“Why do people listen to podcasts” is a question every podcaster should ask before embarking on the journey to create something new. Some people like to be informed, entertained, taken on a narrative journey. Others like to simply experience something new or from a new point of view.
Nerds Take On The World goes this different route by blending two already-popular podcast genres: politics and pop culture. Though there may be similar blend-type podcasts out there, Nerds Take On The World makes sure to have an even split between the two subjects in every episode, rather than alternate or skew one way or the other.
I got a chance to talk with Andrew Turner at Nerds Take to discuss the origins of the podcast, their take on the future of radio vs podcasting, and who they’d like to interview in the future. Below is our full interview, enjoy!
Discover Pods: How did your podcast get started?
Andrew: So the podcast has been a long time idea, I did radio ad work in the early 90s but it never paid well due to being inconsistent at best (didn’t have an agent was probably a big part of the issue). I had always wanted to do radio work and looked at podcasts for years as just an idea. In the past several years I’ve been doing a lot of advocacy work here in DC, first with disabled veterans issues as the head of a small non-profit and later a more politically charged issue to draw attention to the mental health issues of staff at Guantanamo Bay via a story that took almost 2 years to get aired via Vice News and HBO.
Most recently I have been a major public advocate for Kratom and Cannabis legalization, speaking at rallies at the White House and doing some lobbyist work here in DC. All that culminated in starting this podcast to discuss politics and pop culture as those two subjects became such a huge focus on my daily life as I was also trying to operate an online toy business this past year.
DP: That’s a great background, radio + politics. How have you seen the podcast medium gain ground on traditional radio and where do you think it goes from here?
Andrew: I think the podcast medium is where many go to hear talk radio these days. Most radio talk radio is very conservative and political in nature, while podcasts just have such a wide audience it can appeal to.
DP: Do you think we’ll ever live in a radio-less world?
Andrew: I don’t think radio will ever go away because there will always be someone wanting music with just a bit of news and talk radio in their cars but the internet streaming services and podcasts seem to be taking over a lot of in home listening. I think there is a really good balance at this point and the advent of the smartphones and apps have really helped push podcasts again.
DP: Why did you choose a podcast over other mediums?
Andrew: I chose podcasts because I knew I had a solid voice, having done radio work before obviously and have been told by many they enjoyed hearing my take on a lot of issues.
DP: What are some current politics + pop culture topics you’re focusing on?
Andrew: Living and centering our show around DC there isn’t just one political issue, it’s a daily thing for my cohost and I so we just focus on what’s been happening and how we view the issues. I do talk a lot about veterans issues as I look a lot into them, my cohost talks more from the role as a parent of a young child and his spouse is with one of the countries largest nonprofits so federal interaction plays a lot of a role in conversations. Our pop culture topics generally focus on comic books, gaming, sci-fi/fantasy movies and collecting of all types of stuff.
DP: What’s unique about your podcast? Why do your listeners keep coming back?
Andrew: So far I haven’t found another podcast that blended Politics and Pop culture in the way we do, we try to cover both in every episode because they are just such a major part of mine and my cohosts lives.
I’d love to have some witty answer on why the listeners have been coming back, I hope they leave at the end of each episode wondering what we will talk about the next week but at this point, I don’t exactly know what provokes someone to subscribe and keep listening.
We have started to focus on bringing on interviews, such as the double header this past week with the music act Twiztid and the Star Wars academic author Nick Jamilla. The hope is to continue to find new and interesting people to interview that may not be the run of the mill or simple to find out about.
DP: You mentioned starting your podcast on New Years. Was the upcoming inauguration a tipping point of sorts?
Andrew: Actually the inauguration wasn’t the major issue that set this off, over the fall the DEA tried to ban the plant Kratom in the US and I had been speaking so often to the media and at public events it just made sense to do a weekly show where I might update people on what was going on with that front and it just morphed quickly into a larger political and pop culture show.
DP: What kind of initial feedback have you received?
Andrew: Most of the feedback has been good, our biggest issues have been sound, neither I nor my cohost have formal training with sound engineering or editing so we have been learning a lot of tough time-consuming lessons with episodes.
DP: Who’s your dream podcast interview?
Andrew: Dream podcast interviews would be to talk Politics with Stan Lee and/or talking Pop Culture with President Obama.
DP: What’s next? Where do you want to take your podcast?
Andrew: I’d like to take the podcast to a point that it has a very active audience giving us direction and new ideas. Our biggest hope is to just engage the audience into feeling like part of the show.
DP: What are your favorite 5 podcasts?
Andrew: My 5 favorite podcasts currently are Artie Quitter Podcast, Free Thoughts, Hokey Religion: The Star Wars Podcast, Street Fight Radio & WTF with Marc Maron
DP: Where can listeners find you?
Andrew: We can be found via the player on our website at www.nerdstakeworld.com and on iTunes/most podcast apps as well as Stitcher.