In this episode of Talk Marketing Made Easy, John McDougall talks with Rock Felder, the founder of SquadCast. Rock explains why SquadCast is the “Zoom” of remote recording due to its high quality and easy workflows. Then, he provides tips to podcasters about hosting, editing, and more.
John McDougall: Welcome. It’s John McDougall with Talk Marketing Made Easy. And I’m here today with Rockwell Felder, the co-founder of SquadCast, one of our absolutely favorite tools. Welcome Rock.
Rock Felder: Hey, thanks for having me. Really happy to be here and happy to hear that you’re enjoying SquadCast. That’s even more amazing.
John McDougall: We love it. It’s perfect for Talk Marketing.
Rock: Well, that’s what we’re all about, is helping people talk and collaborate remotely. So that’s awesome.
Why Squadcast Was Formed
John: And turn it into great content. And so what inspired you to get into podcasting?
Rock: Yeah, so I’ve been a fan of podcasting as a listener. I don’t remember exactly when, but ever since I got my first iPod, I just stumbled upon this thing that was called a podcast. And to me it was just like radio that was on my schedule, which I loved. I loved the ability to pick up and play at my leisure and skip ahead, or just have access to all this amazing and unique content. So I always have been a fan and believer in the medium. And my background is in accounting.
I was working at an accounting firm for most of my twenties, but started in that experience to get exposed to other business leaders, executives, board members, founders, and then just started to get that entrepreneurial itch. I wanted to do something a little bit more independent and just give it a shot. And my friend that I’ve known since high school, Zach, who is also a software developer, approached me with an idea that became SquadCast and it was in podcasting, and it was also at the intersection of podcasting and remote work, remote collaboration.
And so what SquadCast does today is it’s a cloud recording studio or a remote recording platform that helps podcasters, video content creators record their content remotely in studio quality. So it’s like Zoom, but for creators, is the shorthand or Zoom for podcasters. And so that just made a lot of sense to me back in 2016 when he first approached me with that idea that it just made sense that doing something in podcasting, providing them with creator tools to level up their content creation, but also do it remotely, it seemed like a no-brainer because I didn’t think everybody would have the ability to bring everybody in a studio or just rent out studio space or have access to studio space to begin with.
So it just seemed like a really fun and interesting thing to dedicate the next however long of our lives to it. And so that’s how we got into podcasting and really thrilled that we’re not just serving podcasters, but we are podcasters ourselves. We have our own show. We use SquadCast to record it, so we’re living, sleeping, breathing, eating this stuff and we love it.
John: Yeah. I just listened to one of your episodes on ChatGPT.
Rock: Ah, yeah, that was a good one.
Podcasting With AI
John: That was a good one. That was the only time I’d ever heard this episode brought to you by a robot.
Rock: Yeah. What a fun one to start with.
John: That was cool. Yeah, I’ve been playing with ChatGPT and Jarvis for a bit, just for fun. But I mean, we don’t really want to create a lot of SEO content with it because Google’s not really into it. And I can see it’s sort of a storm right now. One of my clients just yesterday was like, oh yeah, we’re going to just create a whole bunch of content with ChatGPT. We got to use ChatGPT. He is just going off on it.
And I’m like, look man, that’s why you hired us. That’s why we need podcasts and videos with you. And this guy does, if I can phrase this, bonded manifolds plastics machining for materials like Teflon and all these complex things. I think the content that you’d get from a robot for that would just kind of miss the mark. It was crazy what you guys got for the podcast episode. It was actually pretty damn good.
High Quality Recording and Other Benefits of Squadcast
John: But I don’t know, first of all, I’m assuming it’s scraping stuff on the web and tying it together kind of brilliantly. I am impressed by it, but how do you know it’s not duplicate content or doesn’t give you a penalty? And then, I don’t know. I love it. I love the idea for email marketing and things like that or maybe adding copy to landing pages. But anyway, so the trends and tools of this world are changing all the time.
What about the features in SquadCast? What are some of the things you are proud of that have helped people with, like you said, taking it from the old days of Skype and in-house studios to remote?
Rock: Thank you. Yeah, so I think one of the things that really stands out with SquadCast is our focus on serving creators and providing software and features and benefits within that software that cater to that type of experience. So really a focus on quality, making it really easy for people to join no matter where they are, what their setup is. I mean, you do need certain devices and it is a browser based software, so you do need Chrome up to a certain version and stuff like that.
But it’s designed to be very flexible and accessible to all sorts of different environments and setups and still ensure that the recording quality is still at the best that it can be. And that’s really where SquadCast shines is ensuring that you get the highest sound quality possible and it’s done in a secure manner. We actually have a patented process around our recording and uploading engine to make it wicked fast, but also very secure and reliable, so you’re not really having to worry about the technical side of things.
That was really the problem that we viewed when first stumbling upon… This problem was Skype’s a great tool and so is Zoom for video chat. But the recording aspect and the quality of it, there was a lot of uncertainty and just lack of reliability. And so we just felt like developing software that really facilitated that use case and kind of focused on addressing those type of pain points was going to be something really special and thankful that the community and the industry has embraced SquadCast and other software creator tools that have really entered the market to help all creators level their game up and make things a lot more easy.
Because I mean, creating content’s a hard job, and that’s not something that we can necessarily do for people, but at least we can give them the tools to make them look and sound their best and do it in an easy way where they can connect with their team members and guests. But the recording engine is where we really shine, and it’s really cool to have a patent around that.
How SquadCast Fills the Role of a Recording Engineer
John: That’s amazing. A patent is a good thing. And I’ll give you a quick case study, super quick just for myself as the owner of a small marketing agency, one of my first employees, John Maher, well, he’s been with me 17 years, he’s a recording engineer. We met together being in a band in the nineties.
Rock: Oh, sweet.
John: And yeah, I was looking for a keyboard player, and this friend was at my father’s ad agency. He was like, go to this church and John is the musician there, but he’s also good at blues piano. So I went in and then long story short, he ended up looking for a job and I hired him to do SEO back when SEO was kind of hard to find people to do that. And he had built some websites, but he was technical both from the SEO side and also recording and doing videos for our clients.
So over the years, our clients, I send them to John and he does all the podcasting and everything. Even when I had my own shows 10 years ago when I started a legal marketing podcast, he would always set it up for me and I’d like go into our agency, into the studio and put on the headphones, and he’d always run it. And a while back I’m like, I don’t want to take up all of his time anymore for that because I want to do a lot of podcasts and he’s busy with our clients and he’s not a full-time marketing person for our agencies, for our clients.
So that’s where SquadCast came in for me. And I mean, my God, it can’t be easier to start a session, email someone a link, and then you show up and you have video and audio, and then you just save the video and the audio files or just let my VA in the Philippines just log into that and then bang, I’ve got shorts, I’ve got videos from the podcast, a cut up audio.
So that’s just a nice little case study going from. Even as an agency owner with some technical skills and having someone doing that for me. And then once we shifted to SquadCast, like John said, screw it with the whole MACKIE mixing board and that whole thing. Why not just use SquadCast for everything? And that’s when we started being devotees and kind of spreading it to everyone that we talked to because it’s like, why would you go through that headache that John used to do as an audio engineer when you don’t need to?
Recording Quality Independent of Internet Quality
Rock: Well, that’s amazing. I’m thrilled to hear that and thank you for sharing that. That’s really what it’s all about and what makes us just dance to work every day because we love doing this stuff. We love hearing these stories. Nothing is perfect. The internet is the internet, but that’s really where SquadCast shines, is the recording qualities independent of the quality of the internet connection.
And that’s something that’s another differentiator between us and Zoom, but I’m really just happy to hear that we’re almost eliminating steps in the workflow, making it just much easier, quicker, all that kind of stuff. We want to save you time, money, headaches, all that kind of stuff.
SquadCast Vs Riverside
John: Yeah, it already is good. How is it different from Riverside? I haven’t tried Riverside again. Haven’t really haven’t needed to. The only times we’ve had SquadCast have something fail, but we’ve gone into, John does this part of it, he’s gone in and found whatever other version of the file, and we’ve never lost an episode. Just occasionally we have to go into the backend to find a file or something. But with the other tools like Riverside, how is SquadCast different?
Rock: So Riverside, I would say we consider them among one of our direct competitors, our largest competitor when it comes to folks that are recording content remotely. Zoom still seems to be the primary use case for folks, which makes a lot of sense. It’s a household name. It’s a verb. It’s the Kleenex of doing stuff remotely.
John: Right. Yeah.
Rock: So they’ve done a really good job of that. But Riverside has done a good job of building up their name and reputation within the podcast industry and creator space. And so I think the industry, the market, they’re winning here because you’ve got multiple folks really trying to tackle these difficult problems. And we do have empathy for all the folks that are trying to solve this remote recording problem. It’s hard for me to say exactly what the differences are because if they’re anything like SquadCast, they’re always making changes to the app.
So it’s hard to say exactly. What I have seen lately is it does seem like they are expanding their focus a little bit more, where that’s just a fundamental difference with us, where we absolutely value focus.
It’s literally a company value and focus for us is really still being the best in making the remote recording experience, the cloud recording studio as a category really solid and cemented within the creator workflow and some other use cases as well. There’s a lot of ways that this platform can empower folks for communication and capturing that in the best source quality possible.
We also see ways that you’ve kind of mentioned ways that we can just help expedite the production process in general and eliminate steps or just make those steps quicker and easier. So we really don’t see our work done here and no need to expand to other types of products or features. So becoming an editing-
SquadCast Offers Simple Workflows
John: I like the simplicity.
Rock: Thank you. That’s great.
John: I wouldn’t want it to all of a sudden be 50 different things, because that’s kind of the thing why I like to refer people to this. Some of my clients are just your average small business owner. They don’t know jack about technology. And if I send them to a tool, it’s like Libsyn or something that’s a good tool, because like, oh, wow, it does all these things.
Maybe there’s an easier way to host, even though it’s a great tool, we use it. But if SquadCast all of a sudden blew up and had every Swiss Army knife feature, then I’d have to say, well, let me explain how you get there. Is that kind of what you’re talking about? The ease of workflow?
Rock: That’s exactly what I’m talking about. We still see ways that we can have an impact, but stay within our lane within the production workflow. And so we do have some editing features on the platform, but it’s really to expedite that post-production process. It’s no substitute for a more robust editing platform.
And you mentioned Libsyn, that’s another thing that we’ve been asked before is will we get into podcast hosting? And it’s like, not yet. I mean, never say never. It’s not something that’s anywhere near on our roadmap or even something that we’re entertaining or interested in. I don’t want to say never, but I mean, it is not our focus. And I think that’s a big pillar of and differentiator between us at a company level on a philosophical level.
John: Yeah, I think that’s good with you on that one. Audacity is an easy thing for us to say, hey, download your files from SquadCast, go edit on Audacity, throw it up on SoundCloud or Libsyn or wherever. That’s a good workflow right now. And if that got more complicated because SquadCast was more complicated, it wouldn’t be as easy to just tell people, you’re not going to believe how simple this is.
SquadCast Integrations With Other Apps
Rock: Yeah. Well thank you for that validation. And we do see opportunities to connect those, so make it even simpler to send your files to the places that they’re going to go. And a lot of times we know that. So we do have integrations that are set up already, one of them being with an editing platform that I’m a big fan of Descript, but we know folks are using other platforms. So adding those integrations is an evolving story for us among other things. But that’s a good example of how we see our place and stay in our lane, but still make it easier for you to do your thing.
Don’t Over Complicate the Recording Process
John: That sounds good. And what about mistakes you see commonly being made with technology for podcasters, or even if they’re already using SquadCast or what are technology things that trip people up?
Rock: I think there’s a few. Not knowing how to use your technology is one thing. I mean, I’m a big fan of keeping it relatively simple. A lot of times when we get folks that are having technical issues on SquadCast, it’s not often related to the software. And I’m not just saying that because SquadCast is perfect. I’m not saying that. I mean, it’s pretty darn good when you’re operating at the scale scale we are, I’m not going to lie, it’s mind-blowing.
But a lot of times we’ll see folks that have these really complicated setups where they’ve got multiple things going on, multiple wires, and it’s all good if you can make it work, but you don’t really need that. And especially when you’re starting, you really don’t need that. Of course, it’s great to have some type of investment into your setup. So having a microphone, headphones, a solid computer, there’s a few other things that you can have, but you don’t need the full-blown setup, especially right out the gate. But you really don’t need it ever, in my opinion, for a podcast.
John: We have an IT managed services client as a client and we’ve been doing their podcasting for a couple of years as part of the SEO, and he is like, oh, well, this year they’re actually still paying us the same thing, but they’re doing a weekly podcast show and they got a mixing board and all this stuff in-house because they’re an IT company and they get all the geeks to do it, but we told them, you don’t need to do that. And now they got all the wires and the gears and the mixing board, and they’re not being consistent every week with the show.
Rock: That shouldn’t be a reason from preventing you from actually creating. And that’s a great example of it.
Rock: If you could make it work and you’re into that stuff, I get it. Gadgets are fun, knobs and all that stuff, but if it’s preventing you from creating, that’s a problem.
Best Podcast Hosting Platforms
John: Yeah. And what about some tips? We talked a little about hosting platforms, but any quick thoughts on why, when I go to your, I forget which page it is… You have your podcast show page and there’s just icons for everything from Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, all of them… You’re on a whole bunch of different places. What about hosting and getting yourself out there? What are some quick thoughts on that?
