I am a big fan of podcasts. I like that I get to pick and choose the topics I want to learn about and I can binge-listen on archives of well-developed shows. It makes me feel like a much more active participant in what I am consuming when compared to listening to the radio. I listen to podcasts while on my way to work, while cleaning the apartment, while in the shower, and Alex and I will save specific shows for when we are on the road and can listen to them together.
With the rise in popularity of creating and hosting podcasts, I thought it would be a great idea to chat with somebody who co-hosts a niche podcast (a podcast with a very specific audience) to get a better idea of what exactly goes into starting a podcast that is on a topic so near and dear to your heart…
The Last Adventurer, is the co-host of a podcast (and corresponding website) that covers hiking, mountaineering, and climbing. I sent him a few questions via email and was surprised to find out that he and his co-host keep things simple with their podcast…You don’t need to invest in a high end microphone or editing software to get started! What he doesn’t mention is that the podcast is taped live, so you can listen in as they chat…a nice change from the sometimes overly edited podcasts out there.
Can you tell Campfire Chic readers a little bit more about who you are? Where did the name The Last Adventurer come from?
I think the simplest way to describe me is an “outdoor aficionado” or if I’m being wordy, “outdoors jack-of-all-trades” who’s been out in the field for the last 25 plus years. I like to explore strange spots; I like to see new things; I like to try new things; and I like to experience all that life has to offer. In short, I get out and do things rather than talking about doing things. And, even though this is a written interview, I’m laughing about the second part of your question. Your readers should be aware that my blog name, “The Last Adventurer” is definitely tongue-in-cheek; I don’t actually think of myself as the last adventurer to walk the planet! Around eight years ago when I started my blog, I needed a good, catchy name (like Campfire Kam) to attract readers. During that time, I had a weekly meet up with my friends to talk about life; and during those conversations, they would tell me that I was a crazy adventurer who needed to stop exploring before I ended getting in trouble and ending up on my last adventure. Rather than go with “Crazy Adventurer”, which didn’t have the best connotations to me, I went with “Last Adventurer”, and from that point on, the name has been my alter-ego, just like Bruce Wayne is the alter-ego of Batman.
You co-host the popular mountaineering podcast, In Ice Axe We Trust (iiawt). Can you describe what you cover? How can somebody listen to your podcast?
Well, I’ve had doubts about whether in Ice Axe We Trust (IIAWT) was popular, but now that I’ve landed this interview, I know we are on the road to fame and fortune. (Again readers, I’m just kidding around – I’m a big fan of what Kam does, and I’m honored to be giving this interview). In terms of what we cover, we are a mountaineering podcast that covers all aspects of mountaineering or as we say, “from the trailhead to the summit”. Our show is primarily geared toward novice to intermediate mountaineers, and focuses on the basic information people need to climb mountains – the who, what, where, why, and how questions. The other unique thing about our podcast is that we have a different guest co-host each show who has familiarity with whichever mountain and whichever region we are discussing. The podcasts can be found through our website, iiawt.com, on Facebook, or through iTunes simply by searching “In Ice Axe We Trust”.
What 3 tips do you have for somebody wanting to start a niche podcast?
Uh-oh, we’ve reached the tough questions now!
The first tip I would give is to pick a subject you are passionate about, because doing a podcast is a fair amount of work; and if you’re going to put in the work, it should be about something that is important to you (the potential podcaster).
Second, I would say that you need to know your subject. I realize this may sound obvious, but in order to have a successful podcast, you really need to know your subject, because sooner or later – you – the host – are going to have to fill some airtime on your own; and depending on your show, you may need to fill a lot of airtime.
For my last tip, I would say that you should play to your strengths, whatever they are. You shouldn’t feel any pressure to copy anyone else’s format; and you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment a little to find your groove, your format, and your strengths.
What is one piece of must-have podcasting equipment (it can be something like a specific microphone, Garage Band, or Skype) that you use to record iiawt?
I don’t know if I should admit this, but I don’t have any specific pieces of equipment that I use for the podcast. Right now, I am using my iPhone5 to call into the show; and my co-host uses his laptop to operate the show through our hosting service, Blog Talk Radio. We’ve also used Skype for some of our guest co-hosts, but other than that, we are a fairly lean operation. But let me assure you, when we’re discovered and become a world-wide sensation and have our own studio with fancy microphones, you can be our first guest.
What is one piece of mountaineering/adventure gear that you refuse to leave home without?
I think I’d be selling my show short if I didn’t say my ice-axe! Even though I live in Southern California, it travels just about everywhere with me as I usually forget to take it out of my car.
Since we’re on the topic, what podcasts are you listening to right now?
I know this is going to come off as me having a big head, but the Podcast I listen to most is my own, as I want to hear how it sounds in order that I can learn from my mistakes and cringe-worthy moments to become a better podcaster. After that, I listen to a lot of TEDTalks, the Dirtbag Diaries, and lately I’ve been listening to Inspiring Adventurer, which has great daily stories from a variety of people.
You can connect with The Last Adventurer through Twitter, Instagram, and his site. For information on the In Ice Axe We Trust podcast, check out their site, follow along on Twitter, and see what beautiful images they’re sharing on Instagram.
For additional podcast recommendations, I listed a handful of outdoor adventure-related podcasts here.