Catching Up With Podrunner’s DJ Steve Boyett: Podcasting, and Publishing 2.0

Jun 24th, 2009 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, Making Money with Podcasts, Podcast Quickies, Podcasting

An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal about New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly closed with a mention of a favorite cardio workout podcast – the long-running (pun intended) Podrunner.

The Podrunner series features free exercise music mixes for runners, joggers, power walkers, cyclists, elliptical trainers, aerobics, or “anyone who can use nonstop, fixed-tempo music when they train.” Each podcast episode has a fixed number of beats per minute (BPM), and the listener can browse through many years’ worth of shows to find a tempo that matches the level of activity.

I first met Podrunner’s creator, Steve Boyett, (or DJ Steveboy to his devotees), at the first Blog World Expo. He was part of a great panel discussion on “making money with podcasting.” Boyett told the story of how a gear manufacturer’s gift of high-end DJ headphones. Although the gift cost the manufacturer little, Boyett recounted, in many ways it was more influential than a straight-out financial sponsorship of his podcast. The story has stuck with me since first hearing it – the “rewards” of podcasting aren’t always strictly financial ones.

I asked Boyett about his reaction to the WSJ article, and about what else he has going on at the moment:

I just love that article about Commissioner Kelly – I’m sending him a Podrunner T shirt tomorrow. :-) I told him he knows how to “keep a department running.” Nyack nyack nyack.

As for me, if I get any busier I’ll need to be twins (yet another thing the world doesn’t need, two of me).

Podrunner continues its remorseless global domination. It’s stayed on top of iTunes music charts for 3.5 years now! The current economic climate has made it difficult to get sponsorship, though, and we have had to scale back to every other week, to reduce our music licensing overhead.  But prospects are good, and we’re pretty optimistic that we’ll be back to weekly before long. We’ve introduced new products (water bottles, wicking shirts) and more frequent contests for our newsletter subscribers. The reaction has been great.

I can’t say enough how much I appreciate Podrunner’s listenership.

Making everything even crazier, I have two novels (ARIEL and ELEGY BEACH) coming out this year in print and audiobook. The first is out in August, and the second in November. My experience as a podcaster has had a profound effect on the presentation of the novels. I have come to hugely enjoy (and perhaps accept as given) the immediate reaction of and interplay with my audience.

In an effort to augment the personal and somewhat linear process of the novel, both forthcoming books will have dedicated websites featuring interactive & customizable Google Earth maps (which I’m guessing has to be a first for fantasy novels!) as well as collaborative Wikimapia maps, forums, PDF & audio samples, etc.

Book publishing is one of the last media industries to become “Web 2.0,” and it’s been fun and challenging to find interesting ways to let readers go beyond the border of the printed page. I don’t think there’s any way all this would have occurred to me, had I not been podcasting for the last few years. The first, Ariel, will launch July 1, and the second, Elegy Beach, will launch early in October.

Realizing that there is a lot of crossover in people who listen to music when they workout and people who listen to audiobooks, I’ve just put together audio spots for the books that will air on Podrunner starting next month. One of the things I love about living in Los Angeles is that a friend of mine is a professional voiceover artist, and my wife is a composer (the Podrunner theme music is hers, and the audiobook producers love her stuff, so she’s doing the music for those as well), and I got to use their talents for the book spots.

I’ve had very separate identities thus far as a writer and as a DJ/podcaster. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens as they overlap a bit. It’s become clear to me that podcasting has taught me a lot about branding, marketing, and presenting my work. My podcasting work has also shown me different ways to connect with an audience. It tends to be a bit removed for writers.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience.

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One Response to “Catching Up With Podrunner’s DJ Steve Boyett: Podcasting, and Publishing 2.0”

  1. Walker says:

    Hi! I want to say thanks for an interesting site about a subject I have had an interest in for a long time now. I have been lurking and reading the posts avidly so just wanted to express my thanks for providing me with some very good reading material. I look forward to more, and taking a more active part in the discussions here.

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