The latest star in the red-hot podcasting space is hardly a newcomer to media. iHeartMedia just announced that its latest on-demand audio host is Barbara Corcoran. Initially known in New York circles as the doyenne of real estate, Corcoran has earned national recognition as an investment expert -- or “shark” -- on ABC’s entrepreneurial reality show Shark Tank and as a very memorable contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Already a speaker, consultant, author and syndicated columnist, Corcoran is now embracing audio with her new iHeartRadio podcast, Business Unu$ual. I spoke with the now fully multi-platform media maven about her feelings about podcasting, and asked iHeartRadio’s Senior Vice President of Podcasting, Chris Peterson, how he’ll put its promotional power behind her show (and how it was to negotiate with a bona fide shark!)
E.B. Moss: Barbara, you’ve mentored many women in businesses. Can you speak about any women in the media industry who supported you in your transition from buildings to broadcasting?
Barbara Corcoran: The first time I was invited to go on ABC’s The View I had just sold my large real estate company and Barbara Walters was still the lead on the show. As the newly-minted real estate expert, I was doing a segment on “the best places to lose weight.” I can’t remember what the best places were, nor did I have a weight problem, but I do remember what Barbara asked me once the cameras were off. She said: ‘So, now that you’ve sold your real estate business, what do you plan to do?’ I proudly told her that I was going into the TV business and that I was planning to be an expert on entrepreneurship because I was tired of real estate and didn’t want to talk about it anymore. Her response? ‘You don’t think you care about real estate until someone else grabs that tree and claims it. You should keep using your real estate knowledge to become a real estate expert on TV and then once established you can become whatever you want to be.’ For the next eight years, I did real estate segments, until a producer called and asked me to be on this new show called Shark Tank. That was nine years ago and I just signed up for three more.
Moss: Chris, how did this podcast come about? Did you work with Barbara to create it, or did she and the team come to you? You must be thrilled to have her on the iHeartRadio platform!
Chris Peterson: Barbara made a guest appearance on iHeartRadio’s Elvis Duran and The Morning Show and they hit it off immediately. Elvis called me and told me that I needed to meet Barbara, just to see if there’d be any opportunity to create a podcast or other content. We met and, nearly two hours later, Barbara was ready to “invest” in iHeartRadio! We discussed a lot of content ideas but doing a short-form podcast seemed to resonate most, so we started testing concepts and knew we had a winner. We couldn’t be more excited to have her join the iHeartRadio family.
Moss: Barbara, as someone who works on multiple media platforms, what appeals to you about audio and what are you looking forward to from podcasting?
Corcoran: I’ve written three books and have done a lot of television work, but there is nothing that compares to the individual podcast. Writing a book is a tedious project and the whole while you’re always wondering, ‘Will anyone read it?’ Television is a powerful medium, but you spend most of your time in front of cameramen with impersonal camera lenses in your face. You’re also always playing a role that suits the program you’re on, so you never feel yourself.
Podcasting is different for me. The moment I step into a tiny sound room to record, or in my case the supply closet at the back of my office, I start feeling cozy. When I cover my ears with my oversized earphones and move the mic within an inch of my mouth, I can picture my listener right there in front of me and I know they’re waiting for me to say something smart or useful. For me, the podcast is the most intimate form of communication aside from a love letter.
Moss: Chris, how will you market and promote this great new addition?
Peterson: We’ll be using the full power of iHeartMedia to reach millions of listeners at launch of the podcast. From interviews with our biggest personalities to radio promos, social media, live events and digital assets pointing to it, this will be one of our most robust podcast launches ever.
Moss: How was it to negotiate with Barbara? Who was the shark?!
Peterson: Honestly, it was a dream come true! I am obsessed with Shark Tank and to actually pitch a shark and get the deal was so much fun. Even more, Barbara is great to work with and we are eager to build this into a great franchise.
Moss: Barbara, will you find opportunities to connect Shark Tank and your co-hosts to the podcast? Have you seen any compelling new business ideas for podcasting come out of the Tank, like in tech or any tie-ins?
Corcoran: Podcasting is still in its infancy. No surprise, we haven’t seen any podcast-related ideas yet at Shark Tank, but my eyes are wide open. I plan to grab the first entrepreneur I see this season who pitches me a smart angle on how to make money at this phenomenon.
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