The year is gone, just like that. No, this won't be any kind of retrospective on my part, just touching on a few things in the podcasting realm. EaglesFanCast had a great year-over-year improvement and there were a lot of positives on it. We had our first (and hopefully not the last) sponsor for the blog. I'm sure it was an experiment on their end, as they weren't interested in sponsoring the podcast, where 95% of our focus is right now. It is definitely good, and pays for some of the costs incurred by this little hobby of ours. We also have a lot more interaction by the fans, which is great... more emails have been coming in, and it's all been positive about our show, even though the Eagles themselves haven't been a positive thing all season. But through some amazing turns of events, they made the playoffs, and will be playing in Minnesota this Sunday in the Wildcard game. Awesome!
That is one of the toughest parts of this niche that we're in. We're hyper-focused on one targeted audience... the Philadelphia Eagles. It's not just sports, or football, but a specific team, and we're not sports talk radio (those that spout constant stats and analysis), nor team lapdogs... and then on top of it, our listeners have to sit through a full show, which is usually 45 minutes on average. I've definitely seen more interest when the team is doing better, and a dropoff when the team is struggling. Probably the best aspect of it is that our listeners are writing in from all over the world... wayyy outside the core Philadelphia area. My guess is that the "locals" have the inundation of several radio and TV stations to satiate their Eagles fix. Partly in thanks to Eagles punter, Sav Rocca (who hails from Australia), we have a number of Aussies that are fans of the show, plus we've heard from England and closer markets such as New York, California (San Fran, L.A. and others), Texas, Hawaii, Maryland and more. I have to say it's very cool that so many are interested in hearing what us three goofballs have to say about our favorite team. We'll keep doing it, that's for sure... 47 and counting!
On the other half of the podcasting realm, Maureen's show, Hold The Gluten, is improving it's numbers month after month. We published her first episode at the end of June, and for the subsequent six months has hit a new record for total downloads. The chart is a nice one to see, that's for sure. We started that off as a weekly show, and realized it was too much, so we changed it to bi-weekly. Maureen definitely gets it. I've introduced her to the blogging world, and all the ways of getting the word out there and interacting with her listeners and readers (Twitter and Facebook for two). I say "readers" because she dedicates as much to the blog as she does to the podcast, probably even more. Her blog has become a place where she posts all kinds of tasty gluten free foods and recipes. Every single recipe she tests out at home (then takes about a dozen photos so she can find the right one for the blog post). All of the recipes stem from her mistakes and successes, and almost every one has some kind of story to go along with it.
The podcast has almost become a supplement to the blog, but she recognizes that it's almost a different audience, and treats them both accordingly. She's really made it her own, writes amazingly, is doing a lot of networking, and most importantly, is helping others in the process. All of that, and she's raising two wonderful children.
There are definitely more things in store for Hold The Gluten (and Maureen as well, but more on that later) for 2009. Hopefully we'll be able to expand it out more and utilize more tools to make it a better experience and destination for the site's visitors and listeners to the show. There have been 15 shows in the can so far, and she has ideas for plenty more! Personally, though, I do need some kind of automated "ummmmm" and "you know" audio remover to make my editing much shorter. LOL
So we definitely have plans for an even better 2009 for both shows... it's just a matter of how are we going to find the time to do it all?