Amanda Cupido is an award-winning podcast producer, radio executive, university instructor, author, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Lead Podcasting, a full-service podcast production company that specializes in developing podcasts for thought leaders and organizations. In addition, Amanda is the program director at AM 640 Toronto, where she leads a team of producers and radio hosts.
In this episode of the Gathering podcast we explore some of Amanda's career history and the concept of 'internal podcasts' - considering how serialised audio content can improve internal communications for all types of organisations.
Spend time with this conversation - here's the full transcript
Podcasting origins and career paths in the industry
Qasim Virjee 0:12
All right, welcome back to episode number five of the gathering podcast by start well, this time around, I thought we'd flip the script turn things inside out. We are sitting down in our podcast studio with a podcaster. And her name is Amanda Cupido Cupido, capito, capito. Hey,
Amanda Cupido 0:31
all right, Italia.
Qasim Virjee 0:33
There we go. I did that a few guests ago with someone who wasn't Italian. And then he was like, yeah, that I get that a lot. But not me. Like Hungarian. Oh, no. But it still sounded great. Yeah. So welcome to the studio, a studio that you've known for a while?
Amanda Cupido 0:48
That's right. That has changed. It's amazing. I'm so impressed.
Qasim Virjee 0:51
It's all black now.
Amanda Cupido 0:53
Yes. And he got the proper soundproofing. He got the whole camera set up. Yeah, it's looking really good.
Qasim Virjee 0:58
Yeah, we pimped it out we pimped it out. And I think the reasons why we did that are going to unfold in this conversation because I think it's something that it sounds like, you know, you're helping people figure out Yeah. Okay, let's start with introductions. Yes. So aside from being you know, start well, alumni. catch us up on kind of like your career in podcasting, and it came from radio. Yes. And then from radio into podcasting. That's right. And I think a lot of people that come into podcasting, as you know, a source of entertainment don't necessarily know about the like, the mediums, history. That's right, and the industry around it. So let's dig in to everything by by answering one question or one question. Oh, gosh,
Qasim Virjee 1:42
and that is podcasting. Question. How did you get into podcasting? Let's just start there.
Amanda Cupido 1:47
So I was in talk radio in Toronto, I was a producer made my way through the newsroom as a as a news anchor and a reporter. And so obviously, I had a lot of the skills needed to create podcasts, which was, you know, recording, editing. And so I kind of fell into podcasting. I was making a podcast, my first one was more than 10 years ago now. And I was doing it for a magazine that was trying to up its digital presence. And so I made one and there just because I had those bare bones skills. But at the time I was, you know, I had a question mark around podcasting to as a lot of people did. And so it was a really slow start, but I was and then it just word of mouth. I started getting little side clients to make podcasts for a while I was still working in radio. But I would say everything for me changed around 2014. So this was a big year for podcasting. Number one serial was released and broke all sorts of records, cereal,
Qasim Virjee 2:45
the podcast, I don't know anything about. And I'll just pause you there. Because you know, the way that I found podcasting was as a DJ, coming out in the 90s looking for an easy way to push mixes out to my audience. Interesting. Yep. And so I had a record label called Indian electronica.com. And we were global. And people loved us everywhere. Yeah. And so, you know, RSS syndication, of course, we're familiar with that. terms of, you know, how to blogs, ping servers, let people know, the latest post is available. And that's where podcasting kind of came from. Yeah, it's just an RSS feed. That's right. With media rapper for media file, right. And so I my first podcast was in 2002, or three, and it was just a Dj Mix series. Right. But it so I came into it from this, like, I need to push this content out. Yes. What's the like technical medium to do so right? Thinking about?
Podcast popularity and production
Amanda Cupido 3:44
It's interesting. And I find a lot of people come in from the sides that way. And I guess I took more of that journalistic route in which was, so yeah, 2014 being, you know, serial, this investigative crime story out of the US. And it's, you know, gone on to other seasons, but season one was the one that won a Peabody Award and got a new hit all sorts of Apple Records for downloads, hosted by Sarah cannon who has gone on to being you know, very well, well, well known for her podcast hosting. And this
Qasim Virjee 4:21
is the reference point for only murders in the building. Yeah, totally.
Amanda Cupido 4:26
Yeah. And so it was looking into this crime at this, you know, person and onsite Ed, who was claiming that he was in prison wrongfully for a crime that he committed. And actually, just recently, he was released from prison after being in there for Yeah. For a while. So this, this made waves in the podcast space from a journalistic perspective. At that same time, we saw Apple make moves from a tech perspective, which is that podcasts used to be just within The Apple Music button and it was a separate tab. And then Apple extrapolated that and made podcasts its separate button on all Apple devices. So that little purple square with the right that
Qasim Virjee 5:11
iTunes birth podcast. Yep. And it's changed since then. That's
Amanda Cupido 5:17
right. And so the, you know, the word podcast being iPod and broadcast podcast. So Apple was really leading the charge in pushing the medium, and it plateaued, right? So those early 2000s, it was starting, but then we didn't, you know, it was it was listed as word of the year in 2005. So there was this early, you know, excitement around it, but it plateaued. And then we saw around 2014, this, this little shoot this bump, it shooting up in popularity. So partially because there was some great content being made, partially because of the tech implications of it. And around that time, too, we saw in North America, especially in the US, a lot of production companies coming out and saying, we're just going to be dedicated to making podcasts. And so gimlet is a company that is now owned by Spotify. But you know, they were emerging and starting to put some groundwork into their own shows and making their company.
Qasim Virjee 6:09
So that's a content production studio and publishing company.
