Author Archives: Stuart Last

A Tribute to BlogTalkRadio Host Wayne Hurlbert

All of us at BlogTalkRadio were very sad to hear of the untimely passing of Wayne Hurlbert – our longest-serving host.
Wayne was a much-loved member of our podcasting community and will be greatly missed.
On Thursday 24th October at 8pm EST BlogTalkRadio’s CEO Alan Levy will host a special tribute show for Wayne. You can find more details about how to be involved in the show here. 
In 2011 we marked Wayne’s dedication to broadcasting with an interview about his first five years on BlogTalkRadio – here’s another chance to learn more about Wayne…



Wayne Hurlbert hosts the longest running show, Blog Business Success, on BlogTalkRadio and just recently, he celebrated 5 years on the network. You can listen to his 5 year anniversary show here with a special guest appearance from our very own, Alan Levy. I was so happy to catch up with him on his experiences and as a veteran host, he had some great advice and tips for his fellow hosts on the network.  We are pleased to introduce you to host, Wayne Hurlbert.

What is your show about?
Wayne Hurlbert: My Blog Business Success show is one hour in length, every Tuesday and Thursday evening, and features interviews with guests on various business and economics related topics. I have guests on the show that discuss small business, sales and marketing, business management, personnel management, creativity and innovation, systems and processes, project management, search engine optimization, personal development, and the economy.

What inspired you to start a show on BlogTalkRadio?
WH: I had long been intrigued by the idea of internet radio and its tremendous potential for sharing ideas. When I was approached, just after the platform’s initial launch, to conduct an interview with BlogTalkRadio CEO, I decided to start a show. After examining the platform, I could see that BloGTalkRadio was the ideal system for me to launch a business show.
My goal with the show was to provide a platform and and opportunity for thought leaders in the business community to share ideas with listeners. I also wanted to give something back to the business world through a sharing of ideas from thought leaders, and from my own years of business experience. I decided that the interview style program would be the most effective, and provide the best means for both flexibility in the approach and freshness in the content and style.

What is your most memorable show to date?
WH: My most memorable show remains my very first show. At that time, I wasn’t entirely certain if my vision of an interview style format would be effective and have lasting appeal. My very first guest was my good friend and thought leader Toby Bloomberg, of the well known Diva Marketing Blog. We actually created the style of show that i still use today. We started the show with a traditional question and answer format, but as the show went along, we became more conversational in the approach. That conversation and direct interview blend is the format that I still use for the show today; five years later,

What do you like about hosting your show on the network?
WH: I like how easy and convenient it is to host a show on BlogTalkRadio. There is no software to download. All that is required is an internet connection and a telephone. Hosting a show doesn’t get much easier than that. I also like the support provided by the great staff at BlogTalkRadio, and by the help shared by the many tremendous BlogTalkRadio hosts. In many ways, the network operates like a family or a team, where the network, the hosts, and especially the listeners benefit from the atmosphere of sharing and assistance.

Looking back on your 5 years as a host, what advice would you give to new hosts that are getting started on the network?
WH: While it might seem obvious, a host must be prepared for the show, for any guests they may have, and for any callers into the show. If a host is interviewing someone in their show’s area of interest, it not only makes for a better show if the host is familiar with the guests and their work, it’s also a courtesy to the guests and the listeners. A host who develops a reputation within their area of interest as always being prepared, for asking great questions, and providing a rewarding experience for the listeners, will always have a steady supply of guests. That steady stream of guests will also include people who hold different views, opinions, and ideas from those of the host. A well prepared host can disagree with a guest’s ideas if the host is well prepared and understands the subject matter well.

All hosts should develop good and respected relationships with people within their show’s area of interest. That can include public relations professionals, thought leaders, guest staff people, publicists, and other hosts. These people can share their expertise, provide assistance with guests, and connect a host to the very biggest and the most interesting names in the host’s field. A host should always be courteous to everyone, respect others’ right to a different opinion, and be professional at all times.

Prepare a set of questions, prior to the show, to ask the guest during the show. Even if the guest doesn’t know the questions or received them in advance, the questions provide a framework to keep the show and guest conversation on track. A bit of structure keeps the show from drifting aimlessly and losing listeners as well. All hosts, regardless of their tenure on the network, should listen to other successful BlogTalkRadio shows, and how other hosts conduct their programs. There are many new and refreshing ideas being tried and used successfully by other hosts, and those concepts can be incorporated into other shows.

