Ryan Welton

Sports + Digital + Music + Life

Category Archives: Podcasts

Runner’s Routine: The podcasts I listen to while running

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My Bose Soundsport bluetooth headphones are pissing me off. The button somehow got stuck, and I can’t get it back to normal. Wearing these has become a part of the running ritual; they’re the first headphones that will stay in my ear no matter how greasy I get.

Argh!

It depends on the day as to what I listen to, too. I have a running playlist that I’ll detail sometime, a mix of songs from today and way back in the 1980s, back when dinosaurs roamed the planet.

Sometimes, especially on calm Sunday mornings, I’ll listen to NPR’s Morning Edition, or in this case, Weekend Edition. If I’m running by 9 a.m. or so, I’ll tune it to KQED in San Francisco and listen to the West Coast feed. This is a fantastic way to get caught up on news and to consume a high caliber of news, to boot.

Because I’m a YouTube Premium member, I can listen to videos while using my running app in the foreground.

Or I listen to podcasts. And that’s what I thought I’d write about today – the 11 podcasts that are currently in my rotation. For what it’s worth, I am subscribed to the West Wing Weekly podcast, but Kristi and I are only in the middle of Season Three, and I had never watched the series serially like this. For example, I’ve seen Season 3, Episode 9 a billion times. It’s the ‘Bartlet For America’ episode where Leo McGarry eloquently describes the appeal of Scotch while at the same time eloquently describing the hell of addiction. To me, this is the best scene in the history of the show.

Anyway, I digress. I don’t listen to West Wing Weekly yet because it’s something I’d like to share with Kristi once we both finish the series, serially.

But here’s what I do listen to:

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The Gary Vee Audio Experience. Gary Vaynerchuk is pretty hit-or-miss for me these days as I think his schtick has become routine. His insight into usable tactics for social media is still insightful, and he remains one of the best motivators for workaholics on the planet, encouraging us to keep hustling. When he hits, he slugs it out of the park. After six years of listening to the man, however, I know when to tune in and when to tune out. If you’re in marketing or are interested in digital anything, he’s a must-listen.

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Marketing School. Neil Patel and Eric Siu are two of the preeminent experts on digital marketing with an emphasis on SEO. Their podcasts are always super short, as in less than ten minutes each, but there’s always value. To me, SEO is the most important discipline in content for brands, news organizations and even bloggers. Patel’s SEO Analyzer tool is a must-use for anybody wanting to compare their website to the competition. This podcast is a no-brainer for marketing geeks.

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Hit Parade. This is a podcast from Slate about pop music, the pop music charts and trivia associated with it. The last episode I listened to was about the BeeGees, and it was like listening to a documentary history of the vocal group. The production was brilliant, and the nuggets of information were meaty enough for the music nerd while being palatable to the neophyte.

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Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter. I’ve been a fan of Brian’s since his TV Newser days, and I followed him and David Carr after the New York Times movie came out. I had also read Carr’s “Night Of The Gun.” As both a fan of Brian’s and a newsie, I find Reliable Sources to be a must-listen to keep up with media trends and to get a pretty fair analysis of how we’re doing as an industry. For example, this week he had on Frank Sesno, who was pretty critical of the coverage from mainstream media types during the Brett Kavanaugh proceedings.

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The Tim Ferriss Show. I believe Ferriss came to fame via the ‘4-hour’ books: “4-Hour Work Week,” “4-Hour Body,” etc. Ferriss is a prolific accomplisher of things (what does that mean? it just feels like it’s the right way to describe him), and he has fascinating life hacks that are super practical. For example, Ferriss turned me on to a mushroom coffee that has become a go-to for me on days where I didn’t get the best sleep the night before. His interview with Terry Crews, in my opinion, is the best podcast interview I’ve ever listened to both because of him and Crews.

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The Life Coach School. Brooke Castillo is the host. I know she’s a Texan, and I suspect she probably knows Brene Brown. In fact, I might have stumbled onto Brooke because of Brene, especially after I read “Daring Greatly,” which I think is a must-read for anybody in management. The gist of that book is how to use vulnerability as an asset both as a giver and a taker, a speaker and a listener. Brooke’s podcast is hit-or-miss for me, but when she’s speaking about a topic that’s pertinent to my life, I find her to be on point. When I decide to listen to her, I’m never disappointed, and the content is what you’d expect from a life coach — so it’s not for everybody although it wouldn’t kill you to listen to it.

