Multi-award winning presenter and producer Adrian Kennedy has struck out from his massively popular talk show on 98FM to be his own boss with his own podcast. The journey involved him setting up a new studio, managing his extensive Facebook following and establishing a live online radio show and podcast.
Transitioning from radio to podcasting should be a walk in the park, especially for someone with 20 years’ experience. However, like everything in life it comes with lessons, surprises and a whole new skill set.
Adrian teaches us about:
- The technicalities of a simple podcast setup
- How simple microphones are sometimes better
- A tour and demo of his studio including microphone, headset, sound and audio quality
- Why he put cameras in the podcast studio
- How to get listeners to interact with you
- Why podcasting is liberating
- Podcast content and libel
Adrian Kennedy is a multi award winning radio talk show producer and presenter for hit shows such as FM104’s ‘Phone show’ & 98FM’s ‘Dublin Talks’. He is also a journalist, former head of news and now the co-founder & co-host of the ‘Opinions Matter’ podcast alongside his long term on air partner, Jeremy Dixon.
To contact Adrian or find his new podcast follow: @AdrianFKennedy on Twitter or visit: Facebook
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For your convenience, we have included a 90% accurate machine transcript.
Dusty Rhodes 0:00
If you want to know what gear you need to set up a really professional sounding podcast, this is the show for you. Let’s go.
Dusty Rhodes 0:34
Welcome to How to build a podcast for your brand. My name is Dusty Rhodes. Today we’re going to hear how one of radio’s most well-known broadcasters is transitioning to podcasts. He thinks someone with a huge presenting experience would fly through their sport like anything else in life, there were plenty of lessons and surprises along the journey with hear and learn from them right now. Joining me is Adrian Kennedy, who quite simply has dominated Irish talk radio like nobody else for over 20 years. Along with Jeremy Dixon, he has hosted and produced award winning and rating smashing shows on Fm 104 98. FM. And today is once again setting the trend and indeed, setting the standard by taking his massively popular show online as a podcast polled opinion matters. Adrian, let me start off by asking you. A lot of people think that radio and podcasting is the same as you’re going through this transition? Would you agree? No.
Adrian Kennedy 1:36
No, I’ve worked in radio since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I did my first radio show when I was just 15. And this is the very first time in my entire career that I don’t have a radio station to go to because unfortunately, as has happened to many people in this business, we were made redundant at the end of April when 98 FM decided to change the direction of the radio station applied for a derogation to reduce their news and current affairs output and bomb. We were the fall guys. And our show was taken off not because it wasn’t performing. Because it wasn’t popular. Excuse me, it was taken off. Men need to save money. It’s as simple as that.
Dusty Rhodes 2:23
But you are the kind of person who doesn’t take a news like that lying down. And you are alright. Okay, well, we have got something that’s massively successful here. The radio station did want for their own reasons or whatever. It certainly wasn’t anything to do with ratings. And you said right, let’s do this online. Do you find that being your own boss now? And being on the internet and being a podcast? Do you find it very liberating and freeing?
Adrian Kennedy 2:51
Very much. So I came from a background of late night talk radio. And that was fairly free in that it was being broadcast and governed by the radio authorities. But we got away with blue murder on on the nighttime show. When we decided to give that up back in 2013, moved to 98 FM for a daytime show. The main reasoning behind that was for lifestyle change more than anything else. both myself and Jeremy had worked nights for 17 years. And I just had enough, basically, so we reinvented ourselves a little bit and started our daytime show, which was a very steep learning curve, because we got away with blue murder on nighttime radio. That wasn’t the case on daytime radio. And what we found over the years was that we were, I would say, in the last year or two we were controlled within an inch of our lives in terms of what we could cover what we couldn’t cover the way we could cover stuff and so on. So when that sadly came to an end, at the end of April, we thought rice that’s reinvent ourselves. Again, we’ve done it once before we can do it again. It is slightly more difficult environment in that we’re literally starting from scratch. So over the last couple of weeks, we have literally learned from scratch. everything that we’re doing at this moment, from building our own little studio, we very kindly got an offer of what was the name just an empty office for our use for the foreseeable future in the White Sands Hotel. It has given us a base to start from. So what we’ve done over the last couple of weeks is essentially built our own studio. We have put in new computers, new mixing desks, new microphones and started from scratch and what we yeah go on
Dusty Rhodes 4:54
If somebody is thinking about I want to start my own podcast and they to themselves, I need a studio. I think firstly, you’re kind of proving that you don’t necessarily need a studio in the traditional census board that you have a room in the in that building, and you’re just able to use that room.
