Welcome to the third article in The Back Story. This time, we will be exploring the world of podcasting. I admit, aside from listening to a few recently, this was (still is) pretty much foreign territory to me! So I did some research to find out about it. Surprisingly, it’s been around longer than I imagined. Wikipedia had the most information, so a brief quote on podcasting’s origins.
“Podcasts, previously known as “audioblogs”, had its roots dating back to the 1980s. With the advent of broadband Internet access and portable digital audio playback devices such as the iPod, podcasting began to catch hold in late 2004. Today there are more than 115,000 English-language podcasts available on the Internet, and dozens of websites available for distribution at little or no cost to the producer or listener. ” History of podcasting – Wikipedia
The rest of the article went into great detail, some of it quite technical for a novice like me. But what it boils down to is that a podcast is more or less a filmed or recorded form of communicating your ideas, sharing information, or telling stories. So, let’s dive in.
My guest is Kaden Collins, whose podcast “The KGC Show,” or “The Spokane Man” on some platforms, revolves around his passion to want to encourage and motivate people as to the things they can do and achieve. Kaden himself is an encouraging story: 19 years old, with Asperger’s and other health issues. His parents were told he had a 0 in 1000 chance to survive, and to date has had 11 surgeries, but is here, and thriving. Kaden lives with his extended family and a “ton load of animals.”
Our conversation started with some background on Kaden himself.
Kaden is a graduate of Innovation High School in Spokane, WA. He loved the experience because it was more of a family than a school. It encouraged and taught him to be self-motivated. “That’s the best staff I’ve ever seen.” He was able to build relationships, and grow physically, mentally, and spiritually while at Innovation.
He shared a great story from his graduation day. Kaden admits to “pacing back and forth” because he was nervous. “Scared out of his wits” as he says. He got a phone call from an unknown number. It turned out to be music producer Jeff Panzer and William Lee Golden (of The Oak Ridge Boys.) They called to say how much they appreciated his support of the Golden’s and Jeff’s projects over the years. With that, he was able to be calmer and get through the rest of the graduation.
Kaden began podcasting in early 2020, after the death of his grandmother in February. He was of course sad and down, and decided to go onto the internet and share a little bit to honor her. Later, his best friend (and lighting director for the podcasts) called to say that Kenny Rogers had just died. So, Kaden wanted to pay tribute to him as well. He then did one in tribute to Charlie Daniels. And thus was born his podcast.
He has found that podcasts can help people get a better understanding of other people’s lives. Kaden has had many challenges in life due to his health issues. and his survival and full life has led him to want people to know that the circumstances in your life shouldn’t keep you from accomplishing things, and doing things you love. I asked him them how producer Jeff Panzer came into the picture.
“Well, you know, there’s a 2-sided story to everything, so here is my side. Jeff and I met when he first went on twitter and I DM’d him to ask for William Lee Golden’s phone number, and of course he wouldn’t share. Jeff later called from his phone, and I shared my story. He started helping me with my podcasts and my guests. Jeff has been a huge influence on me and shown me the ropes on how to perfect my show.”
Well, now for Jeff’s side of the story! (Since Kaden said it was two sided!)
According to Jeff, he was working with William Lee Golden and his sons on their multi-album project in 2020. At a weekly teleconference with the publicity company, 2911 Media, Jeff asked what else was happening that he needed to know. He was told they’d had an unusual phone call from some guy in Washington state wanting to interview William Lee. Jeff said he listened to the message and didn’t really know what to make of it. But it stuck with him. After some time had passed, he called them back and asked for the phone number. After talking with Kaden, Jeff found that some aspects of Kaden’s story echoed events and circumstances from his own family, and after some deliberation, he decided to help Kaden improve and grow his podcast.
The KGC show began as the Spokane Man. But Jeff said that The Spokane Man sounded like he worked for the government or something! So after a couple of weeks of “grinding his teeth” he changed the name and had as his first guest, singer/songwriter Danni Steffanetti.
I asked Kaden how he found his guests. After he has someone in mind, he looks for artists’ press kits and then begins researching their art, music, or lives, and finds out how to get in touch to see if they are interested. He says, “You never know when somebody needs you the most.” So, he looks for up and coming, as well as known artists. This is a full time project for Kaden. He feels he never wants to miss an opportunity. “You’re not just building a friendship. you’re building a connection with them; you’re building a relationship to where they come back on when they have a new album out.” He wants them to be able to say they want to come back and talk about new projects.
When asked about what liked the most about the process, Kaden shared that he loves everything about it. (Well, except for editing!) He loves communicating with his audience with his interviews and questions. He feels that connecting to the audience is the key to a successful and interesting podcast. He loves “starting from zero.” He enjoys the hard work that goes into it. Putting in the work creates the experience needed to grow your business and show people that the work pays off in the end.
