How Talking About Everything Good in Life Turned Into an Award Winning Podcast and Radio Show with Good Ol' Boy Mike

by Darrell Darnell | Pro Podcaster Stories

“If I had to share a strong technical tip, it would be to do a sound check before recording anything.” -Good Ol' Boy Mike Click To Tweet

Today’s Episode:

Like many of us, Mike was taking his usual Saturday morning trip to Home Depot. Thinking about home projects and necessary supplies, he wasn’t aware that he was about to accidentally come across an idea that would lead to an award winning podcast and a radio show aired on over 237 stations. He was having a conversation with his good friend Jim while his favorite show Car Talk was on the radio in the background. 

An off the cuff remark by Jim about Car Talk going off the air led Mike to saying that they could create a show just as ridiculous by talking about everything good in life. You know, things like whiskey, beer, and cigars. Mike even came up with the name of his award winning podcast Sips, Suds & Smokes. At this point, they were just talking but the idea was stuck in Mike’s mind. Through good luck, timing, a good connection, smart planning, and tenacity. Mike’s award-winning podcast was born. 

It didn’t start out as a podcast. The first 10 episodes were a radio show. They evolved into the podcast format and have been going strong for over seven years as a podcast and radio show. This fun and irreverent show is about all the good things in life. They talk about wine, tea, coffee, beer, whiskey, cigars, and more. Mike shares the Home Depot story first hand, along with one of the best pieces of technical advice that he can give. 

We get to learn about his persona Good Ol’ Boy Mike. We talk about the iHeart radio podcast award the show won in May. We also talk about how the show may not be for everybody, but everybody has never been a target audience. We talk about the pros and cons of feedback and how to be a duck and let it roll off your back. Mike also shares balance of gender, local versus broad products, show length, and keeping radio and podcasts compatible. This episode is chock-full of wisdom from a seasoned pro. 

“The best marital advice I ever got was from the Click and Clack on Car Talk.” -Good Ol' Boy Mike Click To Tweet

Show Notes:

  • [03:09] One Saturday morning, Mike was driving to Home Depot. He was having a conversation with his friend Good Ole Boy Jim. The radio was playing in the background. 
  • [03:47] Jim mentioned that the show playing in the background Car Talk was going off the air. 
  • [04:40] Mike thought someone else could do a similar show and talk about things they love like whiskey, beer, and cigars. It could even be called something like Sips, Suds & Smokes. 
  • [05:30] The spark for Jim and Mike’s radio show was born. 
  • [05:48] The following weekend they hashed out their ideas further, and Mike knew they were on to something. 
  • [06:54] They’ve been doing the show over seven years now. They started with radio, and then became a podcast later. 
  • [07:34] The pitch for their show was a replacement for Car Talk. 
  • [09:28] After 350 episodes, they still sometimes have technical issues. Always do a sound check before recording.
  • [11:39] The FCC had just listed over 500 low powered radio licenses. Mike had a friend with a station and reached out to him. 
  • [12:34] The plan was to drink and record. They recorded 10 episodes and sent them to Mike’s friend. Mike was surprised, she mentioned compensation. He was surprised, but agree to give it away for free. 
  • [13:47] She loved every entertaining moment of the show. Right from the start, they were on 10 stations. 
  • [15:46] They are now on 237 radio stations. 
  • [16:03] Good Ol’ Boy Mike is a character or an aspect of hiding character flaws. They also use stage names and personas for security reasons. 
  • [18:15] They won an iHeart podcast award back in May of this year. 
  • [20:26] If you are unwilling to receive feedback, you are denying yourself key knowledge. Podcasters get more advice and feedback than they ever want. 
  • [21:56] They adopted an NPR format for the length of the show. This is one thing that they took feedback on. It helped bring structure to their show. 
  • [24:18] Doing quick shots about localized products was from a great piece of feedback they received. 
  • [29:48] Mike gets tons of products from beer to cigars. He says he’s drowning in cigars. 
  • [31:04] Darrell got today’s three questions from Chip the host of Tales from the Cask which is a craft beer podcast.
  • [31:46] Mike’s favorite beer is free and often. He likes hoppy beers. He likes New England IPA and Trillium Congress Street IPA. 
  • [34:44] His magic refrigerator beer is Blackberry Farm Classic Saison.
  • [36:55] Mike shares his first alcoholic drink experience when he was a sixteen year old server. It was Kahlua in coffee. They also made a chef’s boiler maker from empty bottles. He also drank Bacardi 151 with Mountain Dew. 
  • [40:54] Mike is blessed with two sets of parents, because he was adopted. They make up a lot of who he is. 
  • [41:57] His key podcast example was carrying the story and character voices in his church’s puppet ministry and Miss Weber. He also had a CB and talked with truckers. He also grew up doing impersonations of people like Walter Cronkite. 
  • [46:54] Darrell’s takeaways: Why not fill the void? Where are we limiting ourselves? The best thing you can do is tell someone else. Evaluate feedback but don’t let it overwhelm you. They developed formats for all parts of their audience. 

“We are just going to talk about everything good in life that's worth talking about. We've set the bar so low that we can exceed that every week.” -Good Ol' Boy Mike Click To Tweet

Links and Resources: