Rosie Wilby is the host and creator of “The Breakup Monologues” podcast, which emerged from a personal experience that inspired a solo comedy show. As a journalist and comedian, she is familiar with the need to continually create new content. Still, she has found maintaining momentum one of the biggest challenges in podcasting.
LONDON — I had worked a little in radio previously, alongside a career in comedy and journalism, and thought that sharing something as intimate as a breakup story would lend itself to the medium of audio.
So, I set about applying for funding from Arts Council England to tour a live chat show about breakups and how we recover from them. The pilot stage of the podcast was one strand of a cross-platform project that included a blog with commissioned content from fellow writers and performers.
It all followed on from my solo show, which I had ironically titled “The Conscious Uncoupling.” I toured that to festivals around the United Kingdom and had people come up to me afterward to chat about breakups. It felt like a topic people needed to talk about.
I initially recorded the podcast in a studio separate from the live show. But, once the funding ran out, I needed to find a sustainable way to create content. I started recording the live shows, using the ticket revenue to cover costs like editing, hosting, artwork, marketing and so on.
I tend to record the show at a variety of venues and festivals, hoping we can forge lots of different relationships and reach diverse audiences. This does, however, involve a lot of admin and research, as everyone has slightly different tech, contracting and marketing setups. Mostly I take along my Zoom H1n recorder and take a feed from the desk at the venue. Then we simply tidy up the audio and upload it to our host Libsyn. Some venues record everything for us and send separate tracks after the show for us to mix as we wish.
Booking guests can be time-consuming, especially when I’m trying for busy, high-profile people. And when you record live, the dates are set, so you can’t bend to people’s schedules in the same way. There are definitely some guests I’ve been talking to for years and still haven’t made a date work. I live in hope.
I try to avoid going through agents and go to the talent directly. As a comedian and performer, I’m lucky to be connected on social media to a huge range of potential podcast guests. So, I have those direct relationships in place a lot of the time.
Mics: Provided by the various venues where audio is recorded
Podcast Host: Libsyn
Recorder: Zoom H1n recorder
Distribution: The Breakup Monologues can be found on podcast platforms or via podfollow.com/breakupmonologues
The biggest challenge came during the pandemic when all my live shows were canceled. A generous listener donated some money, which allowed me to record a season remotely. For that season, we embraced the change in format and adopted more of a magazine format with separate shorter interviews. It was a relief to be able to continue releasing because The Breakup Monologues book was due out, and I wanted to build momentum again after a fairly extended break.
As I begin recording a sixth season, a key challenge is how to keep the momentum and energy up. A lot of the podcast reviewers have featured The Breakup Monologues before and won’t necessarily do so again. So, I’ve had to think more creatively about promotion. I’ve done a lot of media around the new paperback edition of the book, which has also been an opportunity to talk about the podcast.
Go for it. Just be yourself and be authentic.
I’ve also spoken at podcast conferences and festivals about turning your podcast content into a book and written articles about breakups and post-traumatic growth for several magazines. If you can find creative ways to repurpose and repackage your content as articles, you can become an expert in your area. Then you can ask for a credit or link to your show at the end of the article. I’m now unofficially known as the “Queen of breakups.” I’m not quite sure if this is a good thing!
For anyone starting out, I’d say go for it. Just be yourself and be authentic.