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WTF with Marc Maron. His was the first podcast I ever downloaded. Maron is a stand-up comic who interviews people a couple times a week for his podcast, which happens to be one of the biggest on the planet. I love his monologues more than his interviews primarily because I like him more than a lot of his guests. For interviews, you can’t beat Howard Stern. Best on the planet. But Maron ain’t shabby. Even still, Maron’s podcasts are worth it even only to listen to the monologues at the beginning of each episode.

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YouTube Creators Hub. A guy named Dusty Porter teaches creators how to use YouTube to grow businesses or at least grow audiences. He interviews successful creators and even has a Patreon where you can get access to a group of people who supposedly can help you grow your channel. It hasn’t helped me at all, not one iota. Once you listen to about 10-15 of his episodes, you glean about as much as will be useful to you. The themes are all the same: develop niche content, post consistently, “it’s a lot of work,” and more. But, IMHO, this is still the best YouTube creators podcast out there. After listening to 50-60 episodes, for me, at this point, it’s hit or miss. I’d love more of a deep dive into tactics that successful channels leverage.

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Mitchell Talks. My friend and colleague Scott Mitchell visits with journalists (my friends and colleagues Aaron Brilbeck and Grant Hermes) and newsmakers about issues of the day here in Oklahoma. It’s a smart look at politics in the Sooner State with no political bent. Scott is an equal-opportunity political analyst and is particularly effective at pointing out the most ridiculous parts of the political machine. I should point out that I might contribute some music to Scott’s podcasts. Woot!

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West Of Everest. This one is from another colleague, Lee Benson. He and his brother, Grant, talk Oklahoma Sooners football – and they take a real deep dive into each game. This is an hour’s worth of content that will greatly appeal to the diehard Sooners fan. I haven’t listened to this one yet during the offseason. I think that will be the trick to appealing, long-term, year-round to folks.

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And last but not least, Why Today Doesn’t Suck. This is the daily segment on The Ticket 1310 in Dallas where Bob & Dan Radio hand it off to The Hardline. This is what they call in the radio business, “crosstalk.” And as they do this, they talk birthdays and death days and born on this day, now dead. Listeners (P1s, especially) write in with their birthday wishes and ask for various drops to be played, and it’s heavy on the language and rituals of those who have listened to The Ticket for years. During my tenure in Dallas, I was a P1 practically from Day 1, and I’m thankful beyond thankful that this is available to me via the magical power of my phone.

I know there are hundreds of other podcasts I’ll never have time to listen to that are worth an audit. I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Speak to me, people, and let me know what you listen to while you run!

Cover photo credit: Nicola

Ryan Welton is a digital communicator, marketer and journalist who loves to run and write songs. He thinks that’ll be the focus of this blog from here forward. He can be found at YouTube.com/ryanweltonmusic and on Twitter @ryanwelton.

Amazon Go vs. Walmart grocery pickup + my first-ever podcast

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Among the big developments this weekend, I created a podcast. Note that I didn’t say I created an awesome podcast; rather, I created an audio file of me talking that I uploaded to SoundCloud and to this app called Anchor.

SoundCloud is pretty straight forward. You upload files, and you get space, and to get a lot of space, you pay money. I pay $15 per month for unlimited space, or at least I think it’s unlimited. On the other hand, the folks behind Anchor want you to podcast with your phone and pretty much only your phone, although they do give you ways to get audio files to their platform. It had been advertised to me as a one-stop podcasting shop, a place where you could upload your podcast and then distribute it everywhere.

That doesn’t seem to be the case.

The biggest benefit of SoundCloud that I can see thus far is that it creates an RSS feed for you that you can then submit to iTunes to be included in their podcasts. Having done a couple basic attempts at creating an Alexa briefing, I wonder if I could have just used the RSS feed from my SoundCloud.

But I digress.

If you’d like to listen to my first podcast, I’d appreciate it but wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. It’s rough. And I’m working through topical concepts. My first episode was a bit business-oriented with a dash of “WTF” in that I document some personal experiences from the past week. Initially, I’m thinking I’d podcast once a week although I enjoyed the process enough that I could see myself doing it much more often.

