This week on TMS I host Justin Rutledge, and I don't want to blow your minds but he has played with Dolly Parton. Yes. My personal white whale ebbs ever closer my loves. Justin blew my mind actually when we talked about how he writes.
A love note to my listeners:
You'll note I didn't do a retrospective on the year and this is mostly because so much happened I am not sure what to include and what to leave for another round. This time last year I had just pressed GO LIVE on my podcast and sat with bated breath to see if anyone, anywhere would consider downloading it and listening to me.
I spent hundreds, HUNDREDS of hours editing, ripping, recording and trying with all my might and then-skill-level (which has improved!) to produce a show I love. I hit refresh and saw a download. It was my husband in the next room and I could hear him giggling softly when he heard my breath draw in at the sight of that one single download that meant the world to me. A few more downloads trickled in and I started to check out Twitter a little bit, Libsyn, PodBean and eventually ITunes and started listening to other podcasts. I guested on PassersbyPodcast with Matt and his listeners started reaching out to me, I will always be grateful for this because many of these folks have become my podcast hub.
I hit 100 downloads and cried (you will see a theme here of me crying when happy and I blame my parents for this weird trait). I met up with the Angry Ginger and Salty Language's Tony and his beer expert wife Jeannie and laughed until our sides hurt somewhere in the middle of Michigan. I hit 1000 downloads and felt dizzy. I was asked to join Shumway Industries with a group of people I consider to be some of the best independent podcasters and I cried at the idea I could be considered among them for even a moment. Bill from Wicked Theory, Angry Ginger and TK1 of 7DAG, Stef of Gotham Lights, Diamond Dave, and a funny little proxy-caster named Agent Palmer who would go on to become one of my podcast confidants for every major change I have made to improve my show. I went to Podcast Movement in Chicago and met the great and astoundingly talented Carrie Zylka, the gentle giant (and I mean GIANT) Dan Lizette of Podcast Digest, and a host of other talented podcasters I now consider friends. I guested on over 20 shows and brought in as many fellow podcasters as I could manage to my show and these were more fun than I can write accurately about.
I hit 10,000 downloads and told my family I might have a shot at this for real. I was invited to Podtoberfest and cried, I got to meet my heroes and it only made them larger in my mind somehow. I spent 15 hours on the road with Dougie, the Shumway IT guy and that truck contained some of the best conversations I've had, ever. I spent 36 hours podcasting with this group of awesomeness and finally gave in to the idea I might indeed be a music geek.
I hit 30,000 downloads and forgot what numbers meant and I'm a math-lover people. I podcasted at so many music festivals I almost lost count, but not actually because each one was so meaningful and important to me I have kept every media pass I've ever been handed. I'm not kidding, I have them all on my dresser so when I'm getting ready in the morning for my soulless 9-5 to remind myself there is more out there for me, this work is for something, my audience growth is happening and I will do this for a living. My show got picked up by a college radio station and is now being prepped for a weekly Indie Music spotlight show, hosted by little old me.
A year. I've been a podcaster for a year and I still can't believe how well its going. The setbacks have been bumps, the hours have been long and beloved, the chances people have taken on me have been humbling and wonderful and so deeply appreciated. As I look forward to 2017 I am a stronger podcaster and one more focussed on taking this to the next level. I don't know how to get there, there is no manual for this, its still too niche, its still too new - but I'm trying.
Every day I am trying to make this happen for my family and for me and the little music nerd inside me that's screaming to get to the next show and record the next story. Thank you for coming along for the ride, I'm so happy you are here. I'm so happy we are. The downloads are a steady heartbeat now, rhythmic and reassuring that the audience I've built are sticking around and telling their friends about the show, every single one of them matters to me. Each is a step closer to getting to do this full time, something I was told was a dream, something I was told repeatedly could not and would not happen.
But the funny thing about being told no is this: I just want it that much more.