"(Out of) Office Hours" Part 11: Podcast Creation—Exploring the Creative Process with Jay Acunzo

Lisa Marinelli


On the 11th episode of (Out of) Office Hours, Chris gives everyone a warm welcome back since our June hiatus. With many people still working remotely, there has never been a better time to spin up a podcast. So here to talk about all things podcasting is none other than award-winning podcast host, Jay Acunzo. Jay is the author of Break the Wheel and founder of Marketing Showrunners, the media and education company that helps businesses create shows to build their brand affinity. From covering basic gear principles to giving sound advice about successful show creation, Chris and Jay talk through podcasting strategy and the creative process to help you get off the ground running. Here’s a recap of what went down and some helpful links for you to dig deeper!

Re-watch all of the other (Out of) Office Hours with Chris Lavigne all in one place!

Shooting in the office

During our hiatus, Chris reveals the Wistia Studios team did a real shoot in the office (all masked-up and remaining socially distant, of course!). We were shooting some Wistians reading lines for a brand new show we have coming soon. To minimize 1-on-1 times with other Wistians, a day before the shoots we walked through with our art director Davey to do set design. The whole office was one giant video set with 10 different shoot locations. When it came time for shooting with Wistians, everything was well-lit and camera-ready!

For our director Adam working remotely in New York, we also piped the camera feed in via Zoom. This allowed him to hear crystal clear audio from the mic and remotely direct our talent with Chris in real-time. Now we want to know, have you started shooting in person yet? Let us know what kind of stuff you’re shooting and how you’re going about it safely!

Get a look at us back in the office with some behind the scenes shots starting at 6:20!

Against the Grain

Before delving into the world of podcasting, Chris wanted to hear what Jay has been up to these days. For the last year, Jay has been working on a docuseries with Help Scout, the help desk software company, called Against the Grain, which amplifies stories of for-profit businesses that believe in doing things for the greater good. Instead of typical business success stories centering around personal gain and ignoring the community, check out the trailer for Against the Grain and see the type of business success stories people should look to and emulate:

Podcasting with Jay Acunzo

To kick things off, Chris wanted to cruise through some of the basic gear in tech that’s needed to get up and running. So, what’s Jay’s stance on podcast gear?

Well, Jay has a very strong stance on podcast gear. He believes there’s nothing wrong with being a gear head and expresses much love for gear lovers who are excited about the craft. But people who aren’t as savvy tend to get stuck obsessing over the gear and tech at their own detriment. They forget technology is incremental and creative ability is fundamental. People tend to skip over the planning, the production, the premise development, format development, and talent development of their show.

He said, “Really a show is those three things: the premise, the format, and the talent. You put those three things together — you have a show. A good show proactively cultivates those three things. So the tech is less important.” He advises people to buy the microphone that fits their budget and use a tool specifically built for audio like Zencastr or Squadcast instead of Skype or Zoom. Then, their focus should be on their show development.

Any Marvel fans out there? Scrub to 18:26 and listen to Jay’s sweet Iron Man analogy about show development and learn how you can become a podcast superhero!
Get good audio at home

One of Chris’s favorite tricks for podcasting and getting good audio at home is the car voice-over booth. Cars are built to deaden sound from road noise, which means the inside of your car is surprisingly quiet for recording voiceovers or taking podcast interviews!

Next Chris wanted Jay to talk through why a show should be a podcast, a video series, or both, and say more about the development of premise.

Jay described how a lot of marketers, solo entrepreneurs, and creators are making a podcast, and then syndicating footage of them recording to video. Or they’re doing the opposite with a robust video show and syndicating the audio into a podcast. He says those things are not created equal, and you have to be aware of what either is for. Don’t give people the option of choosing to listen instead of watch. Make your content good enough where they really do want to engage because then you can really use that medium and maximize it for what it’s worth.

One way to use the syndication approach successfully is to offer a discreet and unique value elsewhere in addition to your main video content. We did this at Wistia for our original video series Brandwagon where we took the uncut interviews of our CEO, Chris Savage, and guests, and turned them into The Brandwagon Interviews Podcast.

When coming up with a premise, Jay says your first challenge is figuring out what to say that’ll matter to you and your audience. What are you trying to do? He thinks of the premise as “a show about X where we Y.” Using Against the Grain as an example, it’s a show about business success where we highlight and amplify people with a philosophy that puts others over their own profits. You need an angle that resonates with people and makes them want to subscribe to you — not the kind of button-clicking subscribe, either. It’s all about crafting something people care about, and not about the tech, distribution, or budget that’ll keep them coming back to you and your brand.

Lastly, what tips does Jay have for folks who are first-timers about crafting their outreach to guests they want to have on their show?

Jay’s first tip is having a strong premise also matters in this instance. It matters to you for creative decision making, and it matters to your guests to whom you reach out.

Starting at 29:11, hear about Evelyn, a student in Marketing Showrunners’ podcast workshop, who is leading with the premise in her guest outreach to get people excited to be on her show despite having no previous guests, no proofs, and no episodes to share.

Second, it’s a good idea to create some type of simple landing page or Google Doc to share basic details of your podcast, but keep your emails super short. You don’t want to overwhelm people with information, but have it available so they can go deeper. This will help you avoid those lazy “no’s.” Give them the ability to say “I’m interested. I’m hooked because of this premise, but I just want to vet if this is a good opportunity.”

We think those are some pretty hot tips, right there!


In this installment of (Out of) Office Hours, folks out there also had a couple of questions for Chris and Jay. Scrub to these timestamps to hear their responses:

35:42 - Why do you put your show pitch for a potential guest into a Google Doc?

37:51 - What are some audio quality issues to be avoided in your podcasts?

40:44 — If you’re creating a podcast from a live stream interview, what’s best to leave out of the podcast? In other words, what doesn’t work in a podcast that is more appropriate in a video?

44:04 — Chris, how are you doing the framing and graphic for the show?

44:37 — Chris, do you have an easy way to have three or four guests all hear each other and chat for a presentation?

How can we help?

That about wraps up this episode recap! Enjoying the topics we’re covering? We want to know how we can be genuinely helpful moving forward. Let us know what challenges you’re struggling with when it comes to video lately by hitting up Chris on Twitter @crlvideo or emailing him at crl@wistia.com. You can also reach out to Wistia directly on Twitter @wistia. We hope to hear from you soon! See you next time.

Lisa Marinelli


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