Amanda Cupido 6:13
That's right. And so they do original shows, and have a lot of popular ones, like Reply All and science versus and they have a whole suite of of shows that are now exclusively on Spotify. So that's a whole the business acquisition era was later. And that's more recent, like what we're in now. But so at that time, I started really closely paying attention to the industry from a business perspective, where I started saying, wait a second, and at that time, I was also working in branded content, doing video, okay. Out of an agency in
Podcasting strategies and industry insights
Qasim Virjee 6:44
Toronto know that actually, yeah, there's a video element there. Well, I was just doing Yeah, in my
Amanda Cupido 6:48
background. Yeah. So I was overseeing a video production team. So the company called Media phase. And we were doing branded content. And I just said, why don't we launch a podcast vertical, and let's start doing branded podcast. At the time, I still think in Canada was a bit too early, we were still explaining to clients, what is a podcast, which is not a great place to start, when you're trying to sell something,
Qasim Virjee 7:08
you never want to explain what you're selling? Oh, my God, who was tough.
Amanda Cupido 7:11
We did sell a couple. But that's where I started getting into the mix of really being strategic with building out show development in line with business marketing, communication strategies. And how can a podcast do accomplish all of those things without sounding like a giant ad? Yeah, checking all those boxes at the same time, and really cut through the noise in a meaningful way and do some great storytelling so. And I started paying attention to the industry quite closely. And from there, I wrote my book in 2018. Let's talk about casting The Essential Guide to doing it right. That took me two years to write. So I started plugging away at it at around 2016. But then, once the book came out, that kind of, you know, shot up my presence in this space. And I ended up starting to speak at conferences, both in Canada and the US and talking about podcasting and starting to really get a lot of business leaders on board. Yeah,
Qasim Virjee 8:04
let's talk about this book. Okay. Okay. Because at the time was was the impetus to share kind of your knowledge and the journey that you've been on with podcasts? Or was it educational? Like, is it a catharsis? Is it education? Or was it just, you know, even a business sense, like you, you got a deal, and you had to write something? Yeah, it
Amanda Cupido 8:25
was a mix of several things. At the time, I was also in talks of being brought on to Seneca College to revamp their journalism and radio program to incorporate podcasts, and there was actually no text that I could really champion, especially in Canada Canadian podcast book. So that made sense from a learning perspective. And actually, I didn't have myself at all in it, really. And that was one of my notes from my publisher. So you got to put more of yourself into it. So it was less about me. And more just, here are some shows that we can listen to and learn from, here are some tactical approaches to how to do this thing. Here's what the Canadian landscape looks like, here's what ads look like, you know, I really just spelled that I have a glossary at the end, you know, so really was a one on one for someone who wanted to get started. But then, so if people have read the book, they'll know that I then put in a whole chapter on like, behind the scenes of me making one of my shows, and I walk it through each of my steps. I put it I include transcripts of like raw audio verse edited audio that I was doing for one of my shows. So I really did pull back the curtain as well. So it is, yeah, I don't think I still don't think there's any other book out there like it.
Qasim Virjee 9:31
I haven't come across anything. It's definitely nothing in our library here at start. Well,
Amanda Cupido 9:34
I gave him a book there is. Yeah, it's there. So yeah. And I mean, at that point, I was always toying with starting and scaling. You know, it was really just me doing everything end to end at that point. And in 2020, is when I decided, You know what, I'm going to, I'm going to do this I'm going to scale and so I launched bleed podcasting.
Qasim Virjee 9:54
2020 Yep. very impactful year. Indeed.
Amanda Cupido 9:58
A lot of people's love I've just changed that year and a lot of ears open for podcasts, I guess true. Yeah. So we saw at the beginning of the pandemic, listenership actually dropped. And I think that's more so due to people's routines changing, and they didn't really know what to do when to listen. But within three months, we saw going back up, and then it, you know, very quickly surpassed where it was previously. And so now we've seen that upward trajectory continuing since then.
Qasim Virjee 10:24
Tell me a little bit about audio podcasting versus video podcasting for that kind of dedicated subscriber. It's a tough one. Also, it's a loaded question. Yeah, I'll tell you what I think about it after
Amanda Cupido 10:37
Yeah, I'm curious. And I mean, there's no right or wrong. This is an art at the end of the day. And certain projects, I think, lend themselves better to certain approaches. And that's what I like to talk through with some of our clients too. I am an audio purist at heart. And so I do tend to default to audio only. Yep. But there is a time and space for video. And as long as people I think sometimes people just default to video, because that's what they're more familiar with. Right? And so that's where I go, why are you making the choice to include video? What are you going to do with that video? What are you hoping to accomplish with having the video conflict complementing the Yeah,
Qasim Virjee 11:09
exactly. It has to complement it, because assuming that the audio is the primary thing, because otherwise, it's very difficult to utilize cinematography. If you're just setting up a camera in the corner of the room, and two people talking, it could take the listeners completely away from what they're hearing.
