How To Build a Niche-Focused Podcast Network With Glenn Hebert

Glenn Hebert is the Founder of the Horse Radio Network, the largest online podcast network for horse lovers worldwide. Glenn, aka Glenn the Geek, began niche podcasting in 2006 and started the Horse Radio Network in 2008. With over 15 years of experience, he has hosted and produced over 10,000 podcast episodes centered around horses. These include Horses in the Morning, which has produced over 3,300 episodes in 14 years. The Horse Radio Network was sold to Equine Network in Oct of 2022, and Glenn took over the role of Director of Podcasting. 

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran is joined by Glenn Hebert, the Founder of the Horse Radio Network, to talk about building a niche-focused podcast network. They also discuss strategies for producing quality podcasts, tips for starting a daily show, and how the pandemic impacted podcast growth.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • [02:25] How Glenn Hebert started podcasting
  • [07:13] Glenn’s inspiration to do a daily show
  • [09:01] How the Horse Radio Network business model works 
  • [10:50] Strategies for producing quality podcasts
  • [14:52] How the 2008 economic downturn and the pandemic impacted the podcasting industry
  • [17:31] Glenn provides tips on building a podcasting network and doing niche podcasts
  • [23:28] The secret to having a long-term podcast host or co-host
  • [25:50] How innovative media companies market their services
  • [29:58] The peers Glenn appreciates for their support

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Sponsor: Rise25

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

John Corcoran 0:00

All right, today we are talking about building a niche-focused podcast network. This is going to be an interesting one if for no one else, but for me, no, I think you’re gonna find it interesting as well, because there’s so many podcast networks out today. What is it like to build one in a very specific niche? My guest today is Glenn Hebert. He’s the founder of very niche-focused podcast network. I’ll tell you more about him in a second. So stay tuned.

Intro 0:24

Welcome to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we feature top entrepreneurs, business leaders, and thought leaders and ask them how they built the relationships to get where they are today. Now, let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:41

Alright, welcome John Corcoran here. I am the host of the show. And as you know, every week I talk to smart CEOs, founders, and entrepreneurs, all kinds of companies we’ve had the co-founders or CEOs of Netflix and Kinkos, YPO, EO, GrubHub, Redfin, and lots of great ones in the archive. So go check those out. And there’s gonna be a little bit different episodes. So stay tuned. Of course, this episode is brought to you by Rise25, where we help B2B businesses get clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships with done-for-you podcasts and content marketing. And you can learn all about what we do at 

And my guest here today is Glenn Hebert. First of all, shout out to Chris Krimitsos, he is the founder of PodFest Expo. It’s a wonderful conference for those of you who are in the podcast world, and I only came across Glenn because of Chris. He’s a wonderful guy, super-given guy. You should definitely go check out more about what he does. But my guest here today is Glenn Hebert. He, aka Glenn the Geek, is kind of his nickname. We’ll talk about how he got that nickname. He’s the founder of the Horse Radio Network. He began focusing on niche podcasting back in 2006. When he first got started in podcasting podcasting longer than I have, which is a long time. It’s rare that I get to meet someone like that, and establish the horse radio network in about 2008. Over 15 years, he’s hosted and produced, it produced more than 10,000 podcast episodes centered around horses. Some of these include Horses in the Morning, which is a long-running show, with 13 years and 3300 episodes. And they also recently sold the network to a prominent media entity that focuses on the equestrian world. And now he is still involved in running that company. 

But Glenn, it’s such a pleasure to have you here today. And I’d love to hear about the early days of podcasting. Now, as I understand it, you were working in the equestrian world you were selling to retailers, I believe. And you also had a background as a thespian, you’re an equestrian and a thespian, and you kind of missed that world. And you were looking for something that was back in the world of entertainment. And you discovered podcasting. So tell us how that came about.

Glenn Hebert 2:49

Well, I was I was working as a consultant for retailers in the horse world and helping them with their in that was in the early days of really trying to do social media. You know, it was the early days of social media. Websites had, you know, selling online had become a thing by then. And, you know, I owned over my shoulder here, you’re gonna see a picture. If you’re watching the video, you’ll see a picture of my cast. That was a company I had for 10 years. We did medieval feasts. We did kind of a Benny Hill version of a medieval feast. I played a king and we just had a blast doing it. We did 450 shows over those years. And that had

John Corcoran 3:28

Benny Hill for the younger ones who don’t know, Benny Hill was kind of like a comedian actor that was known for kind of like a slapstick brand of comedy. I’ve got the theme song in my head or referent irreverent irreverence. So So you did that basically, like,

Glenn Hebert 3:47

Yeah, we did all improv theater, and it was a lot of fun. We had a great time doing it. That sounds like a lot of fun. Actually, I missed it. You know, I’ve been out of it for a long time. And I needed to get something back into something that involves entertainment. Yeah. But I didn’t want to necessarily drive five hours and get home at four in the morning like you do when you’re an actor and make no money. I really thought I would like to make money this time. Yeah. And then podcasting. I learned about twit, the twit network with Leo Laporte and I heard listen to his show. And I was like, well, he could figure it out. I could figure it out.

John Corcoran 4:19

I’ve been to visit his facility. It’s only about a half an hour north of me. Really? Yeah. He spoke at a conference I was at. And afterwards he said, if you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop, I’ll let you in. And I was coincidentally they’re having brunch, like a couple of months later, and we knocked on the door when inside it was really good, super nice and gracious. And it was really cool because he’s built this beautiful facility where they were doing all these, you know, live podcast shows.

