236 Podcast Answer Man – Leo Laporte Interview – The Power of Podcasting

by Cliff Ravenscraft on November 17, 2011

My Interview With Leo Laporte
Folks, I am so excited to share this interview with with you. There is no doubt that this will forever be one of my all time favorite episodes of Podcast Answer Man. I’d encourage you to watch the interview via the video that I have embedded below.

At the same time, I’d also like to encourage you to then listen to this audio podcast episode to hear some of my commentary on many of the topics that Leo and I discussed in this interview. I have also included several notes below the the video.

Notes From This Audio Podcast:
In this audio podcast episode, gave some additional commentary on some of the topics that Leo and I discussed. Below are the notes and links that I mentioned that I would share.

– Occupy TWiT Video Post – Click Here
– Meeting Leo Video Post – Click Here
– Post with video of Leo saying podcasting is dead. – Click Here
– Post with Leo saying that nobody cares about video. – Click Here
– Post with Leo saying audio is what people really want. – Click Here
– New York Times Article That I Mentioned. – Click Here

Leo Talks About The Beginning of TWiT:
In this interview Leo shares a brief history of how he first got started in podcasting when a young listener, Matt Bishoff, called in to say that he noticed that Leo was already putting the .mp3 recordings of his radio show on the website and asked why he wasn’t turning them into a podcast.

In April 2005, Leo began to record conversations about technology news with friends from his TechTV days. He mentioned how much of a pain it was to get all of the equipment set up and working each week and how much of a pain it was, spending hours every week, doing post production to salvage whatever he could of the horrible sounding audio. He shared how he got better at doing it over time and how technology and the equipment available improved as well.

Leo Talks About TWiT Revenue:
Over the years that I have been following Leo, I have been able to capture bits and pieces of information that he had shared, in between live show recordings, about the amount of income that his TWiT network was generating. Until now, I’d only been able to report from what I had heard Leo say. However, in this interview, Leo was kind enough to give us some really great ballpark figures for the record.

2005: TWiT brought in between $60,000 to $70,000 in donations.
2007: TWiT brought in approximately $300,000 in ad revenue.
2008: TWiT brought in approximately $600,000 in ad revenue.
2009: TWiT brought in approximately $1.2 Million in ad revenue.
2010: TWiT brought in approximately $4 Million in ad revenue.
2011: TWiT will bring in approximately $5 Million to $6 Million in ad revenue.

Leo’s Stats Show That The Power Is In The Audio Podcast:
Leo was also kind enough to give us a great idea of about how much revenue is generated from each audio, video, and live streaming. The main example he gave was the show This Week in Tech which is what he describes as a “Talking Heads” show. This show has an audience of 175,000 to 200,000 people who consume each and every episode.

When it comes to the downloads of this show, 80% of the downloads are from the audio podcast and 20% of the downloads are from the video podcast.

When it comes to understanding where the money generated from a show like This Week in Tech, Leo estimates that 75% of the revenue comes from the audio podcast, 20% of the revenue comes from the video podcast, and only 5% of the revenue comes from the live streaming content.

Leo Is On The Record – He Says Podcasting IS NOT DEAD!:
For me, one of my favorite parts of our discussion was when I asked Leo if he felt that the technology, known as podcasting, which is delivering episodic media, either audio or video, via an rss feed, was dead. His response was, “Oh Gosh, it’s far from dead.”

Now Leo has a dream of creating an online live streaming network that would be something like a Geek version of CNN on the internet. However, from our conversation, it is clear that while he believes that is his future that he is hoping for, he does not think that podcasting is dead.

He believes, as do I, that podcasters should consider multiple distribution channels for getting their content out there. However, for me, I still suggest that getting started with an audio podcast is the best way to go. It’s obvious that is where a majority of his audience is coming from. As linked above, I have a clip of audio where Leo has said that he understands, fully, that “audio is what people really want.” Also, it is possible to create professional sounding audio with a small investment in equipment compared to what it would cost to create professional quality content for video podcasts or live streaming.

Leo’s thoughts on how to succeed with podcasting:
Leo shared some thoughts on what he thinks it would take for someone to find true success in making a living from creating content, to put yourself in the list of the hundreds of people who are able to pull it off.

These are the exact same things that I had shared in my BlogWorld LA talk just the day before I did this interview and what I have been telling my consulting/coaching clients for years. I could not agree more with what Leo said, which I will quote below.

In the interview, Leo said…

Whether you do audio, video, or live, you should aim at a narrow niche of enthusiasts. If you can hit that niche well, those people will support you, and you can make a living doing this. The trick is to aim it at an audience that you know, that you are a part of, that you love, that you understand, that you can SO SUPER SERVE, and by super serving that audience, by building community, I think you can have success.

