Please Introduce yourself to the SoundCloud community
My name is Chris Morrow, I’m the co-founder (along with Combat Jack) of the Loud Speakers podcast network. My career has taken some unexpected turns. I’m Brooklyn based writer, probably best known for a series of books I’ve written with Russell Simmons including Do You! and Success Through Stillness. For many years I also worked as a producer in the radio industry, mainly as a way to support myself between writing projects. A few years ago I became a fan of the Combat Jack Podcast and linked up with Combat when he was looking for some help navigating the radio waters. But the more familiar I became with podcasting, I became convinced that’s where the future of audio was and we decided to start Loud Speakers podcast network. Today we have several popular podcasts including The Read with Kid Fury and Crissle, The Brilliant Idiots with Charlamange Tha God and Andrew Schulz and yes, The Combat Jack Show. It’s hard, at least we hope so, to label our podcasts as part of any specific genre, but it’s safe to say they’re coming from a hip-hop POV. And we hope they also stand out through giving a platform to the types of voices you might not hear on other networks.
How do you use SoundCloud?
SoundCloud is the backbone of our network. After we record an episode, we upload the audio file to SoundCloud and its’ RSS feed is how we launch other platforms like iTunes. One of the features we love about SoundCloud is its’ comment section. Some people have the misconception that listening to a podcast is a “solitary” pastime. But I think when you do to the SoundCloud page for a show and see a couple of hundred comments on an episode, it’s very powerful. Really gives you the sense that you’re part of a community of people who enjoy the same thing as you. Being able to see stats is another great feature. Before SoundCloud, as a podcaster it was very difficult to gauge your audience. Over and over again I’d hear people say, “I have no idea if people are listening to this thing or not.” Now, for better or for worse, we know. If the stats are strong, it’s a confidence boost. If the numbers could be better, it’s motivation to keep tinkering with the show’s format. I’ve always felt that you should tape a podcast because you have some information you really want to share, not because you’re chasing numbers. But having stats does help give you a sense of where you fit into the larger picture.
Describe your creative process. What is your set up like?
Well, as someone who heads a network, my creative process is different from musicians. But within podcasting, there are a lot of different approaches when it comes to recording an actual show. The Combat Jack Show likes to have a lot of ppl–interns, publicists, photographers–milling around the studio when they record. Plus there are always a lot of people crammed into the studio because they just want to be part of the energy. With The Read, it’s just Fury and Crissle in the studio by themselves–I don’t even come in. But that show has tremendous energy to it. So it’s really just a matter of creating your comfort zone and figuring out how to tap into the energy you need to create.
Describe how you reached certain goals or steps in your career.
I’ve basically worked really hard for a long time, a trait I picked up from my father, who’s my biggest influence. His example was also to put your head down and do the work, don’t worry about being validated or praised for it. In terms of my career in media, Russell Simmons has probably helped me the most. My name wasn’t that big when we wrote our first book together and he could have very easily gone with someone more established. But he saw how hard I was working (I had been hired to write some scripts for him) and gave me the shot. I was able to make good on it and since then he’s supported me in a lot of different ways.
What does it feel like to become a Premier Partner? Where do you want to take your career next?
It’s been great to be a Premier Partner. It’s given Loud Speakers the freedom to experiment with different shows and give opportunities to hosts who might not otherwise by in the mix for what we do. We might not have been able to do a show like Tax Season or Fan Bros without that sort of support. Shows that don’t appeal to “traditional” podcasting crowds, but are bringing new voices to the medium. I think that’s very important. We want to keep building Loud Speakers Network and make it not just one of the top podcasting networks, but one of the top media companies in general. We’ve been able to tap into an audience whose pretty much been ignored when it comes to long form digital and we want to take advantage of what some of the other players in the space have overlooked. In terms of what I’ve learned from our fans, it’s mainly been to respect them. Their comments on the page let me know that they’re paying attention. And if we drop quality audio on time, they’re going to support us. If we’re late with the shows, or the quality isn’t up to par, they might give us a couple of chances, but then they’ll be gone. You can’t ask someone to listen to a show every Thurdsay, but then not hold up your end of the bargain.
Who or what is inspiring you creatively? Are there people that you’d like to collaborate or work with?
I’m personally inspired by a lot of different people in the podcast space. Like a lot of people I started out listening to Marc Maroon and Bill Simmons’ podcasts; now my phone is filled with them. Outside of our stuff, I enjoy what’s happening on EarWolf and also Panopoly, which is Slate’s new network. I check for Jesse Thorn’s show Bullseye, as well as Joey Diaz’s show The Church of What’s Happening Now. I also check out Longform podcast from time to time and like everyone else got caught up in Serial. I’m excited for someone the possibilities it suggested for long form, scripted podcasts.
Hear the latest The Loud Speakers Podcasts here: