Yep, you read that right: the horse world’s only online radio network is a global player among podcasts!
When Glenn the Geek of the Horse Radio Network headed to Fort Worth, Texas for the 2015 Podcast Movement, an international podcasting conference, he didn’t intend to become the viral hit of the weekend. Glenn simply volunteered to do a little question and answer session to help fill an empty time block in a breakout session at the conference. Suddenly, everyone was talking about “that horse guy” and his equine internet radio shows; featured speakers in ten different sessions mentioned HRN. Glenn was invited to speak as a guest on 20 different podcasts. Everyone wanted to know the same thing: how did Glenn and the Horse Radio Network develop into one of the top five podcasting networks in the world?
Let that sink in for a moment: out of all of the podcasting networks worldwide, the Horse Radio Network ranks among the top. That’s an impressive feat for any podcast, but with the equestrian world being such a niche industry, it’s astounding.
But of course, it wasn’t always like that: three months after launching HRN, the ‘Stable Scoop’ online radio show counted a grand total of about twelve listeners. Fortunately for founder Glenn the Geek, he wasn’t producing the show to chase numbers — he was doing it because it was fun. Podcasting was so new at the time (eight years ago in August) that nobody really knew what to expect — Glenn was essentially making it up as he went along and leading the way for others; everyone was just trying to figure this new medium out.
Since those early days, HRN has grown: those first twelve listeners grew to over 130,000 in 92 countries. One show grew to eight. Two hosts grew to twenty. HRN, to date, has produced 4,200 episodes, featured over 6,000 guests and reviewed over 600 products. The largest show is ‘Horses in the Morning,’ airing every weekday morning in a radio-style format that’s unlike anything else in podcasting, especially in the horse world.
While the numbers speak for themselves about HRN’s popularity, they still don’t explain how the network developed. That kind of international reach which not only endures but continues to grow, year after year, is a testament to the hard work that Glenn the Geek and his wife Coach Jenn have put into HRN. Glenn estimates that there’s about six or seven hours of work “behind the scenes” that goes into every hour of recorded podcast time: editing, marketing online and through social media, sales, reading and answering listener emails, lining up guests, researching and more.
But more than just these hours of hard work, Glenn, like all of us in the equestrian world, has fostered real working relationships: with his listeners, with his guests and with his sponsors. It’s the relationship with this latter group that keeps HRN at the top of the network list: with an estimated 70% sponsor retention rate, it’s clear that the sponsoring companies — including the likes of Equestrian Collections, Omega Alpha, and Kentucky Performance Products — believe in and commit to HRN the same way that HRN believes in and commits to them.
And above all else, it’s the listeners that have taken HRN to the top: just by listening and sharing, we’ve brought the horse world to the rest of the world. It’s not just die-hard equestrians listening to the shows, after all: ‘Horses in the Morning’ is proud to count a large percentage of “horse husbands” among its listeners, who log on to listen to a podcast who believes in education through entertainment. Listeners tune in and download to laugh and have fun, and when people are entertained they often learn a little something too.
It’s the hosts that make the shows so fun to listen to. “We owe much of the success of HRN to our fabulous hosts,” Glenn states. “We are so lucky to have the most entertaining, engaging hosts in the world of podcasting.” HRN’s shows don’t have that dry lecture-hall feel — it’s more like sitting around the tack room at the end of the day chatting with your barn buddies. Some of the hosts have developed their own fan followings: case in point, the listeners from Sweden who named their small yet sassy miniature filly “Jamie” after ‘Horses in the Morning’ host Jamie Jennings (also known for being small yet sassy.)
That’s ultimately why 130,000 equestrians have made the Horse Radio Network one of the best in the podcast industry: HRN is just plain fun. And now that the rest of the world is catching on, the Horse Radio Network is only going up from here.
Horse Nation and ‘Horses in the Morning’ of the Horse Radio Network have partnered since HN’s launch in 2012. Listen live to ‘Horses in the Morning’ every Monday, when HN head editor Leslie Wylie is a featured guest to chat about the “Wacky World of Horses.”
Check out the Horse Radio Network online, which will link you to the eight shows currently broadcasting. Follow Horses in the Morning on Facebook, and listen in every morning at 9:00 AM eastern! You can also listen on the free IOS or Android Phone APP by search for Horse Radio Network in the APP store.