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Rockin' New libsyn Podcasts: Chicken Thistle Farm Coopcast

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This series is all about libsyn’s newest podcasters. Its sole purpose is to introduce these awesome podcasts to the world as well as share their podcasting insight to empower the community!

Q & A with Andy Prior from The Chicken Thistle Farm CoopCast

When did you start podcasting?

We recorded our first podcast on the first of the year (2012). We kinda filled the week between the holidays with our first podcast experiment because the farm was slow and we were on “real job” vacations. But we were actually thinking about shows, segments and content for most of 2011.

Why did you start podcasting?

We had been chronicling our pasture to plate journey on our farm for a few years via our blog but found that we were posting updates less and less (the polite way of saying we were getting tired of that form of media).

We seemed to find it harder to write about the conversations we were having with farmers and customers and easier to talk about it. We also found that most content out there is always on one end of the spectrum or the other which had been a challenge for us when we were early in the farming learning curve.

We finally decided to get it together and produce our own podcast that was as transparent as how we practice farming.

We had a lot of customers that told us we should “tell the story” via a podcast so after we looked at what was out there and struggled to find decent podcasts on farming that shared our values, thought process and situation we thought “it’s time to step up and start our own” because we knew our situation was not unique!

What’s your show about?

More than just chickens in a coop - that’s for sure! It’s our take on the farming, gardening, homesteading podcast with painful attempts to inject Andy’s brand of humor (it’s bad) into the conversation.

We try to keep our topics approachable by either the avid farmer or by people who are just curious about what goes on around a farm. We talk about starting, running and maintaining a small scale, sustainable and natural farmstead (with full time day jobs too).

Since we are committed to a weekly schedule our updates start to seem like a “farming soap opera” and we find listeners wanting more of the story.

We generally break each episode up into 3-4 different sections that try and have a common theme running through all of them. “Farming”, “gardening” and “homesteading” is a surprisingly competitive / congested space in the podcast-o-sphere with a spectrum of quality and content.

We hoped our quality and content would make us a compelling download… thankfully our growing number of terrific listeners agree!

What’s your podcasting set-up? Hardware, software, CMS, etc.

We started our podcasts on SquareSpace and learned the hardway that’s not the RIGHT way to host a podcast.

So we left our written content over there (it’s a great platform for other content and easier to manage than constant Wordpress updates) and moved the podcasting over to libsyn.

To record an episode we put together an agenda and then we use our studio (the dinning room on the farm), a pair of Blue Yeti USB microphones and GarageBand on a MacBook (hot tea to soothe the throats when talking too).

Part of being able to produce a solid episode every week when it’s the middle of the busy farming season is the simplicity of the setup. That said, we are obsessive about clean edits and clear sound. When we change something the listeners tell us if its working or not.

How have you promoted your podcast?

iTunes is a ROUGH world. It’s a black box of ratings wonderment… so of course we started there!
We got lucky on launch and ranked in the top 2-3 slots in New and Noteworthy in our category for the first month and that got us rolling. We use social media pretty heavily too (Facebook and Twitter) and have watched as show fans from all around the world have connected with us and shared their stores and inspiration.

We now have a very regular segment called the CoopCast Community where we talk about listener feedback and try our best to answer some of the questions we get each week. For us word of mouth is how we grew the farm and how we are growing the podcasting audience (so please go give us a rating on iTunes - see how we did that).

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

With farming or podcasting? Just about everything, is that a fair answer?

We wish we knew how awesome the listeners were going to be. We have had them send us books, design and send us tools to solve farming problems we share, email us with inspirations and their own questions and certainly challenge us and our convictions.

Blogging was fun but generally impersonal. Like our reviews on iTunes say, podcasting with us feels like a friendly conversation and that goes beyond our content but to the great relationships we have been growing in our listener community!

Is farming, gardening and homesteading your thing? Well you are in luck. Subscribe to the Chicken Thistle Farm Coopcast and join their community! If you have any feedback for these guys please email andy(at)chickenthistlefarm(dot)com or follow @chickenthistle or like them on Facebook.

Start a podcast now!