Podcast Monetization Strategies and Adapting Content Creation for Changing Behaviors

Welcome back to Branded: your comprehensive guide to creative branding.

Today, we have a special guest on the show, John Svedese, who brings a unique perspective on personal branding and content creation. Our conversation with John covers the power of short-form videos, the impact of attention spans on long-form content, and the evolving landscape of digital media consumption.

We kick things off by exploring the shift towards shorter videos as consumers gravitate towards quick and engaging content, disrupting traditional long-form podcasts. We discuss the trend of watching YouTube content on television screens, challenging traditional streaming services for viewer attention.

The discussion extends to monetizing podcasts through affiliate marketing and collaborating with local businesses for sponsorships, touching on the branding challenges faced by companies like Chipotle in the era of viral TikTok videos.

As John shares his experiences in approaching Brooklyn businesses for sponsorships for his podcast, “The Basement Surge,” we talk about the importance of passion and belief in one’s content for successful monetization. John’s high standards in content production, marketing, and networking emphasize the dedication required even when starting as a hobbyist.

Key Takeaways:

1. Evolution of Viewing Habits: The shift towards shorter videos reflects changing consumer preferences, highlighting the need for engaging and concise content in the digital age.

2. Nurturing Local Partnerships: Leveraging relationships with local businesses for sponsorships can provide authenticity and support for niche podcasts, driving audience engagement and growth.

3. Commitment to Quality: Maintaining high standards in content creation, marketing, and networking is crucial for successful monetization, even when starting as a hobbyist.

4. Audience Engagement through Passion: Genuine passion for your content can drive audience engagement and loyalty, aligning with John’s success in attracting and retaining listeners.

5. Embracing Change and Adaptation: The podcast landscape continues to evolve, requiring creators to adapt to new trends, platforms, and audience preferences to stay relevant and thrive in the competitive media space.

About John Svedese

John is from Brooklyn, New York and over 40 years later he’s still in the same house he grew up in.

John’s background is very heavy in graphic design, art and video production. So in 2019 when he started The Basement Surge he put all his skills into the production of the show. Quickly climbing the ranks in the independent podcasting space, BS now resides in the top 5% of podcasts in the world. 

In 2022, John took a break from the show for 6 months and when he returned it was a whole new show. He had upgraded everything from the graphics, format of the show, and his presence on socials.

Today, John is the co-founder of Surge Media with his wife Heather where they help independent creators and corporate companies start or upgrade their podcast. They also offer coaching, digital tools and assets and studio renovations.

John is also in the middle of writing his first book, “Feel The Surge: How To Go From 0 To Trailblazer!” Coming soon!

Connect with John here: https://zaap.bio/surgemedia


Larry Roberts [00:00:09]:

What is happening, everybody? I'm Larry Roberts.

Sara Lohse [00:00:11]:

And I'm Sara Lohse. And this is Branded. Your comprehensive guide to creative branding.

Larry Roberts [00:00:16]:

And on this episode of the podcast, we are going to surge with our guest today. His name is John Svedese. Told me how to say it before we hit record. Say it again.

John Svedese [00:00:29]:


Larry Roberts [00:00:30]:

Svedese. Ceviche. Mozzarella. I don't know. We're close, so. But anyways, we're gonna talk about names. We're gonna talk about names and personal branding. We're gonna talk about what you do to maybe overcome some of the challenges that we don't look at as challenges when we're building brands.

Larry Roberts [00:00:48]:

But John's got a unique perspective. He's got an amazing show called the Basement Surge. So he's also a podcaster, a youtuber, and he loves bananas. So we're going to talk all about it today. So, John, welcome to the show.

John Svedese [00:01:04]:

Thanks. Thanks, guys, for having me on.

Sara Lohse [00:01:06]:

The best intro you've ever gotten.

John Svedese [00:01:07]:

Yeah, I mean, I'm a little uncomfortable talking about my banana right in the beginning of the show, so.

Larry Roberts [00:01:12]:

Well, we like to catch the chase, you know? We don't. Not a lot of foreplay start in.

Sara Lohse [00:01:15]:

The middle of the action. Okay.

Larry Roberts [00:01:16]:

Yeah, not a lot of foreplay on branded. We get right to the heart of the matter. So while we're at it, man, seriously, tell us about the bright banana that's behind us there.

John Svedese [00:01:26]:

The bright banana, the neon banana sign is kind of like an ode to my grandfather, right? So my grandfather, who I grew up with here in the building that I live in now, he was around basically every day, and I took care of him. And his last years of life, he had advanced Parkinson's, and he swore every day with every meal that he ate, he would eat a banana. And every time I used to go into his apartment and visit and just hang out, he would offer me a banana. Have a banana. Have a banana. And I was like, no, no, no. You know, I like bananas. Don't get me wrong.

John Svedese [00:02:06]:

You know, I just. I don't like them every day. But he had them with every meal. He had, like, one or two. And it was. It was a little obsessive, but. So the banana is an ode to my grandfather because without him, you know, like, none of this would be possible.

Larry Roberts [00:02:26]:

Oh, man, I love that.

Sara Lohse [00:02:27]:

It's like a silly thing with the, like, actual deep meaning.

John Svedese [00:02:30]:


Sara Lohse [00:02:31]:

Like, people ask me, like, my company's called favorite daughter media, and people ask me like, oh, haha, that's so funny. Like, where'd you come up with that? But it's actually like, oh, no, it's my father and how my relationship with him is. Like, he's my favorite person. So I feel that.

John Svedese [00:02:44]:

Yeah, yeah, I had to do something, you know, because I felt like, you know, he was always a huge supporter of mine with whatever I was doing in my life, and, you know, I was like, oh, you know, and I was going to name the podcast, like something banana. I was like, no, well, no, I kind of really want people to, like, take it seriously. So.

Larry Roberts [00:03:04]:

Why did he eat the bananas? Was there certain health benefits or. I mean, was he just. Yeah. Was it the potassium or something there that helped him out, or he.

John Svedese [00:03:12]:

He was just addicted.

Larry Roberts [00:03:13]:

He loved bananas. I got it, man. I got it.

Sara Lohse [00:03:16]:

Follow us from our health and wellness tips.

John Svedese [00:03:18]:

That's it. Yeah. Follow us for more recipes. Yeah.

Larry Roberts [00:03:23]:

That'S too cool, man. Cause, I mean, my grandma was very instrumental in everything that I did, and I wouldn't be where I'm at today without my grandma either. So that really rings true to me. So I love that story, and I just. I love the. That you've incorporated it into everything that you're doing as part of your personal brand.

John Svedese [00:03:40]:

Exactly. You know, so every video I put out on YouTube, every episode I put out of the podcast, you know, it's right there in scene, you know, and.

Larry Roberts [00:03:48]:

Yeah, that's cool. You big fan of the Savannah bananas, by any chance?

John Svedese [00:03:52]:

I don't know what that is.

Larry Roberts [00:03:54]:

Oh, it's a.

Sara Lohse [00:03:57]:

It's like the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball, but better.

John Svedese [00:04:02]:


Larry Roberts [00:04:03]:

They're a minor league ball team, and they've basically just revolutionized branding, you know, for a minor league sporting event. And they are amazing. They wear bright yellow uniforms and dance and dance. And they. They get the crowd involved in every game. I mean, it's an event. It's more so, you know, I know going to a ballgame is usually an event in and of itself, but they just take it to the next level. I mean, they just ten x the engagement with their audience, and because of that, they've become a nationally recognized brand.

Larry Roberts [00:04:33]:

And, yeah, check it out, man. Jesse Cole is the gentleman that founded that, and he runs around in a yellow tuxedo with a yellow top hat everywhere he goes.

Sara Lohse [00:04:44]:

It's like, me and the red hat wearing boots.

John Svedese [00:04:46]:

Now, that's marketing. Now, that's marketing, dude.

Larry Roberts [00:04:50]:

He is a genius. And, you know, he came under fire for a lot of what he was doing because people felt that he was disrespecting the game of baseball by renaming the team the bananas. And yet all these hardcore baseball fanatics that were really coming at him. But now he's proven and taken this team to just unbelievable heights, and they're making, you know, money hand over fist as well, while providing a really engaging family environment that's just unmatched anyplace else. So I would highly recommend you check that out.

John Svedese [00:05:21]:

Awesome. Awesome. You know what I love about this show is that we just spent the past five minutes talking about bananas because we can't.

Sara Lohse [00:05:30]:

Not counting the minutes we spent before we hit record.

John Svedese [00:05:32]:


Larry Roberts [00:05:33]:

Right. Yeah, yeah, we missed some. We missed some great banana banter before we even hit the record button.

Sara Lohse [00:05:38]:

It was fruitful conversation.

John Svedese [00:05:40]:

Hey, wow.

Larry Roberts [00:05:42]:

But, um, yeah, yeah, it let us slip right into this conversation that we're having now.

Sara Lohse [00:05:46]:

So this show is so appealing.

Larry Roberts [00:05:51]:

So help us peel back the curtains a little bit, John, and tell us more about you and how you got into the podcast space and how you're leveraging personal branding to. To make your impact.

John Svedese [00:06:01]:

Yeah, well, you know, I got into podcasting just because I was literally looking for something to do right. So I was just looking for a hobby. Uh, this is pre pandemic, so I was not one of the ones that jumped on the bandwagon, you know, so I was literally looking for a hobby, and I approached my best friend. I'm like, hey, let's start a podcast. You know, because he and I, when we were kids, I've known him for like, 30 years now, you know, I'm like, hey, let's start a podcast. And he's like, yeah, sure, why not? You know? And so we started, and, you know, the rest is history, really, only because it's like, when we started the show, we were going to talk about what it's like growing up in Brooklyn like that. We didn't really have a niche, you know, and I kind of still don't, but, you know, and it was one of the hardest things to grow is a general discussion show, okay? You know, because your audience is literally all over the place. And so we decided, all right, we're going to stick to a couple of core concepts of video games, movies, tv shows, you know, stuff like that typical guy stuff that we did here and in the basement, because we actually hung out down here in the studio as kids.

John Svedese [00:07:11]:

And, you know, so we started production and quickly moved into doing live streaming, live shows. And it just took off from there, kind of because what I had done is that I have a very heavy design background. I do a lot of graphics. I do a lot of video editing, right. So I wanted to incorporate that into my show and grow the show in a way that's design and everybody, I could show off my work kind of. And that's what I did. You know, once we started doing live streaming, I started editing video and I started implementing graphics and I made a fancy intro for the show and, you know, which since then, it's funny because correct me if I'm wrong, because a lot of people now I'm hearing like, you shouldn't have an intro. You shouldn't have like intro music and intro video in before every episode.

John Svedese [00:08:05]:

And I'm like, you know what, screw it. Because I'm just gonna do what I want. And because it's the brand, I think, because when once you hear that song pop, you know, you know, okay, you're listening to the basement surge.

Larry Roberts [00:08:18]:


John Svedese [00:08:18]:


Sara Lohse [00:08:18]:

You know, I don't think I hear many podcasts without that.

Larry Roberts [00:08:23]:

Well, I, what I'm seeing and what I'm gonna be doing with my brand new show called AI proof that'll be dropping in the next couple of weeks.

Sara Lohse [00:08:28]:

If I ever record the trailer.

Larry Roberts [00:08:30]:

Back, back it up, back it up. We're going to edit that out. But, but what I've done is my, I think my intro is like 8 seconds. It's super, super short and gets right in there. And, you know, in seeing how a lot of creators are doing things today, at least some of the current creators and newer creators, it's like they're leading with a hero clip or a value prop right at, at the front of the video or the front of the episode. Then they're dropping into a very quick intro with, you know, quick music, six 8 seconds and then getting into the content. So not a lot of innocent banter. A lot of times I'm not hearing a lot of that, not seeing a lot of that.

Larry Roberts [00:09:11]:

It's really, let's just cut to the chase. And as I've seen more and more of that, I've started to understand why because there's one particular creator that I watch quite a bit on YouTube. And if you're scrolling through YouTube, you usually get that, what is it? A five second preview of the video. And then if you click play, you get that five second preview of the video again, this guy has a very irritating intro song and it takes forever to get through it. So that's what you end up hearing on that preview clip. Then when I click on it, I got to sit through it again. So it gets a little frustrating and I find myself consuming less and less of this content just because I don't want to hear that stupid intro.

John Svedese [00:09:50]:

See, I agree with that. And I know podcasts who have that kind of music, right? The boring, like, oh, it's too long. Like, nobody really cares. But I tried to make my intro as interesting as possible. Right? So if you're watching the show on YouTube, then, you know, you're watching the intro where you see flashbacks during the intro of previous episodes, people I've had on the show or, you know, certain things that we've done maybe out in real life, you know. So I try to make it as interesting and as appealing as I possibly can. This way it holds the retention on the video.

Larry Roberts [00:10:24]:


Sara Lohse [00:10:24]:

I feel like you need something, like.

John Svedese [00:10:26]:


Sara Lohse [00:10:27]:

So, like, like you said, like, as soon as it starts, like, you know what this is, right? And one show that I just, like, I think does an amazing job at this is brand science. I was just a guest on it recently. The host is named Dave, and I always say that because I don't know how to pronounce the last name, but no, the host does such a great job. Like his. He does a hero clip, but he's make sure that he ends the hero clip on a cliffhanger. And then he does, like, a really cool intro, like setting up the. Setting the stage and what we're going to talk about using clips from the episode, but even my own episode, like, he. He ends that hero on a cliffhanger and I'm like, oh, what do I say next? Like, I knew what I said, but I still, like, he set it up so well that I'm like, oh, I want to listen.

John Svedese [00:11:19]:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like, I start every episode with basically saying, all right, well, in this episode, I'm going to be talking about so and so and then all that and more on this episode of the basement surge. And then the intro will hit, and then once the intro is done, I'm always with every episode. I'm like, welcome back to the basement surge. You know, I, like, I really get into it. I really kind of shock them back into it, you know, and it's something that's, that welcome back has stuck since episode one. So it's kind of like, you know, my tagline within the show kind of.

Sara Lohse [00:11:53]:

Do you record that? Like, intro before or after?

John Svedese [00:11:57]:

That depends. That depends. Like, if I have a guest on, like, I just had Larry on my other show, surge cast, you know, where I record the episode, the interview first, and then I'll go back and do an intro and an outro. And now that I actually upgraded my set recently, you know, like, I'll try to do the intro, like, standing up here at the desk, and then the outro I'll do sitting down on the couch down there, you know, like, I try to change up the scene a little bit to keep the more interesting, you know?

Larry Roberts [00:12:28]:

Yeah, I mean, and that's what we do here with the cuts that we do when we edit the videos is we make sure we have those jump cuts. You know, we'll occasionally have, like, when you watch this episode, there'll be three of us on the screen. Then if you're talking, we'll jump over to you and you'll, you know, you'll fill the screen. Sara starts talking, and we bounce back and forth every five to 7 seconds to keep that engagement and keep that interest. And with the attention spans that we're working with these days, we have to do that in order to, to break up the monotony of the conversation.

John Svedese [00:12:57]:


Larry Roberts [00:12:58]:

So conversation.

John Svedese [00:13:00]:

That brings up a good question. Do you think a short form video is really killing long form, you know, because the attention span is really, you know, going down in the world?

Larry Roberts [00:13:11]:

Yeah, I don't know that it's killing it, but it's definitely impacting it. I'm seeing a lot more success with reels and YouTube shorts and, you know, three, five, seven minute videos as compared to consumers sitting and watching 30 minutes or 45 minutes podcast episode, you start looking at those retention stats, you can see where things just start dropping off. It's very, very difficult to keep that attention for the entire span of an episode.

Sara Lohse [00:13:38]:

Yeah, I feel like even though video podcasts are, like, number one right now, I feel like people don't actually watch it, even if they are, like, it's up on YouTube, it's on another tab somewhere.

John Svedese [00:13:50]:


Sara Lohse [00:13:50]:

Like, you're not actually sitting there and watching a podcast is. At least I don't, because you're just sitting there watching people have a conversation. And I guess that's kind of weird, but it's, I mean, it's working, but I don't think people are actually watching as much as, like, YouTube would make.

Larry Roberts [00:14:06]:

You think, well, and what, I mean, I do that, too. And I've said that for ever since we've known each other. I said I consume all of my content on YouTube, but it's always on a different tab as I'm doing something. And if I hear the conversation take a turn, you know, maybe it starts to get a little aggressive or they start to laugh or whatever. I may tab over to check out what's going on. But one of the things that I'm, I'm seeing from stats and Edison just released their latest podcast consumer stat report day before yesterday. So if you haven't seen that yet, I highly recommend you check it out. But what we're seeing now is more and more people are consuming YouTube on their televisions.

Larry Roberts [00:14:42]:

So when I'm in my development office sitting in my other desk and my tv is on the wall, I've gotten to where I'll put a podcast or whatever it is on YouTube up on that tv as I work on my stuff. So it's always right there. So I'm starting to see me consume more and more video content from YouTube. So it's kind of interesting to see how the more people are cutting the cord and the more people are getting away from streaming, YouTube is quickly becoming the number one resource for a ton of entertainment.

John Svedese [00:15:12]:


Larry Roberts [00:15:15]:

And on that note, thank you for joining us today.

John Svedese [00:15:18]:

This was fun. Good times, guys.

Sara Lohse [00:15:23]:

We're so professional.

Larry Roberts [00:15:25]:

I know, it's amazing. I love this show. It's so funny because I had somebody, she emailed us, a listener emailed us the other day and said, whatever you do, do not cut out the banter. Don't edit that out because we say we're going to edit that out. And she actually wrote us to say, whatever you do, don't edit the stuff out because it just makes the conversation more realistic and more fun.

Sara Lohse [00:15:47]:

A lot of times it's not even bander, it's just bloopers. Our blooper reel is the episode.

John Svedese [00:15:54]:

You guys should have a patreon. Just release it over there just for bloopers.

Larry Roberts [00:15:58]:

That's not a bad idea, monetizing your podcast.

Sara Lohse [00:16:01]:

So let's go eris yourself for money.

John Svedese [00:16:05]:

That's what I do.

Larry Roberts [00:16:06]:

I've done worse for money, I can promise you that. So, talking about monetization, John, what are some of your strategies there?

