea that comes up every week. It’s not about the potential. You actually have to have a plan for it and really know how you will execute it. Really be able to visualize that. Because what’s going to happen if you launch a new show and you don’t really have that plan and now you’re just half-assing it? It’s much worse to half-ass two shows and no longer have that one good one. If you’re just hosting one show right now, you’re probably pouring all of your showrunner spirit and enthusiasm and energy into that show, making it as good as you possibly can.
Look, this isn’t to say you don’t … One of the essential elements of being a remarkable showrunner is not 100% dedication to a single idea. You can have other interests. And when that’s going to happen, you’re going to think about these other shows. But what you don’t want to do is dilute that first show. The assumption that we’re making here is that that is a good show. It’s building an audience. You’re really getting something out of it. That’s why you’re continuing to do it. But you can really hurt yourself if you start that second show, split your energy, split your attention, and then you end up with two half-assed shows and neither one of them is really good.
Whereas you have this one show and it’s like 150%, but then if you’re splitting your energy, you just have two shows that are 50%, and that’s just not going to work. You don’t want to do that. You no longer have one good show. The best decision that you may want to make right now, if you listen to this episode because you’re thinking about a second show, is to bite down real hard and put this idea that you love, that is just making your mind run crazy — put it in the shoebox until a better time. Until you have a plan. Until you really know how you will execute it. I really want to make that point. Because we’re going to talk next about when you do make that decision, what to do, how to help make it successful — all of those things.
Again, just like with a co-host, make the default, “No, I’m not going to do it.” Make yourself really just overwhelm yourself with planning and this foolproof idea where you’re like, “Okay, this would be dumb not to do this show.” And then at that point, fine, move forward and go with it. But really make sure that it’s the right decision, because if you don’t you could sabotage what you’re already building. I just want to make sure that we state that up front before we get into taking this torch and running with it with starting a new show. It’s got to be a universal showrunner feeling, and I just want to make sure people pump the breaks a little bit so they don’t get themselves in trouble.
Jon Nastor: Yeah, I like that. I love that idea of defaulting to no in, obviously, many aspects of my life. I like to use that because it does help. I’m glad you prefaced it with that. I just want to preference with this one mention, again, if I could. Okay. I want to just take this quick break to tell you, once again, about Acuity Scheduling, because they’re the sponsor for this week’s episode of The Showrunner. You know how challenging the back and forth of booking appointments, meetings, and podcast guests can be.
In fact, to go back to another episode — we’ll have to find a link for this, but we did a whole episode, I believe, on scheduling of guests and how I will say yes to anybody who asks me to be on their show except for that one segment of people that refuse to use scheduling software. I don’t have time or patience to go back and forth with people and try and figure out schedules. I advise all showrunners to do the same. What if you never had to ask that whole, “What time works for you?” again. Acuity —
Jerod Morris: I hate that.
Jon Nastor: So do I.
Jerod Morris: I really hate that. I don’t hate a lot of things, but I do hate that. I do.
Jon Nastor: Acuity Scheduling will make the entire process of scheduling appointments easy. It works with your existing Google, Office 365, iCloud, or Outlook calendar. Clients can view your availability and self-book appointments, complete onboarding forms, and even submit payment so you can get back to running your business — or show. It helps you avoid no shows, and the automatic text and email reminders will automate this process and make your life a lot easier. Plus, it’s simple to use, and they offer phenomenal customer support. Go to acuityscheduling.com/showrunner, to start booking all of your meetings with zero hassle right now.
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The Three Times It Can Make Sense to Start Another Show
Jon Nastor: Back to today’s main topic. You prefaced it with this defaulting to no and spreading yourself too thin. You go from one good show to now two half-ass shows. Would this put you to think that — or of the mindset that you should only start a show that is not necessarily directly related to your market, but could somehow accompany your already-existing show?
Jerod Morris: I definitely think that that’s the ideal way to go. If you have a show right now, you have an audience. You surely remember how difficult it was at the beginning to get that snowball rolling, to get those first few audience members to get going. This new show that you’re going to start, that you’ve made this decision to start — if you can leverage your existing audience to help give you that initial push, you’re going to be much better off. That’s going to help you get going. Again, if you’re going to have to spend all that time with this brand-new show just getting the ball rolling, that’s a lot of time and energy that now maybe you’re not spending on your other show, or you’re not spending doing more advanced things to get the business model for the show going.
I think that can really help. What we’re doing with The Assembly Call — one of my co-hosts, a guy by the name of Andy, he is the world’s number-one rated bracketologist. That sentence may sound really odd to you if you’re not a college basketball fan. Have you ever heard of the NCA tournament, Jonny?
Jon Nastor: No.
Jerod Morris: The college basketball tournament?
Jon Nastor: No.
Jerod Morris: March Madness?
Jon Nastor: Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that. I’ve seen the hashtag.
Jerod Morris: Okay. Yeah, so March Madness. There’s this big college basketball tournament and there’s this whole little cottage industry of folks who try and predict this 68-team tournament. So all the college basketball teams, the 68 best teams are placed into a tournament and people try and predict what this committee of people will do in this committee room. How they’ll seed the teams and how this bracket will come out.
Andy, who co-hosts the show with me, is literally the best person in the world at this. There’s a site that tracks it. They track all the brackets that people submit, and he’s the best. He’s number one. So we will do posts on assemblycall.com, these bracketology posts, and they’ll get a lot of traffic. Andy will go on other people’s podcasts. He’s really popular, really well-respected at this.
That content is valuable to all college basketball fans, but The Assembly Call, as we’ve discussed, is just for Indiana fans. So I always feel bad that his content gets a little bit — it doesn’t get the attention it deserves because it just goes to our fans and then on Twitter and stuff. Other people who have found out about him will come see it, but he could have a much bigger audience. We are kind of breaking him off. He’s still going to keep doing The Assembly Call, but he’s now starting a show called Bracketology. It’s going to be a show dedicated to him talking about the NCA tournament, breaking down his process, and having interviews. Obviously it won’t be directed just at Indiana fans. It will be directed at all college basketball fans.
But when we get it going, we know we’re going to have this little, small pocket of audience members to get it started, because obviously Assembly Call folks will listen to it. And that’ll help get the ball rolling. That’ll help to get it moving. It’s appealing to a different audience, in this case, a wider audience. Your new show may take a wider topic you’re talking about now and niche down, or you may be in a niche, and you want to go a little bit more general. It can go either way. But what’s really important is you have that existing audience, that existing show, and that existing infrastructure to help get you going.
I think if you have that element in place then you’re a little bit closer to saying yes to this new show idea, as opposed to starting all the way over. If you’re going with something totally separate, then that means it’s totally separate research, it’s totally separate everything. You can’t leverage any of the time and effort for one show to the other, and the more that you can do that, the more you multiply your efforts as opposed to just making it harder on yourself.
Jon Nastor: Right, so to put this in terms that we use here on The Showrunner, you said that you’re going wide with Bracketology, but are you really? There’s this idea of going deep or going wide. It seems like maybe you’re going to a wider audience, but you’re going super deep on a really niche part of it.
Jerod Morris: Right. Yeah. I guess the way that I’m looking at it is you take the whole pool of college basketball fans, and right now we talk to just one segment, this one team. Right now, we’re talking to all of college basketball fans, but then only the ones that are interested in this very specific thing. It’s a way to step out of the current audience circle that we’re in and talk to another one. Now, the total number of people that are going to be interested in this new topic may be the same, but we’re shouting in a different room, if that makes sense. That’s what’s appealing about it, because we’ll be able to attract a lot more people.
Here’s the other reason that this came about. We talk about leveraging efforts. Well, also leverage opportunities. One of the things that got me thinking about this is when we had SeatGeek come on as an advertiser. I started to think, “Well, what can we do to make more money from this SeatGeek sponsorship? We can give them more downloads. We can give them maybe another property to advertise on.” And that was one of the pitches I made to SeatGeek when we re-negotiated our deal this year. I said, “Hey, we’re thinking about doing this new show. I know it hasn’t started yet and there’s no downloads on it, but here are Andy’s credentials. Here’s our plan for it. What if we put this into the sponsorship? How much would that increase what you’re willing to pay?”
They gave us extra money for the sponsorship. He said, “You guys have shown a good track record. I trust you. The price that we’re talking about right now reflects the uncertainty of it being a brand-new show, but we think that you guys can have success with it.” Obviously if we do, then that amount can go up next year.
But it was a leverage of talent, of current infrastructure, and of opportunity that really made this show make sense. If all three of those elements hadn’t been in place, I wouldn’t have been interested in doing it. It is going to obviously require time, and effort, and energy, and all of those things, but I think it can multiply. And one plus one equals three as opposed to one plus one equaling one and a half, or even point five, in which case starting that second show is really going to be a drag on you as opposed to a benefit.
Jon Nastor: Nice. I like it. And a part of me makes me wonder if you have a strategy in mind, like a roadmap beyond this. Is this a step to something, or does this just seem like a logical next step and you’ll figure it out from there?
Jerod Morris: I would say it’s more the latter, it’s a logical next step. But I’ve always had this bigger idea with The Assembly Call. If this works for IU basketball, why can’t it work for all the other colleges and all the other pro-teams that are out there? This exact same formula? We do have a third show, a Bears Brothers show. Will, Jonny, who works with us on The Showrunner in a production aspect, he hosts the Bears Brothers. That show is actually also involved in the SeatGeek sponsorship. It is almost a direct copy of the format of The Assembly Call, just in a different market. Again, as you think about starting a second show it’s the exact same thing — take what you’ve done and just apply it to a different audience. Take a snapshot and put it in a different audience.
When Can You Be a Producer, but Not the Host?
Jerod Morris:I think it’s important to note here that I am not planning on hosting the Bracketology show, and I’m not hosting this other Bears Brothers Show. I’m kind of in a producer role helping oversee it. Help with planning, help get it going, help with the marketing of it — all of that. What I’m talking about here applies if you’re going to host the show or even if you’re just starting another one in a producer role, because it’s still going to take time, attention, energy, all of that. So you want to make sure … Again, my default would be no. But sometimes the opportunity is just so overwhelming that you want to say yes. That’s when you want to say yes, is when it’s so overwhelming that you have to. In these cases it really is, and I’m excited about the potential for what can happen.
Jon Nastor: I love it. I love it. Okay, now there’s this other reason, which is possibly my reason, but I’m absolutely digging my heels in and defaulting to no at this point. I’d love to hear your insights on it. I started a new business site called ShowList, with my complete obsession with music and live bands. We have like 1,100 users. It’s really cool. It’s going well. But there’s me here thinking of all these different ways I could reach out and market it — so many different ways. The typical suggestion I give to other people when they’re like, “How can I scale up? How can I?” It’s like, “What do you do that gives you the most return?” And then whatever they say, I’m just like, “Do that.” It seems to be the most logical answer. Mine is obviously podcasting at this point.
In different markets, of course. But then it’s like, “What if I just started a show interviewing musicians that I love?” It’s not going to be ShowList, per se, but it’s going to be 100% sponsored by ShowList. I get to interview cool people, have cool conversations, push myself out of my comfort zone. And then everybody who listens to it will constantly hear about this ShowList. It’s completely different. It gives me these fears because I’ve never talked music. I feel comfortable talking business in podcasting. I feel comfortable enough in my skills as an interviewer within that. But now it’s like, “Whoa, am I coming out of my element?” It is going to be hard. But obviously the production side of it, editing, site, all that — I know that.
