For this week’s Homegrown Business profile we had the chance to catch up with Michael Mongiardi and Marianna Miniotis about their work at The Sonar Podcast Network.
What is your business called and what does it do?
The business is called The Sonar Podcast Network. We are a curated collection of podcasts featuring the Funny and the Fascinating. We showcase the unique voices of Canada, America, and the world of Comedy and Entertainment.
The Network consists of dozens of unique podcasts that have fostered ever-expanding and loyal fanbases. We produce hilarious comedy interviews, thrilling fiction adventures, and everything in between.
Our shows have been recognized as top podcasts by Indie88, CTV Comedy Channel, blogTO, the CBC, Player.FM, Streetcar, NOW Magazine, and The Globe & Mail.
What made you want to do this work?
Michael: I have been a podcast listener since the early days when only tech nerds even knew they existed. Podcasting as a platform has always fascinated me because the barrier to entry is very small, but the reach is global. Anyone with access to the Internet can have a voice, share their story, and build a community. I always wanted to be a part of this movement and in 2013 myself and the hosts of 5 other podcasts in Toronto decided to band together in support of each other, which ultimately became The Sonar Network.
Marianna: I have been a podcast lover since I first discovered them around 2007 and I have always been a big proponent of supporting local arts and independent artists. When I was young, I was lucky to have an aunt who took me to visit local galleries, theatre productions, musical productions, etc, and I grew up loving the arts. I always wanted to work in an industry where I could support entertainers who are putting love into their craft and podcasting is exactly that.
What problem did you want to solve with the business?
We felt that there was no independent community for podcasters in Toronto and we wanted to build that community and to eventually establish ourselves as a brand that produces quality podcasts featuring unique, diverse and talented creators.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
We have listeners from all over the globe of all age groups, but our main demographic trends towards Canada and the US, ages 24-35. Our podcasts cover a wide range of topics so we have listeners who have an equally wide range of interests (comedy, horror, self-care, social issues, music, etc.)
How does your business make money? How does it work?
The network makes money through ad revenue. We sell advertising on our shows and engage in a revenue-share model with the creators.
Where in Toronto can we find your profession?
Anywhere! If you have a smartphone or computer and the internet, you can check us out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website or anywhere podcasts are found!
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.
Q: What would make The Sonar Network a good place to advertise over another similar network?
A: Our shows are creative and their listeners are loyal. Our hosts can integrate your brand into their art in ways that feel more personal and relevant to their audiences. In advertising finding the right audience can be a challenge and we work with brands to find the right shows and create campaigns that speak to those audiences in meaningful ways.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part is working with incredibly talented and smart creators, and being able to watch their shows grow as more and more listeners learn to love them as much as we do!
The worst part about what we do is that it’s showbiz, baby! Coordinating schedules in the entertainment industry can be a nightmare, so we sometimes have to shift at a moment’s notice.
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
What do you call a group of straight white guys?
(It’s not really a funny joke, more of a sad reality. We believe in celebrating diverse and unique voices, so we often joke about how the world doesn’t need any more podcasts featuring straight white guys shouting their opinions at each other.)
Where can we follow you?
+ check out our channel on Apple Podcasts
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?
We’ll throw some love to 2 great improv comedy companies in Toronto that we work with very closely. Bad Dog Theatre Company and The Assembly. They are both doing great work with bringing some laughter and joy to Torontonians. Bad Dog has done an incredible job of bringing improv comedy online with their Bad Dog Comedy TV YouTube channel and it has brought a lot of joy to a lot of folks throughout this pandemic.