Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

Tampa man flying high with drone podcast

Recorded in Tampa by city planner Randy Goers, the podcast "Drone Radio Show" has become a leading source of information for those who use unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, for commercial purposes.

When Goers launched the podcast two years ago, he averaged 500 monthly downloads. Now, worldwide downloads total 14,000 per month.

A new episode drops every Tuesday on the website droneradioshow.com.

"I have now done almost 140 shows and have been fortunate to talk with many credited with guarding the industry," said Goers, 61, Tampa’s urban planning coordinator who when off work dedicates up to 30 hours a week to the podcast to conduct interviews and research and edit and market the show.

"My show has become a credible media source."

Interview subjects have ranged from a vice president of Intel, a technical director of a Hong Kong-based business incubator that supports drone-related businesses in Barcelona and local cinematographers.

Topics he regularly covers include economic development, careers, regulations, new technology and even drone racing.

To put the power of this podcast in perspective, Chris Krimitsos, founder of Florida Podcasters Association — a local chamber of commerce for the industry —said imagine its weekly average of 3,500 listeners inside the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

"That’s a big audience every week," Krimitsos said. "This is a niche podcast with a niche audience. But with those numbers, when it comes to this niche, he has become one of the four or five key voices in the world for that industry. He found a niche he was passionate about and a passionate audience."

It was another big year for drone purchases.

Trade organization Consumer Technology Association predicts sales reached 3.4 million units in 2017, a 40 percent increase from 2016.

Ryan English, president of Tampa-based FLYMOTION that provides drone services and develops drone programs for companies and government agencies, said the growing popularity of Goer’s podcast proves sales are not just for hobbyist reasons.

"More people use drones and in more ways," he said. "And then they find his show. It’s become one of the industry’s great informational tools."

Drones were once thought to be tools only to be used by film and video production companies or realtors looking for unique ways to showcase property.

But over the past few years drones have also been adopted by, for example, building inspectors to get close looks at hard to see places, public safety agencies in search and rescues, and farmers to collect data on crops.

"When you look back over the last 30 years, there are certain technologies that are transformational," Goers said. "When the internet took off, a lot of people invested in the industry. I knew that was going to happen with drones."

He was bitten by the podcast bug after hearing about shows broadcast worldwide out of Tampa with niche focuses.

"I had three ideas," Goers said. "One was a travel podcast. Another was city planning related. And then I had this interest in drones."

When he shared the drone concept with other podcasters, "their eyes lit up and said do that because barely anyone else is anywhere in the country."

As for the future of the podcast - like drones, the sky is the limit.

He has nearly 275,000 downloads to date with his eye on a million.

"My thought was it would take me a few years to establish the podcast," he said. "But it has taken a lot less than that."

Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] Follow @PGuzzoTimes.

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