The moniker that comes to mind is “Gray Hair, New Media.” I talk a lot about new media of all types, and I do have a slightly unique perspective in that I’m a bit older than a lot of players in this space. As I inch toward AARP eligibility (2020), I envision my perspective as one that will be in demand mostly because it’s in shorter supply.

And one of the topics I broached was my little ol’ weekend trip to Walmart. I typically go to Crest or Walmart, and it depends on whether what I’m getting is strictly groceries or wares beyond food and personal items. I enjoy Target, but low prices for basics is my jam, and Walmart beats Target most of the time. For the record, I have few moral objections to Walmart and would make the argument that providing the masses with consumer goods at the lowest possible price is damned noble. In my eyes, most of the objections people have to Walmart are mostly steeped in classism.

Don’t @ me.

When Walmart started its grocery pickup service, I had to try it. They botched my order, leaving out multiple items and charging me for them. I tried it a second time, and they got closer. However, this third time, I noticed something right off the bat: the prices I was being charged were noticeably higher online than what they are in the store. For example, a three-pack of Extra gum that normally costs me $1.98 in-store was $3.01 online.

A 28-pack of water was $4.73 online instead of $3.98, and Great Value French Roast coffee was $5.47 for a 12-pack instead of $4.47. The other item I noticed was a 6-pack of Dove soap, which was going for $8.12 online instead of $6-something.

I’m familiar with the concept of variable online pricing based on demand and other market factors. Walmart isn’t the only retailer to do this; however, they’re also not hiding it. In this Wall Street Journal article from last November, company representatives note that charging higher prices for items online is a ploy to get people to go in-store more often.

Which leads me to this: I *could* just go to Target.

There are few who would argue that the actual shopping experience isn’t way better at Target. The store is nicer. The items are nicer. But when I’m buying dish soap, lowest price wins. Every time.

Except for the fact that in 2018, lowest price is up against “saving time” more than it ever has been. It’s been said that Uber was never actually a transportation company; they’re an efficiency company. They exist to save you time. The reason podcasts are more popular than ever is because it’s something one can consume passively, such as during a commute, the proverbial killing-two-birds-with-one-stone thing.

There are a couple product reasons I go to Walmart. First, their French Roast coffee is the shit. Seriously, it’s the best French Roast coffee I’ve had, and I mean better than Starbucks or any other boutique brand. And their ‘Sam’s Choice’ water bottles are the sturdiest bottles in water-land. Again, don’t @ me: I recycle all of them.

However, Walmart’s strategy to charge more for grocery pickup — we’re not even talking delivery — is off-putting. The reason I want to pick up my groceries is to save time and because I don’t want to waddle alongside the masses in Walmart, which isn’t a product of classism as much as it is reflective of my introvert ways.

I can find alternatives to the two products I like. Def.

And that brings me to Amazon Go, the new “no checker” flagship store in Seattle.

At a senior management meeting while at Love’s last year, I told executives that in my estimation, their biggest competitor wasn’t Pilot Flying J as much as it was Amazon. Everybody’s competing with Amazon, especially in retail.

If you haven’t heard about Amazon Go, it’s a store where you don’t have to have interaction with anybody. You just load up your items and go. First, you have to download an app, and it gets swiped when you walk into the store. There are hundreds of camera hanging from the ceiling that can see what you load into your bag or backpack, and they’re looking at RFID information and basic bar codes although I don’t know exactly how their system reads everything.

Amazon is highly confident in this system, so much so that if a person gets charged for something they didn’t actually buy, they don’t need to come back to the store. Just wipe it from your bill, no questions asked. And if you don’t get charged for something, it’s on the house at least for now. The big drawback to this type of a store is that, spread out across the country over a few years, it’s liable to wipe out about 3 million checker jobs, jobs that won’t come back immediately.

Sure, there could be better jobs that develop from a new system of retail that depends much more heavily on service and technology. However, it’s possible that those new jobs don’t happen for years or even decades after these initial jobs are wiped out.

Plus, that type of shopping experience isn’t going to come with a promise of low prices, every day. At the outset, given the long lines at Seattle’s flagship store, there’s no real hope of convenience. For now, it’s just cool — and it is cool. However, if I really wanted a shopping experience without personal interaction at the very lowest prices, I would forgo both Walmart and anything like an Amazon Go and just order stuff off Amazon with my Prime account.

Can’t beat grocery shopping in your pajamas at 1 a.m., am I right?

 

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