I recently rebranded and relaunched my podcast with a new purpose and new name.
The first question I get every time I tell someone this is, “Why would you do that?” It’s a perfectly valid question. I’ve been producing and promoting my main podcast, KDOI Podcasting, for almost 3-years now. That’s 3-years of establishing my brand, finding subscribers, and building an audience. If you think that rebranding 3-years worth of work would mean starting all over again, you would be right. So why do it? Why rebrand a show that is established? Why change KDOI Podcasting to Create Art Podcast (CAP) now?
To answer that, I need to take you on a journey. The idea for my podcast on art started as an embryo back in 2006. Once upon a time, I use to be part of a Blog Talk Radio show based on poetry (among other things). As an aspiring poet in my own right, the podcast had a simple concept: people would call in and freely read their poems. Once we had collected enough poems, we would turn all that content into a book. See? Simple.
For months we listened to poems from amateur poets. When we didn’t have callers, I would read my own poems and add to the growing collection of artistic work. At some point, we finally had enough quality poems to keep our promise of turning them into a book. I remember holding that book in hands and seeing my poems in black and white with the mix of other amateur poets. It was one of my first experiences with turning spoken-word content into a real, tangible thing.
Unfortunately, through multiple moves throughout the years, I lost that book. But I did not forget the lesson that creating the book taught me nor the drive to recreate that experience again. Only this time it would on my terms. I began conceptualizing this new podcast as a way to feature poems from all the friends I had met throughout my moves across the country. I thought it would be a good way to keep in touch and to share my words with others. Only my first attempt to podcast using BlogTalkRadio on my own turned a good idea into a poorly produced mess. Producing a new show on my own was going to take some work.
Emboldened by the desire to create my own collection of poems I wrote my first book titled Throwing myself at the ground … and missing. The title was borrowed from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams where the secret to flying was to throw yourself at the ground and miss. This book was an experiment in that I took what I felt was my best poems, and without the benefit of an editor, I pieced it together, in true self-published vanity press form. I had no clue how to market it or present it to others but finishing it felt great. I felt accomplished in that I was able to complete my first book of poetry on my own. It never sold many copies, but to my surprise, many of my friends, family and even a few acquaintances picked it up to show their support. In fact, it is still available on Lulu.com to this day. Looking back on Throwing myself at the ground … and missing I consider it to one of the best collections of my poetry at the time and I still feel like I had done something wonderful.
With my first real book under my belt, I took it with me to poetry readings and passed it around. I wasn’t trying to show people how good I was but instead trying to show other poets that I was serious about the art. I did feel like I had accomplished something big. I had my own book on my shelf alongside other great poets. However, I did not delude myself in thinking I was as good as them, but only that I had done something that my heroes had done: I had published my art and put it into the world.
Once you publish one book, you have to do another. This led me to book two titled Postcards From Someone You Don’t Know. This book was even more experimental than the first. But instead of the experiment being centered around publishing, this experiment was in form and content. The reason we do experiments is to try something new, something we’ve never done before. Postcards From Someone You Don’t Know was that book for me. It was almost unreadable, and I often told people — of all my books to buy — this is not the one. Why? Because sometimes even we — as artists — create art that we don’t even know what it means.
The good thing about experiments is finding out that something might not work. And that is okay. We shouldn’t fear the unknown. We need to stretch ourselves by doing things that might fail and get comfortable with not having all the answers — because we don’t! This is the lesson that Postcards From Someone You Don’t Know taught me. While I don’t think this book will lead you to any great insights into my psyche, it does represent a milestone in my journey to find my voice. I also don’t try to hide this book. I leave it out there for the public to find on Lulu.com because you never know. What I think is a failed experiment may be the message that someone else out there needs. That is the mystery and majesty of art.
Now with two published books and 65 episodes of a floundering podcast called Kimo’s Den of Iniquity in the world, I was doing what the other artists around me were not doing — I was producing content. Yes, it was poorly produced and often experimental content, but I was now a published poet and a podcaster. I was doing poetry, talking about philosophy, and even pulling friends in to do “sketch” comedy. Was it all good? Some of it could be considered good. But at the time it didn’t matter if it was good or not because I was pressing forward, blind to my own shortfalls and unwilling at the time to listen to the opinions of others.
My third book of poetry came to me while I was living on a couch in Chicago for a year. My book title Wisdom From The Sack was different from my first two books in that I brought in a friend to edit and added images. This book became what I considered to be my first real attempt at making poetry to “last the ages”. It was well-received again by friends and family, but it finally put a spotlight on the lessons I didn’t learn during books one and two: people don’t buy books they don’t know exist. I didn’t want to use the left brain to promote the right brain because I was under the romantic illusion that it would organically find its audience. My mistake was thinking that if I put it on Amazon through their self-publishing platform, it would explode in popularity.
What I didn’t know is that thousands of other authors thought exactly as I did. I was just another face in the crowd. Fortunately, I now had three books of poetry and the podcast where other poets had none. I was still painting, making candles, and working two 40-hour-a-week jobs. I felt good, I felt the way a suffering artist should suffer for their craft, and I truly believed that the world was just not ready for my work. I believed that one day someone would recognize my genius and pick me out of everyone in the crowd.
Yeah, I’m still waiting for that.
