The podcasting bug that swept the world finally bit Chyn Rodgers last year, prompting her to start her own streaming series with a friend in Charlotte.
The Belmont resident thinks there could be even more people in the metro area ready to have fun, if only they could find an affordable, professional studio. Rodgers therefore teamed up with a few partners to establish such a facility in downtown Gastonia.
What’s called the We Talk podcast studio isn’t big by any stretch of the imagination. It’s little more than a roughly 10-by-14-foot suite in the Love Building at 219 W. Main Ave., where a variety of businesses operate in a kind of co-working space.
But the comfort of the room, the comfortable furnishings and the high-tech recording equipment inside present an ideal setting for anyone who needs such a studio, Rodgers said.
“We’re really excited about this,” she said.
A podcast, for the unknown, has its roots in traditional radio programming but features a more modern distribution model. It is essentially an episodic series of digital audio files, with an emphasis on speech, that a user can download and listen to.
In 2018, there were 550,000 different podcasts on the Apple Podcasts streaming system. And by the summer of 2019, that number had grown to more than 700,000, according to podcast production and hosting service Blubrry.
Originally from Washington, DC, Rodgers moved to the Charlotte area 12 years ago and owns a regional transportation service for children. She and her friend, Nicole McNair, are also involved in various other business ventures. And they decided to launch a podcast late last year, called ‘Buzzzn with QC’, which allows them to have light-hearted discussions about everything from friendship and faith to business and mental health. .
“What inspired We Talk was I was renting space in Charlotte and I realized how huge podcasting is right now,” Rodgers said. “The space remains full. And when you’re creative, it’s hard to plan around a schedule. »
Rodgers saw benefit in opening a new studio in a growing location with an emerging personality like downtown Gastonia, which she believes can attract users from Charlotte and beyond. She partnered with Jesse Francois, a New Jersey-based cousin of hers who works in digital production and writing, and his wife, Jenay Daniels, to fund and launch We Talk.
“Thanks to Jesse’s experience, we got the best gear out there, so you get real quality sound,” Rodgers said. “There is carpet in there. And we have a sofa, two very comfortable armchairs and a coffee table, so it’s an inviting environment that makes you feel like you’re just sitting around talking to friends.
The studio now rents for $25 an hour. Entry is via a keypad at the door, and it is designed to allow users to enter and use the studio without any supervision, although Rodgers or someone else is there for the first few months to help people feel comfortable with the equipment.
Users will also be able to pay for additional services, such as editing and content creation. There is also a video camera and basic lighting for those working in the visual realm.
Rodgers said that as Metro Charlotte grows, they expect to get business not only from booming podcasters, but also from radio stations that may need to outsource recording work, as well as other industry professionals. They believe the historic business district is becoming the type of place that attracts more people like it.
“I love Gastonia because I’m always around and appreciate the history of downtown,” she said. “So we’re just trying to come in and offer a space that has even more of a sense of community.”
You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.