by Kelly Jeanine
Nothing defines the dynamic of a podcast quite like cohosts.
Whether it’s the spark and chemistry during an episode or juggling logistics, a strong cohost relationship is everything. So how does that balance work when your cohost is 2,600 miles away?
When Blher Podcast first started we were skeptical. Brittany was starting a new job in Washington, D.C. and I was juggling a full-time job and volunteer work in Southern California.
You may find yourself in a similar boat. The perfect podcast partner doesn’t always live right in your neighborhood. While our show is still growing, I wanted to share some bicoastal cohosting tips we learned the hard way.
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Finding Cohost Success 2,600 Miles Apart
1. Decide where your home city is.
While listeners can come from all over the globe, defining your podcast’s home city is important. Your podcast’s city will influence the time zone social media is posted, formal business structures, and networking. One way to choose your podcast headquarters is to see where your highest number of listeners are between the two cities and to look at local corporate law. Since California is notorious for having extra legal loopholes and we have a heavy listener base in the south and east coast, having our podcast center around Eastern Standard Time makes the most sense for us.
2. Mind the time difference.
Our greatest struggle is finding the right time to record where it’s not too early for me or too late for Brittany. We found that Sundays– later morning for me and afternoon for Brittany– are the only times that works. We guard that time against other engagements.
3. Define clear roles for podcast logistics.
The combination of time zone differences and minimal face-to-face interaction with your cohost means you need to be extremely intentional and specific about your roles and who has ownership over various logistics. Brittany is our audio editor and I manage social media. By ensuring we don’t have too much crossover, we are able to juggle our own personal schedules and keep the podcast on track.
It is vital to use organization tools and processes that work for both cohosts. Google Drive has been our central hub for episode scripts, social media grids, and archiving graphics. We also developed a topic queue where we plot out upcoming episodes and create deadlines.
Using an app like Wunderlist can be a convenient way to create a joint to-do list, where you can assign tasks to each individual and set reminders for upcoming deadlines.
5. Be intentional about recording and scripting.
The ultimate goal is for listeners to not know that we are in different states and time zones based on the dynamics and sound quality of the podcast. We’ve found recording software like Skype with eCamm recording recording or Squadcast work best for us.
To ensure a seamless conversation we’ve learned how to read social cues to better anticipate pauses (with the inevitable digital delay) so we don’t talk over each other.
We notice a drastic difference in sound quality if one person is in a smaller recording room and the other is in a more open space, or if one of our mics is a lot louder than the other. To help minimize these factors, we often test record before each episode and make adjustments as needed. It’s a work in progress. Some days it sounds great, other days we are plagued with different factors that affect the ability to match sound.
Also, make sure not to text and record. The dynamic of watching someone with their head down, not fully listening, affects the conversation flow more than you realize.
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6. Be strategic with photography.
It’s hard to appear like a unified brand if there are no pictures of you and your cohost together. Having consistent graphics to pull from has been the largest struggle with Blher.
In addition to the business and logistical benefits, scheduling time to spend a few days with your cohost a couple of times a year is vital from a graphics standpoint. Hire a photographer to take a variety of professional photos that you can pull from throughout the year. Depending on your brand, make sure to get lots of organic shots as well. Having candid photos, selfies, video clips and other content worthy of Instagram Stories is extremely valuable.
This is one area where we definitely have not succeeded. After struggling through a season of not having graphics, Brittany and I decided to take a trip to Toronto this summer and will be enjoying our first Blher Retreat later on this Fall, in D.C.
7. Use your weaknesses as a strength.
It may feel like being across the country is our greatest weakness–but there are also some hidden benefits. We are able to capitalize on the various perspectives and cultures from broadcasting on two different coasts. As a podcast centered around social issues, Brittany and I often mine the world around us for relevant opinions and experiences. I truly believe that many of our unique conversations would not have the same depth if it weren’t for our diversity of experience.
We can also expand our networking to be present in various cities at the same time.
Don’t feel discouraged if you are juggling logistics of a long-distance cohosting relationship. Instead, get organized and dig deeper into the unique perspectives you both bring to the table.
- Choose your podcast headquarters by seeing where your highest number of listeners are between the two cities
- Specify roles and minimize crossover of tasks
- Don’t text and record it can negatively effect the conversation flow
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Kelly Jeanine is a fundraiser in the nonprofit industry and is passionate about creating safe spaces within a religious context for marginalized groups. Kelly Jeanine and Brittany Hughes co-host “Blher Podcast”–which takes on the world one social issue at a time, highlighting the perspectives of two young, black, professional women. Kelly and Brittany just celebrated the one-year anniversary of Blher podcast.