Every now and then I come across people whom I truly walk out of a conversation with and feel smarter, richer in knowledge and overall happiness. One such person is Lauren LoGrasso, a sharp and talent media maven that truly understands and is in tune with your typical media listener, reader and viewer. Currently living life to the full in Los Angeles, originally she hails from the Michigan, maintaining the warmth and hard work that Midwesterners are notoriously known for. I feel like Lauren has lived several lives- an actor, singer, a highly desirable pod host and previously a radio show host. Having experienced so many forms of Art through her persistence in ‘executing’ ideas- something that I am personally and embarrassingly still trying to hone in my mid 30s- Lauren has gathered wisdom, knowhow and skill that are hard to master in such short time. In this interview, I soak up all wisdom and tips from Lauren on her podcasting journey and the process she went through to get to where she is now. Hope you find value in her tips as much as I forever will.
Who is Lauren LoGrasso?
That’s the big question of life, isn’t it? It’s a Honstant evolution, but I can solidly say that I am a human woman with Detroit roots, living in Los Angeles, pursuing a life led by creativity. I am a writer, recording artist and musician, I host podcasts, public speaking, production; I am also an actor. I love the extremes of life–my favorite places to exist are absurdity and/or deep inspiration. I used to say I’m a mix between Amy Sedaris and Deepak Chopra.
You are indeed a highly creative person, when did you discover your talents and converted them into a career?
I took my first dance class when I was two and a half. I’m told while all of the other girls where tapping away, doing the correct moves, I was in the corner, completely tearing up the stage with some signature moves that no one else was doing. That memory comes from my parents. My first memory of wanting to be creative or realizing I had the desire to perform, was when I was four, went to see a musical at the local theatre and told my Mom, “Mommy, I want to be up there doing that.” –Soon after, I was cast in my first musical as the dream role of “Hill Chill” (a made up role). That was pretty much when I decided I wanted to live a life based on creative expression. I ended up doing musicals and theatre all through middle school and high school and got my BFA in acting and BA in communication from Michigan State University. After that, I moved to LA to do an internship on The Ellen Show and decided to stay here to pursue a career in acting, Singing and writing music (my debut single, “Road to Glory” comes out on Friday, November 8th- yay!), broadcasting and public speaking.
How did you end up podcasting?
In High School, I used to listen to a show called The Mitch Albom Show. Mich is an iconic author, sports journalist and Detroit broadcaster. I used to listen to him and think, “Wow, I’d really love to do that someday!” Down the road (after I’d already been in radio for a while) I had the opportunity to be a recurring guest co-host on his show, which was a very cool moment…Anyway, I digress…After high school, I went to Michigan State and starting DJing MSU’s radio station, The Impact 89FM, under the name “DJ Loseph”- which was VERY cool.
When I moved to LA, I was pursuing acting, but I was super depressed, so I would listen to SiriusXM’s Cosmo Radio. There was a show on there called Cocktails with Patrick, and the host was from Detroit. He would talk about Detroit topics a lot, and I would drive down the 5 and pretend like I was back home on I-94 (A great little Detroit highway). It was during that time that my love for radio was reignited and I started saying out loud, “I want to work at SiriusXM.”
A few months later, I got a hosting gig at AfterBuzz TV. That opportunity led to me meeting its founders Maria Menounos and Keven Undergaro. They took me under their wing and mentored me and introduced me to the VP of Female Programming, Serena Kodilla, who was the creator of all of the shows I loved on Cosmo Radio. It was like meeting my radio Jesus. Serena created a position for me to work on Maria’s show as an Associate Producer. Within less than a year, I worked my way up to the main producer, as well as being on air with Maria.
That opportunity led me to my current job as Executive Producer of Female Programming at Cadence13, where I work/ have worked on shows such as Girlboss Radio, The Goop Podcast, Lauren Conrad: Asking for a Friend, Yoga Girl: Conversations from the Heart, Meaningful Conversations with Maria Shriver and Jen Gotch is Okay…Sometimes.
To bring it full circle, my dream has always been to host my own show. So once I realized I had literally every skill I needed to make my own dreams come true, I decided to finally put my faith in myself and independently host and executive produce my own podcast, Unleash Your Inner Creative with Lauren LoGrasso. Since the show premiered it has been on Apple Podcasts New and Noteworthy 37 times, has a solid 5 star rating, is frequently on the top charts in Arts, is one of Anchor.FM’s featured podcasts, and most importantly, I love the show and the creative listeners with all my heart!
Podcasting is huge right now, why do you think people are more interested in this form of media as opposed to radio?
I think there are a bevy of reasons why it’s so popular. For one, it’s more personal, in many different ways. I mean, you’re literally in someone’s ears, it doesn’t get more intimate than that. In addition, the content is more specifically crafted to a certain listener, rather than the mass appeal, you might have on a standard talk radio show.
As the medium grows, unless a potential host has a massive independent following, it’s wise to get into niche areas, since those specific topics already have an attached audience, thus, making it easier to grow. Additionally, the world is moving more and more quickly, and podcasting is one of the few mediums that doesn’t require two senses (vision & hearing) to enjoy it.
You can listen while you clean, paint, drive, run, work…Because of this, it also brings you into the experience more than any visual medium, because you get to put your own spin on it. It’s called theatre of the mind.
Also, as the world grows lonelier, with the often false connections of social media, podcasts are like having friends in your head. It’s depressing, and hopeful and true. Lastly, it is incredibly accessible. It is of no cost to any consumer, unless you are listening to one with a paywall, like Luminary. It’s pretty cool! This isn’t a comprehensive list, of course, but they are DEF some hot takes!
it’s more personal, in many different ways. I mean, you’re literally in someone’s ears, it doesn’t get more intimate than that.Lauren LoGrasso on why podcasts are popular in 2019
For those who don’t know what it’s like behind the scenes to start, plan and produce a podcast, what’s the process like?
