Sometimes when I talk to podcasters about why and how they got started with their podcast the answer is relatively simple, “we just wanted to.” Matt, from Checked Out in Jersey, answer isn’t quite as succinct as that, however, he and the other co-hosts knew they didn’t want to be confined by the rules of radio.
Checked Out in Jersey has a simple and fun premise: open discussion about current events in and around New Jersey that’s intended to distract you from your daily commute.
I got a chance to speak with Matt about how they decided to start Checked Out in Jersey, the differences between podcasts and radio, and where they want to go from here. Check out the full Q&A below.
Discover Pods: What’s your podcast about?
Matt: Regular guys approaching 40 trying to make sense of the insane world around them.
DP: What’s unique about your podcast?
Matt: Our show is styled after a drivetime radio show with a loose, open format and frank talk and interesting guest doing interesting things in New Jersey. We do the show with the commuter in mind.
DP: Why did you choose to podcast?
Matt: We wanted to do radio but a) hate the constraints and b) don’t know how to get there to begin with. Podcasting puts everything in our own hands.
DP: As a new listener, what would the pie chart of topics discussed on your podcast look like between politics, NJ sports, etc?
Matt: Light-hearted banter about the bore that is adulthood, interviews with people doing interesting things in their respective fields, and we mock politics. Our goal is to provide a real but fun escape from politics for the commuter or bored cubicle prisoner.
DP: As an on-demand regional talk radio of sorts, do you think podcasts will overtake radio anytime soon?
Matt: I think that podcasts basically have already. Radio just hasn’t realized it’s dead. Actually, maybe they have. Most talk radio shows have a podcast version of their shows immediately available. On demand has killed scheduled programming even though we do a live video show on our Facebook page every Thursday. But that more to keep the energy up and get some audience participation.
DP: How has the listener feedback been so far?
Matt: So far listener feedback has been exactly what I hoped it would be. We are growing our audience and, frankly, I don’t know how. I think it’s word of mouth in addition to having guests on for three out of the four shows we do each month. Listeners tell us they listen on the drive to and from work or on the train. I love that because that was one of our goals when we revamped the show at the beginning of the year.
DP: Do you think we’ve reached “peak podcast”?
Matt: I think we’ve reached “peak pumpkin spice”. I wish that flavor would just go back to pumpkin pie. I do believe that the podcast world is over-saturated. But the thing is, podcasting is a war of attrition. Most people expect immediate success and fizzle out within a few months when they can’t grow an audience. It’s very hard to do especially when you don’t know marketing. That’s been our major downfall– marketing. But what we do have going for us is that we have been at it since January of 2015 and do it for ourselves first. It’s fun. It’s our one thing we have to look forward to that doesn’t have anything to do with our drab domestic lives. I think that’s why a large chunk of our audience is married family men. They’re in expanded-waistline hell too. But I digress. The persistent and the good rise to the top. Celebrities don’t count. They don’t have to work as hard as real people to gain an audience because they come with one.
DP: Anything else you’d like to add?
Matt: I think I over-answered on the previous question so I’ll just leave that for this question
DP: Where can listeners find you?