With live podcasting events becoming more and more common these days, when you hear about something called the Podcast World Tour, that’s where your mind goes. So, its co-founder, Rich Casanova, wants to help clarify because he and his associates are using podcasting for humanitarian efforts and not to go somewhere for a couple hours one night to do a podcast and leave.
They are road warriors who are helping create awareness for the Auditory Verbal Center, a 40-year old nonprofit that they adopted as the mission for their tour.
Casanova talks about the three I’s for the tour.
“‘Inform,’ be informed about what’s happening in that town, that city, the movers and shakers, from startups to icons to nonprofits, and just continue the conversation and inform them about what we’re doing. The second piece is ‘inspire.’ So, we’re looking for inspiring stories, inspiring people. Then we hope to inspire people to help us make an ‘impact.’ And the impact is… the Auditory Verbal Center.”
Explaining that organization’s work, he says, “They literally take a kid that’s born deaf, or, severe hearing loss, and through two steps; implants, the surgery procedure, but it can’t end there because there’s actually been medical nonprofit organizations that ship these devices to third world countries, the surgery has been done, and the kid still lives in a silent world. There’s a most important second piece of it, is about two to three years of high-level speech therapy… During their weekly sessions for that entire two years or more, they have the parent, the child, and the therapist in the same space – up until recently, now they have teletherapy. It’s a complicated process but we’re not asking for a cure. We’re not raising money. Hopefully there can be a cure down the road. It’s an awareness campaign.”
While Casanova and others from the Podcast World Tour were setup this past weekend at Podfest Multimedia Expo in Orlando, and continued raising money there, he reinforced this clarification.
“And so, to be transparent, we’re not raising money for the nonprofit. They’re somewhat self-sufficient being around that long and having so many donors and also some of it’s covered by medical insurance.” In other words, the donations help the tour get around so they can create more widespread awareness of the Auditory Verbal Center.
As stated earlier, the Podcast World Tour isn’t a one-night stand.
“When we travel, right now we have allocated 25 cities in the U.S. and some countries around the world,” Casanova says. “When we land in that city it’s typically about three or four days.”
Starting the Podcast World Tour
This was all born out of Atlanta where Casanova’s podcast network is, with studios and production. (Casanova was in radio in California for about ten years.)
“I thought to myself, I’d like to somehow find a nonprofit that we can kind of get behind. I wanted to kind of, like, sync with podcasting and our platform” (something to do with hearing).
Asked about how and why the Auditory Verbal Center was chosen, Casanova says, “I use two analogies. Tom’s Shoes, they donate a pair of shoes to every kid – when they buy a pair, they donate a pair. Home Depot aligns with Habitat for Humanity. They’re in the home building business. My messaging to podcasters, as a fellow podcaster as well, is, we’re not in the business of selling shoes or building homes. We’re in the business of hearing and talking and speaking, allowing people to communicate on a podcasting platform. Two of our hosts on our platform, later in life, had severe hearing loss.”
Hitting the Road
As for the Podcast World Tour logistics, the first couple days they set up a pop-up studio. They attend every event they can attend in that city (business, podcasting, meetup, chambers of commerce) “just to help spread the word and create awareness.” The last night of the tour in that city, they ramp up to an awareness event (sharing the message about the nonprofit).
The first leg of the tour was self-funded, “But now we’re at the tipping point where we need podcasters to come onboard, the community to rally behind us… What if we collectively adopted this nonprofit so those kids could become future podcasters?”
Casanova reports that the last two stops they had over 100 podcasters at their event. The initiative had launched “about six months ago officially, although we’ve been working on it longer than that. Our first event was pop-up events in our home market of Atlanta, but then we went to Greenville, South Carolina. And our next stop was in Charlotte. We’re in Orlando (this past weekend). Northwest (U.S.) will be hopefully our next stop, and then Midwest and then west.”
“When people say, ‘How can I help?’ – share it on social media, donate, buy some merch.”
Casanova’s “bread and butter” is Pro Business Channel, a network of seven studios, including a business internet radio platform for their own content and other hosts. They also launched Global Podcast Studios, which he calls, “The Air BnB for podcasting.” And, the Podcast World Tour was a recipient of the International Podcast Day Gratitude Award.
For more information, visit www.PodcastWorldTour.org.