Video podcasting and its challenges
Amanda Cupido 11:27
And also with guests, we find that some people are just, you know, when you put a camera and you put the lights, they change. Oh, yeah. So depending on who you're asking, as I put on lipstick before this interview, but yeah, and so it does change the energy. And if you're talking to a really vulnerable community, you're trying to, you know, bring people who are not media trained, you've not done this before, it can be quite intimidating. Whereas if you're just going with a microphone, or even just a lav mic, they forget it's there, and you're able to get to the heart of the matter. So definitely depends on what kind of people you're inviting to be on the show, even the hosts own comfort levels, some hosts really love to have their notes everywhere. And then knowing that the cameras on them, they're not going to look or they're going to feel frazzled were so a lot of the clients I work with, I've never done a podcast before. And so having no camera takes the pressure off a bit. It's like have your sticky notes, have your you know, whatever you need around you, you don't have to worry about it. So you're not focusing on your hair, and you're focusing on what you're saying. And that's what's really important. And yeah, and so I think, you know, the traditional approach to podcasting, you know, some people will say, oh, there's a video, it's not a podcast, but you know, that debate can go on forever. But I'm open to both. Yeah,
Qasim Virjee 12:37
I mean, like, I see it like, they are completely different thing. Yeah. Because I would totally ignore the crappy video podcast and say, it's, it's just a poor use of the medium. And say, what you're going for something that, you know, if it's a video podcast, it's got to have, you know, serialized video content. But ideally, building on the ethos of audio podcasts, which is serialized content, that still enables people's the audience's minds to imagine things. Because I think that's a big, you know, sell for audio only is that you're listening, and you'd kind of take it in your own brain. Yeah. And video is very difficult to do that without an understanding of cinematography, and, you know, a kind of a controlled environment for filming and stuff like that. Exactly. But then in terms of the publishing medium, I think this is really interesting, where, like, you know, lately, Gus, I, the way I look at it is like, you know, yeah, video definitely killed every type of star. Lately, in the last, let's call it five years as video technology, you know, and filmmaking has become more affordable, and so on. And we're seeing video clips and content everywhere in mass media. So there was this adoption of kind of like video, and then it drove industry things were Spotify, opened up video podcasting. Not long ago, like a year ago, I
Amanda Cupido 14:03
think, right? I didn't Canada only very recently. Yeah.
Qasim Virjee 14:06
So we were one of the first people that were like, invited to start sending stuff up to the servers. And it was such a discordant broken system, because I guess it was through an acquisition, they acquired I forget what the name of the company was. they've
Amanda Cupido 14:18
acquired a ton of companies. Yeah. And that's why too, it's them trying to put the puzzle pieces together as they've brought on all these different companies to try to take podcasting for the next level. And
Qasim Virjee 14:26
what's so interesting is that, like, you know, your average person will probably know big names and podcasts. They'll know Joe Rogan, Joe Rogan, he's a podcaster. He has a podcast, right? And it's, they might know it because they caught it on YouTube somewhere. Someone sent them a clip, and they just think it'd be like a show. Right? But the interesting thing is, I don't even know if that's a video podcast, like it's published as a video podcast through Spotify.
Amanda Cupido 14:51
Yeah, cuz now Spotify owns the show. And
Qasim Virjee 14:54
because the other thing is this, technically it's very, it's a pain in the butt to up load of massive video files to then have those video files still be distributed in the same way as the audio is, which is when a new one is ready on the feed, it gets pulled down to your local device, right? Everyone is running out of space on every device. So I think that's really our video isn't. Yeah, it's a bit of a broken medium. Yeah. And it's definitely something that I'm quite expecting YouTube to pick up on is like creating a new form of this like VOD subscriber based personal channel. Yes, thing. But, but anyway, so we'll leave it there. Sure. Let's talk a little bit more about this kind of, I guess, go back to your story. Okay. And all you were at the book, right? Yeah, in terms of like relating the amount of story,
Podcasting for business growth and leadership development
Amanda Cupido 15:48
right. And so following the book, at that time, I was working full time in communications with World Vision, a nonprofit. And I was really pushing podcasts as an intrapreneur at that time, and carving out a new path for this legacy organization. And being able to do podcasts on the side, I started to teach. And really, which I loved influencing, like the next generation of audio storytellers. So started teaching at Seneca and then also started teaching at Tmu. Toronto metropolitan university. And so during that time, yeah, then the pandemic hit, I flipped a virtual teaching, which was, you know, an interesting experience in and of itself, your classes delivered audio only, I, you know, that's what I said as we can, we don't even need
Qasim Virjee 16:36
the video cameras off, everyone turn your cameras off, just listen to
Amanda Cupido 16:39
me. But I did think it lended itself well, to virtual learning, I I didn't feel I was missing on getting the power of my lessons across because we were able to still really accomplished that. And so and, and from the feedback I heard from my students, I think they felt the same. And so, at that time, I ended up taking a buyout from World Vision, it was a tough time for a lot of businesses, especially charities and, and that's what I used. And that's, you know, that's at the time that I said, okay, and I'm gonna go full full tilt podcasting now. And so launched lead podcasting. And immediately, it was just it started growing, I hired my first full time employee within months of, of incorporating Yeah.
Qasim Virjee 17:20
So tell us about lead podcasting. What does lead podcasting do?
Amanda Cupido 17:23
Yes, so we create podcasts that help build your leadership profile. Basically, we work with organizations and leaders in really helping them find their voice, and create a show that cuts through the noise. And like I said, kind of aligns with some of those business strategies, but does it in a way that doesn't feel slimy, that's really great storytelling that audiences will truly love. And what's interesting, too, is that when we take this approach, we also try to put some really clear key performance indicators in there of what do we see as success? And a lot of times, it's not just making the top 10 Apple charts, right, yeah, have a lot of other goals that they're trying to reach. And it's also talking them through, you know, how is this podcast going to achieve some of those business goals. And let's be really clear on what we're trying to do here and have one clear priority of what this is going to do. And that's going to dictate what I like to talk about the listener journey, you know, the listener experience, we have the user experience on web pages. So after they listen to the podcast, what are you hoping people do? And being really clear on that? And so sometimes, you know, people, I have had leaders who use podcasts just to increase SEO on their website. They don't want to write blogs, they do a pot, they like to talk to a podcast, transcribe it, bang, you're done. I've had people who are wanting to make heavy documents more accessible, and the information in them annual reports, research studies, right? Yeah. Which can be really dense and have some really cool findings. But it's just you know, it takes the time and it might be buried a bit. And so it's like, how do we bring this to life? So I've worked with Cisco on that highlighting cybersecurity research findings. That was one of my first contracts with lead podcast age. So it's great, interesting information about cybersecurity that the average person wouldn't have really been able to know how to find through Cisco's website, right. But we were able to really put it out there in a digestible format. And so sometimes, you know, that's, again, was just hoping to help push the industry forward and build awareness. We also had people who are wanting to drive a sale for sure. And that's a more traditional, you know, we have you have a research, you have a discount code at the end. But yeah, a lot of times it does end up being these kind of offshoot goals of that lead to connections with audience in different ways.