Adrian Kennedy 5:13
Dusty Rhodes 5:14
Have you done any specific like, sound treatment to the room to make it not as hallow?
Adrian Kennedy 5:21
No. We may do in the future, but we haven’t yet. And one of the things that we have discovered is, this is just the room that we’re in is the size of an average bedroom. And it’s something I was never aware of the echo that can be created in a small with bare walls. So it is something that we will look to in the future. But we don’t need it at this moment. Because I’m talking to you on a headset with a microphone. It’s a very high quality microphone. And it doesn’t pick up the echo in the room, which is unbelievable.
Dusty Rhodes 6:04
Now this is one of the things that I have discovered with podcasting as well. And I would say to anybody who’s thinking of running a podcast is actually the headsets, think about them and consider them because they have you’re able to your ears are covered and you’re listening to everything directly. So there’s no problems with the sound that way. And then the fact that you’ve got a boom arm coming off the headset, and the microphone is right in front of your face essentially means that you’re picking up the voice very clearly. And you’re not necessarily picking up the rest of the room.
Adrian Kennedy 6:36
Exactly. And that’s why we decided to go for these in the end absolutely, properly. In fact, I’ll give you an example. So this is me talking to you on this microphone, and I’ll,
Dusty Rhodes 6:48
I’ll describe the other microphone. Okay, so the head of the headset is a good headset, all right, but the all the microphone that he has there in front of me looks like anointment. To me, now these microphones are really top end, you’re talking somewhere in the region of 1200 to maybe two grand or something like that, okay. And the quality is in a studio setting. However, however, when you’re in a normal room ….
Adrian Kennedy 7:11
So let me demonstrate. So I’m talking to you now on the that we’ve chosen to use, so I’ll knock that off. And I’ll switch on the other microphone, which has a nice sound to us on, you can hear the echo in the room, quite clearly, actually, you can hear the echo in the room unless I’m right up close to the microphone. And even when you’re right there close to the microphone, you can still hear it.
Adrian Kennedy 7:33
Yes. So it is for that reason. And you can hear the difference very clearly. Now when I switch from one to the other, now I’m back on the other microphone in the room. Now what it kind of proves is that the condenser mics are so good, they pick up everything. But you don’t want it unless you have sound treated the room, which is something as I said, we may do over the over the coming months. Let’s see how everything goes for us. And if so then we will.
Dusty Rhodes 8:00
Well I should give you a tip. Okay, if you want to treat the sound within the room, there’s a difference between sound proofing and sound treatment. Okay, sound proofing is to stop sound getting out of the room or to stop sound getting into the room, you’re in a nice quiet location. So you don’t have to worry about that. Sound treatment is what happens within the room itself. So when you’re speaking on the other microphone, your voice is bouncing off several walls before and that’s why you get that echo. Okay. So to stop the sound bouncing off the walls. I can’t remember the name of the company. All right, but what I got for myself was they are acoustic foam panels. Now you see lots of people have got these triangular shaped things, and they’re always gray. I hate them. All right. And these ones were BASF treated. They were about 40 quid a pop, they’re I think a meter by by a half meter. That’s the size of them. put them up on the walls, okay, in front of you, behind you very important. And here’s the killer, right? The one everybody forgets the ceiling. Right? You get that covered? Okay. And you will completely change the dynamic of the sound within the room. And you could do it for under 200 euro.
Adrian Kennedy 9:18
Okay, right? Definitely.
Dusty Rhodes 9:23
No, but this is what I’m thinking like, you know, for for people who do want to do a podcast and I am a great believer in we’ve had so much high quality media over the years films, movies, TV, radio, and it’s all been broadcast quality. Now everybody’s able to make their own movies and their own videos and their own streams and their own radio shows. But they need to do it at the same standard. And it’s little things like that, that bring you up to that broadcast quality. So your microphone is fantastic. Okay, so we’re delighted with that. You have also gone with cameras for you. Your podcasts now what was the thinking behind that?