I can nail the format. I can nail the branding. I know I can, because obviously we’ve been doing it now for years. There’s that it’s going to be a lot of work, and then there’s me trying to tackle a new aspect. This would be something completely different. Obviously I would promote it and talk about it on Hack the Entrepreneur, because I’m still the central variable — that’s the exact same. There is a certain portion, albeit small, of my audience that is also into music, and they would check it out. So it gives it that boost, like you said. Then they never intersect again.
Jerod Morris: I have a couple questions. You answered one of them, which is you would talk about this on Hack the Entrepreneur. Obviously there’s not a clear connection, but you have a huge audience at Hack the Entrepreneur, so you have to assume there’s a lot of music fans there.
Jon Nastor: There are a lot of music fans there.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, and you would talk about it and promote it on Hack the Entrepreneur.
Jon Nastor: Yes, definitely.
Jerod Morris: Okay, my next question. When you turn away from this idea, when you walk away from this idea and try to get away from it, does it chase you and try to tackle you down?
Jon Nastor: This idea has been chasing me and trying to tackle me down for longer than Hack the Entrepreneur.
Jerod Morris: Does the idea of the show, though? Let me be more specific. Does the idea of a show chase you and tackle you down?
Jon Nastor: No, that’s what I mean. Before I started Hack the Entrepreneur I was wanting to start a music show interviewing musicians that I love and am obsessed with, and nobody’s still done it yet for some reason.
Jerod’s Excellent Advice to Jonny About His New Show Idea
Jerod Morris: You know what, though? You know what I love about what you said before, though? You talked about how it’s a little bit out of your comfort zone because you’ve interviewed entrepreneurs and we talk about podcasting. You love music, you’re passionate about it, and I think that’s part of the reason why it probably scares you a little bit.
I think it’s very important when we talk about starting a new show or starting something new, if it gives you butterflies, if it makes you afraid, if it makes you nervous, that is not a reason to turn away from it. That’s a reason to go toward it, because that probably means that there’s something important there. If you go into something and you think, “Oh, this will be a piece of cake. This is just gonna be totally easy,” you may not have the humility to make the kind of show that will really appeal to an audience.
I actually think that when you feel that fear and a little bit of uncomfortableness, that’s a reason to stop and say, “Hey, maybe let me look at some of these other criteria that Jonny and Jerod have talked about if I should start a new show.” I love that, Jonny. And I think it’d be — just my personal opinion — I think it would be a great idea for you to start this show. Might I offer up a fun idea that you could do with it? I think it’d be fun if you called it ShowList, and I think what would be really cool is if you started the show — wasn’t there a show called My Name is Earl and he had that list of people that he had to make amends with or something?
Jon Nastor: Oh, wow. Yes.
Jerod Morris: I was thinking ShowList — you know I love double meanings — you should start a list of all the musicians that you would love to interview, this big list. You post it publicly. Not every interview that you do is with someone on the list, but that’s the big picture goal. Eventually, your goal is you’re going to interview every single person on that list. You can make a big deal when you interview someone who’s on the list, that kind of thing. I think it’d be fun and people would go along with you, and that’d be —
Jon Nastor: That’s brilliant. Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but this is like, “Wow.” That list exists. That’s what ShowList is. There’s literally my show list right now, of those people.
Jerod Morris: There you go.
Jon Nastor: There’s like 94 people on that list right now.
Jerod Morris: How easy does that make it, then, to get people to go use ShowList?
Jon Nastor: If anybody can see, it’s showlist.io/ — this is where it gets tricky, but it’s @jonny. You can literally see the list right now. Then it drives people back to check that out and then probably create their own list. That’s amazing.
Jerod Morris: I think this is a slam dunk idea, personally.
Jon Nastor: Let’s just talk about the fear. Not for any other reason but because I think I’ve become so acutely aware of what it takes to be good at this. I was terrible my first 50 episodes, like at interviewing. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was really trying to focus on it and get better, and I did, but I know that I have to do that again because it’s a completely different topic. 50 interviews with people I’ve admired and loved their work for decades. That, to me, that’s hard.