Qasim Virjee 19:38
I think it's so interesting, though, that we're having this conversation because always since my 20 years of in podcasting have always thought that the medium not particularly like like the content could be anything but the idea of having an audience member subscribe to your content, especially in such a direct way like podcasting is always like You know, it's a very personal thing in the sense that people carry your media around with you. And now, I mean, kind of watch it on their TVs and stuff like that. But, but it's a very kind of interactive, intimate, you know, experience that people have. So within companies and between companies and for companies, you know, brands, their relationship with their customers to be strengthened with this as a communication medium. I think it's so fascinating. Yeah. It's pretty powerful. So are there any examples of within company usage? Like, you know, cmo who wants to kind of like push out updates to his marketing team that's globally distributed kind of thing?
Internal communications strategies for global organizations
Amanda Cupido 20:38
Yeah, you're banging on. So we've done a lot of internal podcasting, as it's referred to, where we're making podcasts for companies who want to build community within their organization. So a recent one that we're working on right now is with Sleeman breweries. And so it's great, they're on to Season Two. And, you know, they've got so many employees, and the C suite executives can feel far removed sometimes. And so being able to sit them down, have a chat, have a beer, you know, talk about what they like, with their Head of Communications, it's purely for their staff. So if you look this up, you're not going to find it, right. And again, that's another one where the goal wasn't to crack a top 10 list, but it was more so to really reach this specific group of people have them feel more connected. And ultimately feel you got to you got a bunch of marketers for your company right there, if they feel like they really believe in it, that they know, they can talk about what the brand is doing. They'll feel in the loop in the know and what's to come. And so that's another thing that you know, a lot of I know internal communications, a lot of times there might be C suite to do a video and even sometimes that can feel a little bit too slickly produced and to put on where this kind of a conversation just humanizes leadership and brings them together. So like Shopify has an internal podcast, we also did an internal podcast for World Vision when I was there. And so that was great, because that was the first one that I made. And I got to use that as a case study as a starting point. And with an international team like that, which is huge and spans over 100 countries around the world. Audio going back to what you were saying about dense files. Yeah, you know, we are working in countries where the internet is not packed. And so videos are tough to get through. But audio makes is just that much more accessible,
Qasim Virjee 22:27
right? Yeah, small file size. And people are on the go in different places around the world, especially if their work yeah, man's listening on the plane in, you know, and even
Amanda Cupido 22:36
being able to record with them, right, a lot of them didn't have a solid video feed because of their internet, but audio we just focused on that was more likely we were gonna get a clean recording with them and be able to include them in I
Qasim Virjee 22:49
think also, especially if the show is kind of not just like leaders, you know, presenting? Yes, banter. Club involvement is huge. Yeah. So like being able to solicit perspectives, and then share those amongst the whole team through this single channel is awesome.
Amanda Cupido 23:05
And what was so special was, you know, the podcast that I did with World Vision International, the internal one had, I was co hosting alongside the CEO of World Vision International. And so we kind of tag team segments, and I was producing it. And when I was doing outreach to some people that were working in the field, in Lebanon, and in the field, you know, and all these places around the world to say, you know, come on to the podcast, you're gonna have a chat with the CEO. There, they feel so special to get that even that 15 minutes of a one on one conversation, they would have never really got another wise, it's so rare. And so that's like, for them was such a big deal. And then their entire team is so proud that someone was getting represented and so they're going to be sharing it internally and having people come alongside and cheer them on. And so it really did do some magic and seeing their reaction and how proud they were when the episodes came out. Right. Like I'm like, there it is.
Virtual studio setup and remote recording
Qasim Virjee 24:05
That's like a whole nother way to socialize within the organization. Yeah, yeah, we've been helping a few customers in the same in the same bent, particularly in the studio, but then also doing crazy stuff over the new one. I
Amanda Cupido 24:15
don't think you've seen this haven't we're gonna have to do a tour. Oh, it's epic. Cool.
