We talked to Madison Catania of Wildcast on how it makes connecting and collaborating easier for everyone in the podcast space.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Madison Catania: We’re very fortunate to be staying safe and healthy at home. As someone who has worked from home for the last few years, I’ve become accustomed to finding ways to connect with others virtually. Of course, there are many additional changes we’re all dealing with at the moment, but I’m happy to say that my family and I are hanging in there.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Wildcast?
Madison Catania: I’m the CEO & Co-Founder of Wildcast, a patent-pending podcast and guest networking platform that aims to help everyone in the podcast industry connect, engage, and collaborate. After developing a love for podcasting, aiming to connect people and bring innovative ideas to the forefront authentically, I knew I wanted to be involved in the industry.
Following this passion, I began working in pre-production for a top 50 Society & Culture podcast, Off The Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe, before ultimately joining an up and coming network, Podcast Nation, where I produced a variety of top-charting shows, including The WoMed with Danielle Maltby, Your Favorite Thing with Wells Adams and Brandi Cyrus, Sorry We’re Stoned with Brandi and Tish Cyrus, Riled Up with Matt Cutshall and Arielle Vandenberg, and several others.
After some time working in the industry, I noticed a significant gap with how the podcast industry was connecting – specifically in independent creators who are often women or minorities. Like much of the media, podcasting is dominated by male voices. Although women make up nearly half of all podcast listeners, most popular podcasts are led by men. Setting out to make podcasting more accessible for all, my co-founder and I developed the innovative platform that Wildcast is built upon.
How does Wildcast innovate?
Madison Catania: As someone who began in the production industry, Wildcast was built to address needs I was facing firsthand. I continuously work alongside podcasters and keep in touch with creators, including hosts, networks, and podcast guests, to know what those within the industry are looking for. We filed IP for our technology and are continuously innovating with new features to enhance user-friendly discovery, networking, and collaboration.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Madison Catania: With consumers stuck at home, we’ve noticed a spike in people discovering the world of podcasting. While overall listenership was down at the beginning of the pandemic, with listeners no longer commuting or sticking to their regular schedules, the world of podcasting has continued to grow and flourish through the weird year of 2020. Tapping into our sense of hearing, podcasts are perfect for those who want to listen along while making dinner, sending emails, exercising, and more. Ideal for the multi-tasker, they can tune in to follow along with their favorite true crime story, comedy show, or any other interest. Before the pandemic, a lot of creators were recording in-person, relying on nearby guests and studios. Now, podcasters and guests are much more open to collaborating remotely, which has created opportunities for us to reach people beyond any specific geographical area.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Madison Catania: I think the difficult choices we’ve had to make have luckily been the ones most entrepreneurs come to face rather than ones that are due to the pandemic. Those choices have surrounded allocating resources, facing competition, and growing our team meaningfully. We’re very much still a new company and learning new things weekly, if not daily, like how to collaborate with others in the space as a startup and what features and innovations to prioritize next.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Wildcast in the future?
Madison Catania: Of course, stress and anxiety are very common for our team. I believe for all entrepreneurs, but I think it’s essential to take a step back and put things into perspective by thinking of the big picture and the original vision. Our goal is to help everyone in the podcast industry connect and create unique content together. As long as we’re working toward that goal, we’re doing what we set out to do. There are a lot of factors in the industry and the world in general, as we’ve seen in 2020, that are out of our control, so while it’s easier said than done, I’d encourage everyone to try to focus on what matters the most, and that’s staying healthy, safe, sane, and building connections.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Madison Catania: While we are unique from our competitors due to our technology, users, and roadmap, we would say other podcast platforms, such as Poddit, MatchMaker, and RedCircle, also reach our target audience. Often, people compare podcast networking platforms, especially those with podcasts and guests, to dating apps or matchmaking services. As with dating apps, most people will try out multiple and maybe even regularly use several, not just one. We think there is room for more than only one or two players in the space. We also are gearing our upcoming features to provide more of a community and hub for everyone in the podcasting space, rather than a one-time matchmaking platform for podcasters and guests, which we believe will diversify our offering.
Your final thoughts?
Madison Catania: The podcast industry is such an exciting space to be in, especially right now. Things are continually changing and evolving with new technologies, providing solutions for podcasters, guests, advertisers, listeners, and more. Even though our world revolves around podcasting, it’s still clear that not everyone has discovered the medium yet. We hope to be a significant player in this quickly growing industry. We also want to provide every creator, big or small, to create amazing content with the tools they need. We’re excited to see what’s next for both our company and the industry as a whole!