Rock: As a hosting platform or just tips of being a host?
John: Either where to be host and where to spread your podcast overall?
Rock: Yeah, so podcast hosting is one of the categories that, fortunately for podcasters, there’s a lot of options. There’s a lot of solid brands and products available. I would recommend just sticking with the big top names that you’re going to hear because there are quite a bit of hosting platforms and you can even get it for free.
But I would say the ones that are really worth it, you’re going to pay something. It’s not too much money from what I remember, especially if you’re first starting off, typically they base their pricing off of downloads. So Captivate is a great platform. You mentioned Libsyn, that’s one of the-
John: Haven’t tried Captivate.
Rock: Yeah, Captivate’s great. They’re a little more of the innovative platforms, them and Transistor, but then you got solid names like Blubrry and Libsyn who have a great reputation and solid foundation in the space. But I would say if you’re looking for a little bit something more new, but still solid and something you can trust, Captivate and Transistor are two great options.
And Buzzsprout’s another one. I think Buzzsprout is the number two overall option. Number one is Anchor, which is a Spotify product, and it’s free. So that’s a great place to get started. But if you’re looking to level up Buzzsprout’s number two, along with those other ones I mentioned, Captivate, Transistor, and then of course Libsyn.
You’re really looking for not just someone that could host your podcast and then publish it to all of the major platforms, pretty much any of the ones that I mentioned. Or if you just Google Top podcast hosting platforms, those ones are going to be in the top 10, give or take. There probably will be some other names too. But you’re also looking for analytics.
That’s what I’m looking for with those platforms is ones that can provide me good data on the listeners and the usage of the various platforms and just how my audience is engaging with the content. I think that’s something where, in my opinion, their value and differentiators really shine because creating a feed for you, hosting that feed, publishing it, they’re all kind of similar in that regard, but it’s those other features that I think really would be what I would be looking for.
Using Descript to Edit Your Podcast
John: And what about other tools just in general for podcasting overall?
Rock: Yeah. Well, besides SquadCast, so assuming if you do record remotely, you’re using SquadCast. I mentioned Descript. I love that tool. Yeah. It’s something that I use not just for, well, I don’t edit the podcast, but if I was editing, that’s a tool that I would use. But I also use it for business cases. When I do screen recordings, I’ll edit it in Descript so that it eliminates some of the ums and ahs, or maybe it just makes a more tightened kind of presentation to folks.
So it may take me 40 minutes to record it, and I tighten it down to like 15, 20, 30. But making it just a more polished product, just incredible what it can do. And I am by no means an editor, even though I’ve been in this audio and podcasting space now for over six years.
John: I’m the same. I don’t do editing.
Rock: And God bless the folks that are editors and producers.
John: People doing it for me.
Rock: Yeah. It’s super helpful. But Descript kind of makes it feel like I can do editing.
John: You can edit in a word doc, and it will turn it to audio file.
Rock: That’s how simple. Yep. They provide transcriptions as well. Now, they offer video editing as well. It’s just so powerful and makes content creation just feel so more accessible in addition to products like SquadCast, where it’s just like you can just do so much with it.
SquadCast and Descript Integrations
John: That’s a good point. Asking you about tools and you’re coming back with something that if my clients, the small business type of side of my clients are coaching students, if you think about that, we just recommend SquadCast and Descript where people can edit from… they don’t have to be John Maher, my right hand man, that’s an audio engineer. You just go into a Word document and cut out some of the crap and cut it down so easy. So SquadCast with Descript, pretty amazing amount of how much you get done from there. Just get uploaded and you’re gone here in the cloud.
Rock: Totally. And that’s why we offer a direct integration with them. So it’s just a button in SquadCast, then you can have your files zipped automatically. You don’t have to wait to upload them, because that could take some time. It’s weird how much waiting happens when you’re uploading, downloading these giant files, especially if you’re dealing with video. It’s double the size, maybe even more sometimes.
John: Cool. Well, really good tips today, and we got another episode coming up, so we’ll wrap this one. Thanks a lot, Rock.
Rock: Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed it.
John: And SquadCast.fm or where did you want to send people to?
Learn More at SquadCast.fm
Rock: Thank you. Yeah, so SquadCast.fm is where you can learn more about remote recording and also just a lot of information about being a better podcaster, content creator. We have a ton of resources and downloadable stuff for you there, so check that out. And also follow us on all of the places that you would want to follow a company. And that’s at SquadCast FM.
John: Sounds good. This has been John with Rock from SquadCast on Talk Marketing Made Easy. See you next time.