Qasim Virjee 24:19
It's kind of exhaustingly epic, because it's exhaustingly? Yeah, it was it was the so us creating this 3500 square foot dedicated white psych for film and well, like motion and stills. Well, that was the main impetus. Not so much audio first, we created this big space because of a few reasons. One was it was supposed to be an office space, then the tenant pulled out and then the pandemic happened. So I was sitting on this big building, and I wanted to get my chops up on a lot of production techniques. So I was like, Okay, we're going black magic. We got all this black magic gear. And I started filming different things in the space, and then testing it with creators and creators love the studio. And then now we're You know, we were the studio choice for brands like NYX and stuff. So that's really good for you guys, but exhausting in the sense that your conventional studio environment for you know, for for visual media requires setup and teardown each time, you know. And so we got all this gear, and we could do all sorts of amazing stuff. But when you want to create serialized content, typically, that then means that you've got to, you know, pack, heavy shoot days back to back, and to preload your series, and you're recording like 10 hours a day to cut 10 episodes, hopefully, if you're lucky. All That Jazz. So in that experience, yeah, we kind of like jazzed up this studio, it said, as a controlled environment to just jump on the mic. Yep. And what we found in doing that, and in releasing, start wills, podcasts is a video series as well now on YouTube and stuff is a lot of our network of influences, kind of, you know, enjoying the content, but also saying, Wow, you have the utility of the room of the studio, and obviously production services. So maybe we could do something. And that's where all these conversations have started. And it's amazing to just brainstorm on what the communication problems almost are, yeah, in organizations and how they can be served by this medium. Yeah, I think there's massive potential
Amanda Cupido 26:19
for sure. And I think a lot of the barriers to people starting this type of work is that tech barrier. And so having something like this all set up, where it's plug and play, I think taking away and you know, I'm just a champion of this sort of storytelling. And that's what we tried to do to in saying, Okay, we're going to take care of all that hard stuff for you, and just come and so that's why having this available, and even as someone who saw my company, we do pure remote recording, like on location normally. No, like virtual Oh, according. Okay, so
Qasim Virjee 26:50
let's break that. Yeah. And there is there is still a value
Amanda Cupido 26:53
of real big value to this. So I was about to say, I might use this, because sometimes we do need a studio and I don't have one. So you need a place. You're welcome. Yeah, thanks. But yeah, we could talk more about this. But we, because we launched in the pandemic, we had to do it right, virtually. And then a lot of my clients and there was a couple of them that I had been working with individually. In person and I would do a pop up studio is kind of how I saw I have a little kit that I would bring, and we would do it in their office. And there is a benefit to that too. You're comfortable. Again, someone who might not be experienced behind a mic, doing it in a space that you're really comfortable in, can help take that pressure off. But so that's how I was kind of approaching it before. But then when everyone went virtual, they just all wanted to stay that way. So
Qasim Virjee 27:37
does that what does that mean? Like? What What was your stack? When you're kind of remote? You're doing calls essentially? Yeah, is like, let's talk tech stack, just to inform our audience, we're sure considering, you know, producing their own show. Yep. Across the border, and like not in a studio. So we use
Audio recording and publishing techniques
Amanda Cupido 27:56
clean feed, which is an audio only recording platform. And that's again, you know, intentional. We have a pro account, but there's also a free account. So if people want to go and play around with it have attr, I find it is the best audio recording software. And we did use this at the radio station. It's obviously evolved since then. To record audio only, there's nothing to download for anyone. It's browser based browser based. And we can record in multitrack i as someone who's running the recording session, I have control over everyone's audio levels, I have filters I can apply. If someone doesn't have headphones, I can put on a no headphone filter. I can load up clips and have people react to them and play them in and have it part of the recording. So there's a lot of great clean feed clean feed, and I and
Qasim Virjee 28:46
yes, how do you get around the problem of mics? So
Amanda Cupido 28:49
honestly, clean feed the way it records even if you're even if you don't have a mic, it sounds really good. You wouldn't know. You wouldn't know you wouldn't know. And like we've an even with a simple USB mic. Yeah, it's great. Now it like AirPod mics? No, I would rather go no, I've experimented a lot with it, obviously. So even with Yeah, I'd rather go no mic no headphones than an air pod situation. And so what usually what we recommend we give a you know, a recommendation or usually our hosts will have a mic and then guess we're going to troubleshoot but you know what now a lot of people have USB mics.
Qasim Virjee 29:26
Yeah. So post pandemic, people have had to like kick out their office setup. So
Amanda Cupido 29:30
most of our guests end up having them and even when they don't they sound really good. Wow. Yeah. So that's, that's how we recorded then we edit in Adobe Audition. Okay, and that's really it.
Qasim Virjee 29:41
What Adobe has an audio editor we have full, you know, Adobe CS Of course, yes, but I never would have thought of that. Yeah, okay. They have an audio editor never checked. I'm so old school. I'm like, I don't even remember acid and SoundForge are my tools of choice. And then Sony Awesome. And then you know this the software development languished. Yeah. And since then the only other linear audio editor that I've used outside of my video suite, so outside of like Blackmagic, which has this amazing audio functionality, especially for cinematic audio stuff, but is audacity, yes, open source freeware,
Amanda Cupido 30:21
which is great. And I recommend that to a lot of people. And you're able to do, that's how I started in podcasting. I was editing on a diversity. But once you want to get to doing a little more treatment and having some more creative license to do stuff, yeah, auditions where, where we've gone crazy,
Qasim Virjee 30:39
man, huh. And then on the publishing flow, like, yeah, typically, how, what do you recommend these days?
Amanda Cupido 30:49
It's different every time because I
Qasim Virjee 30:51
throw a bunch of stuff on our server, like it's all on our server, my server goes down. It's all dead.
Amanda Cupido 30:55
Yeah. Yeah. I hope that doesn't happen to you. It
Qasim Virjee 30:59
has happened. Oh, no, it happened with my record label that label that I mentioned in electronic, we have over 60,000 subs. No, and and then the server went down because I didn't renew the domain name. And someone in Japan sniper didn't know, I couldn't get the domain for I don't know how many years and then it took me like, two years when I got the domain back. So now that's live again, to source even my mixes? Because I didn't have no backups.
Amanda Cupido 31:26
Okay, well, you got a backup. So
Qasim Virjee 31:30
missing like five episodes? Yeah. Well, no, but it's been reborn. And yeah, again, once again, it's exactly like before everything's sitting on the server.
