Podcasting: Lessons from an award-winning pod about pot

Cannabis Station, Denver, Colorado, a medical marijuana store. The sign says, "Fill Up on Diesel $30 ⅛'s."
Cannabis Station, Denver, Colorado, by Jeffrey Beall, from Flickr, Some Rights Reserved

Readers of the newsletter will know that podcast audiences and advertising are growing, well at least in the US, where podcasts can break up the long drives Americans take (and I say that as one). In today’s media business newsletter, the top story is a pithy Q&A about some lessons from a podcast on the pot industry in Massachusetts.

Pot content is not necessarily new, especially as more liberal marijuana laws have swept across the US. The Denver Post had a marijuana critic for a while and a vertical focused on the subject called The Cannabist. (Sadly, the critic and a video show were victims of the well-covered cuts at the newspapers. Indie newspaper Westword said that journalist Jake Browne was to be “replaced by bots.”)

The podcast, Mass Marijuana, “a show about the growing pains in the newly legal cannabis industry in the state of Massachusetts.” Mass is a clever pun both in terms of legal marijuana use coming to the masses and also Mass being an abbreviation and nickname for Massachusetts.

Unlike a lot of professionally produced podcasts that have grown out of public radio in the US, this one is produced by a local TV station in the Boston area. Lead producer Dalton Main said:

As cannabis became legal, we were covering stories constantly. My job was to take the interviews and stories created every day and weave them into a larger overarching narrative. I got to read between the lines and connect the dots of the daily news pieces. It was very fun.

Mass Marijuana: What Broadcasters Can Learn About Podcasting from An Award-Winning Show About Cannabis, by Seth Resler, Jacobs Media

The two lessons that stood out for me were, one obvious one, that they tapped into an identifiable, and I would argue a well-known niche. A niche focus is important, if not critical, in several digital media formats whether that is a podcast, newsletter or blog. Number two, they tapped into a wealth of coverage that they are were already doing. And three, they also mined their own archives.

Keep those suggestions coming to me on Twitter, @kevglobal. As the newsletter grows subscribers, sharing international media stories with me and others will make it even better.

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