Joe Pardo is founder of Mid-Atlantic Podcast Conference and host of Business with Super Joe Pardo. Also known as MAPCON, Mid-Atlantic Podcast Conference grew from local meetups, online hangouts, and a Facebook group designed for podcasters who live in North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and Connecticut.
Today, MAPCON, is an annual conference attracting podcasters from around the world. I asked Joe about the event and his thoughts on podcasting.
Mid-Atlantic Podcast Conference (MAPCON) Stats
Year founded: 2014
Attendee number: 100-200
Location: Greater Philadelphia Area
Frequency of event: Once per year
Length of event: Two days
Why start a podcasting conference?
I love bringing people together to a great, inviting environment. I felt that I could bring my unique take on conference interaction and cohesiveness to a podcasting conference.
I've hosted events since I was a little kid at my family's annual truck parts show with nearly 1000 attendees in a single night. Growing up I always hosted different events such as LAN parties, raves, truck display shows, and conventions. Putting together an event for people to come and learn about podcasting from each other seemed like a great progression.
Who is Mid-Atlantic Podcast Conference for?
Mid-Atlantic Podcast Conference (MAPCON) is designed for newcomers to podcasting all the way up to Hall-of-Famers. This event is an equalizer that enables podcasters with different backgrounds, with different experiences, and from parts of the world to come together and meet each other.
What can attendees expect?
MAPCON is a single-track conference designed for learning, but also fun. We have speakers from all over the world come to give their podcasting knowledge to others. And because the entire two-day event is in a single room, it allows attendees to get to know everybody there.
What makes Mid-Atlantic Podcast Conference different from other podcasting events?
The single track enables MAPCON to be a much more intimate experience than larger, multi-track podcasting events and we encourage this intimacy with organized sessions. For example, each year we do a podcasting workshop in the middle of the conference. Podcasters get into groups of four, are given five words in an envelope, and have 20 minutes to craft a 5-minute podcast that they perform in front of the entire conference. This work is judged by a panel of veteran podcasters and each winning team member takes home a microphone, traditionally an ATR-2100 from Audio-Technica.
How can an attendee get the most out of Mid-Atlantic Podcast Conference?
Before the event even starts, you should make sure to introduce yourself to everyone in the MAPCON Facebook group. Then make sure you show up, be present, and get involved with the podcasting workshop.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can apply to speak at the conference. As a first time speaker (Spotlight Speaker), you'll get a heavy discount on your ticket and present an 8-minute talk. Being a Spotlight Speaker qualifies you as a potential Featured Speaker for the following year which includes a comped ticket.
Advice for somebody wanting to organize a podcasting-related event...
Start with knowing who you want to attract and the goal you'd like to accomplish with your event. Go with what you know how to do first – don't try and build your event too big or too fast if you don't have the necessary experience.
Bring the right people together with the necessary skillsets if you don't have the technical, marketing, and hosting skills needed to do a successful event all by yourself. Start small to help ensure you don't waste money on something that is bigger than you can deliver on.
Thoughts on podcasting...
Podcasting is an incredible platform that allows you to bring people together around topics that would never get mainstream airplay. I think while the mainstream is looking to use podcasting as a way to archive their shows, podcasting's true potential lies in giving a voice to the voiceless.
Personally, if podcasting didn't exist, I would have never connected with so many incredible friends that I have today. I would have never been inspired to start my own show, The Business Podcast, nearly 5 years ago. I would have never started Mid-Atlantic Podcast Conference and I'd still be sitting around wondering what I wanted to do with my life. I owe a lot of my adult life to the power of podcasting. Getting to host MAPCON is just one way I get to give back to what has given me so much.