Starting takes a LOT longer than you would think, especially if you don’t have a huge production company behind you. First you have to have an idea, then you need to figure out your intended audience, show structure, potential guests, cover art, music, recording equipment…That’s all before you even start recording!
Once you’re in the flow of the show, its guest booking, research, prep, interview, writing and recording wraps and ads, editing and planning the social media. It is a huge undertaking, and would ideally be done by a team of people! However, it is DEFINITELY possible to do it alone! I do it! And if creating a podcast in on your mind and heart, I highly recommend you make one, too!
What are the steps that you would recommend to anyone that wants to start a podcast?
HINT: There’s WAY more than 5 steps, honeybuns! But, I will do my best to condense the most pertinent info below 🙂
- Find your idea. Take your time with this–don’t rush. Some tips:
- Why this idea?
- Why now?
- Why are you more equipped to talk about it than anyone else?
- What makes it different than its competition?
- Who do you serve?
- Figure out your show type and structure:
- Is it an interview show?
For example, on my show, the structure is:
– Show intro
– Creative Check in (opening segment with a creative revelation from this week)
– Guest intro
– Interview part 1
– Commercial break
– Interview part
- A solo monologuing show?
- A Storytelling show?
- Or Fiction?
- Is it an interview show?
- Figure out your recording equipment, editing set up and what music you’ll use
- Don’t skimp on your equipment! A lot of people tune out due to poor audio quality. I recommend a Marantz, Zoom or Tascam device.
- For music, I highly recommend getting original music made. My friend, Liz Fohl, did all of the original music on my show and she is absolutely incredible!
- I, personally, use Audacity to edit my podcast. It is free of charge, and very easy to teach yourself via youtube!
- Figure out your artwork and distribution platform! For artwork, you want something that draws people’s eye and tells the story of the show without even knowing what it is about. Bright colors are great! Don’t use a picture of yourself unless you are famous or something about the photo of you tells the story of the show.
- Distribution is all about who “pushes” your podcast out to the various platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc. I use Anchor.FM. They are amazing to work with and totally free of charge to the user, plus the bring ads right to you! I highly recommend them.
- Social Media, Marketing + Trailer!!
- Figure out your social media & marketing plan for your launch
- Are you going to make a separate page for the show?
- How will you promote it?
- Make a kick-ass trailer and get it up on distribution platform (a good rule of thumb is to upload it a week before you actually want to announce it, because it takes a while to populate)–I’d advise to start promoting your trailer at least 3 weeks before your show launch!
- Figure out your social media & marketing plan for your launch
What does it take to be a ‘good’ podcaster?
A great idea and a talent for connecting with people and making them feel something. Being a brilliant storyteller is also helpful, but those first two are absolute requirements.
Other than category or topic, what kind of podcasts in your opinion, have more success rates than others?
I have been seeing any topics that are related to “Woo” (aka astrology, spirituality, alternative health concepts) skyrocketing. Again, I think this is due to the chaotic nature of the world right now.
Now more than ever, we need foundations to give our lives meaning, structure, hope and depth. I think these topics are a positive way to approach despair and definitely bring a much-needed service to the space.
I think relationship shows (if you can find a way to put your own spin on them–because there are a TON) are also, always a good way to go, because it’s a topic that everyone can relate to.
Finally, anything with a really strong fandom tends to work well. Whether that’s Harry Potter, a TV show, etc.. Because again, that already has a built-in audience.
With all that said, bear in mind that cream rises to the top. No matter your topic, if you have something good and you keep going, you will find your place, eventually. That ‘keep going’ portion is KEY- I heard on NPR that over 80% of podcasters quit within the first year! So stay consistent and always keep going!
Anytime you put a project into the world, the Universe sees that and rewards you for your bravery.Lauren LaGrasso
How has podcasting benefited your life?
I think it has helped me get more in touch with who I really am and how I am feeling. In addition, I’m inspired and positively influenced by the stories of my guests and listeners every single day. I feel so blessed to be part of such an amazing creative community. Stepping forward in this way, has also brought about so many other creative opportunities.
Anytime you put a project into the world, the Universe sees that and rewards you for your bravery. Since I have released the show, I have had several huge acting auditions, gotten cast in a feature film, I am putting out my first single, “Road to Glory” on Friday, November 8th, I have filmed a music video and will be releasing it soon, I have spoken at the Girlboss Rally and am speaking about creativity at the upcoming Pretty Thing Tour on November 9th. I am beyond confident that these things would not have happened without my beautiful pod!
bear in mind that cream rises to the top. No matter your topic, if you have something good and you keep going, you will find your place, eventually.Lauren DeGrosso
What’s your mantra or a quote that you live by?
Honestly, I have so many! I am very into self and spiritual development and I’m constantly working on myself.
One big one would be “The best thing and the worst thing about you are usually the same”–this is something I came up with, when I realized my best qualities were the very thing that were dragging me down. For instance, never giving up can be a beautiful quality–it means you’re tenacious, hardworking and keep going, no matter the odds. However, in the wrong scenario, that could be a bad thing–it could cause you to stay in bad work environments, relationships, unhealthy friendship dynamics, etc. longer than what serves you. So being aware of that has been a really important factor in my growth.
The other one that I am obsessed with now, and always, is something by one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Dr. Wayne Dyer. He says,
“Everything that exists was once imagined”–it is the most powerful argument for creativity that I have ever heard.