For Headliner Highlight 16, we hear from Aicila Lewis and Erik Kosnar of BiCurean.
Tell us about your podcast.
Erik: So our podcast is called BiCurean.
Aicila: And it’s about the art of critical thinking.
Erik: And fighting polarization.
Aicila: We have been doing this for about a year and a half.
Why did you start podcasting?
Erik: I think it’s because we felt like we had something interesting to say. Which sounds pretentious, but we have listeners, so…
Aicila: I think the story that I find interesting is I had this passion for this and happened to meet you, who had the skill of audio and convinced you to join me in this crazy idea.
Erik: Absolutely, and that was a lot of fun.
What do you do to share & promote your episodes?
Erik: We use a lot of social media, obviously. And a lot of it is word of mouth. And have picked up some listeners that way and encourage people to share it with their friends. But social media is definitely the most powerful way, and we’ve got a lot of posts that we put up, using tools like Headliner to grab attention.
What has been most effective? Least effective?
Aicila: Twitter has been the best for interaction. There’s a really great podcast community on Twitter that we’re a part of, and we get a lot of support and cross-promotion there.
Erik: How do you feel that that’s been really positive, like what aspect of it? It’s also the next question on their list.
Aicila: Oh, that’s so fantastic. You’re so good at this. The positive part of it is the interaction, the way that a lot of the podcasters on there will retweet requests for recommendations. They will support your [show]; like I put our show link up, they jump on it, and they retweet it. They ask questions, they help. They amplify the things that we put out there, and they’re super great about giving ideas about ways to get more engaged followers. It’s the very generous podcasting community on Twitter.
Erik: Yeah, absolutely. Plus, we can have interactions and conversations with those people, and I think there’s something about a medium of delivery that they can listen to and then interact with us, so that’s been positive.
Aicila: How about the least effective?
Erik: To me, honestly, at this point, I would say it’s trying to set up a mailing list. Like, we’ve gotten very few people that want to have this information delivered to them in that way. [It] seems like, not a dying art form; obviously, it’s something that’s still used, but for some reason, the fans of our podcast seem to interact with us on Twitter, and that builds that appreciation. And so if we take that away, it hasn’t been as successful.
Why do you make Headliners?
Aicila: Well, honestly, it’s a little bit connected to Twitter and that some of the podcasters on Twitter were putting out these videos that I thought were super awesome. And so I messaged them, and I said, “how can I be cool like you?” And they said we’re using Headliner, and I had actually tried Headliner early on and really not been able to sort it out.
I think I was a very early adopter because I had an account when I created an account. I already had one, and I’m like, “Oh, look at that.” And so this person that I had reached out to and was like, “how can I be cool like you,” he said “I’ll walk you through it,” and so like, [he] got onto the Twitter with me and just helped me to figure out how to make our videos.
And they’re just more engaging. The videos that we had through our podcasting platform had to be between 5 and 25 seconds. You couldn’t get a complete thought; I couldn’t change the image. So it couldn’t make the different episodes reflect what we were doing in the same way. I really like the way Headliner does it.
Erik: Yeah, it’s definitely a really powerful tool in getting attention, especially as we mentioned, posting it on different things like Twitter.
Aicila: And I’m proud of it. And our guests love it; they’re all like could you make those awesome videos because they’re so cool.
Current podcasting setup?
Erik: I came with a very high-end studio as a musician, so I have really high-end vocal microphones that are great for voice over and podcasting, and really high-end equipment around it, compressors and things like that, as well as software. We use Apple Logic.
One of the nice things, though, I can take a very small sliver of things, grab my laptop, and a simple interface, and we can do remote podcasting, and it has the same amount of quality. So we really do live in a world where the tools are still pricey to do things at a certain level, but it’s not impossible.
What is something you think is overrated or underrated in podcasting?
Erik: I think one of the overrated things in podcasting is this idea that you shouldn’t necessarily involve your listeners. I hear a lot of people who essentially view it as doing a radio show. For me, any time we can engage our listeners directly in conversation through social media, the better. I always feel a little bit more rewarded by it, but I meet some people who figure they’re delivering their thoughts through a microphone in a weekly or biweekly podcast and that’s how it is.
And then the other thing that is underrated in podcasting would be production value. Frankly, many people don’t put effort into it or come up with a product that sounds good and is easy to listen to, which really does affect your listenership. If it’s not easy to listen to, you can expect that people will bail out pretty quickly.
If someone was to only listen to one episode of yours, which one would you send?
Aicila: Right now, that’s “Masculi-nation.”
Erik: Yeah, that was a lot of fun. That was me with Chet and Miguel, an African-American and a Hispanic-American, and we talked about what it is to be men in the modern world and what we see as positive masculinity. It was really refreshing and eye-opening to have that conversation with diverse backgrounds. But it was friendly, it was vulnerable, and it felt really good.
Aicila: I’m very proud of that episode.
Erik: Yeah, it was a lot of fun, and we threw it together when we realized we could get them so, it was definitely one of those things that wasn’t planned. We were just like, “oh, let’s do this and see what happens,” and it was amazing.