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The Christian Podcaster Panel at Podcast Movement

Sometimes “The Gospel” can be viewed by the world as controversial so “if you’re going to be cancelled, and you might get canceled because you’re a Christian podcaster, make sure it’s for Jesus and not for your politics.” Those were some of the words shared in the breakout session – The Christian Podcast “Reaching New Audiences” at Podcast Movement (PM) 2022 in Dallas last week. The session focused on how more people can be reached with The Gospel through the medium of podcasting.

The first year PM held a panel on Christian podcasting was in 2018 with only 10 people in attendance, but this year there were many more there at the Thursday morning session. Panelists this year included Faith based podcasters Wayne Braudrick (All The Difference), Kevin Wilson (A Christian Podcast with Kevin Wilson), Richard Ellis (Richard Ellis Talks Podcast), and Eric Nevins (Christian Podcasters Association Founder – Religion & Spirituality Category Director at Podcast Magazine and Host and Producer at Halfway There Podcast.)

WCRF/Cleveland (Moody Radio) morning host Brian Dahlen says, “I was encouraged to see a session specifically designed for Christian podcasters at the Podcast Movement conference in Dallas. Our efforts to spread the Gospel through various podcasts clearly have value and relevance in this professional trade show. In addition, it was fascinating to see how the panelists apply both creativity and personality in their shows.”

The Christian Podcast session was moderated by Soundstack’s VP of Sales and Business Development Matt Kellogg (pictured at left), who opened with prayer.

Matt asked the panel how can a podcaster find their voice and style if they’re just starting out?

Richard answered, “Be yourself, so make a podcast by saying things you can’t maintain. Don’t go down a path trying to be somebody else.”

Skillet’s John Cooper who hosts his podcast “Cooper Stuff” added comments via video said, “You never know what God is doing, you just got to be faithful. Just let Him do what He’s gonna do.”

Jodi Howe (The Air That I Breathe Ministries) was at the session and says, “Skillet really underlined and validated what the other panelists were speaking too. Especially regarding the attacks Christian podcasters deal with!”

How do Christian podcasters handle negative comments?

Wayne responded to that saying, “On rare occasions I’ll get a complaint through the staff and I really enjoy those conversations because I will personally call them. Sometimes I can see they might be more in love with their culture than the scripture and I’ve had some really neat responses.”

Richard says, “The Gospel is offensive, you don’t have to be offensive in how you present The Gospel.”

Panelist Kevin Wilson recently started taking his podcast outside, setting up in a park. This has enabled him to have conversations and share Christ with atheists, agnostics, Muslims in person.

Matt approached the topic of video podcasting which is very salient right now. Video in podcasting was one of the hot topics in Dallas for the Podcast Movement conference. The use of video is nothing new, but recent moves by YouTube have accelerated interest. 

Matt asked the Christian Podcasters panel what are some of the advantages or disadvantages of a video podcast? 

Richard answered, “During the Pandemic poor video quality was common, but don’t let that make you think you can get away with that because at some level there’s no excuse for not having a quality video. It becomes distracting. You can take things to the next level by having some decent cameras that are not crazy expensive and you get the job done.”

Eric adds, “I have sort of a love hate relationship with video. And it just depends on where you are so I look at video very much as a skill that you can add later. When I work with people who want to start their show that’s one of the questions they always ask, what should I do about video. What I don’t want is a disadvantage. If you’re focusing on that visual aspect you may not be focusing on your audience in an audio way, creating those audible cues that are actually really powerful, a part of what makes podcasts so powerful.  So I generally recommend, especially to newer podcasters, to not worry about that early on.” 

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John Cooper uses video on his podcasts to play news clips, etc.  “I can repeat what someone says but when we see a video of someone else saying it, it’s usually a different effect. It was extremely effective I think in 2020 and 2021 when we were seeing so much of the violence happening in America.  

Regarding using video Matt adds that “video reaches audiences that aren’t listening through the medium of audio and on podcast apps. And all the data suggests that’s GenC kids, folks that are 30 and under that grew up with YouTube as their primary source of content. So whether you’re taking your audio and overlaying it with some graphics just to get it on YouTube it is something, but if you want to reach that younger demographic, and we want to reach everybody right, that’s definitely something you want to consider.”

Sometimes the Gospel is viewed as controversial. Eric, who says he tries to stay away from hot topics, recommends “if you’re going to be cancelled, and you might get canceled because you’re a Christian podcaster, make sure it’s for Jesus and not for your politics.”

An attendee asked have you seen growth to the unchurched through podcasting? Wayne responded, “There are 2 audiences of unchurched that respond especially to video podcasting. For example every Sunday there are many thousands that study live with me in 43 different countries, I’m told. Many of those don’t have churches and they’re in places where it’s illegal or difficult, so that’s one kind of unchurched. You should be very delighted to get to serve them and love them. Then there’s the unchurched or non Christians, but remember they both matter.”

Some Christian podcasters are wondering if they will be welcome at future Podcast Movements. Conservative Political podcaster Ben Shapiro caused a stir Wednesday afternoon when he showed up in person. His The Daily Wire is a top ten podcast publisher, purchased a booth on the exhibit floor for the first time. This had already received negative criticism from some podcasters, although the booth cost The Daily Wire a reported $10,000. 

By Thursday Podcast Movement organizers said their decision to sell The Daily Wire booth space was a “mistake” and issued a series of apologies on Twitter.  

One apology from PM stated – “Though he was not registered or expected, we take full responsibility for the harm done by his presence. There’s no way around it: We agreed to sell The Daily Wire a first-time booth based on the company’s large presence in podcasting. The weight of that decision is now painfully clear. Shapiro is a co-founder. A drop-in, however unlikely, should have been considered a possibility,” – Podcast Movement

HisAir reached out to Podcast Movement organizers for comment but did not get a reply.

Nevertheless, with podcasting becoming more mainstream, the diversity of shows includes more Christian and conversative-targeted content.

Misty Hinckley Phillip (By His Grace Podcast) tells HisAir, “Our team really enjoyed The Christian Podcast session. Matt Kellogg did a great job moderating. One of the things that I most appreciated about it was the session was opened in prayer and closed with an invitation to Christ.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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