SUPERIOR – Like a lot of entrepreneurs, Ronald Lewis is trying to figure out how to make a living doing what he loves.
In Lewis’ case, it’s podcasting.
Podcasting, a word that merges Apple’s “iPod” and “broadcasting,” is a method of publishing files to the Internet where users can download them onto an MP3 player.
So far, he’s had a lot of success getting high-profile people – from high-tech folks like the founders of offline Web provider Webaroo to high-touch performers like Motown recording artist Kem – to talk with him for Interviews with Ronald Lewis, his podcasting venture based in Superior.
These interviews don’t bring in cash, but they are increasing his visibility to the point where he’s hoping to attract sponsors and advertisers.
“I have attracted the interest of Cisco Systems in becoming a sponsor,” Lewis said. “There are also deals under consideration with some TV networks and retailers in aligning a sponsorship agreement.”
The sponsorship model is working for a few podcasters “who are doing very well,” Lewis said. He cited Mommycast.com, which is sponsored by Georgia-Pacific’s Dixie brand, and Autoblog.com, which is sponsored by Volvo.
Lewis launched his podcasting business “by accident,” he said. The technology-savvy Lewis – whose day job is consulting on everything from Voice over Internet Protocol to Web graphic design – thought of interviewing Mark Spencer, president of VoIP-provider Digium.
The interview was covered by Tom Keating in his VoIP & Gadget Blog, a blog on telecommunications Web site TMCnet. “That gave a lot of credibility to the interview,” Lewis said. “From there I thought, maybe I’m onto something.”
Interviews with Ronald Lewis has had more than 20,000 downloads since January, Lewis said. He drives traffic to the site through podcast directories and having interviewees post the interview to their Web site.
Podcasting has a very low cost of entry, Lewis said. “To actually set up a podcast – if you’ve got the recording hardware, PC and the software – you’re looking at zero dollars. Microphones and software could range from less than $100 to several hundred dollars. It depends on what your goals are and the quality of the content.”
Lewis spent $60 on “a very neat USB-integrated headset” that plugs into his laptop, and he talks with his subjects using VoIP. The recording software he uses, Adobe Audition, cost about $150 when he bought it in 2003, he said.
Interviews with Ronald Lewis is only part of Lewis’ entrepreneurial vision. He launched its parent company, Riverscape Corp., in 2005. Riverscape is a “digital lifestyle company helping people embrace podcasts, vidcasts, blogs and VoIP,” Lewis said. “All four of those categories are part of the digital lifestyle. We want to help people and businesses get onboard with these new technologies.”
According to Lewis, the company has a few silent partners who haven’t had to invest in the company yet. “It’s kind of being built organically. Initially the focus is on podcasts and Interviews with Ronald Lewis and developing that. We’re hoping from the podcast we get a lot of exposure, which will draw interest in the other technologies.”
Contact Caron Schwartz Ellis at (303) 440-4950 or email@example.com.