THE STORY OF THE PORTLAND POD
We Opened IN septemBer 2018
With little more than an old barrel, a couple of chairs, a set of mics, and three preexisting clients, our Founder quit his job and risked it all to open a brick-and-mortar podcast recording studio in Portland, Maine.
Before partnering with James LaPlante (owner of SoPoCo.Works co-working), The Portland Pod was little more than a laptop and a drop-in desk at a newly-opened co-working space in South Portland. The idea for The Portland Pod as a brick and mortar studio located within the co-working space of SoPoCo Works, began to take form once Tanner and James realized such a space could serve both their interests. There were problems, though.
“I had just had a very difficult relocation from Florida which was followed by an equally difficult transition into a permanent living situation in Maine. Within the span of six months I had moved around Portland and South Portland three times. I had a day job I didn’t have any passion for, my girlfriend was still in Florida, and I had no friends or resources in the state. I was unhappy, I was lonely, I felt lost, and I was broke.” – Tanner Campbell
Tanner approached his existing clientele, a handful of podcasts spread out around the world and made them an offer: Pre-pay for a year of service, and you’ll get it at 50% off. Three of five clients accepted the offer and there was now a very modest budget to build out a dedicated space within SoPoCo Works.
“When I first opened, the studio was an empty box. I hired a friend to rip and stain a few 2x4s and create a Maine-feeling “woodsy” type of accent wall, bought two chairs on Amazon, purchased an old whisky barrel on Craigslist, and fashioned an old cable spool from Graybar into a table top, and called it a podcasting studio. In retrospect it was an insane risk, nothing else in my life was going right and I was putting everything into this one basket because I believed in it” – TC
As no such space existed in Maine at the time, it was quickly picked up by Maine Biz Magazine and, as if overnight, The Portland Pod started getting phone calls and Tanner realized something he hadn’t before: The Portland Pod was first to market. He also realized, as a consequence of this, that a lot of time and effort would be needed to establish podcasting as an important creative medium and business strategy in a city and a state that had been slow to adopt podcasting up to that point.
“That’s where the idea for the League of Maine Podcasters came from. I had to start bringing people together, teaching where I could, and raising the visibility of podcasting. No one else was doing it, no one else could do it. Suddenly my 10 years of experience creating podcasts in Florida made me an expert. I’d never thought of myself in that way, but it was true, I knew the medium really well, from both the technical and creative perspectives. It was time to put that expertise to good use.” -TC
Additional funding was soon secured and the build out was matured. That funding also afforded us the opportunity to purchase a number of significant technical upgrades, and develop a modest marketing budget. Our “humble beginnings” studio had grown, almost overnight, into a known entity in the local community – and one which everyone seemed eager to learn more about.
The phone kept ringing, appointments kept being made, and by the Fall of 2019 we had hired a paid intern and developed plans to build out a second studio – Studio B – which is set to “break ground” this Winter. As far as the rest? Well, we’re still writing it.