Amanda Cupido 31:37
Yeah. So I mean, we Okay, well, if we're getting into the nitty gritty of what the tech setup is, on our side, for leading podcasting, we have Dropbox. So everything is in Dropbox from a archiving perspective. Yep. And then we publish to Lipson is a lot of most of our clients or our own shows tend to go there. There is a monthly fee to that there's a ton of different podcast hosting platforms. Lipson is the oldest and you know, has been in the game for a long time. They, they look, and you could tell, up until recently, they just, you know, redid their website and their dashboard, which is great. But yes, there has been some podcast hosting platforms that have just gone down or even just been unavailable for random 24 hours. And so that's always something you got to be mindful of. We've been really happy with working with Lipson and they none of this has paid by the way, this is just genuinely what we use. Sure, anchor is free. Yes. And that's, you know, I was, I recommend that for people who are trying to do something and keep it really cheap and cheerful. There is no cost associated. But once you get into some of those monetization routes, and you got to just make sure you are reading the fine print. But then once they got purchased, the anchor got bought by Spotify. So once that happened, that's the platform that's running their video. Okay, so once that happened, that's when I said, okay, that because I was always hesitant of where am I putting it up? And will this company be there? For the long run? Once they were purchased by Spotify? I started having more competence in that in recommending that to people who were, for instance, sometimes will will we do a lead podcasting accelerator course, for individuals rather than larger businesses. And it's like a cohort that will go through this 10 week program. And by the end of it, they have a full season, their first season. So it's really cool
Podcasting, Spotify, and music licensing
Qasim Virjee 33:27
to run that. Seasonally or seasonally, we
Amanda Cupido 33:31
did it twice this year. So fall into winter cohort. Next year, it's looking like we'll just do one in the spring. And so you do two workshops, then you have access to lead podcasting producers. And we, you know, we record and edit for you. And then you get five part series plus a trailer, and then do a workshop on like marketing and uploading. And so we just our recent little cohort just graduated. So congrats to all of them. But yeah, so for them, for instance, we're saying anchors a great route, you're testing out podcasting, usually, this is your first season, you're trying to do it usually on a budget. Let's go we're gonna walk you through anchor and so we point them towards that route. And anchor does have a lot of neat things that you can do like polls, and but that's again, only on Spotify. So it's also being mindful of okay, they're in, you know, they're in bed with Spotify, and where's your audience? Where is your audience? And like, what are you going to tap into and just recognize that not everyone might be able to take part in that element of it. So you just got to manage that. But another interesting thing with that integration with Spotify and anchor is that music licensing for podcasting? I mean, this is a whole other topic, but briefly, I will say it's quite tough. And there's no overarching global body that's granting you licenses. And so unless you're going directly to the artist and the in the record label, it's really tough. And so what people who are wanting to just do a music podcast and talk about music, it's really tough if you can't play these songs, and you will get ripped down. Right The way because there's all these AI tactics and
Qasim Virjee 35:03
you get your own server.
Amanda Cupido 35:07
But you know, you'll still, like Apple itself. If you're syndicating to Apple, Apple can take it down. So anyways, Spotify has done this very interesting, you know, work around, I don't think this will be around forever. But in the interim, it's integrated with anchor so that you can throw to a song. And as long as that song is on Spotify, you plug it in, and you upload your episode in chunks. And so when the listener is listening to it, it will switch from your podcast to the song to back to the podcast. We're artists, and then it puts it in. I mean, that's a whole other debate. Yeah, exactly. What interesting, these workarounds that are emerging, right.
Podcasting in the corporate world with AI technology
Qasim Virjee 35:44
That's crazy. I never heard of it. Yeah. Really? Nuts. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, I really think that the podcasting has a lot to offer. In the world, the corporate world now that you know, teams are distributed. Yeah. And, and people are feeling a little bit kind of, like, separate from each other. So far on this podcast, we've been talking about, you know, remote teams, distributed teams, them coming together in real life for you know, holidays together, in a way or working holidays kind of thing. Off sites. That's what we facilitated a lot. The ones here in Toronto are not so much like, you know, Beachy. tastic people are not drinking cocktails at the end of the day, but the beginning of the morning. Yeah. But I think it's really interesting that, you know, a podcast is a project for a team that is distributed where everyone can contribute to it would be amazing, not only for like, keeping them in the loop, but for team building. Yeah. And we had requests for
Amanda Cupido 36:44
that kind of thing. Yeah, I mean, well, and I've also consulted with companies that have been experimenting with this. And so one of them being Kobo, who was trying to really get their, their own team involved in this was a external podcast, Kobo and conversation. But they did this kind of behind the scenes episode, where they went around the office and just asked everyone what their favorite book was and what they wanted, or what book they were asking for around the holidays or something. And they made this really neat montage. And then suddenly, you got all of these people sharing that episode. On their level, this was our highest performing episode. I said, Well, of course, it was, yeah, you got every single person sharing it, because they got to hear their voice, even if it was just for, you know, 510 seconds. Yeah. And so, you know, taking that approach to having people contribute and bringing things together. It just gives people a real voice and makes them feel excited and heard. Totally, yeah.
Qasim Virjee 37:38
What do you think for podcasting as a whole, you know, at least with this lens, let's call it the kind of the like, corporate lens. What do you think's around the corner in terms of how businesses will be using podcasting in the next five years?
Amanda Cupido 37:55
I think maybe I'm biased. Because, you know, I see a lot of potential in this space. Now. Will people actually jump on and do it? Let's see. But there's some really neat AI technology that's being developed including some from the podcasting. What you're
Qasim Virjee 38:13
developing AI technology. Oh, that's great. This is the like, the new Zeitgeist is everyone's Oh, yeah, I got to me i for this workout, some AI for that blockchain was the other day like I'm done with that blockchain stuff.
