How to Produce an Unsuccessful Podcast
Erik Quigley

I’m being a tad dramatic. But aren’t most things aimed at getting people to read them?

I started a podcast. Some of you know this. Most of you don’t. It’s called The Jabberwocky Sessions. I’m still proud of the title.

I also just found out that there's a 50% chance any podcast will experience pod in fading out.

The jury’s out on its actual success. But these things are relative; meaning: what is your version of success? 10 listeners, a million?

At any rate, what follows is how it happened, how I did it and what I’ve learned.

How It Happened

I never wanted to start a podcast. It just happened; in a way that many of the things I start happen–an idea sparks, I piss around on it for a while, forget about it, then someone brings it up and there it is again. But instead of thinking this time, I just do. I go head first, firing on all cylinders.

Perhaps that’s my problem or my gift. I don’t particularly know and we don’t have the word count for a story chasm just now.

I started with the blip of an idea and a smidge of knowledge gleaned from a shared version of a pdf lead generation download.

I knew I wanted it to be different. I think everyone wants that, however secret their yearning.

The concept: a business podcast with the flavor of true crime aimed at creatives and business owners discussing “alternate” concepts associated with business.

While many podcasts are informative in the business space, they lack creativity and oftentimes storytelling. And they can be polarizing. Instead of crossing lanes, they stay put. And they talk about all the same crap. Snooze.

I also wanted to make a point of meeting people at their listening tolerance level. I’d produce episodes at a range of lengths: 5 minutes, 30 minutes, 50 minutes. Smart, right?

I was really on to something.

What I Did

Concept in mind, inspiration buzzing, I went to work.

I did cursory research before creating and setting up the podcast name, the podcast bio, my bio, the cover art, keywords, a show schedule, guest appearances, episode scripts, a show teaser, calendar invites, production set up, guest email workflows, studio setup, pre-recorded vocals…the whole nine.

I told you. ALL CYLINDERS.

(the bits and bobs I used are at the end for anyone curious enough to venture down the rabbit hole)

I set a launch date with 4 episodes locked and loaded. I was prepared. I was ready.

I released the Twilight Zone-inspired teaser. I was giddy.

The first episode dropped several weeks later to few, but glowing, reviews. I was satisfied.

After all, nothing great happens overnight.

Then, episode after episode I’m waiting. I’m sharing on social media–on multiple platforms.

Apple Podcasts. Spotify Podcasts. Google Podcasts. YouTube. Instagram. TikTok. Newsletters.

I’m watching the analytics–11 subscribers, 12 subscribers…

12 subscribers…

12 subs–It stalled. It has stalled. IT STALLED.

And here I am. Waiting for the un-stalling. But I’m not mad about it.

What I Remembered

This is not a cry for help. It’s a case study.

Apt as I am to share the “right” way to do things, I sometimes forget to follow my own rules.

Let’s back up.

Did anyone spot mistake numero uno?

“aimed at creatives and business owners”. I muddied the audience from the start. Rule NUMBER 1 in branding and marketing: choose a very, painfully specific target and stick to it. Doing otherwise only confuses and waters down whatever efforts you’re putting in. People don’t know why they’re listening.

And mistako numero two-o?

While I’ve been pushing the podcast on all channels, it doesn’t have a channel of its own. There is no place to cultivate an audience. In having so many social profiles already, I thought I’d just wrap this baby up with one of the other bows and call it a day.

Perhaps laziness disguised as a misstep, but not ideal either way. No channel means no proper marketing leaving a gaping hole in promotional opportunities.

Let’s go for three-o.

I added another thing to my plate. Another focus. Another something to do without thinking.

In my greed for instant gratification, followership, leads… I forgot to say no. I’m already running a creative agency, a talent agency, mentoring other creatives and creating associated content for each while managing any outside help.

I’ve been hearing this forever: for every yes, you’re saying no to something else. As much as our brains believe there is always more time to do more, the honest truth of it is–there isn’t.

There are likely more lessons, but these are the heavy hitters. If you’ve spotted others, enlighten me in my DMs.

What I’ve Learned

I've learned a ton about the production of a podcast (part 2 perhaps?), but none have the most impact as the fact that I actually love producing this work.

Sharing storytelling episodes that I’ve written and speaking with guests on various topics has made me realize new abilities and areas to work on–like shutting up when someone else is speaking or how to half-way produce decent audio after failing an audio engineering course in college.

This new medium has given me a way to reveal things about myself and others that I've not experienced with other ventures.

It makes me feel good and, among all the things we force ourselves to do, there’s something to be said for that.

This Podcast Was Written and Produced by Uncommon Crowd

After 20 weeks of regular installments, Season 1 will finish with 22 episodes.

I don’t know if it will return. That all depends on listener-ship and if I’ve got the bandwidth to continue what has become more of a passion project than business-generator.

And who knows when something will take off? It could be tomorrow. It could be never.

For now, we’ll just have to wait and listen.

PS. If you are listening – if you could write a review wherever you listen. I would be over the moon with appreciation. Stars are great, but words let me know what you really think.

And, of course, thank you for listening.

Podcast Creator Tools

For the podcast-creating-inclined, here is a complete list of all the tools I used:


This platform houses all the episodes, formats a webpage and pushes all the episodes out to the various audio podcast platforms.


This software handles scheduling and guest workflows.


Too many ums, pauses, likes…this baby cuts all of them out in 2.5 seconds.

One of the top podcast recording platforms. The intriguing thing here is that it records natively, meaning it will record actively on a guest's browser and send the files so you have clean audio and video from both sides. Pretty cool.

A clip maker used to create those cool sound wave graphics for Instagram reels.


Where I trimmed down the free videos to remove the watermark. Yes, I’ve been known to bootleg a time or two.

Premiere Pro

An Adobe Creative Suite program for cleaning up and exporting guest video episodes for YouTube.


Another Adobe Creative Suite program used for layering tracks and producing the final audio only episodes.


A cheat AI platform used to increase audio levels across the board to make them sound normal on most devices…because I’m not an audio engineer.

Are you ready to be Uncommon? Apply to work with us.

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