A New Chapter

This past Friday I accepted a full-time position with Midroll Media, which is the new parent company of the Earwolf podcast network and The Mid Roll podcast advertising company. I am taking on the role of podcast evangelist and content marketer.

This happened rather quickly; I didn’t expect to have a full-time job this soon after leaving Chicago and striking out on my own. But an unexpected phone call from Mid Roll CEO Jeff Ullrich in mid February set the ball in motion.

Jeff and I first spoke when he interviewed me for his Wolf Den podcast, on which he covers the business of the medium. And that came about because he commented on a piece I wrote for Radio Survivor.

When Jeff called me last month he said he was looking for someone to write and create content about podcasting, the business of podcasting and, importantly, podcast advertising, and he asked me to consider joining the Mid Roll. He also suggested that we do a one-month trial on a contract basis, so that I and everyone at the company would have an opportunity to see how well we work together and make sure it’s a good fit. Jeff told me he got this advice from Seth Godin, who said something to the effect of, “you should only hire somebody you already know,” a point he describes in one of his blog posts.

I thought this was great idea, because it actually helps mitigate risk for both parties, the employer and the prospective employee. For me, taking the job would be a big–and exciting–change, stepping into a very new role at a young, fast-moving company after spending so many years working at big universities. Because it’s still a small company in a rapidly growing business, for The Mid Roll, every new hire is a big change. It’s critical to make good choices in making new hires, but without needless delay.

So I signed on for a month contract and got to work.

After a little more than two weeks I already felt like I was getting in the groove, charting out a content strategy and getting some fresh posts up on the company blog. Everyone at the company was welcoming, cooperative and encouraging. My head started bulging with great ideas of ways to tell the world how great podcasting is, and why advertisers should support podcasters.

Although my one month trial wasn’t yet complete, last week there were more serious discussions about me coming on full-time. I didn’t have to think for long before accepting their gracious offer.

I’m taking on this position because I truly believe in the power of podcasting, as a medium that is open to new voices, that connects with listeners in a very intimate way, and is poised for tremendous growth. Significantly, the Mid Roll is about making sure that podcasters are compensated fairly for their work. As I’ve been writing at Radio Survivor, I think this is a critical element for the future of podcasting.

While I wholeheartedly believe that hobbyists are the mortar in the foundation of podcasting, if we want great shows to survive for tens or hundreds of episodes, year after year, then podcasters also must have the opportunity to make some or all of their living from it.

Furthermore, I believe that podcasters should have the opportunity to retain control over their programs, choosing which advertisers appear on their podcasts. The Mid Roll offers this to all the podcasters the company works with.

I am very excited to join a company that is very actively creating the future of podcasting. I look forward to helping tell this story.