John Svedese [00:16:14]:

Well, I've literally tried to monetize the basement surge since day one. Right. And I quickly brokered deals with other companies as far as affiliate marketing right off the bat and it worked out really well. But, you know, sometimes, like, we signed up with companies who were new to the game and I didn't have much of a history like within the podcasting industry and they've kind of since disappeared. But I'm a, as soon as, like day one, I signed up with Amazon affiliates. Like, I'm huge into affiliate marketing for me, promoting products, promoting brand names like I signed up with. No, I signed. I signed up with Impact.

John Svedese [00:17:02]:

That's another affiliate platform, impact. And where I get to work with companies like Paramount plus and put their links within the show notes. So affiliate marketing is really good for us, but a majority of the money that we make actually comes from local businesses here in the neighborhood, because we were big on working locally with small businesses, and they are more than happy to try to, you know, get the word out and, you know, so that's worked out really well for us.

Larry Roberts [00:17:35]:

That's cool. And it's funny you say local businesses, because oftentimes that gets overlooked. But that was one of the first sponsors I ever had. When I had my first podcast, I went to local businesses here in the metroplex, where I live in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex, and hit them up. And one of my first sponsors was free bird burritos. Okay. Kind of like Chipotle, but it's a competitor to Chipotle. And I got free burritos for lunch if I mentioned them on the podcast.

Larry Roberts [00:18:01]:

So I'm like, I do love a good burrito. So it worked out perfect. Now, they weren't a massive sponsor. I wasn't gonna get rich, but I.

Sara Lohse [00:18:07]:

Got full, you know, sponsor us.

Larry Roberts [00:18:11]:


Sara Lohse [00:18:11]:

Like Chipotle?

Larry Roberts [00:18:13]:

I do love me some Chipotle, but, man, Chipotle right now going through a little branding issue themselves. Oh, it's. Yeah, it's huge because their prices are going up, their portions are going down, and people are actually filming themselves going into Chipotle. And when they give them just a little two grains of rice in their. In their burrito bowl, they turn around, they walk out. It's an entire. It's. It's gone viral, honestly, right now.

Larry Roberts [00:18:37]:

So Chipotle struggle a little bit.

John Svedese [00:18:39]:

Yeah. A lot of videos on TikTok are showing that.

Larry Roberts [00:18:41]:

Yeah. Yeah.

Sara Lohse [00:18:42]:

I have not seen that. That makes me sad. I did notice that the last time I was like, can I have more rice? Like, that is nothing.

Larry Roberts [00:18:49]:

Yeah. And they're charging more.

Sara Lohse [00:18:51]:

So it's, sponsor us, we'll fix your brand.

Larry Roberts [00:18:56]:

You fix us lunch, we'll fix your brand right here. Branded.

John Svedese [00:18:59]:

That's right.

Sara Lohse [00:19:00]:

More rice. Seven cents a pound. You got this.

Larry Roberts [00:19:04]:

It's not that. Not that expensive. So that's cool that you were using affiliate marketing. Good, because, I mean, we use that a lot as well. Sara more so than me and Brandon more so than me, because for whatever reason, Amazon said I was selling stuff to my friends, and so they shut me down. Like, well, that was very, very rude of course, I'm selling to my friends. Duh.

John Svedese [00:19:23]:


Sara Lohse [00:19:24]:

I think the local business part is interesting too, though, because we think of podcasts not as local. Like, podcasts reach everywhere. And I mean, I've even told, like, kind of recommended against local businesses, like looking, like, looking to sponsor, like, for sponsorships from local businesses. Unless your podcast is super niche for an area. Like, if it's a podcast about Brooklyn, then go to Brooklyn, like, stuff that makes sense, but it is. I feel like it is overlooked by a lot of shows if they are local as well.

John Svedese [00:19:59]:

And, you know, that was the thing with the basement surge, was that we promoted that. We were from Brooklyn, New York.

Larry Roberts [00:20:04]:


John Svedese [00:20:04]:

So. So we approached pizzerias here in Brooklyn, bagel stores, you know, little diners and lunch nets and, you know, things that were. Yeah, things that were synonymous with Brooklyn, you know, we approached them and said, hey, do an episode. Sponsor an episode of the Basement search.

Larry Roberts [00:20:24]:

And did it work? I mean, you got something.

John Svedese [00:20:26]:

Sometimes. Yeah, yeah, sometimes, you know, sometimes I have a pizzeria right by the house here that, you know, likes to work with us. And I've been going to them since I was a kid, you know, so it's, it's you. You form relationships with companies and people who, around the area that you grew up in. I mean, especially for me, I've been in the same house for 40 years, you know, so, yeah, so I know every business owner that's around here, you know, so I can go at any time. I can be like, hey, I'm running the show, you know? How'd you like to sponsor an episode? How'd you like to sponsor a season? You know, so. Because we do seasons on the show, so, yeah, you know, it. It works out, you know, it's good promotion, especially locally, because every summer we like to do what's called the mission, right? And the mission is us rollerblading 8 miles around Brooklyn and we.

John Svedese [00:21:18]:

And we raise money.

Sara Lohse [00:21:20]:

I'll follow it. An Uber.

John Svedese [00:21:23]:

We've. We've partnered with the Michael J. Fox foundation for parkinson's research.

Larry Roberts [00:21:27]:

Oh, wow, that's cool. That's very cool.

John Svedese [00:21:28]:

So every summer we raise money for the foundation. And this year is actually the first year that we're going to be, be having sponsored event, you know, so it's. It's going to be awesome.

Larry Roberts [00:21:40]:

Oh, that's amazing. I love that. Yeah. I mean, Sara doesn't know who Michael J. Fox is, but yeah, back to the future. She's like, is he that family ties guy? I don't know.

Sara Lohse [00:21:52]:

Ok. I know family ties, but I. But I know he's from back to the future.

Larry Roberts [00:21:57]:

She doesn't know family ties, John. She doesn't know family ties.

Sara Lohse [00:22:00]:

I know family matters.

Larry Roberts [00:22:01]:

Ok. Yeah, that's, that's our cool. Yeah. Yeah. Family ties was what got Michael J. Fox going. It was a, it was a series.

John Svedese [00:22:10]:

He was doing family ties the same time he was doing back to the future. I mean, he was.

Sara Lohse [00:22:13]:

I've never seen back to the future. I just know he's in it.

Larry Roberts [00:22:16]:

You just know the name. I gotcha.

Sara Lohse [00:22:18]:


Larry Roberts [00:22:18]:

Okay. All right. All right. Okay. So my favorite Michael J. Fox movie. We're getting on a tangent here, but by far. Teen wolf.

John Svedese [00:22:27]:


Sara Lohse [00:22:28]:

Isn't that you show up.

Larry Roberts [00:22:31]:

Well, yeah, but it's not that. It's not the right team wolf. We're talking Michael J. Fox. He becomes a, his family is a, has a lineage of being werewolves and he turns into the wolf and he plays basketball really, really well when he's the wolf.

Sara Lohse [00:22:45]:

Oh, that's like the one on Disney Channel where he, he plays basketball but he turns into a leprechaun. And so he just gets really short. So then he gets worse at basketball.

Larry Roberts [00:22:53]:

Oh, well, this is the opposite because when he wolves out, he became. And it's interesting, honestly, we should do, we should. We should do a deep dive into teen wolf because when he wolves out, he becomes a personal brand and his friend Stiles start selling teen wolf t shirts and he makes a whole. He makes a whole business out of the wolf. And they actually get the wolf mobile. They buy a panel van and they, they cruise through the town and Teen wolf is on top of the van surfing and they're doing all this city. He makes an entire business out of Teen wolf. So that would be an interesting dive into that movie to talk about personal branding because I didn't even know what it was back then, but everybody was version of Hannah Montana very well, maybe.

Larry Roberts [00:23:35]:

Yeah. Generational. Yeah, that could be interesting. I mean, I could be an interesting topic. For real. Look at generational messaging on personal branding. That might be a future episode. John, you're an inspiration.

John Svedese [00:23:48]:

You're welcome. You better do it before I do it on surge.

Sara Lohse [00:23:51]:

I'll have a lot to contribute.

Larry Roberts [00:23:54]:

I kid you not. I just went to LA this past weekend and on the flight home, I promise with every ounce of my being, I watched Teen Wolf on the flight home. It's on my phone. I've. It's on my phone. I take Teen Wolf with me everywhere.

John Svedese [00:24:09]:

I haven't seen that movie in years.

Larry Roberts [00:24:11]:

Oh, my God. Yeah. I still cry when he makes that movie.

Sara Lohse [00:24:13]:

I've never even seen the CW version.

Larry Roberts [00:24:16]:

Well, that's not a good version. That's bad. But this is. It's even a different concept. But anyways, we got way off base. I got excited.

John Svedese [00:24:24]:

So branding, super excited.

Sara Lohse [00:24:27]:

Well, speaking of, like, the local niche, like, with podcasts, that's something that really is powerful in, like, the real estate space. And we talk about that a little bit. Like, I don't know why you're laughing at me right now.

Larry Roberts [00:24:40]:

I love how you were able to just go slammed on the brakes with, so back to local podcast in the real estate space.

Sara Lohse [00:24:50]:

I am such a professional.

John Svedese [00:24:52]:

She's a pro, Larry.

Larry Roberts [00:24:53]:

Leave her alone.

John Svedese [00:24:54]:

Let her do the show.

Larry Roberts [00:24:55]:

I am not. I am not a pro, so. All right.

Sara Lohse [00:24:59]:

But it's interesting that, like, that's the approach that you take and being very, like, local forward, but with, like, for, if you're, like, a real estate agent, launching a podcast in your area and creating those relationships with local businesses, like you said, you have relationships with, like, every business owner in your area.

John Svedese [00:25:17]:


Sara Lohse [00:25:17]:

In certain industries, like real estate, those people become your referral source, and it's such a powerful way to build a business. And, like, is. Is there something that you do outside of podcasting, like, that has come into play, or is, like, podcasting your full thing?

John Svedese [00:25:34]:

Podcasting is really the full thing, because what I do, what I like to do is I approach the stores here in the neighborhood that are really prominent, the ones that have been here for 30, 40 years. Like, we have an italian specialty food store right around the corner from my house, and I approach them, and I'm like, all right, how do you guys like to sponsor an episode? This is what the show looks like, and they look at the quality of the show and how I produce and put together the show, and they're impressed, and they love it. So they're like, yeah, sure, okay. So once I get them, I go to a pizzeria in the neighborhood and be like, hey, this store signed up with me before, and they'll be like, oh, crap. Well, you know, they're huge. We know them. Like, all right, yeah, let's do it. So it's kind of like word of mouth kind of thing, you know, to where, you know, you sign up not the biggest guy, but the most kind of well known guy in the area, you know, first, and then you get all the little guys around them.

Larry Roberts [00:26:38]:

I like that approach because a lot of people take it from the opposite perspective. They start.

John Svedese [00:26:42]:

I go big or go home like.

Larry Roberts [00:26:44]:

They hope to build up. So, no, I love that. I do. I love that. Because you're right, it does. It sets a precedence, and everybody else wants to be a part of whoever, you know, a lot of. A lot of people out there are followers. They don't, they don't lead the charge.

Larry Roberts [00:26:56]:

But if you get that person that's out there that's crushing everybody, they're like, oh, my God, I got to get a piece of that pie. So I love that perspective there. That's really cool.

John Svedese [00:27:04]:

Yeah, it's. Sometimes it's nerve wracking because I'll be like, hey, I just run a stupid little podcast. But you have to think of your show as bigger than it is, right, of what you want it to be. You know what it's capable of. You know what it's going to turn into. So go for those sponsors, go for those advertisers right off the bat. And you never know. I mean, what's the worst I can say?

Larry Roberts [00:27:33]:

No, you know, yeah, 100%, you know, and it's funny because you have to have that faith in your show. But if you dial it back a little bit more, you have to enjoy your show or be as passionate about your show to have that belief.

John Svedese [00:27:45]:

Absolutely. Yes.

Larry Roberts [00:27:47]:

Because if I go back to my first podcast was a comedy podcast, didn't know anything about podcasting. That show crushed better than any show I've ever done since, from a numbers perspective. Had sponsors out the gate, people talked about it. We took it to a stage show in Dallas, and, I mean, it was turned into an open mic that was Matt. I've never had a show reach that level of success. But guess what? At the same time, if I look inside, other than branded, of course, a.

Sara Lohse [00:28:15]:

Lot, and it's always hurtful, probably haven't.

Larry Roberts [00:28:18]:

Been as passionate about the shows that I've done as I was that first show. Because that first show allowed me to just be me. It allowed me to get on and just be stupid and say stupid things and talk to crazy, outlandish, wildest people, wildish, wild people. And it was just fun. I mean, it was fun. And you have to have that same level of passion in the content you're creating. If you're looking to monetize it, if you're looking to make that jump, to do it full time, if you don't have that passion, I think sometimes you have to overlook, maybe look, overlook those industry standards a little bit because you were talking when we first started up, talking about how you had this very broad niche. You had this wide audience.

Larry Roberts [00:29:00]:

Your audience was everywhere, and you were talking to everyone. And we always say if you're talking to everyone, you're talking to no one. No one. And you hear that, and it's true. It's. That's very true if that's your goal. But if you're looking to create content and you're looking to just have a great time and still have the opportunity to monetize it, and you have something that you're passionate about, freaking go after that passion, create that content, and build that foundation that you want to build, because without it, you're. You're kind of just creating content for the sake of creating content.

John Svedese [00:29:34]:

Absolutely. You know, I mean, I started surge just to have fun, you know, just to have a good time with my buddy, and, and it evolved into a passion project, you know, like, I I love surge. I talk about whatever I want on surge, you know, whatever my interests are. And, and if that translates into making money in some form, some way, then, you know, I'm down for it. But, and I'm always looking for it because I always believed that, yes, okay, this is just a passion project. This is just a hobby. But, you know, I gave it my all. I gave it my thousand percent.