I could not agree more. I sincerely hope that you enjoyed this interview even half as much as I enjoyed doing it and providing it here for you. I’d love it if you’d be willing to leave a comment below and let me know if this interview has inspired you in any way.

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  • Pure gold.  An Amazing Interview Cliff.  Without a doubt this is something I’m going to watch over and over again.

  • Thank you Dodge for the feedback. I’ve already watched it at least 10 times myself. 🙂

  • I really like Leo’s pop filter.  Any idea where he got that?

  • Another question — why is the audio so good — mic technique for this interview is terrible.  Are there other mics in the studio that we cannot see?

  • Cliff,

    That was pretty cool. You had to be sooo excited. I felt that same way when meeting you at Podcamp Cincinnati so I could only imagine the amount of adrenaline going through your body! Leo seems like a down to earth fun guy. Congrats on the big interview!

  • Yep, it’s here: http://gspn.tv/j76

  • Couple things. For the audio that you hear in my video, I used my wireless lav mic that I demo at http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/uwp

    Because I only have one, I simply set it on the table between us and it worked perfectly.

    Now, the thing is that Leo actually did broadcast this interview out live on TWiT live stream as we were doing it and they picked their audio from the PR-40s. They are GAINED VERY HIGH! The TWiT studio has some sound proofing done with some paneling.

  • I look calm and collected, but inside, I was on another planet. I’m surprised I was able to think of questions to ask. This totally came up at the last minute and Leo asked if I’d be willing to interview him for my show. Can you imagine?

    He is very much a down to earth fun guy! Thanks for the feedback!

  • AWESOME! Great job Cliff! You and I both have been following Leo since the early screen saver days and were inspired by his foray into podcasting. 

    You got him to say “podcasting isn’t dead”! Haha. I love it!

    You could have schooled him on some issues related to monetizing podcasts. Audio ad placements is not the only way to make money, as you’ve proven. There are plenty of passive income strategies for revenue generation. Of course, schooling Leo Leport in his own studio wouldn’t have been appropriate.

    Keep up the good work,
    Your friend,

  • Thank you for the feedback Adam. While I may not agree with Leo on a lot of things, there is no question that he’s found a great deal of success. He’s just like the rest of us, trying to figure things out as we move forward.

    Personally, I hope he finds more success with his dream for live streaming than I personally believe is possible.

    I’m just so thankful to have been given the opportunity to interview Leo for 20 minutes and to have filled every single minute of that interview with the most important information I wanted my audience to learn from Leo’s experience. 😉

  • Thanks.  Ordered it.  Goes on record as the most expensive pop filter I have ever seen/purchased — but it LOOKS GREAT on that endfire mic.   Thanks for taking the time to post the link.  — Mark

  • You are the zen master of audio.  I am pretty shocked by the quality of that lav mic just sitting on the table.   

    I don’t think the preamps in my Mackie mixer (which are world class) have enough gain for “room sound” like that.  I’ll have to try that some time.

  • My pleasure Mark. Let me know how you like it. I have the VAC-PR40 which is $65. I use it because it has the double windscreen. I’d love to hear how your experience is with the single.

  • Oh, please make no mistake. Leo has a lot of LIVE EQUIPMENT PROCESSING POWER happening in that studio. I’d say his audio setup is in the 10’s of thousands of dollars range.

    Dude, I love my http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/uwp

  • Anonymous

    Can I ask what camera this was shot with?

  • Sure, Canon HF G10. My affiliate link is http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/hfg10

  • Cliff, congratulations!

    I was so excited for you when I saw your statuses on Twitter.

    This interview has renewed my passion for Podcasting!

    I live Leo’s (and yours of course) vision of the future of web based broadcasting.

  • Thanks for the feedback James. I was blown away by just how excited everyone was for me. It just goes to show how much of a real connection your community can have with you.

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  • SOOOOOO EXCITED for you Cliff!!!  You did awesome!  And to think you pulled that off on the spot!…asked some great questions… and got some great exposure too.  Good reminder for us podcasters to always be ready when an opportunity of lifetime  is dropped in our lap.  And while your lav mic did a very good job (surprisingly)… its too bad that TWiT couldn’t have provided you with a WAV file from the PR40’s… I mean… they were right there! 😉  Regardless… I’m still doing the Snoopy Dance for you!  – tom

  • David, I was JUST LIKE a kid in a candy store. I was on such an emotional HIGH after that day!

    I hope to catch up with Leo more in the future. I so love following him on his journey.

  • WeRinCtrl

    Good for you, Cliff!

  • Great interview. Thanks for sharing this.

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