I asked how he got the word out about his show and his guests. Like a lot of people now, Kaden uses social media, mainly Twitter. And he says friends like Danni will share clips and retweets, but he believes he should do it himself, as he is the one responsible for the show. Currently, he does not work from a studio, but is planning to grow into one. Right now his friend comes into his home and does the lighting for him every time he has a podcast ready.
Kaden shared that a lot of people ask, “Why haven’t you given up yet?” Kaden’s answer is “How are you supposed to get anywhere if you give up too soon? How can you say you want to be a successful podcaster if you give up after an hour? You need to stick to what you love to do.” He also gets asked a lot if he’s making money from this. “If I wanted to make a lot of money, I’d go be a banker…. I do it to make the fans happy and to build connections with people'”
I asked him what factors were important to him in selecting a guest. “Really the only qualification I have is just being good people.” H also tries to work with the interviewee in such a way that he doesn’t bore them or the audience and leaves the artist wanting to come back to share more, and the audience wanting to hear more.
Who was your most favorite guest? Danni Stefanutti, because I am getting to watch her career take off. She was one of his early interviews. He said he was out one day and Jeff Panzer called and said, “Are you ready to interview Danni ?” Kaden had to run home and as he arrived, Danni called and they talked for an hour. “It wasn’t even the interview!” Then, after her EPK was released, Kaden did interview her and Jeff asked him to edit her EPK into the show. It was challenging to do, but he did it successfully. So now watching her career has been a great experience. But, he says his all time favorite interview of course was William Lee Golden, simply because he’s William Lee.
When I asked if he’d ever had an interview go off the rails, he said he interviewed his Canadian cousin, but it died quickly and was so horrible that he hasn’t even uploaded it. He also made a new rule after that: Never interview family.
After this, we went into some of the “hows” of doing his show. First, I asked how he found
guests? He said sometimes Jeff suggests people, sometimes Kaden just looks for someone, especially independent artists needing to promote new music, albums or shows. He also doesn’t air a show ‘live.’ He prerecords them then uploads them unless they need editing. As a point of curiosity, I asked Kaden who he would love to interview if he could interview anyone at all, living or dead. Of course one answer was predictable: Elvis! But he also said he would love to interview Stevie Wonder.
As you may have noticed, a lot of Kaden’s shows and indeed his interests, revolve around music. I asked if this was a coincidence or a deliberate choice? He said he tries to be diverse, but right now his main contacts are among the music community, so that’s where his guests are drawn from. On the subject of music, he shared that his favorite genres are country and gospel. “It’s what my family grew up with, and they’re the reason I’m here today.” He considers his mom and stepdad his best friends. “I love my family and I love God.”
We then did a round of rapid fire questions, just for fun.
- Beach or mountains: MOUNTAINS
- Walk or run: NEITHER
- Cats or dogs: DOGS
- Football or tennis: FOOTBALL
- Cook or eat out: EAT OUT
- Gym or nap: NAP
- Big party or a few friends: BOTH
- CDs or vinyl: VINYL
- Old movies or modern sitcom: OLD MOVIES
- Color: RED, WHITE & BLUE
- Restaurant or food: CLOSEST
- Book or author: BIBLE, Behind the Beard, On the Road With the Oak Ridge Boys
- Song: “17 STARS,” by Danni Stefanutti
- Painter or sculptor: William Lee Golden
- Movie: “TOY STORY”
- Actor: JOHN WAYNE
- Actress: FAITH HILL
To finish up our talk, we decided to go deeper into Kaden’s faith journey. “I’m a firm believer in Jesus. Growing up with the health conditions I have, it would have been easy to walk away. But I haven’t. I knew that if it wasn’t God’s plan, I wouldn’t be here.” I asked if he had a family legacy of faith, and he said yes, that his mom instilled in him a love of going to church. His current church is Crosswinds Church, and he even sings bass sometimes. He initially accepted Jesus at a young age. But at a revival at Crosswinds, a man named Dan Womack spoke and he knew he wanted to dedicate his life to Jesus. So a few weeks later he went to his pastor, Rick Nelson, in order to be baptized as a believer. This was in 2021, and he counts that as the beginning of his walk with the Lord.
Kaden’s podcast can be found on Spotify and YouTube (check out both YouTube links for the original Spokane Man shows, as well as the KGC Show link below.) You can also contact Kaden by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to Kaden for taking the time to speak with me, so that I could share a little with you, dear readers, the Back Story of an interesting young man. Also, a huge shout out to the talented and always-busy Jeff Panzer for your time! Thank you, sir!
Be sure to follow Kaden on social media, and subscribe to his podcasts!