Amanda Cupido 38:25
Well, you know, it's, it's like every entrepreneur, which you'll get you look, you see a problem and you go, how can we solve it? And I didn't foresee myself getting into this face. But here I am. But, you know, one of the Community Give Back projects we did. This is where it started from, but I assure you, it will get back to internal podcasting. Stay with me on this. It started from the problem of people coming to me saying I want to record loved ones before they go, Oh, wow. Or I have recorded and I have 10 hours. And now what do I do with all this? Yeah, it would be like send it to me, I'll edit for you. I'd feel so bad people attending my workshops and asking me these sorts of questions. And so I just thought there's got to be a tech solution to this. And so I worked with two developers, Jake and Troy, I shout out to them in coming up with this technology that pieces together a podcast episode for you automatically. And so it's remember this podcast.com It's browser based. So you go in and there's 10 questions, just general questions about your life. And you just hit record, you could skip over questions you don't want to do. And at the end, you just click mix, and it mixes it down with music automatically. And voice narration from me as a host. And so at the end, you have this little episode teeing up this person, their age, and it's so cool. It's really It's beautiful. And so then at the end of it all, you can save it for yourself. Just keep it or you could submit it to the podcast. We have a podcast that goes hand in hand with it called remember this Oh And so it's this collection of amazing stories of people who have used this app and create. And we've gotten such wonderful feedback. We just wrapped up season two, I was nominated for a Canadian podcast award gratulations.
Qasim Virjee 40:11
Thank you such an interesting project. Yeah, it
Amanda Cupido 40:14
was, it was so beautiful. And so we mixed the podcast was a mix of these auto generated episodes, plus original interviews we did with elderly folks around and we did some pro bono workshops in long term care facilities, and got people to share their story. So it's, it's really beautiful mix of just people sharing stories, memories that deserve to live forever, which is the tagline of I like that. Yeah, it was really beautiful. And so as we put this out there, it's free. And you know, the true Community Give Back. And so that's out there. And as this is out there, I'm thinking, this would be so brilliant. You could use it for so many different things in like an internal podcast, where a CEO sits down and records those 10 questions like I did once. And then any new employee that comes in gets to choose which ones they want to answer and wait to onboard someone. And instead of that get to know you, you know, slideshow, or, you know, every company does something different? You can have them just answer whatever questions they like and pump it out as an internal podcast, the CEO is getting voice time but only has to sit down for one recording, and then it's automatically there's no editing that you'll have to do and just turns it out. Right automated and, and there, there is the ability to just have it actually publish right away to and have it connected to a website. And it's just all a click of a button. And so in five years, I would love to see something like that being used by HR teams and internal like, I just think there's such a strong internal business case. Oh, something like that. Yeah.
Podcasting, scaling, and radio
Qasim Virjee 41:41
Are you ready for test cases for like, yes. Because they
Amanda Cupido 41:44
do come? Yeah, cuz I've had a lot of curiosity around it. But no one's really, there's not pulling the trigger. I know. It's tough. And it's you got to commit to it in order and you can't just a lot of people, a lot of businesses if they're not sure about it, they want to dip their toe in. We're doing a six episode miniseries we're doing you know, and this is the kind of thing where you got to be feeling pretty confident with testing this. Yeah. Because we're gonna build your whole thing. But the team is ready. If anyone wants in. There
Qasim Virjee 42:12
you go. All our audiences is probably pretty piqued interest right now. Because the bulk of the gathering podcast and gathering series audience are people who support people, right? Yeah, who develop solutions that make their people's lives better. HR people and other supports EAS and stuff like that. Yeah. So on that note, how do people get in touch with you?
Amanda Cupido 42:38
You can email me Amanda at lead podcasting.com where you can find me on social. I'm pretty much on everything. If you look up Amanda Caputo. And
Qasim Virjee 42:46
before we call it quits, I want to hear a little bit more on the journey since lead podcasting was founded. Yes, the question of scale and where you want your company to be in the next few years? Well,
Amanda Cupido 42:57
it's a good question. And not to deviate too far from the podcast conversation. But I am. It's so hard as an entrepreneur, I want to scale in so many ways. I have so many ideas. But I have, you know, really hit a great rhythm with what the company is doing right now. We have a small but mighty team. We're usually producing about seven podcasts at any given time.
Qasim Virjee 43:18
Yeah, it's good. Congratulations. Awesome. Thank
Amanda Cupido 43:20
you. Yeah. So we were busy. It's great. And it kind of ends we have the accelerator program there. You know, we have this AI kind of on the side, we'll see what happens with that. But between the original series and the accelerator program, we're in a really good rhythm. And I was looking at scaling internationally and helping, you know, businesses that want an English podcast from other countries. But I've paused on that, just because I have taken another role with a radio station. So back to radio that full circle. Wow, I just love audio.
