“It’s necessary for my soul.” Listen Notes just hosted an extensive interview with Camille about her work as a broadcaster. This is a must read for any new podcaster and for anyone who loves CC’s show. Celebrating 40 years behind the microphone with the first interview of 2020. Now Camille’s podcasts are a part of their database used by millions. Listen Notes is the most comprehensive podcast database online. It’s like Google but for Podcasts.
►Tell us about you and your podcast
The Camille Conte Show mixes real conversations about life with a rock n roll soundtrack. There isn’t a topic that is off the table if it’s happening in real time and affecting our lives. Plus The New Music Spotlight which keeps our ears tuned into what’s good and new. The show has listeners all over the US from Alaska to New Jersey as well as the world in Canada, Japan, France, Australia and elsewhere!
► Why & how did you start this podcast?
I’ve been a broadcaster since 1980. In fact, I’m celebrating 40 years behind the microphone this month, November 2020 and have a year long celebration planned. So my career started in radio and will end there because it’s in my blood, it’s why I’m here, it’s what I love. When I left (aka got fired) from my last job I finally allowed myself to do my own thing. That was 2012 and I spent that year understanding live streaming and launched The Camille Conte Show January 13, 2013 as a live streaming show. I didn’t know about podcasting and when I eventually did I dismissed it because it wasn’t live. All I knew was live radio and so the idea of pre-recording a show wasn’t anything I wanted to do. After two years of live streaming I realized it wasn’t easy for the listener. Not it is but I was ahead of the curve and so in October of 2018 I finally made friends with the podcasting world!
I don’t listen to any other podcasts because I just don’t have the time. I just launched my second podcast, The Confusion Experiment named after the book and so my creative life is wondefully full!
My initial goals in 2013 was to continue doing what I’m here to do: entertain, inspire and rock you! I’m super proud of myself for learning so much about live streaming, getting the equipment and eventually hitting the road for the Backstreets of America Tour in which I travelled across the country and did live shows from cafes, pubs and my friends’ kitchen tables! It was a blast. My goal as a broadcaster has always been the same: connect authentically with my audience and play some great music.
► How’d you find the time and funding to do this podcast?
Because my career has always been in radio, my work behind the mic has always been my priority so it’s always front and center. Working in public radio for 4 years gave me the skill to fundraise and so in the winter of 2012 I did a grassroots fundraiser for the show and the equipment necessary and raised $5000! All through email, Facebook and personal outreach to friends and family. I’ve done that every years since in January and it’s called The Annual DREAMRAISER. Just this summer however, I created my own patron’s program and am focused on generating 100 patrons so that I can finally financially sustain myself and grow the show. My listeners are tremendously generous and supportive.
It costs about $300 to host the show and that includes new music however I’m ready for a social media manager so my fundraising efforts includes hiring that kind of a person to help me grow the show. Any job I’ve had or have is just a means to pay my bills until my show can!
Fridays are show day and so the whole day is dedicated to producing the show which takes about 3 hours or so. I’m old school so I still do show prep which takes a good hour. By the time I master it and upload it to the various sites it’s 3 -4 hours and I love every minute of it.
► What do you gain from podcasting?
With my new patron program, seeing people say yes to monthly memberships is deeply fulfilling. Nothing is greater than having someone choose to spend their hard earned money on my art and I consider my show art and myself an artist. I see my listeners as my sponsors first and foremost. I want to stay commercial free because I find commercials to be disruptive. I would absolutely take on a business sponsor if I am in alignment with their values and products. I’ve got to be able to tell my listeners about someting I believe in.
When I first started, my dear friend Peggy became my first and only sponsor. She is a Young Living Oils representative though I call her my medicine woman. I use the oils and believe in them and so it was a natural fit. We just made it work and I used my background in radio advertising as a template. As much as I’d love a sponsor, I simply don’t have the time so hopefully someone can help me with that. However, it’s a very old model and by that I mean that every prospect asks the same question: how many listeners? how many downloads? And I certianly understand the need for audience data but it’s frustrating because I don’t have hundreds of downloads per episode. My downloads have grown this summer and I did actually just have two shows go over 100 but this is where I need help to grow the show. As podcasters, there’s just so much you can do! I recently saw a veterinary podcast that had only 8 episodes. I have 627. He already have 700 downloads for one show!! So clearly pets are a popular show topic! What can I say except never give up.
► How does your podcasting process look like?
I have worked with Adobe Audition for over 20 years so that is what I have on my laptop. I have an MXL Gold microphone that I mostly use though I have a few others as back up. I use a Shure X2u that connects the mic to the computer. I had to take a break from interviewing guests and artists this year because my mom died and my life has been turned upside down. I look forward to getting back to that.
My process is to just reach out and ask. I have this mentality in which I think that anyone is approachable and anyone might say yes. I love talking to Willie Nile. He’s the most real person I’ve met in music. I’ve talked to John Lennon’s photographer, the iconic Bob Gruen, Springsteen’s photographe, Frank Stefanko, Danny Clinch and a ton of othes. Conversations with others is a real joy for me. I’ve used a blue tooth that is synched with my phone though my board but this year I went with Zoom!
I do a lot of prep for an interview. I read everything that’s been recently written, watch videos and listen to any interviews the person has done. I come armed with more questions than I know I’ll use. I seek to have a conversation with someone, something casual and deep so for that, you’ve got to come prepared.
► How do you market your show?
The show’s home base is at Podbean. I like Podbean a lot and they’ve done a good job. From there I have linked the show to Spotify, iHeart Radio, Pandora, Google Play Music, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts and just today submitted it to Audible. The show gets posted on The Camille Conte Show Facebook page first and it goes out to everyone from there. I just changed my website ove to WordPress so we’re still working that out but hopefully you’ll be able to listen to it from there as well.
Podbean has a good analytics page but again, I rarely get over there. I’ve been more focused these days on using audiograms to grow the show’s content consistency on FB, IG and Twitter. I’ll be using my MailChimp to create some new emals to celebrate my 40 years behind the mic.
► What advice would you share with aspiring (new) podcasters?
Be yourself. It’s what people want. Have a good microphone. Audio quality matters. Spend some time writing down what your show is all about and why you love it. Be ok with the pacing you can bring to your work and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. It will be tempting but don’t let your mind do it. Stay true to you. Today there are too many ‘how to’ podcast sites so settle on a few that you trust. I got super overwhelmed in the beginning and had to settle on what I felt resonated with me. Trust yourself. Always trust yourself. Lastly have fun! Podcasting is fun. I will always turn on the mic because I need to. If I never had a single listener I would still do it because it feeds me, it’s part of why I’m here, it’s necessary for my soul.