With so much content in the world, and more coming every day, it’s becoming a daunting task to try to keep up with the latest and greatest. TV is probably ground zero for this. Before the days of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu producing original content, cable companies produced a manageable amount of series on a predictable basis — making it easy for the quality shows to rise to the top and be recognized. Nowadays, that’s impossible. Sure the premiere shows like Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, Veep, and others will get released with some fanfare, other mid-tier shows need to grow virally or be left unknown.
This middle ground is an area The Only Fancast prospers in. A tongue-in-cheek concept where they know, and happily admit, there’s too many shows to keep up with. So what do co-hosts (and spouses) Kyle and Kat do? They watch a random mid-season episode of a show they know next to nothing about and see if they can understand what’s going on.
I had a chance to catch up with Kyle and discuss why he and Kat decided to start a podcast, working on their hosting chemistry, and some of their favorite TV shows out there.
Discover Pods: What’s your podcast pitch? How would you describe it in under 140 characters?
Kyle: We watch mid-season episodes of television shows we’ve never seen, and often know nothing about, then try to figure out what’s going on.
DP: How did your podcast get started?
Kyle: The primary reason we started a podcast together was to have a creative project that we could share together. Back in our high school days, when we first started dating, we were working on creative projects together all of the time. As we built our careers, excuses to have projects like that began to disappear.
We got hooked on podcasts probably a year-and-a-half ago, and since then a recurring refrain when one of us would make the other laugh was, “we should start a podcast.” And one day, we took the suggestion seriously and went out and ordered some audio equipment.
DP: From my perspective, co-host rapport is the x-factor that can make or break any podcast. As husband and wife, did the conversational flow come natural or have you fine-tuned the interaction as the podcast went along?
Kyle: We obviously had a big head start on our co-host chemistry, as we’ve been having these conversations together for over 10 years. But there are some definite disadvantages to that comfortability when you open those conversations up to an audience of strangers. There are shorthands and inside jokes we lean on in our conversations that would be inscrutable to outsiders. The other side of podcasting we didn’t have to deal with in our daily conversations is feeling any pressure to be funny. We consider The Only Fancast a comedy podcast. After we launched and realized that people we didn’t know were actually listening to what we were saying, we started to get a lot of stress in terms of delivering something funny. Eventually though, we saw that feeling that pressure was far more of a hindrance than anything else. If we just relax and enjoy the conversation, that’s considerably more fun to listen to, and hopefully funnier.
DP: Why did you choose a podcast over other mediums?
Kyle: The type of podcasts we love are very personality-focused.I’d listen to my favorite podcast hosts talk about literally anything. I also love it as a medium to get insight into a relationship. Whether it’s between siblings, spouses, parents and their children, or just some friends, I find being able to take a look inside a relationship dynamic really fascinating and endearing. So as a married couple jumping into this, that felt really natural. We have a lot of fun talking to each other, so I guess that just felt like a nice thing to share with the world. I also love the casual nature of podcasts. It’s something you can take with you wherever you go, and be able to overhear an interesting or entertaining conversation between friends.
DP: What’s unique about your podcast?
Kyle: The genre our podcast resides in lends itself really easy to negativity (so many podcasts exist just to mock bad media), but we really try to keep things positive. We try not to make the quality, or lack thereof, the focus of our comedy. We think we have an entertaining, funny, and light-hearted dissection and discussion of any show, regardless of its critical merits, because we come from a place of just genuinely enjoying talking to each other and finding each other funny. That’s our guiding light that hopefully lets us avoid cynicism.
The other side of our show that might not be obvious at first glance, is that we’re in no way, shape, or form a review show. Watching the 9th episode of the 5th season of a complex drama puts us in the worst possible position to give a critical interpretation of the show, but we hope it puts us in a really good position to make jokes. We don’t want it to come off as “listen to these jerks make fun of a show they know nothing about” – our hope is that our podcast is appealing to someone who’s never seen the TV show we’re riffing off, and simultaneously appealing to a superfan of that show. Not being a review show is also what opens us up to watching literally any show we want to. Some of our favorite shows to cover are long-dead shows like Frasier or Dinosaurs. We don’t expect anyone to come to our podcast with the mindset of “Should I be watching Frasier?” Nobody needs that.
DP: How do you decide which shows to focus on?
Kyle: Show choice has been our biggest struggle so far. We’ll watch any show, from any genre, as long as it’s not boring. But unfortunately boring is something we run into a lot. We’ll often times try 3-4 different shows before we land on one that we feel gives us something to talk about.
Our hope for the show is to cover a really broad range of genres and eras. Our initial idea, and where our name comes from, was to focus on obscure shows or shows that have long fallen from the cultural spotlight. Later, we realized that we offered an entertaining perspective to super-fans of popular TV shows as well. So we’ve been trying to strike a balance between the two.
DP: Why do your listeners keep coming back?
Kyle: Our hope is that the show exists as a welcoming, inclusive place to listen to two friends throwing around some goofs about TV. At the same time, we work really hard behind the scenes in carefully picking shows, prepping ideas, and editing afterwards to make the show a polished, entertaining piece of media. Nothing is scripted. The show’s just the two of us having a conversation, but we look at everything from the mindset of being sure not to waste our listeners time. We want the show to be conversations worth overhearing.
DP: In discovering new shows, have you found any new favorites that (assuming they’re still in syndication) have become part of your weekly schedule?
Kyle: The shows we’ve been most interested in are ones that have been off the air for a long time, like Farscape and Dinosaurs. Kat probably will do a binge-watch of The Amazing World of Gumball at some point, and I’m pretty intrigued by the next season of American Horror Story.
DP: What’s next? Where do you want to take your podcast?
Kyle: We just want to have fun with it. We don’t have any grand ambitions of making a career out of this. In terms of audience growth, what we’d love to find is community of people that are into what we’re doing and want to chat with us about it. Our hope is that if we’re having fun with the process, that sense of joy will shine through in the final product.
DP: Though your podcast is still relatively new, what have you learned since you’ve started?
Kyle: We’ve learned one big lesson about television: shows are formulated to be accessible from any point in the season. We went into this expecting the bulk of our content to be trying to make heads or tails of the characters, relationships and plot. But for the most part, we can catch up with the entire history of a show within five minutes of watching.
In terms of podcasting itself, we’re trying to learn and adjust every week. In a creative endeavor, things can always be improved. So we try to make every episode a bit better than the last. Though the biggest lesson we’ve learned is that people seem to be interested in listening to us. When we started out, we didn’t expect to get more than 5 or 10 downloads per episode. So far, our actual numbers have dwarfed those expectations significantly. It’s still early days yet, we’re less than two months into this and in the grand scheme of things we’re extremely tiny, but it’s nice knowing that we are (hopefully) bringing joy into some people’s lives.
DP: What are your favorite 5 podcasts?
Kyle: We are extremely hooked into the McElroy Brothers, and McElroy Brothers adjacent family of products. The vast majority of our media consumption comes from at least one of those three brothers, and their shows have obviously been a huge influence on us. I personally listen to a fair number of non-McElroy podcasts, but only one (Mystery Show, my all-time favorite, but I Kat won’t let me move it higher) makes it into our shared top 5 list:
- My Brother, My Brother and Me
- The Adventure Zone
- Mystery Show
- Rose Buddies
- Cool Games Inc.
DP: Where can listeners find you?
- Website: http://theonlyfancast.com
- iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/
- Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/
- Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/onlyfancast
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/
If you give us a listen, please consider reaching out. The early stages of having a podcast feels a lot like screaming into the void. Whether you love it or hate it, we’d genuinely love to hear from you.