Adrian Kennedy 10:02
Because we’re streaming on Facebook, if we just streamed audio with a blank screen or whatever, it just doesn’t get the traction, it doesn’t get the viewers okay? I know that from when we were in 98th, we streamed our show onto Facebook every day. And it was just a blank card, it was just a moving card, nothing else you couldn’t see into the studio or anything. And it did very badly. Actually, it never got high listenership. The difference, when you actually have something for people to look at, is immense. In terms of Facebook traction,
Dusty Rhodes 10:41
I want to go back to the points that I made there, people expect high quality, regardless of who’s making the show, okay. And another thing I have to take my hat off to you and say congratulations to you on is that you have actually made your video feed look fantastic. And it’s much better than I think anything I’ve seen with a radio station doing, I believe that what you are doing is you’re using some kind of a green screen behind you. Which which many people have, we’re all used to zoom meetings, and zoom tries to cut out whatever background it can or to blurred or something, you’ve just got one one small step, and you’ve actually put a green wall behind you. And it means that you’re able to replace it with whatever image that you want. It looks really good.
Adrian Kennedy 11:27
Ultimately, at this moment, what you can see behind me and I know you’re recording the audio of this, but what you can see behind me is just a wall.
Dusty Rhodes 11:36
Yeah, it looks like a brick wall is what I’m seeing.
Adrian Kennedy 11:41
We have three different cameras in the studio and you can see a big television behind me, we can change it to whatever view we want, we can literally is sold the thinking in the in the next while is that it will be we will be in a position to host business logos on the back wall, we be able to do pretty much what we want with it. Now. Obviously, that’s been a very steep learning curve for me, because I’ve only worked in the audio sphere. I’ve never worked with video. So even the stuff that we’re putting up on Facebook every day, it like I said, it’s been a big learning curve. So I finally learned that I can do things like change the background, from there to there and all of that.
Dusty Rhodes 12:31
Well tell me very quickly then what what what’s your setup?
Adrian Kennedy 12:35
Okay, our studio, we have a mixer, which is a road caster. By road, it is just the best mixer for what we do, we’re able to take on a two phone calls at any one time, you’re gonna have the two phone calls talking to each other. So it’s basically like a radio show. It has four separate mic channels on it. And it has an audio pad where we can play stuff.
Unknown Speaker 13:07
Live from our studios in the White Sands Hotel port Monique Potter with Adrian and Jeremy where your opinion counts. There you go. Alright.
Dusty Rhodes 13:16
So that’s essentially it’s like a little, it’s like the radio station in a box, as it were a couple of microphones, you’re the talent, tell me about the cameras.
Adrian Kennedy 13:25
Ultimately, the video aspect of it is the least important to be quite honest with you, we’ve just decided to try and make it look as good as possible for the live stream. But ultimately, it will be the audio podcast is what we’re going to be concentrating on. So when our podcasts launch, they’ll be available on Spotify and Apple podcasts, Google everywhere. They’ll be distributed by goal loud. And they’re only audio so it doesn’t really matter what the background looks like, as long as the content is is solid enough. And that’s where we’re at.
Dusty Rhodes 14:03
Let me talk about the content. Because you’re now working on a podcast or you’re working online. You don’t have the same restrictions. You don’t have to you don’t have to abide by broadcasting guidelines, but you literally can do anything you want. However, you’re a professional, you’re you’re a professional journalists, your former head of news, you’re very experienced at what you do. What would you give, what advice would you give to people in relation to podcasting and regarding, you know, libel and defamation and that kind of stuff is kind of what I have in my mind because you have to be very careful about what you say, but also about what your caller say on the air.
Adrian Kennedy 14:41
By being trained to within an inch of my life. Having worked on broadcast radio for many, many years, so I’ve been trained very regularly on the end, so I know what can go and what can’t go and the beauty of what we’re doing. Now is with podcasting. Obviously, we will take the full show that we broadcast on our app and on Facebook, but then we’ll edit the hell out and tighten it up and send it over into the podcast world. So, you know if there’s anything libelous, or whatever, it certainly won’t be deleted in there.
