Dan Franks Reflects On PM 2019


Podcast Movement 2019 in Orlando was the sixth time the event has been held. It started out as a small idea among a few friends and has blossomed into the biggest gathering of podcasters in the United States. Over 3,000 people attended the show this year. It’s the job of Dan Franks to make the event run smoothly. Let’s find out what he thinks about how this year’s event went.

PBJ: Overall, are you happy with the show this year? Give us your thoughts now it’s over.
Dan Franks: Of the six years we’ve hosted Podcast Movement, this is the most positive energy we’ve ever felt coming out of the event. To us, success is one hundred percent dependent on how those who invested their time and money feel it went, and all signs point to it being a positive experience for almost everyone.

PBJ: What have you heard people enjoyed the most about the 2019 show?
Dan Franks: The key to a successful event is to give people the best and most opportunities to connect with each other. This year, the expo hall was bigger and better than ever, giving attendees more exhibitors and sponsors to meet. The breaks in between sessions were longer, giving more time for audience Q&A with speakers, or just hanging out with one another. And the venue was perfect for spreading out within the conference space, and having quiet meetings or impromptu meetups.

We’ve heard of so many connections being made because of all these factors, and so much positivity and excitement coming out of the event. Layer upon that the world-class education and super-fun parties. Feedback has been tremendous.

PBJ: If you could change one thing – or make one thing better – what would that be?
Dan Franks: These past few years, the event has grown so big and has so many things going on, that keeping all the moving pieces organized for attendee communication and consumption is a challenge. Each year it becomes increasingly difficult to effectively communicate everything that is going on, where it’s happening, when it’s happening, and all of that. Layer on top of it any changes that will inevitably happen last minute, and the challenge is real!

We’ve put more focus on the mobile app, and digital signage, which both make it easier to keep things updated in real time. So we’re actively working on keeping things as organized as possible, and improve year to year.

PBJ: How hard is it to keep the conference intimate, with it growing so quickly, and still find the perfect facility to hold it?
Dan Franks: Facilities are becoming a bigger and bigger challenge with each passing year. We know the feel we want, which is everything under one roof, everyone staying at the conference hotel, and all of that. However the more we grow, the fewer venues there are that can fit that feel. All of that said, as the event grows, we will still have the goal of keeping everything as central as possible, front of mind. Keeping things in one place, combined with our slew of orientations, mixers, networking events, and both our official and unofficial meetup programs, we think that there is still a high level of intimacy not found in other large events.

PBJ: You’ve added a second show in L.A. in February. Why and how will that show be different?
Dan Franks: “Evolutions” is going to be completely different in format, and significantly different in content as well. Evolutions’ content is all about the changing landscape of the podcast industry. Whether you’re an industry professional, a full-time podcaster, or a hobbyist creator, it’s important to know what is happening in the space around you. That’s where Evolutions comes in.

Like Podcast Movement, education is at the center of the event, and it will be world class. Unlike Podcast Movement, all sessions will be based on new trends, technology, or topics. Think of it as a deep dive into the latest and greatest, and a master class on what you need to know, and what you can let go.

Evolutions education is divided into tracks based on who you are as an attendee, versus the actual topic type. For example, you might decide to attend on the Professional Podcaster track, and throughout the three days you’ll participate in sessions on a variety of topics, ranging from marketing to monetization. Think of it as a single-track event tailored to you and your needs, where over the course of the event you’ll get a super well-rounded education.

The three tracks at Evolutions are the “Creator Track” for newer or hobbyist podcasters, the “Professional Podcaster Track” for full-time podcasters, or those getting close to it, and the “Industry Professional Track,” which is self explanatory. Each track will have its own registration, and then similar to Podcast Movement, all attendees will come together for keynotes, networking events, and parties.

Registration for Evolutions, as well as Podcast Movement 2020 in Dallas next August, will open later in September.

PBJ: For someone running a conference with 3,000 attendees, you looked pretty calm the entire show. What’s up with that?
Dan Franks: Like a duck on the water, it’s chaos underneath, but all looks calm from the surface!