Three Plant City residents are making waves with their podcast, which acts as a “podcast book club” to help listeners fall in love with a wide variety of exemplary shows. Thousands of listeners tune in every month and their reach is only continuing to grow.
There is always more to discover.
This simple principle has guided three Plant City friends their entire lives. From their adventures in middle and high school to their voyage into adulthood, they’ve always been on the hunt for new and fascinating knowledge.
Now they’ve successfully channeled their insatiable curiosity into a successful podcast that has earned a prestigious 4.5 out of 5 star rating for its conversational and informative content. In “The Podcast Discovery Show,” Zach Howe, Josh Howe and Kirk Griffin explore a different podcast every week, diving into what sets it apart and helping others find their new favorite binge.
“I think it’s helped that we’ve known each other for so long,” Griffin said. “There’s this natural chemistry that comes from us being really good friends that helps make each episode feel like a conversation between us and the listeners. In a way, we’re like a podcast book club. At first we thought we might want to be a podcast review, but there’s so much negativity out there and we didn’t want to be a part of that. So we spend a lot of time combing through different podcasts and we only recommend things we like.”
It all started several years ago when the they would often find themselves recommending podcasts to each other. They each have vastly different tastes and preferences, so they were able to quickly branch out and expand their knowledge on countless topics. Podcasts are reminiscent of the radio shows that once reigned supreme, but with much more freedom to focus in on very niche topics. If you have a passion, there undoubtedly is a podcast, if not a slew of podcasts, that fit that very interest. Over the past several years, the platform has exploded worldwide and there are more than 30 million episodes available for download.
Because of the nature of their jobs, they listen to podcasts all day long. In their free time, they’re listening to podcasts. They love them, they love what they bring into the world and they decided the wanted to help others fall in love with them, too.
Whether it’s a popular podcast or an indie podcast, the trio will delve into its makeup and content and help shine a spotlight on shows many would miss in the more than 700,000 active podcasts lingering around the web.
“It quickly became the highlight of our week,” Zach Howe said. “We have very different tastes, but all of us have a passion for discovery. It seems a lot of other people do too, because we’re really starting to get an audience behind us… one of the most rewarding things for me is when we talk about a podcast that’s doing amazing things, but that doesn’t have a huge following yet and they reach out later and thank us for helping highlight them. We love being able to help people find these super creative shows that are hiding among the hundreds of thousands of other podcasts out there.”
Everything from true crime to The Bachelor, from nerd culture analysis to houseplants, goes under the microscope. Each episode features an overview of a show, focusing in on one specific episode, and then the trio share their thoughts. At the end of the episode, they share next week’s recommendation so their listeners can try it for themselves to see how their thoughts compare.
Right now, PDS is averaging around 4,000 downloads per month from listeners across the globe and have expanded to an interactive Facebook group for their listeners to discuss other podcasts they like or even just random things in general they find interesting.
The group also now has a bonus show they’re labeling “The Other Discovery Show,” or TODS, which is where they discuss non-podcast related things they’ve discovered that week. TODS comes out on Tuesdays and the main show comes out on Thursdays. Griffin said they’ve found there’s many listeners who just come for the TODS episodes, while others stick to the podcast rundowns. A majority are rapidly consuming both.
“We saw the need for curation because of the pure amount of content that’s out there right now,” Zach Howe said. “We can do the legwork for people and find podcasts that are really doing something unique, that are adding to the quality of this platform. Especially with having such three very different tastes on the mic, we have to find some excellent shows or else we won’t recommend them.”
Though they’ve been at this for several years, the PDS is now quickly picking up steam. Six months ago, the trio decided to pour everything they had into transforming their fun hobby into a high-quality enterprise. They’ve attended podcasting conferences, gotten advice from podcast legends and are learning how to take the organic growth of their following and continue to engage with the masses.
As for tips for those wanting to dip their toes in the world of podcasting, Griffin said the key to finding out what shows work for you truly is trial and error. He recommends you first pick a genre you know you would enjoy and then start scrolling through either the subgenres or the trending shows. Typically, unless the podcast is a miniseries, the first episode is not the strongest one.
It will more than likely take a few tries before you find one you enjoy, but he said once you’re hooked, you’ll never leave.
If you take the time to subscribe to the PDS, you’ll hear little Plant City gems throughout many of the episodes.
Strawberry town natives, the trio frequently talk about the community they all love — discussing their memories of working at Parkesdale or running around the Florida Strawberry Festival or even working on local farms — and hope one day they grow enough of a local following to be able to host a live show in town. They’re also on the hunt for local podcasts to highlight and are asking anyone who fits the bill to reach out.
You can listen to The Podcast Discovery Show anywhere podcasts are featured including the Apple Podcast app, Spotify, Google Play, Youtube and more. A Patreon was also recently started for the show where they create exclusive content for their subscribers, which they call Podcast Discovery Shorties.
“This is the thing I go to bed thinking about and this is the thing I wake up thinking about,” Griffin said. “This is our passion and we absolutely love making it. We hope our listeners continue to enjoy it, too.”