Located in the basement of the space, you’ll find yourself wandering around to find it, and there’s plenty to look at. Local art’s hung around the interior of the building (as well as the outside, as you’ll find on your way in), with other small businesses sprinkled throughout.
When you step into Lancaster Podcast Studio, you may be surprised at its size – tiny. Small as it may be, there isn’t a square inch that’s wasted. With multiple microphones and Skype access, this is the quality operation all the best podcasts around right now are working with. And it’s available to everyone to wants it.
Blayne Waterloo: How did this start?
Mason Kibler: Really, I would say, it was just an idea that hit me some time last fall. And it seemed like something that would be right for Lancaster. I’ve seen these types of studios pop up – there’s a bunch in L.A., there’s a few in New York and I think there’s one in Austin. And that’s kind of what made me think that Lancaster’s heading in that direction, so it would fit in here. It’s always been a hobby of mine – audio stuff. It kind of came together in my head, and it just panned out from there.
BW: How long did it take for all this to pull together?
MK: I started getting gear that I didn’t already have not long after I thought about it. So, I started, maybe in October, getting stuff together, working on the website. And I was looking for spaces, and I found this in January. It took about a month of building it out.
BW: And you’ve already had people in here recording.
KB: We have. The official “if you want to book a spot in here” started [the week of March 1]. But we did do a few dry runs the week before that. We had two in-house productions that we’re doing with hosts that we brought in. Those each have an episode a piece out already.
BW: Are you allowed to tell us how many clients you currently have?
MK: Like I said we just started, but I think we have two bookings outside of the two that we’re doing in house. But we’ve got a couple different people coming in to look and check that out.
BW: Are people able to rent the space per episode? How does that work?
MK: You’re able to pay by the hour, with a minimum of a half hour. In all bookings, it includes me. Only because, it’s a lot to ask for people that know nothing how to work this stuff. I mean, someone who would know how to do it wouldn’t need a space like this. Essentially, all you have to do is sit there and talk. You can also get memberships, which is basically a discounted rate for a longer commitment, and then you get a slot, either weekly or monthly. Or custom, if somebody wanted to do once or twice a month.
BW: I don’t think most people realize how much goes into putting podcasts together.
MK: I think, once upon a time, you could get away with laptop mics or cheap stuff. But there’s so much now. The amount of podcasts created – the amount of people who know about them, the amount of people who listen to them – have gone up quite a bit in the past few years. To the point that ones like “Serial” or “WTF” – those get more than popular television shows. You can do that at home or in the office with some cheap equipment, it’s just going to blend in, and nobody’s really going to hear it. So, you almost have to have [studio equipment] to get that broadcast sound to fit in. The other issue is, for people who do podcasts in their garage or something – if you want to have guests, it’s really difficult to say, “Hey, come over to my bedroom.” Even if there’s not a disturbance, it’s just a little awkward, I think. So this is more of a professional, clean environment to come in. It’s just plug-and-play.
BW: Do you just provide the sound, and then people can do whatever they want? Do you do any of the mixing, or anything like that?
MK: Yeah, I do the post production. When you get it, it’s good to go. There are things we would do – like, with the two shows that we have – they have what we call bumpers or drops. They’re little sound bites that would go between whatever their format would be. Maybe it’s little bits of music to mix things up a bit. Those are a thing we can create for you. Maybe an introduction – we can have a voice over. Even with adding that service, it wouldn’t change the price of the session dramatically.
BW: What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to expand at all?
MK: We’ll see how this goes. It’s not a full-time thing for me, so it’s not a main source of income or anything. If it starts to bring in more money, and it starts to seem more viable to expand, it’s possible. I can’t imagine a second space would be necessary, but if it is, then sure.
BW: Do you see a lot of Lancaster podcasts? What kind of genres are we looking at?
MK: They come and go. For a while, I think there was “The Lancast” and “Around the Wood Stove” were the two big ones for entertainment. And then there’s one called “Somewhat Legendary,” that’s literally a couple guys in a bedroom. I believe they had a big-time wrestler on there. Which, again, bringing people into your bedroom; if you can do it, that’s great I suppose. And there’s the live one from The Rabbit & The Dragonfly – which would not work in this setting – but it’s run by Joe from Tellus360. So, I hear them, and it’s usually a Lancaster theme.