When the show is completed, a host should send a thank you email to the guest and any staff member, public relations representative, or publicist who helped facilitate the interview. Be certain to include a link to the show podcast and let everyone know that they can post that podcast link on their blogs and websites. Not everyone is aware that they can share their completed BlogTalkRadio interview on their blogs and sites. The thank you emails, along with being a courtesy, also strengthen relationships with everyone who helped make the episode a success.

We get a lot of questions from hosts about growing their listener base – what are some tactics that have worked for you?
WH: Once a person becomes a BlogTalkRadio host, they are always a marketer of their own show, other shows on the system, and the BlogTalkRadio platform. Through use of social media, including a blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, a host can reach a very wide audience of contacts as both guests and listeners. A host should also remind the guest to help market their appearance on the show through their own social media network and blogs. Many guests are not aware that they can and should promote their own show appearances, and they are thrilled to be asked to help make their appearance a success. BlogTalkRadio offers a vast array of host promotional tools, including the valuable press release function. Getting a show covered by the mainstream media can create a surge of listeners and an entirely different level of credibility.

Thanks so much Wayne for your interview. We really appreciate your loyalty and support for the network. Congrats on 5 years with BlogTalkRadio!

ProAmérica Bank’s Maria Contreras-Sweet: Partnerships Are the Key to Success for Hispanic Startups

As chairwoman of ProAmérica Bank—which has lent more than $100 million to Latino enterprises in the past year alone—Maria Contreras-Sweet knows a thing or two about the formula for a fruitful startup.

If you’ve got the necessary talent but none of the necessary capital to become a successful entrepreneur, team up with someone close who’s well qualified for a business loan, she tells Eduardo Quezada, host of Tu Propio Negocio on BlogTalkRadio en Español.

“That can be an uncle, a cousin—someone who’ll say, ‘This person will pay on time and comply with the terms of the loan.’ If you have that, the bank will grant you the loan.

“A lot of young people looking to start businesses don’t realize that another person can sign a loan for them,” says Contreras-Sweet, who was in Washington, D.C., last week to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs September 15 through October 15) with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

 “What I’m seeing now in the market is people getting together and figuring out who has the best credit to help them obtain a loan. Then the founder of the new business pays a little more to the person who backed the loan, or gives them more equity in the new company.

 “That’s how it’s done—in groups, as partners. Two or three people can help each other out. Instead of bickering with one and other, rather than competing with each other, we must come together and become partners,” adds Contreras-Sweet, who served as Cabinet Secretary of the California Business, Transport and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2003.

 Meanwhile, she cautions young entrepreneurs who do realize their dream of getting a business off the ground to pay close attention to their financial affairs:

 “Always pay your bills on time and maintain good credit. That’ll help you secure loans at lower interest rates, which in turn will help you grow your business further.”

 Looking ahead to 2014 and beyond, Contreras-Sweet sees five sectors that offer aspiring Hispanic entrepreneurs the greatest promise: construction, transportation, energy, health care and technology.

 Sponsored by Amway, Tu Propio Negocio launched in September and runs through October 31 on BlogTalkRadio en Español.

To hear Contreras-Sweet’s full interview, tune in here

BlogTalkRadio Connects with Sports Site SB Nation for Live Podcasting Partnership

Today we officially welcome sports site SB Nation to BlogTalkRadio. We’re very excited to have those guys on board, kicking off with more than 50 shows covering football, baseball, MMA, hockey, basketball and soccer.

Check out all the shows in the SB Nation Network here.

And take a look at the article TechCrunch wrote about the partnership today…


SB Nation Partners With BlogTalkRadio For Its Move Into Live Podcasting

sb nation

BlogTalkRadio has signed a big partner to its live podcasting network — sports site SB Nation.

The timing might seem interesting, since news broke today that Vox Media, the company behind SB Nation and tech news site The Verge, has raised a $40 million round led by Accel. However, SB Nation shows have actually been live on BlogTalkRadio’s site since September — they just haven’t formally announced until now. (Plus, it took me a little while to write this post.)

This isn’t the first network to launch within the broader BlogTalkRadio network. Most notably, the company launched a Tavis Smiley Network back in June, which includes a program featuring Smiley (a well-known talk radio host) himself.

SB Nation is an interesting choice for a partner since most of its content comes from communities of sports fans, not professional sports writers or broadcasters. When I asked how BlogTalkRadio translated those communities into live podcasts, co-founder and CEO Alan Levy said, “We just went out to the community and their editors there said, ‘How many guys would like to host your own talk radio show?’”

