Kantor, who describes himself as an introvert, was “the Fat Guy” and Shafran was “Dr. Fitness.” Their schtick was somewhat of a comedy show, Kantor said.
“We were one of the places (the experts) would go to tell their stories,” he said. “I saw this was an effective tool to build relationships.”
When that show ended, he started another internet show with a similar structure, sans the comedy. On Sandy Springs-based “Atlanta Business Radio” Kantor interviewed local business leaders of small to midsize companies — a sector he says gets overlooked by major media — and grew it into the podcast network, Business RadioX.
Business RadioX has studios in 16 states. Locally Atlanta, Gwinnett, Cherokee, North Georgia and North Fulton Business Radio studios produce podcasts. The studios are run independently by producing partners who buy network space on the platform for a one-time fee of about $30,000 plus a monthly continuation fee that can range from $650 to $1,000.
The partners produce as many shows as they’d like to. They get training, podcast equipment and a website for their platform, Kantor said.
The success of Business RadioX is directly related to his discomfort with going to business networking events to meet people, he added.
“I started this to try to figure out a way to get people to come to me,” Kantor said. “That’s kind of the heart of this. It was to invite them on my (Atlanta Business Radio) show. If I wanted to get to know someone, I’d invite them on and more times than not they’d say yes.”
John Ray, who operates North Fulton Business Radio in Alpharetta, said that looking back, five years ago he didn’t expect podcasting to be a part of his own brand. Separate from podcasting, Ray also works as a business consultant.
“I enjoy helping other people get the word out about their business,” Ray said, of the podcast network. “We’re as much business development coaches as we are podcast producers.
Monday marked the fifth anniversary of North Fulton Business Radio, which he launched with Mike Sammond as a single show. After learning the ropes of producing a podcast show and interviewing guests, Ray ran the show on his own, he said.
Sammond now is producer of Gwinnett Business Radio Network also under Business RadioX.
“We’ve interviewed accountants, attorneys, bakers,” Ray said. “I’ve even had a professional mermaid on the show. I’m talking to a lady who has a cricket farm about coming on the show. We serve a wide swath of the business community.”
North Fulton Business Radio is now the umbrella for 15 shows Ray produces and he recently started shows in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota and Nashville, Tennessee.
A physician, for example, hosts a medical podcast on North Fulton Business Radio called “To Your Health.” A director with an accounting firm hosts a podcast on different approaches to achieving success called “Inspiring Women.”
Guests appear on shows across the Business RadioX network for free, Ray said. But hosts of shows produced on the platforms such as North Fulton Business Radio pay a fee.
Kantor said generally pricing for a website and a show host to interview guests on the platform could range from $650-$1,000. And people who have an interest but are also uncertain can host a show for a set number of days at no charge, he said.
As a businessman, Kantor said the podcast network is a comfortable nontraditional path for him in business and he can be of service at the same time.
“From a philosophical standpoint, I have the ability to serve and give them a piece of content,” Kantor said. “That felt like a better type of relationship ... rather than trying to sell them something. I’d rather do that than standing at a chamber meeting handing out business cards.”