“I started my very first podcast in 2013, a DC Comics podcast of all things,” recalls Mark Asquith.
“I had a really low number of listeners to begin with, like 30 for the first three months. One day early on though it occurred to me, ‘that’s 30 people that are taking time out of their day to tune in and listen to me ramble on about how much Wally West's Flash gets a raw deal compared to Barry Allen’s Flash.’
“That just blew my mind; I was hooked on podcasting from there.”
Mark quickly became a seasoned podcaster, launching Excellence Expected from his South Yorkshire home, where he spoke about business, work/life balance, and productivity to hundreds of thousands of regular listeners. After teaming up with American entrepreneur and podcaster John Lee Dumas in 2015, the pair decided to take their love of podcasting one step further. Along with Rotherham web developer Kieran McKeefery, they launched Podcast Websites, to bring together everything new podcasters would need to succeed under one virtual roof.
“Even now, the excitement of podcasting never lets up for me,” says Mark, aged 36.
“Every day is new and, after producing over 700 episodes, I still feel the same way. We knew there were podcasters out there looking at their download statistics, as we once did, asking themselves: ‘Are these ‘good’ numbers? Why has my growth slowed down? Why can’t I just get those hundred or thousand extra downloads? Podcast Websites gave us the chance to share what we’d learned the hard way and to help develop the next generation of podcasters.”
As well as still being a podcaster himself – regularly producing shows that are consumed hundreds of thousands of times across the world" - Mark is now CEO & co-founder of Rebel Base Media, a UK-based podcast company which aims to help podcasters to find their unique voice and build their influence. What’s more, Mark and his team have now launched Sheffield’s first ever podcasting studio right in the heart of the city.
“Podcasting is essentially the craft of creating on-demand audio that anyone can access from any device,” Mark explains.
“Think of it almost as ‘Netflix for radio.’ We work to help people across the world to publish their stories quickly and easily. And that’s where the Sheffield studio comes in.”
The facility is located at Sheffield Technology Parks on Arundel Street, and features everything you could need to create and launch your very own podcast. Created and run by podcasters, for podcasters, it features microphones, recording consoles, fully sound-proofed studios to accommodate up to four podcasters, tutorial on the equipment, and multi channel audio files to take away on a USB device or via an online transfer.
There’s even an option to have a producer sit in with you, and to edit and produce the final product, to make sure what you’re creating is of the most professional standard.
Users of the studio will also have access to Rebel Base Media's other podcasting products, including podcast host, Captivate.fm, a free podcast growth academy, the simple podcast design studio, and a completely-managed and supported WordPress platform for podcasters, Podcast Websites.
“What I really love about podcasting is that truly anyone can do it,” explains Mark, who lives in Barnsley, and regularly travels the globe talking about his own podcasting and business experiences.
“Podcasting is a great way for local clubs and organisations to create amazing content for their members, and is just such an accessible way to connect with people.
“The thing that excites me the most is the community aspect of it. I'm passionate about helping local, unknown people tell their own life stories and leave a legacy that their families, local communities and friends will enjoy for years to come.
“That's a big reason why we opened up the studio here in Sheffield. There's already a vibrant podcast community here in the city and we wanted to create a space where anyone can come and give it a go, with no pressure and all the help that new podcasters may need to create their first audio stories.”
The team has already launched a series of ‘how to podcast’ workshops in Sheffield, aimed at demonstrating to businesses how podcasting can enhance the way they operate.
“Our plan is to turn our attention to running similar free events for community leaders and local storytellers next, people who simply want to experiment with podcasting,” says Mark.
“We’re also giving studio time away free until June 1, to give more people the opportunity to jump behind the mic and give it a go.”
Visit www.rebelbasemedia.io/studio for details and to book.