The H2O Podcast is now in its seventh season with over 230 episodes. Hosts Jason Hunt and Tim Harvey have been around since 2009 and the show covers a wide variety of topics within the science fiction, fantasy, and horror space. They broadcast live on their YouTube channel, then the audio goes out as a podcast.
PBJ: Why did you launch the podcast.
Jason Hunt: Tim and I met at the local filmmakers group, and frequently after the meetings, we would find ourselves in conversations about film and genre. At one point, we looked at each other and said, “You know we should be recording these, right?” I’m not sure who had the idea first, but it was an easy leap to make given the expanding proliferation of podcasts at the time.
PBJ: How do you find, research, gather your content.
Jason Hunt: A lot of it spins out of things happening in the news, stuff we see on our social media feeds, and the like. Some of it comes out of previous conversations, or comments from the audience. Research depends on the topic. Sometimes we have to dig pretty deep into news articles, and sometimes we just riff off of what we know and like from our history as genre fans.
PBJ: Over 230 episodes. What keeps you going?
Jason Hunt: It helps to be friends and ignore each other’s politics. We enjoy the common ground we have as fans. Tim’s more into horror than I am, but we both enjoy science fiction and fantasy, and that covers a lot of territory, so there’s never a lack of subject matter. Occasionally, we might revisit a topic if it feels relevant to something currently going on in the entertainment industry.
PBJ: How has your podcast evolved?
Jason Hunt: The original idea was to do something with video, so that’s our “Episode 0” in 2012, but the audience wasn’t there at the time, so that plus the technical requirements made it easy to pivot to an audio podcast. Eventually, we swerved back into video for special episodes, and then we went full video. Now the show airs live with the audio version uploaded to podcast players later in the week.
PBJ: Are you making money?
Jason Hunt: Since our YouTube channel is monetized, we do get a little from Google Ads and “super chat” donations, but it’s not a steady stream of revenue yet. I’d like to get to the point where all of our shows have regular advertisers. I think there’s an opportunity to put video ads on our channel while also putting display ads on our dot-com site. One partnership we do have is with SuperheroStuff.com, where we’ve set up a discount code, and we’re told that eventually we’ll get a piece of that. But we have to reach a certain sales threshold for that to pay out. We do have the SubscribeStar and PayPal options, but those haven’t been fruitful yet.
PBJ: How do you market the podcast?
Jason Hunt: Lots of social media posts. We also cross promote our shows, and I’ve been appearing on other podcasts and YouTube streams to tell people about the channel. Given the fact that we’re all-volunteer, we have limited resources, so we have to get creative. The original plan for 2020 was to attend more conventions and hand out our cards, but that got derailed by the current pandemic situation.
PBJ: What are your long-time goals with the show?
Jason Hunt: Most of the time, I think in terms of the platform itself, as far as goals. The H2O Podcast is our flagship/anchor show, and I think we’ve settled into a groove there, so beyond minor tweaks every now and then, the goal for that particular show is to continue providing interesting discussions that entertain our audience and give them new things to think about.
For the platform itself, I’d like to see us grow and migrate off YouTube altogether and become our own channel, something that’s available through services like Roku and Pluto TV, etc. It starts with treating the whole thing as if it’s already there, that we’re not just another YouTube channel. We’re a broadcast channel; we’re just waiting for everyone to catch up with us.