Qasim Virjee 43:55
So what are you doing for which station? So it's 640
Amanda Cupido 43:59
Toronto, many people notice am 640 Okay, I'm the program director there. So Felicia, thank you. So we are so I'm more advising on the lead podcasting side, I have my team in place, it's in a good position. And, you know, my day to day is at the radio station now. And it's a really interesting time where people go, Oh, radio is dead. And it's all podcasting. And it's like, no, I just completely disagree. And I see this world where there is both and they both offer such different things. Oh, for sure. And I'm so happy to be at this intersection of creating audio for podcasts, but then also really, you know, creating a new era of talk radio in Toronto and in Canada. And so I started that role in January. And yeah, I've been there represents and it's Yeah, and it's it's an exciting time. Yeah,
Talk radio trends and the shift towards digital platforms
Qasim Virjee 44:47
I mean, I'm definitely someone who would agree with you. One of our favorite magazines here on campus is monocle. Magazine and monocle. 's editorial board is been adamant, I think in it pursuing a multi channel strategy that's kind of counterintuitive from day one where it was, you know, audio was was the thing that they backed, and they have a radio station, or stations, they have, you know, podcasts that really I think is, for the most part, they're the shows that go on the station are podcasted. Okay, so people can kind of like jump into just that particular show if they want. Cool as far as I understand it. And I love that idea. You know, and then even the idea of kind of like other media, like, you know, written word and photography and video accessorizing audio world, they don't need to be the other way around. Especially where I kind of am feeling that people are like, burnt out with visual medium. You get tired, you out. Yeah. Listening takes less energy. Yes. Then listening and watching. Yeah,
Amanda Cupido 45:49
exactly. And I think there's this magic to radio where it's urgent and immediate. Yeah. And that's very different from podcasting. Right. And so it's like playing into the sweet spots of that medium. Yeah, and not trying to do be all things to all people and have the video and the photo and the social, like, it's like, let's do a couple things really well. And let's lean into what this medium is offering. Yeah. And yes, there's gonna be some overlap, where we can repurpose, and but we got to tweak it so that it makes sense for what we're what we're doing. Where are we where are the where people are actually digesting it.
Qasim Virjee 46:23
So your Cliff Notes on top trends in talk radio, as of now, right now,
Amanda Cupido 46:28
I would say a lot of people associate talk radio with angry radio hanging up on callers calling
Qasim Virjee 46:34
to complain about it and just, you know,
Amanda Cupido 46:38
or sports, right? Heavy on the sports
Qasim Virjee 46:40
or like dumb people in the morning, you know, you know, empty heads, talking about nothing, because their listeners are just trying to get their coffee in their system and get going,
Amanda Cupido 46:50
right? All of that all of that
Qasim Virjee 46:52
you're not alone. He's basically is what we're describing.
Amanda Cupido 46:56
So we're really trying to flip it on its head, and we go, okay, we want a place where people can come to find common ground, we're not hanging up on people, we're actually trying to bring people together, you can get into it, you know, echo chamber, as we know. And it's like, Wow, imagine a place where you're gonna be able to come and not, you know, not start a massive fight, but really just have come together and have a great discussion about something. Wow. So it'll be such a shock. But we're really lacking it in the in, you know, the audio space in the radio space. But media as a whole, for sure. Come together, learn something. So the call letters have recently changed since I've been at the station, it is now C F IQ emphasis on the IQ, because we really want listeners to come in and feel like they walked away learning something. So no more of those empty heads, it's informed opinions, and probably multiple angles, and then you choose where you want to land. We're not here to just pitch you on something. But we're coming together and really having yet interesting discussions with really strong takeaways, and changing the face of what radio looks like. And so right now, our lineup has more women than men, shocking weekday lineup, you know, not the norm. Even me, I'm the first one woman program director for a talk station in Toronto. Never, ever, what a no,
Qasim Virjee 48:17
I wanted to say congratulations to everyone before you. I'm gonna say what?
Amanda Cupido 48:24
And so, um, and I, you know, and so that's why there's just like, it's time. Yeah, it's been, it's been a long time coming. And so already, I think, you know, I've been able to start, and also just like having fun again, I think we've gotten really bogged down with the news. Yeah, it gets very serious, heavy. And it's like, we could also still have fun, yeah, and try things and invite people to call in and engage with them. And, you know, sometimes too, we're so used to like a million calls in a segment meaning we just get one caller, who's so interesting that we let them have the segment, right and encouraging the team to really lean into their gut, try new things, including what our digital presence looks like. But even on the air, you know, and just get back to some of those. Those basics.
Qasim Virjee 49:10
Okay, last question on this note, because I think there's tons to talk about radio and we'll have to do another another show. Yeah. But radio going digital, there's been you know, all these startups and now at LinkedIn as well. I think it has a platform like clubhouse was what they everyone's kind of saying the copycat it to the idea of, you know, live audio channels that can be marked multi participant online. Yes.
Amanda Cupido 49:37
I know. I mean, so it's social audio as people in the industry like to refer to it. I, you know, maybe controversial, but I don't like it, because and we saw this happened with clubhouse and anytime I tried to sticky, no, and you there's a lot of riffraff that end up. It's hard to go through. It's not carefully curated, but then this moment you start curating it. You're like who's in charge? If the curation and it's like it can, it just ends up getting a bit messy. And I think for some instances, it can be good if you want to have like a, you know the AMA chats on Reddit and you want to do that live. Great, and you want to use it as a way to talk back. But as a regular, episodic or daily thing. Well, let's just say we're not the radio station is set up for success in that area. And if you look at the teams that are behind that, you understand why those people are there, and why what ends up coming out on the airwaves is so strong verse, what you might be getting from a social audio perspective. Yeah. Cool.
Qasim Virjee 50:38
Well, thanks for joining me in the studio. Thanks
Amanda Cupido 50:39
for having me. Lots
Qasim Virjee 50:41
of interesting tidbits. I think particularly this idea of like, you know, podcasts for internal communication at companies is something I'm going to be mulling over for quite a while. Yeah, I love it. And hopefully we'll have you speak at our gathering conference in April. We'd love to Excellent. Okay. Cheers. Cheers.