Dan Carlin: The New Golden Age of Oral Historical Storytelling

What happens if we don’t know history ? In the world of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. If you are the 1 out of 100 that studies history and you learn context from it —does that give you a leg up in your life? [11:15]

[The best way to build an audience] On the podcast I talk about what I like to talk about. What interests me. If you do that you will eventually self select your audience. They will be people who like what you like too. [12:15]

[One benefit of new media] Instead of having to appeal to everyone out there you can target a teeny, narrow demographic. Example: If you are really into Harry Potter, what are the networks giving you? [Nothing] But there are a bunch of podcasts about Harry Potter. [13:00]

It might be a small audience that is interested in that —but they are passionate about it. It is one thing to say I watch this TV show that everybody else likes and I like it too. It is another thing to have somebody speaking right to your soul, in a way that you can relate to, about something you love. [13:30]

When you go into a bookstore you will see books about historical figures and history. These are from authors, not historians. [Why?] Because they are great storytellers. They know how to tell that story in a way that relates to a nonspecialist. [15:45]

The modern world opens up the possibilities for anyone who has a storyteller gene. Some of you are great storytellers. It is almost an innate quality. Doesn’t mean you can’t improve it, but it is an innate quality. The new media has no gatekeepers. We have gone away from the whole idea that someone can prevent you from telling your stories. You don’t have to please a gatekeeper before you can see if an audience likes what you do. For storytellers this is a golden age. [18:11]

There is a long game going on here that old media doesn’t deal with. If we do a show today, how many people will have heard that show 100 years from now? Old media does what is the next ratings period? Is this show going to be around next year? In other words, people are creating history everyday now. [21:13]

If you looked at all the top podcasts and ask them, “How do you make money?” They all have different models. It is tied to what you do and the kind of production you have. [33:26]

I get out 2.5 shows a year. I won’t do more than one ad per show. If I had to live off of advertising it would not be viable. [33:42]

But if you do three shows per week —like Joe Rogan—and you do a few ads per show that is a viable solution. [34:00]

My approach is to sell the old shows. Take them off the free feed and sell them. These shows are evergreen. They are as good years from now as they were when we released them. [34:08]

We are literally at the very start of this. We are at the very beginning of the beginning. [35:00]

The feeling of satisfaction —if people like it—there is not much that compares to that. [44:00]

Full video here: Dan Carlin: "The New Golden Age of Oral Historical Storytelling" | Talks at Google