Leone Kraus

Podcast Interview Series: Phil Reese

Filed By Leone Kraus | February 02, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: gay podcasts, Joe Mirabella, LGBT Podcasts, Phil Reese, Same Sex Sunday

Podcasts are an excellent social media tool that can be leveraged by the LGBT community to get their messages out to the world. According to 2010 research conducted by Edison Research, podcasts have grown over the past five years paving the way for them to be a vital communication channel.

Below are some of the key findings from the podcast survey:

  • The percentage of Americans who have ever watched or listened to a podcast is 45%, up from 43% one year ago. This equates to approximately 70 million Americans 12+.
  • The podcast audience has migrated from being predominantly "early adopters" to more closely resembling mainstream media consumers.
  • Podcast consumers continue to prefer consuming content at their desktop, not on dedicated media players, but mobile phone media consumption is surging.
  • Podcast consumers index very highly for social networking behaviors.

Podcasts are not new to the LGBT community; we've been using them since they became a popular media channel. One of the first podcast pioneers being the popular Feast of Fun, formerly Feast of Fools. Over the next few days, I'm going to post interviews with three of my favorite podcasts, The Bilerico Project's own Same Sex Sunday, The Six Pack, and the Lesbian Lounge. I'll be asking each about how they leverage social media platforms to get the word out about their shows, what social media innovations their utilizing, or planning to utilize in the future and of course, silly questions to warm-up the conversation.

Let's get the party started. I'm kicking off my podcast 3-part series with The Bilerico Project's own Phil Reese.

Interview with Phil Reese, Host of Same Sex Sunday

When did Same Sex Sunday come to fruition and how often do you record the show?

The show is weekly - we usually record the day before to give enough time to edit. Actually, another fellow Bilerico-er, Michael Crawford and I developed the show together before he got his great new position at Freedom To Marry. When he picked that up, it became obvious that he could not be behind a podcast that included regular debates between movement leaders on all these issues. However, I'd been pushing for something like this for a long time, and I didn't want to see it die. It just so happened Joe Mirabella was looking to do a podcast as well, at the time. It just clicked. Bil put us together and we went for it.

Where did you meet Joe Mirabella and what inspired you two to sign-up to do a political podcast together?

I actually only met Joe in person once, at the LGBT blogger immigration summit in New York City last winter. We get along really well, and I don't think I could do this show at all without Joe. It was a perfect pairing.

What social media platforms are you currently using to get the word out about Same Sex Sunday?

Facebook is a powerful medium. We don't get nearly the response on Twitter as we get on Facebook. We've got an email list, we've got a tumble blog on Posterous--we've got it all. However, nothing holds a candle to the hits we get from posting at Bilerico.com and our Facebook fan page. Another great tool, however, has been the YouTube page, which I sometimes use to do promotional videos, or post longer versions of interviews.

Do you have a strategy for how you engage with fans of Same Sex Sunday on each of these platforms?

Joe and I both visit the page daily. I always try to respond to everything every fan says on the Facebook page. Also, the podcast is hosted over at podbean.com. We have to approve comments there, so we usually can respond quickly. Finally there are comments on our Bilerico.com posts, so we can interact there as well. One amazing tool we use to make sure that we're catching most of what fans are saying to us would be Hootsuite. I'm such a fan of Hootsuite--it's really very good. I just wish you could read Facebook messages and comments to posts on Hootsuite, but maybe they'll work it out soon.

Anyone can email us: samesexsunday@bilerico.com. Goes to Joe and me.

I notice you don't have an advertiser sponsor for Same Sex Sunday, which tells me you do this for free...right? Can you tell me the basic timeline of what you have to do to bring listeners a new Same Sex Sunday podcast?

We actually did have a sponsor for two months. A great company called Wells Consulting--which is gay owned and operated--supports a lot of projects in the community. He gave us a lot of support early on. However, yes, we do this for free, and it's a bit difficult. We'd like to get back to trying to attract sponsors and supporters soon--the new year is a great time for us to focus on that.

SameSexSunday usually means that Phil and Joe don't have a Saturday. Generally I spend a few hours spread out throughout the week booking the show, another few researching the topics, and such. Saturday morning I get up and I script out our cue sheet and send Joe relevant news clips. I also have to share news clips with our guests.

Joe and I do a dry run 60 minutes before the recording to be sure we know what we're asking our guests about and don't stumble over names and titles. It's also a good time for Joe and I to catch up and do a little coffee talk!

Recording the round table takes about 50-80 minutes as long as there are no technical glitches, but there usually is at least one. We then spend an additional 20 minutes or so recording the intro, conclusion and any transitions. We switch off writing the show notes and blog post every other week, which probably takes another 30-60 minutes. Joe generally edits the show since I do the pre-show stuff, and that takes Joe anywhere from 2-4 hours. Then we post the show to podbean and Bilerico and anywhere else it goes.

In addition, promoting the show takes a few hours a week as well, as does posting news clips to the Facebook page. All told, I'm sure both Joe and I each spend 5-10 hours on the show every week. Of course, we will need sponsors in order to keep that up, but for now, we do it for the love of the movement and our passion for the struggle for equality.

If there's one innovative solution you could offer what would it be? (i.e. mobile app, YouTube Channel etc.)

Wow, If I could have my way, we'd host the podcast ourselves on our own WordPress page and have a full featured website AND mobile site. We've been working a bit with WordPress lately, and it's very difficult to integrate Podbean and the WordPress (even though Podbean is built ON WordPress). You know, I really like Posterous because so many things are automated--so many of the things I need to do. However, Posterous isn't as customizable as WordPress. We want something that looks professional and includes innovative tools for our audience. Anyway, we're still working on getting it where it needs to be.

What's the story behind Twitter hashtag #SSS? What does it mean, how often are fans using it and how can users keep the conversation going with this hashtag?

Your readers can read the story behind the #SSS hashtag by clicking here. It was invented by Michael Crawford just two Aprils ago. Super great idea.

Do you have a funny blooper moment from a previous recording with Joe that you'd be willing to share the background on?

Joe and I have a running inside joke where we say "I'm Ron Burgundy?" to one another at certain points in the recording process. If you go rent Anchorman, you'll understand.

You've taken your show on the road! You recorded a show at the Netroots Nation conference last year and this year you'll be recording live from the Creating Change conference. I think you may be onto something. Are you looking to one day bring Same Sex Sunday to other cities across the nation?

Another great reason for equality-minded companies and organizations to become presenting sponsors of the show, or at least buy an ad. We can only do so much on a budget of $0! However, yes, ideally I think we'd have some incredible conversations at some of these conferences: the Creating Change conference, the next Democratic National Convention--the next Republican National Convention for that matter--the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist Association national conference, medical conferences, Victory Fund conferences, GLSEN conference, PFLAG conference, national dinners of the leading groups in this struggle, etc.

I think something special happens when you get a few leaders from across the spectrum in the same room and you make them look at one another and respond. In addition, these conferences are often places where there is a lot of kinetic energy, where a lot of ideas are being thrown around and the next big action or the next big legislative push is really just being born. I think that's awesome.

Since I'm a social media fanatic, can you please share with me all the ways that fans can stay connected to Same Sex Sunday?

Look for SameSexSunday on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Same Sex Sunday WITH spaces on iTunes. We're also on Posterous, Podbean and more coming soon. Finally, SameSexSunday.com will take you to whichever iteration of our web presence we've got ready. Ha! Please please like us on Facebook and visit weekly, and you'll never miss an episode.


There you have it, my interview with Phil Reese. I hope you'll take a moment to check out Same Sex Sunday. Coming up next, my interview with Ben Harvey and Dave Rubin, hosts of The Six Pack.

Like me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter. Join me on The Bilerico Project.


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