Podcasting has come to the Port City with the establishment of Deep Fried Studios in the heart of downtown Mobile.

According to Johnny Gwin, who owns Deep Fried Studios with his wife, Stacy Wellborn, podcasting originated about a decade ago with the advent of Apple Corporation’s revolutionary iPod product. At the time considered a fad, and perhaps viewed as obsolete after the advent of social media stalwarts Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, podcasting has seen a resurgence recently because of a plenitude of factors.

Appropriately, the term “podcast” is the organic amalgamation of the words “iPod” and “broadcast” and just one example of nascent venues bubbling up in the broadcasting marketplace for modern multimedia dissemination.

“Podcasting is basically personalized radio, where the user can identify interest areas and find podcast programs of interest to them,” Wellborn said. “Many podcast listeners develop an emotional connection to their podcasts and rely on them for information. As a result, advertisers see their products can be purchased by up to 60 percent of listeners, therefore making advertising on podcasting highly targeted and a high return on investment for advertising dollars.”

When asked about the how, why, where and when behind the idea of starting a podcasting company in Mobile with no prior experience in the industry, Wellborn elaborated.

“As Johnny is a podcast fanatic, I attended a podcast seminar this past summer in Texas with him to make sure he didn’t spend too much of our money. After one day of the conference, it was apparent to us that our real opportunity was to create a production company for local and regional businesses to use podcasts as a tool in their communication, marketing and advertising strategic plans,” Wellborn said. ”Our goal now is to help companies use this new tool to promote and expand their business while at the same time creating some shows of our own that will allow us to learn and explore this new medium.”

The duo seem to comfortably know their roles as a Deep Fried power couple with complementary skill sets. Wellborn is in charge of developing the business application side of the company and Gwin leads the charge as creative producer for its home-grown podcast show lineup.

“In the fall of 2014, the medium of podcasting achieved a milestone moment. The podcast ‘Serial,’ which reinvestigated the 1999 murder of Maryland high school student Hae Min Lee, became the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads in iTunes history. Although its success clearly represented a new peak in podcast popularity, Pew Research Center data showed the medium has been steadily growing its audience over the past two years. Advances in technology, in particular the rapid growth in use of smartphones and tablets, have contributed to the uptick of interest in podcasts,” Gwin said.

In regard to the uses of podcasting for marketing, Wellborn elucidated on value-added services. “Niche and content marketing media is cluttered today, with over 5,000 messages a day received by consumers. Advertisers need to be more targeted in their messaging and content strategy. As part of a good plan, podcasts are effective tools in communicating messages to the target audience,” Wellborn said
“Also, as websites begin to turn off ads, including pop-up and banner ads, native advertising will really begin to increase. Native advertising refers to ads that are read and/or included in podcast or radio content, but are less specifically positioned commercials and more as part of the dissemination of the media. There is an ethical dilemma behind doing this, however, and shows using native advertising need to tread carefully,” she added.

According to Gwin, 2016 may be the year of the podcast. “This could be considered a ‘Golden Age’ in the industry similar to the Punk Rock movement of the 1970s. What that means is that it’s fairly easy and affordable to enter the market with current technology. You can set up and do a podcast show from virtually anywhere,” Gwin said.

“As a fanboy, I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts and it is unbelievable how talented some people are behind the microphone. Many of these individuals never had the chance to work in traditional, terrestrial radio because that industry didn’t have the room to offer an opportunity. Today, though, people can put their message out fairly easily via multiple social media sources and success is truly only limited by how good you are. That’s a meritocracy I can definitely get behind and believe in,” Gwin said.

Have a listen:


Commercial real estate moves
The 20,000-square-foot Poser Building, located at 7530 Highway 98 in Fairhope, recently sold to local investors for $2,025,000. The fully leased professional office building is situated at the corner of Highway 98 and Parker Road. Inge & Associates represented the buyers; Spence Monroe with Ashurst Niemeyer and David Dexter with NAI Mobile worked for the seller.

Some 1,150 square feet of office space at the Executive Center, located at 917 Western America Circle in Mobile, was recently leased by First Exchange Bank of Alabama. Pratt Thomas of Merrill P. Thomas Co. represented the tenant; Janet Keene of Bender Real Estate Group worked for the landlord.  

According to Tim Herrington with Herrington Realty, Birmingham-based franchise Taziki’s Mediterranean Grill has leased space at the Shore Oaks Center currently under construction in Daphne near the intersection of Highway 98 and Daphne Avenue. The site is expected to open sometime next spring. Fairfield, Connecticut-based Kleban Properties is the developer.  
BASF makes major holiday contribution to United Way
Recently the BASF site in McIntosh contributed more than $50,000 to United Way of Southwest Alabama. The funds will assist more than 50 United Way partner agencies in Choctaw, Clarke, Mobile and Washington counties, according to a news release.

“Our partnership with United Way strengthens our local communities and positively changes the lives of those served by nonprofit agencies,” George Vann, vice president of the BASF site in McIntosh, said. “This contribution is a commitment to invest in the most critical needs facing our area.”

Headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, BASF Corporation is the North American affiliate of BASF SE of Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 17,000 employees in North America and had sales of $20.6 billion in 2014. More information about BASF’s North American operations is available on its website.