So, here I was speaking at WordCamp Chicago 2010 and eventually I met these two guys from Chicago that were podcasters…. like super awesome podcasters. This was of course, before I got into podcasting. They were asking about BuddyPress in regards to their website, and we even talked some shop. I am speaking about Fausto Fernós and Marc Felion of Feast of Fun.
I kept in touch and followed up with them in Chicago during 2011 at WordCamp Chicago, and was just excited as I followed their site along. They interviewed people I wanted to hear, like the gals on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, which is on LOGO television. OH, and the list of people they have met and interviewed is amazing! I knew even before following up with them that I wanted to interview them. They actively engage on the social networks and on their own website. Come on, they really exude what a social media success story is all about and they were a lot of fun to hang out with too. Oh, and by the way, you can also find Feast of Fun listed in Wikipedia if you wish to know more about them.
Feast of Fun Stats – April 2011:
- 5 Time winner of the People’s Choice Podcast Awards
- Chicago Reader’s 2009 “Best Gay News Source” Award
- Covered by the Chicago Tribune and named “The Oprah of Gay Podcasting”
- Feast of Fun on Facebook (4203 fans as of April 2012)
- Feast of Fun Twitter (4526 followers as of April 2012)
- Feast of Fun on Youtube (1218 subscribers as of April 2012)
and much more….
Here is my interview with Fausto Fernós and Marc Felion of Feast of Fun:
ME: Please tell my readers a little about both of you and then a little about Feast of Fun itself.
FAUSTO and MARC: Feast of Fun started eight years ago as an audio blog to promote our live musical variety show, and was one of the very first podcasts ever made by anyone, anywhere.
When Apple celebrated the one year anniversary of the podcast directory in the iTunes music store, Feast of Fun was chosen as one out of 48 “pioneering shows… helping to bring podcasting from an underground movement to a mainstream phenomenon, [Feast of Fun] helped to pave the way.” -iTunes Music Store, June 28, 2006.
We think of our audience as friends. Friends which we share amazing stuff with, but in a totally funny, sexy, exciting way that you just can’t get in the rapid fire world of Facebook/Twitter. Podcasts are here to stay, and Feast of Fun helped pave the way for many shows.
ME: How did you get the word out in the beginning about your website? Was it difficult?
FAUSTO and MARC: When we first started posting audio clips, we were so thrilled to see more than 100 downloads of them. Our live shows never had more than 200 people in the audience, so when we got into the 1000s we realized our true calling was doing the podcast.
We didn’t choose podcasting, podcasting chose us.
As the Internet grew, we grew and at one point Feast of Fun did better than Howard Stern’s own podcast on iTunes. We were averaging a quarter of a million downloads a month. It still blows my mind to know so many amazing people listen to the show, and I make it a point to spend a lot of time interacting with our audience on our blog Feast of Fun. I really do think of them as friends, and we’ve made some amazing friendships with other bloggers, video folks and podcasters through the years. It’s changed us, changed our community and changed the world.
ME: What do you do offline to market your website? Many site owners, especially bloggers and podcasters are not familiar with marketing their site offline and could use some tips if you have any.
FAUSTO and MARC: We used to print out palm cards and gave thousands of those out at public events. We still have listeners to this day that found us by getting the fun, colorful cards we passed out.
Today we really spend a lot of energy and time keeping it electronic, because we want to draw an electronic audience and it’s easier to get people with Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media.
ME: You are the number one GLBT podcast on iTunes. That is no small feat. When you started podcasting, what was some of the most difficult things you had to learn and do you have any good tips for beginners wanting to podcast?
FAUSTO and MARC: My advice for any online creative content creator, is to make it fun for you. Chances are you wont find a large audience for several years, and that’s okay. You don’t need a large audience to be successful, you need to have an engaged audience.
Don’t skimp on audio quality, every show should have it’s own blog entry and a unique title. Be your own TV guide, explain to people what they will expect when they spend 5-90 minutes listening to you blab your mouth.
Do it regularly- whatever that means for you, weekly, monthly or daily?
I don’t think interviewing people helps to bring their audience to your blog. Interviews should be done to tell a good story, and that’s what makes people interested in what you do. We’ve had some huge stars on the show whose program did as well as some relatively unknown but fascinating people.
It’s all about storytelling, sitting around the fire, only the fire has now gone digital.
Don’t be afraid to ask for money and to charge for some of your content.
ME: Feast of Fun has put together a premium content package for their website. How has it worked for you? For those looking to put together a similiar concept of premium content, do you recommend this for other popular sites?
FAUSTO and MARC: Our audience has always been the reason we do the show, and they in turn have helped financially support it. We can only do it because they have invested in us, and that is the most amazing motivation anyone could ask for.
It’s tragic that Apple hasn’t offered an option for people to charge for their podcasts like they now do with iBooks because I think it would attract a lot more talent to the long format audio spoken word show.
I think yes, there should be some sort of paywall if it helps you do what you need to do. For some people though, the revenue comes through other means.
ME: What are some of the highlights that you are most proud throughout the time Feast of Funs has existed?
FAUSTO and MARC: Winning the People’s Choice Podcast Award five times for best GLBT podcast has been such an incredible honor. We put our heart and soul into every podcast. When people connect with us and celebrate our efforts, it is really amazing.
Meeting the listeners face to face at live show tapings has always been amazing. When we first came out to Los Angeles in 2006, we were greeted by a packed house at a popular bar in West Hollywood and were given the key to the city by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. It was made out of cardboard, but we didn’t mind!
We’ve done some shows that have rocked the world, like exposing the AT&T/T-Mobile merger scandal, where these creepy corporations were secretly paying off grassroots political advocates to endorse the merger which would have effectively killed net neutrality!
It’s always a blast to meet folks like: George Takei, Mo’Nique, Sharon Needles, RuPaul and get to ask any question that pops into my mind. We also love taking questions from the listeners while we tape- they can do so by posting on our Facebook page: http://facebook.com/feastoffun
You can see what the audience loved in the past year: http://feastoffun.com/category/podcast/?pop=year
ME: Success in social media seems to be a slightly different journey for each website and individual, what advice overall would you give to anyone striving to become the number one in their niche?
FAUSTO and MARC: Being number one means being better than everyone else. You don’t need to be #1 to do well, you have to be #1 only in your audience’s eyes. What they think matters the most, because in the end, hopefully they will be your boss and pay your bills.
Try to be good at what you do by focusing on your passions. Write about what excites you, not what you think your audience wants you to say.
Your authentic voice comes through when you speak honestly and transparently. People aren’t stupid, they will see how awesome you really are.
If you don’t share what’s inside your mind, you’re being a selfish jerk by robbing the world of your story. Don’t be afraid to be awesome! Everything is something to somebody.