Jerod Morris: Maybe you don’t start interviewing people on your show list right away. Give yourself a runway to work up to it. Do “smaller people,” or people that you feel a little bit more comfortable with.
Jon Nastor: That’s true, and I’m not saying that that’s a reason why I don’t want to do it. I’m really trying to possibly relate this fear to you out there listening, this idea that you hear somebody doing interviews and they’re really good. But if you look into the history of it, it’s like they’ve been doing it for a year, or 2 years, or 10 years.
Mark Marin — I saw on Twitter today, I think it’s 53rd birthday. He’s been interviewing people since he was like 19 or something, he said. He’s been doing this for longer than some people listening have been alive, probably. There’s this big disconnect. The disconnect for me is that it’s … I would love to just be where I’m at right now, interviewing entrepreneurs and doing what I feel like I’m getting pretty good at, but doing it in this new market … It’s myself, but I know I have to go through the process and get better at it.
Jerod Morris: Yeah.
Jon Nastor: Which is an interesting thing that’s going on inside of me. But I definitely have that — it’s chasing me, this idea, and it’s pulling me. And now you’ve kind of really …
Jerod Morris: That chase is a reason to do it, and let me add one more — we’ll have to wrap up after this, but let me add one more reason why I think … It’s another criteria for this. Can what you’re doing with the new show — will it inform what you’re doing on your current show? There has to be some kind of synergy between format, in a certain sense, for that to happen. But if you think about what you’re doing right now, you are rolling with Hack the Entrepreneur and it is awesome. Think now if you go into doing a similar type show, an interview show with that beginner’s mindset, that beginner’s fear — just that feeling. You will probably learn new insights that will help Hack the Entrepreneur too, because you will be back in that beginner’s mindset with it.
You may see things from that mindset that you can’t currently see with Hack the Entrepreneur that will help that show. That, to me, is another reason to do it. Because it’s so important for us to get back into that beginner’s mindset, both in terms of how we view things and just the enthusiasm that we have. And if you can check that mark, if you can look at it and make a reasonable explanation for, “Hey, yeah. Doing this new show, this is going to help my current show because of X, Y, Z.” That’s another reason to do it, because that’s another reason to believe that your efforts will be multiplied, they won’t subtract from each other. I think for you, especially with this show, I think that would definitely happen.
Jon Nastor: I love it. I love it. Thanks, Jerod.
Jerod Morris: Absolutely. Now I’m excited to listen to the show.
Jon Nastor: I’m excited to hear Bracketology.
Jerod Morris: No, you’re not.
Jon Nastor: I’ll learn what brackets are.
Jerod Morris: That’s right. I want to see you fill out a bracket this year. That’s my goal.
Jon Nastor: Again, though, if you didn’t hear the disclaimer at the beginning from Jerod, everything we just talked about for the last 20 minutes is specifically aimed at people who have an existing show. The reasons and criteria to starting a second or third show, either around that or just around you, the host. If you missed that and you’re just looking to start your first show, go back into our archives, because there’s a ton of episodes and content about sorting out what to make your first show about, the format, the artwork — all that stuff. This is literally for only the people who have a show and want to build off of that. Just wanted to re-affirm that disclaimer. I don’t want you to use this criteria to start your first show because it’s not really accurate to it.
Jerod Morris: Yup, and remember, default to no.
Jon Nastor: All the time.
Jerod Morris: That’s right. Look at that. We got it. Under a half hour again, though now we need to tell people where to go. Go to Showrunner.FM, join the Showrunner, get our weekly newsletter. It includes all kinds of fun stuff. It is your declaration that you are a showrunner and allows us to stay in touch with you. We have some exciting things coming, so we want you to be on that list so that you get it. Showrunner.FM. And we’ll be back next week with another brand-new episode of The Showrunner.
Jon Nastor: Take care.