Looks like lots of people said yes — The SB Nation network on BlogTalkRadio is launching with more than 50 shows, including Bloody Elbow Radio (which looks at mixed martial arts), Mocking the Draft (which discusses at the NFL Draft), and MCM Jimmy (about the Tennessee Titans). Levy also noted that BlogTalkRadio is SB Nation’s exclusive live podcasting partner.

I’m not a big consumer of sports media, but the lineup seems to back Levy’s claim that his company enables people to host talk shows covering topics that you wouldn’t find on traditional radio. And like other BlogTalkRadio shows, these programs are first broadcast live online, with the ability for listeners to call-in and interact with the host, then distributed as traditional podcasts. (So Levy said he sees podcasting services like TuneIn as distribution partners, not competitors.)

BlogTalkRadio CEO Talks Podcast Boom and Future of Talk Radio in PR Week Q&A

Check-out BlogTalkRadio’s CEO Alan Levy in PR Week yesterday – here’s his Q&A…


Did you expect BlogTalkRadio would become as big as it has?

I had no idea it would get to the point where we are now hosting 2,000 radio shows a day and attracting 18 million unique visitors per month. Brands, individuals, and associations are all in the content-creation business today and our platform is ideal for that.

How does the company make money?
Revenue was in excess of $9 million last year. The company has a multi-faceted business model based on subscriptions and advertising. We are largely a word-of-mouth platform. Many people that listen to our shows become radio hosts themselves.

You recently announced a partnership with public radio broadcaster and PBS host Tavis Smiley, who created BlogTalkRadio’s first talent-branded network. How are you looking to partner with major media brands?
We’ve launched this concept of creating networks for brands and other media properties. Tavis is the first and we’ll be announcing more later this fall.

Tavis Smiley Network isn’t just about him. He hosts a 20-minute show daily, but has other hosts who are part of his network. They’re creating different kinds of content around subjects such as fitness and finance.

In what ways are corporate brands using BlogTalkRadio?
Brands such as Sears have been with us for years. They have a show called Craftsman World of DIY. Craftsman is the retailer’s tool brand, which allows it to have conver- sations with experts, take callers, and have questions. We’re interested in building networks on behalf of brands looking to create a new medium or form of dialogue.

Tell us how clients measure the impact of BlogTalkRadio.
We measure how many people listen to the shows. But we also build in social tools so our audience is not just listening on BlogTalkRadio. If you click on our iTunes button, for instance, you can pull the content right into iTunes.

We have also extended it to other distribution platforms. Most of the content is now consumed on-demand and through sharing on things such as Facebook’s social graph. We have simplified the creation and distribution process.

How are PR pros tapping into the service for clients?
Our shows often feature celebrities, authors, and other notables such as Larry King. Most of the time it is publicists and PR agencies who reach out to our 15,000 hosts.

In the age of social media how did you make people understand radio’s relevance, albeit in a new format?

Although the word radio is in our name, BlogTalkRadio is very little like traditional radio. We see it as a new medium. It’s a live-streaming platform, but it is much bigger than that because of the sharing and on-demand aspect of it.

There is continuously an education on the importance of leveraging tools such as BlogTalkRadio that enable engagement and interaction with our radio hosts and their audiences and communities.

Who is the company’s competition?
We compete with almost everybody, whether it is TV or Facebook. On the live content-creation side, we see ourselves as what video is to YouTube, but on the audio side.

However, whereas YouTube is a distribution platform, we’re a content-creation company – 98% of our content is broadcast using our tools and technology. There are a lot of distribution platforms for content, but we’re also a technology platform and that has been our secret sauce.

What about traditional talk radio?
We don’t see ourselves as competing with radio. It has become very fragmented with no scale. Also, talk is mostly distributed through the AM dial and ultimately AM radio won’t be in new cars [in the future].

Can the market for podcasts get bigger?
The market for audio is getting really hot and that is in large part due to the success of Pandora and even more so with iTunes radio, as well as other apps that broadcast and distribute audio content.

With mobile being what it is today, our platform is in the right place as a content-creation factory that is aggregating audio content and pushing it out everywhere.

What are the biggest challenges for your company?
For any media or technology company to stay competitive, it has to build tools and technology in a way that stands the test of time and competes with the largest media companies in the world.

One of the key reasons we’re still here and doing well is because we own the technology platform and that allows us to be creative. That is why we’re seeing so many other creative properties participate with BlogTalkRadio.