Glenn Hebert 4:42

Yeah, he was my inspiration really. And, you know, those were the early days of podcasting, figuring it wasn’t as easy as I thought, you know, recording it, editing it. Everything was difficult then because there was nothing made for podcasting specific. You were using all the music stuff you would use music mixers and Muse IQ mics, and that music editing? And you know, it was all of that. And those were the days to Yes, there was a day, believe it or not for the youngsters out there, where you had to download an mp3 file to your computer and then transfer it to your iPod. There were no iPhones back to such a pain. You really had to want to listen to a podcast or are you listened to it on your computer on a player? And that’s the way most people did it back then it’s just listened to it on their computer. So it was difficult when we even when you got in it was still early days. Yeah, sure.

John Corcoran 5:30

I mean, I’ve recorded my first interviews, were over video, Skype, you know, Zoom is only been around for however long, right? But it did video Skype for years.

Glenn Hebert 5:38

Yeah, we still use Skype actually to record our shows. So yeah, it was it was the early days. And it was and I was dealing with horse people who tend not to be as technologically savvy. And part of that is because they have crappy internet, even to this day, they live on the farms in the middle of nowhere. So I’ve always had the extra challenge of having an audience that sometimes and I still hear this have to wait till next month to download the shows because they’re on a new data for next month. So you know it, we still have that challenge in the horse world because only people are rural. Our guests are 90% on the phone because it’s a better connection than their internet. Wow. You know, which which you don’t have to deal with because you’re dealing with tech, you know, tech people and in a business world.

John Corcoran 6:23

Yes. Yeah. No, I can’t remember the last time someone said that they had to do it over a phone. You know, that’s that’s been a while since that’s so you had so you deal with that issue early on? So did it feel like you weren’t getting traction? Or what was it like,

Glenn Hebert 6:40

after six months of doing our first show in 2008? For the network that was called the stable scripture. We did a weekly we had 12 listeners after six months. Wow. You know, so these people today who are like, I’m a year in and I only have 5000 downloads a year, and maybe with 300 downloads, yeah, it started to take off a little bit after that. And where people were listening, where my people were listening was on their computers, it was still on their computers in those early days. So we picked up, you know, to 1000s of downloads because they were listening on their computers, they found us there. And then we started adding shows and adding shows. And then in 2010, when you started is when we started Horses in the Morning, which our daily show, and what inspired.

John Corcoran 7:22

Because you know that for a while daily shows were popular. And I mean, I’ve seen a lot of people try a daily show, they do it for a little while, and then they quit.

Glenn Hebert 7:34

But what inspired you to do that? I always wanted to be a morning radio show guy on morning drive radio. And that seemed like too much effort to get up and go to work. So I, I said, Well, I’m just going to start when we actually were live for almost nine years. We didn’t live every morning. And we were an hour and a half, five days a week. And my co host Jamie, who I found this interesting story. I put a Facebook ad up in the early days of Facebook, I said I’m looking for a host for a daily show that knows about horses and is funny. That’s pretty much what my dad said. And I was smart. I made him leave voicemails if they were interested so I could hear him. Yeah, when my wife and I opened a bottle of wine one night, and we listened to 82 voicemails that we had gotten of people who wanted to be hosts of the show. It was the 82nd voicemail was Jamie. Wow, she had come from morning drive radio for 10 years. She was on the morning drive radio show. She was the girl. So he’s two girls and a guy, Two Guys and a girl. She was a girl. And she had done that for 10 years in Atlanta. And so she had some amazing skills that yeah, she was she’s an excellent storyteller. Yeah. So it was her from the beginning. And we’re still together 3300 episodes later. So we didn’t quit. We were one of the ones that didn’t quit.

John Corcoran 8:46

Yeah, that now there’s so many ups and downs. And there’s so you know, I mean, I almost quit five years into it, even though I really liked doing it. Because I was stuck in the middle of it. And it was it was doing parts that I really didn’t enjoy about it. Let’s talk about building the network. Because there’s one thing to go from, you know, if your show is profitable, and you’re generating some revenue from it, even if not a lot. But to create other shows. How did you figure out what the business model would be around to the other shows, because I’ve heard different, you know, models on different networks. Sometimes they pay the host, sometimes the host is totally responsible for sell, you know, for generating revenue from it. There’s different arrangements.

Glenn Hebert 9:26

When we started, we paid the hosts, we hired the host, we owned all the shows, and then we would sell the advertising against the shows. So we paid them a flat rate. And we pretty much for the shows we own we still pretty much do it that way today. So we pay them a flat rate. And then we sell all the advertising against it. So we pay all the expenses. And in the early days and still today with a lot of our shows. We actually had a producer like radio. We have a producer that sits in with the hosts records and edits and does all of that. So all the hosts Swenk are responsible for his content, they don’t do anything else they, they’re responsible for good content and booking the guests and doing that kind of thing. And when we started, we were that way. Eventually,, when there were other horse podcasts out there, which took a lot of years, that started creating horse podcasts that I thought were pretty good. They were already established, then we would bring them in, under an arrangement, an advertising split arrangement. So they did all of their editing and, you know, paid their bills. And then we, if we sold advertising gets their show, we just did an advertising split. So there are two models there. But we started out owning all the shows. And we still start shows today that we own and we pay the hosts. And we use that same model. And we also have what we call affiliate shows that are produced by they produce it themselves. And then we do an advertising split with them.