John Svedese [00:30:13]:

I'm like, no, my standards have to be really high. And the quality of the video I'm putting out, the quality of the content, I'm putting out the, you know, just the amount of times I publish on socials, you know, just marketing, and it all has to be on point, even though this is just for fun.

Larry Roberts [00:30:32]:

Right, right.

John Svedese [00:30:33]:

You know, for me, I'm going hardcore into it. You know, I do it because I love it and it's a lot of fun. And I get to meet people like you guys and, you know, and other celebrities, and, you know, it's just, it's amazing.

Sara Lohse [00:30:45]:

Other celebrities?

Larry Roberts [00:30:45]:

Oh, I know.

Sara Lohse [00:30:46]:

You're speaking to two celebrities right now, even though apparently I'm no fun. And Larry doesn't like doing shows.

Larry Roberts [00:30:54]:

Oh, good Lord.

John Svedese [00:30:56]:

Yeah. His first show does better than this one. It's okay.

Larry Roberts [00:31:00]:

It was just a different audience, that's all.

Sara Lohse [00:31:03]:

It's fine. My feelings aren't hurt at all.

Larry Roberts [00:31:04]:

It was a different time. It was a different audience. It was a different me. I couldn't do that show today if I wanted to at all.

John Svedese [00:31:10]:


Larry Roberts [00:31:10]:

I don't have that same, I don't even have that same approach to life.

John Svedese [00:31:17]:

I think that there's something to speak about that, too, Larry, because when I first started based in surge. My partner, my co host was very abrasive. He was very. He cursed all the time, you know, like, he made rude comments, he made, you know, sexual jokes, you know, and.

Larry Roberts [00:31:34]:

And since then, I sound like a good friend.

John Svedese [00:31:38]:

Since then, the show has evolved into he only comes on sometimes, and I run the show solo now, you know, but that's only because of his schedule.

Sara Lohse [00:31:49]:

He's in.

Larry Roberts [00:31:50]:

Okay. I was gonna, I was gonna say, you only allow him to show up. Hey, bro, you could be on every once a month.

John Svedese [00:31:55]:

You can be on once a month.

Larry Roberts [00:31:56]:

Yeah, once a month. Put a hard e rating on this one, too. So just so you know.

John Svedese [00:32:02]:

No, he got married. He had a kid, so he couldn't devote as much time. Sure. So. So I kept the brand going. You know, I had to take up the mantle and just do solo show and, and get new guests on every episode. The show had to evolve, you know, and, and, yeah, I mean, we've lost some of the audience. Like, some of the people that were there in the beginning who were here for my co host wound up leaving because he wasn't here anymore.

John Svedese [00:32:31]:

And. Yeah, and, but that's okay. That's okay, because as your show evolves, your audience is going to evolve.

Larry Roberts [00:32:38]:


John Svedese [00:32:38]:

You know, it's, it's kind of like, it's kind of like selling product, right? So if you sell things for $10, you're going to attract a certain kind of customer, but if you sell things for a $1,000, you're going to attract another kind of customer, you know? So it's, it's all about who you want to attract and in the product that you're putting out.

Larry Roberts [00:32:59]:

No, John, you're right on, man. You got to have that passion, and that passion is going to drive the content. The content's going to drive the audience. And it's, it's a, it's, it's really a cycle. It really is. And, but the biggest thing is we just have to start. We have to start and we have to try to find that work. Yeah, just do the work.

Larry Roberts [00:33:15]:

That's the biggest thing. So where can people find out more about you and follow you on social and subscribe to your show and all that fun stuff?

John Svedese [00:33:22]:

Sure. You want everything I'm putting out? Head on over to surgemedia ny.com dot surgemedia ny.com.

Larry Roberts [00:33:31]:

Well, that's awesome, man. We will make sure that's in the show notes. Really appreciate you stopping in today. You definitely hit us with a few knowledge bombs, and it was, it was fun just having a conversation. We got a little silly. So it was fun. A lot of energy in this episode. And I loved that.

Sara Lohse [00:33:46]:

So it was surging.

John Svedese [00:33:49]:

It was very surge.

Larry Roberts [00:33:50]:

Yeah. Then you slipped that right in there, like on a banana peel. Wow. Anyway, if you guys found some value in this episode, and I know you did, do us a favor. Hit that subscribe button so we can bring you these amazing episodes each and every week. And with that, I'm Larry Roberts.

Sara Lohse [00:34:07]:

I'm Sara Lohse, and we'll talk to you next week.