I moved to Virginia in 2014 and started a family. I still found time to create art but in the back of my head was this thing. This need to crack the code on how to fuse this podcast thing with my love of art. Being a full-time family man was a new but welcomed challenge to my life and the needs of fatherhood put my search on hold. It was almost 3-years later that I found the answer in an unexpected way.
On a whim, I discovered a monthly podcasting meetup in my hometown run by Kyle Bondo. He had started running the meetup a year beforehand to help create new podcasters by teaching them the fundamentals of podcasting. Going to that meetup opened my eyes to what I was missing and Kyle took me under his wing to teach me everything he knew. The best part was that I was ready and open to learning how to it this time. I was done with all the failures and false starts and decided to commit myself to learn everything he was teaching.
After 6-months of attending Kyle’s podcasting meetups, I was ready to launch a better and well-produced version of Kimo’s Den of Iniquity under the new name KDOI Podcasting. I planned out my first season, bought new equipment, selected a media host, and doubled down on investing in myself. To combine podcasting with my views on art, I grabbed interviews with people I knew in the art world whenever and wherever I could. KDOI Podcasting was my new experiment in finding my muse and it led directly to finding my art voice again.
I was hooked on podcasting again!
When I stopped being the podcasting apprentice and started being the podcasting journeyman, Kyle invited me to teach a course or two at his meetup. Then he took me to my first podcasting conference — DC Podfest. I was here that I really started my emersion into the world of independent podcasting. At DC Podfest I met people in the field that had the same passion for this art form as I did. And although I was recovering from surgery (that had fused 3 vertebrae) less than 2-weeks previous, I was accepted into this world. I was empowered! I was calling the shots and making progress with my podcast.
My podcast was gaining traction as well. Only this time it wasn’t just people I knew listening to the show, it was literally hundreds of new people that were finding me, listening to what I had to say about art, and then telling their friends to listen too. I had a steady following of about 50 hardcore listeners and was picking up more with every episode. Now, I wasn’t the next Seth Rogin or Marc Maron, but I did have a following. I had a new responsibility to a big classroom-sized audience that would listen to every episode of my show.
The following year I attended MAPCON and DC Podfest to meet with my new community of independent podcasters. Instead of just being an attendee, I decided to be a speaker and taught a class on how to interview guests the same way I had been doing my KDOI Podcasting interviews. The education I received from speaking was priceless and it amazed me how I could handle all that, produce a podcast, work a full-time job, commute 3 hours a day, and raise a new family. Everything was falling into place except for one thing: despite all the work it took to get me to finally fuse art and podcasting together, it was still not finished. I was still holding on to my past BlogTalkRadio concepts of what my podcast should be. It was time to change that thinking to match my new direction.
So why change from KDOI Podcasting to Create Art Podcast (CAP)?
Well, I told you this story to give you a glimpse into where I’ve been with this project. KDOI had served its purpose by inspiring me — all those years ago — to put my art out into the world. But what it also did was prompt me to create on a regular basis. I knew I had to master myself and understand clearly why I wanted KDOI Podcasting to be a success. However, I always knew the name KDOI had a limited shelf life. Why? Because it was my personal creation that only insiders knew about. Like a secret that only I understood, Kimo’s Den of Iniquity (KDOI) needed to be retired so that something new could come forward. Something I could build a bigger audience around. Don’t get me wrong, KDOI was an essential part of getting me to the place I am now in podcasting. And I will be forever grateful for having KDOI with me on this journey. But if I am going to be able to share my views and vision of art with more people, I need to change my podcast.
This is the genesis behind Create Art Podcast.
The name Create Art Podcast or CAP for short, says it all. It’s about creating art and inspiring others to do the same. It is about, as my tagline says, Creating More Than You Consume. CAP is birthed from the lessons learned with KDOI. I have a degree in teaching, but it wasn’t until I could become a student again that I could learn to teach again.
CAP is not set up to be a hierarchy because I want to know what my audience wants to learn. This journey from KDOI to CAP has had to start my podcast’s WHY Statement from scratch and really figure out what was the essential message that I wanted to get across. I think I have it now and hopefully, that comes across in every episode of CAP I produce. Sometimes the lessons are the episode, while other times the lessons happen backstage and are only apparent after listening to my entire catalog.
I am an artist, I am a teacher and I want my listener to be engaged with the program and feel the same pride in their work that I feel in mine. I want the listener to be able to put their own book on a shelf, painting on a wall, or tattoo on their arm and go “I MADE THIS!” As artists, we can connect with our audience in many ways, but the first audience member we must connect with is ourselves. This is the repeating lesson I have finally learned from traveling the long road of art and content creation.
We must believe we can do whatever it is we want to do and then when others see this belief, they may follow. We must also believe that we have permission to start new things, fail, starting something else, and keep learning from our experiments. Nothing we ever do is finished. So go out there and create something for yourself, then go create it for the world. Don’t deprive us of the next masterpiece, we need it now more than ever.
And if you have to change the purpose and name of your podcast to do it, I give you all the permission you need to move forward!
Now go create more than you consume.
About Create Art Podcast (CAP)
Create Art Podcast (CAP), hosted by Gagglepod Co-Founder and KDOI Podcasting’s Head Instigator Timothy Kimo Brien, is focused on creating more than we consume through conversations on art, interviews with artists, projects to share and commentary about articles and books on creativity. Creativity is best when it is with friends. Let’s connect and create together! Find new episodes at Createartpodcast.com!