Video killed the radio star but now, Covid-19 may bring a few to life.
Douglas Elliman is launching a podcast channel and encouraging agents to come up with their own shows by offering distribution, publicity and free graphic design branding for those that do.
Scott Durkin, president and COO of the brokerage, said the initiative was in development for a while but was fast-tracked now that agents are working from home.
In recent years, developers and real estate agents have launched their own podcasts, given the popularity of the medium. But now, with social distancing measures in place, Elliman has a captive audience of listeners in its 2,500 agents.
Peter Hernandez, Elliman’s Western region president, launched his own podcast five years ago called “The Friday Morning Drive.” True to the show’s name, Hernandez would interview a guest while driving his Porsche Macan Turbo from meeting to meeting throughout Los Angeles.
Now, Hernandez will be hosting Elliman’s new podcast series (from home), plus four new shows in addition to his recording of his Friday podcast. To start off the week, “Monday Morning Mojo” will feature talks with Elliman’s top executives including Durkin, chairman Howard Lorber, marketing chief Stephanie Garbarini and regional leaders.
The other new shows include a call with industry coach Fred Wilson, a more nuts-and-bolts show called “Broker Brilliance” about navigating contracts, and finally a show that deals with market reports and data.
“It’s an opportunity for the company to talk about what’s going on in the firm,” said Hernandez.
He admitted the series of podcasts he hosts for Elliman could become a recruitment tool, but said that wasn’t the goal.
Durkin said Elliman decided to make the calls public because “we are, I believe, the best in the business and we’re showing how we run our business.”
The firm began working remotely on March 13 and laid off 100 employees nationwide earlier this month as part of a series of “meaningful” budget cuts — a similar move to many other residential brokerages. A memo sent by Durkin and Lorber also noted that the executives “anticipate additional operating adjustments.”
Durkin confirmed that the podcast channel and accompanying agents services are a low-cost initiative that will be protected from future cuts. He said that in terms of marketing, the main adjustment was to halt the visual advertising component that was slated to roll out this spring following the firm’s rebranding.
The channel will also distribute approved podcasts hosted and produced by agents starting with two pre-existing shows hosted by New York-based broker Fran Katzen’s “The World of Real Estate” and Los Angeles broker Juliette Hohnen’s “The Juliette Interviews.”
Hohnen, who used to be a journalist at MTV, launched her podcast in late March. So far, she’s interviewed a cast of characters that include the former president of Universal Pictures Debbie Liebling, the founder of Drybar Alli Webb and actor and entrepreneur Sheila Kelley.
Katzen launched her podcast in November and past guests have included real estate New York City attorney Steve Matz, celebrity broker Tracy Tutor and Citizens Bank executive Ace Watanasuparp.
She rents studio space to record for a “couple hundred bucks” a month and said it wasn’t a huge investment in money or time. She added that, since the pandemic began, a representative for a Latin American buyer looking to buy in New York said they decided to work with her after listening to the show.
“It’s actually pretty efficient and time efficient as well. You don’t have to go bananas,” Katzen said. “I think this is just a good way for people to get a sense of who you are.”
Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]