And in terms of, I know what you were getting at that, you know, you’ve got that freedom. Are you going to be f&m blind? And and, you know, less than yourself guard down a little bit? Know, is the simple answer to that, I don’t believe and I know an awful lot of podcasts are geared around. I can think of one in particular, and all you hear is F and this and F and F and D. Now I could do the same thing. But I’m not going to. Because, like you said, I’m a trained journalist. And that’s my background. I’ve presented legal talk radio for many years. But it does give us a little bit more freedom in the conversations that we can have. And what I mean by that on daytime radio, you can’t really have a conversation with a woman who’s fed up receiving dick pics on social media. We had that conversation on on our show last week. And it was it was fairly graphic, stuff that I just couldn’t have met maybe would have gotten away on nighttime radio. But on daytime radio, you certainly can. So you’re able to have conversations like that without being smarty and without being, you know, using crude language and stuff like that. So that’s what we try to avoid. So it’s still going to be very professional, we can do an awful lot more than we were able to do before. But it will still be very similar to what we did before in terms of the way in which when we were with 98 FM, our podcasts were some of the most popular in the community call radio group. In other words, we would get more listeners than pack any word from news talk out of the same group of radio stations. So we’re hoping he said with his fingers crossed, it’ll be able to try and tap into that, again, those people who enjoyed what we were doing are still there, we just have to try and convince them that this is the new wave listening.
Dusty Rhodes 17:31
A lot of people who run podcasts and I think it’s quite interesting podcast differ from radio in that there is not really much interaction. It’s a couple of people out there around microphones, and they’re talking in that sponsor. As I said, You’re not only just kind of setting the trend, but you’re also setting the standards, okay. And you were kind of going away from that little static, just a couple of people in a room talking to actually interacting with the audience who are listening. How do you guess the people who are passively listening to your podcast? or looking at the Facebook page or download your How do you get them to contact you? Give them give you their opinion?
Adrian Kennedy 18:14
Okay, well, what we discovered before we left 98 FM was that 1/3 of people listen to us on podcasts. 1/3 of people consumed our content through social media, and 1/3 of people were actually listening on FM. So with that in mind, theoretically, we can still access two thirds of that audience because that’s how they were consuming our content. For example, I was walking down Grafton Street The week after we were let go from 98. And I fell on Grafton Street waved over the other side of the road, Adrian, how are you getting called me over? He said, I’m listening to you. What do you mean, you’re listening to me? I shouldn’t. I don’t work for 98 FM anymore. Oh, oh, I’m listening to and he took out his phone. He’s listened to two or three weeks ago. So that was his way of consuming our radio show didn’t matter to him that he couldn’t bring in he wanted to consume it in that way. So we we will have a third in theory of our audience who are watching or listening to us live, they can contribute. And then if you’re listening to the podcast subsequently, obviously you can bring in but you can still come back to us and ask us to bring up topics on our show that we will debate that you can listen to tomorrow on your podcast. So we have for example, a lot of what we do is using WhatsApp voice notes. We use them very regularly. We get nearly as much volume of WhatsApp voice notes as we would have when we were on the radio so and like I said this is all a very steep learning curve still. This is going to take another couple of months. Before this is up and running, and in theory, he said with his fingers crossed, I can use a few Bob Woods marksmanship and stuff like that, but it’s gonna take another while to get that up and running.
Dusty Rhodes 20:11
It’s really, really interesting listen to aging because you’ve, you’ve been doing it for so long and doing it for so well and so successfully. And then you’re kind of you’re literally jumping out of the frying pan as we’re into the fire. I’m being your own boss. And it’s great to hear the problems that you’re tackling and the way that you’re able to get over them. And I think that you are just going to be an enormous success on podcasting and online. And I wish you absolutely every every success. If you’d like to find out more about Adrian and Jeremy’s new podcasts, you can find them on Facebook, just search for Adrian Kennedy, and Jeremy Dixon or follow the link in our show notes as well. And of course, if you’d like to chat about any of the topics discussed today or have any questions like answered either directly or on the podcast, you can just email me email@example.com until next time for myself to students. Thank you very much for listening.