Editor Note: This is a retrospective article covering our last five years so it is a bit lengthy. We have a lot of ground to cover and more than a few people to thank for their help and encouragement. Buckle up and get a beverage because here we go.
It all started one Saturday morning; I was looking for a domain that could be a launch for a podcast of our own. Unfortunately, TwoGayGeeks.com was a parked domain and continues to be parked. I decided that TG (for Two Gay) Geeks.com would work and it was available, so I purchased the domain and a hosting plan, setup a rudimentary WordPress site and published our first article.
We had a sound board and a couple of mics we had inherited as a starter kit and we were off to the races. Our first podcast episode (we like to call it a Webcast) was published on June 22, it was only 6 minutes and 24 seconds and was pretty rough (in my mind), but we got it out there for the world to hear. I think our first listener was either Claire O’Leary or Brian Webber aka Arkle. They were both early supporters of us and continue to be part of our listening family. Thank you.
One of the things we borrowed from a previous podcast involvement was to start a YouTube channel in addition to an iTunes account. It is audio only, but we have a presence where you can listen to every episode we have released.
We would post articles from time to time and a podcast episode somewhat regularly. We were still trying to figure out what we wanted to be. As we learned more about the world of publishing a podcast and having to learn the ins and outs of publishing via WordPress it got a little hectic and some of the newness wore off. However we still kept at it and as time went on it got easier.
We made it into December of 2014 when Square Egg Entertainment had their first Phoenix Fan Fest at University of Phoenix Stadium, which we attended and reported on. It was an opportunity for us to wander around and develop a sense of networking with folks and we met a couple of authors we eventually interviewed.
We sort of limped along until Phoenix Comicon in 2015 when and amazingly fortuitous set of circumstances took place. As we were wandering around the convention we were posting things to Facebook and that grabbed the attention of a friend that I have known since the first day of fifth grade, Bill Hensley. He messaged me to say that his cousin had a short film in the film festival taking place during Phoenix Comicon. Now, this was a horror short and at that time, we were not really modern horror fans (more on that later), but we agreed to see it. It was Friday night late and the festival was running behind. We got in and sat down for the block of films and the very first one was a short by Neal and Jana Hallford entitled Case of Evil. This film opened up as any classic black and white Universal film and I loved it. So much so, that when I got out of bed Saturday morning to go wake the chickens up, it was on my mind and kept nagging me. As I am fond of saying, “I am not a writer,” yet I managed to write a semi-coherent review of Case of Evil and published it. The review caught the attention of Neal Hallford and we started an email conversation that ended up with he and Jana on our podcast. As it turns out, Neal is rather well connected in a number of circles and industries and was willing to share us with several of his contacts.
Miguel Rodriguez of Horrible Imaginings Film Festival was one of those contacts. We chatted with Miguel on the podcast and he helped us understand horror in all of the different forms. We became supporters of the film festival where we learned not only about horror but the film making process as well. We live blogged several of the festivals and gathered many interviews and friends in the process. Thank you Miguel.
Another contact was Marc Biagi, a voice actor in the San Diego area and happens to be an actor in a web series (turned feature film). In the process of doing our research on Marc before we interviewed him we discovered Beyond the Impact web series. This was another one of those serendipitous moments where I was inspired to write a review. We chatted with Marc and had a great time and Jeff Patton contacted us about the review and that spawned a whole new level of activity and interviews, friends, and learning. The show was growing and TG Geeks was becoming a thing.
By this time we have made it one year and 25 episodes under our belt. With all of the contacts we have made our episodes are becoming less of us jabbering on about stuff and more about the folks we met and interviewed. The items we would normally have talked about turned into articles and content for the website. We were on our way to establishing the TG Geeks media fiefdom. 😉
Through the summer of 2015 we released quite a few articles and webcasts adding to our content. In October, we were enticed back to Arizona Opera by our good friends Brendan Mahoney and Gordon Street. It wasn’t hard considering we are both opera lovers and the quality of the productions had increased exponentially over the years we were away. We have since become supporters of Arizona Opera in a number of ways.
In November, (then) Phoenix Comicon had an open house to show off their new offices. We were invited and did a couple of on-the-spot interviews and wrote an article about our visit there. This was also held as a promo for their second Fan Fest to be held a short while afterwards. We were given a heads up about a couple of films to be shown as a mini film festival, one of them being I Am Alone, starring Gareth David-Lloyd and directed by Rob Palmer. It just so happened that I did some research on the film and had a press release ready to go and also happened to be looking at Facebook when they pulled the trigger on their press release. I was minutes behind them with my publication, which happened to be seen by the publicist representing the film, Patricia Chica. Now if anybody has been paying attention to us or even remotely knows anything about us, you know that Patricia is one of our greatest supporters and great friends. And it was as a result of that press release. We have formed a great working relationship with Patricia for her work as a filmmaker and the work of other filmmakers she has worked with. Patricia has helped us to become what we are today, Thank you.
We should also mention that we were able to do a stand-up 6 minute interview with Gareth at the convention thanks to Patricia. She also was able to setup a sit down interview with Rob Palmer (Director) and Michael Weiss (Producer) of I Am Alone at their hotel. This was our first experience at dragging our studio equipment to a remote location. It was probably one of our most important interviews because it showed us how we can be laid back and conversational and get a great interview. It was the perfect way to celebrate our 50th episode!
As our second anniversary rolled around we had 81 episodes and many articles, interviews, friends and listeners in our family. Things were looking up and getting easier to come up with content for episodes and articles.
We hit a milestone of 100 episodes in October of 2016 and continued pretty much in a holding pattern throughout the first part of 2017. We celebrated three years with 122 episodes and regular publishing of articles. I should mention that we had added quite a few new friends and were invited to the Evening of Erotica with Gini Koch at Phoenix Comicon and also to Westercon for another Evening of Erotica with Gini Koch. Gini had by this time become one of our more frequent guests and good friends.
As with all things, progress is made by changing things up a bit. We were invited to Comicon International in San Diego where I was on a panel about podcasting. We really didn’t know how popular we were until we were introduced and got a generous amount of applause from the audience. We met up with a number of friends while there and made a number of good contacts. We upped our podcast publishing schedule as well as our regular article content. We had become producers on a number of film projects and attended horrible Imaginings Film Festival as sponsors of the LGBTQ block of films in October.
While there we met Rhonda Moore, who has since become a part of the TG Geeks publishing family as a contributor and website guru. We began publishing a webcast every Monday morning at that point and increased our content on the website to an almost daily publication schedule. In November, we were forced into changing our web hosting partner because our previous host had our site down for 5 days with no end in sight. We got setup with GoDaddy and have been very satisfied since and Ro was a tremendous help in getting us up and running. There was a minor glitch in getting the entire database from our previous host so we lost some photo archives in the distant past. If you go to an article that is older than 3 or so years, there are probably a bunch of broken image links. Sorry. :-/
January of 2018 saw our trademark application approved. We had already incorporated in the previous year. We are now officially trademarked as, TG Geeks – The Two Gay Geeks “You name it, We talk about it”.
Early in 2018 we made the decision to start a daily publication schedule and added several contributors to our family. Gini Koch started writing a column for “Old Classics? Newly Reviewed” since she had just moved to Atlanta and had a little more winter time to watch movies. Andrea Rittschof joined us to write movie reviews for us. We were getting quite a few screening opportunities from our friends at FingerPaint Marketing and Andrea fit the bill to fill in for those we couldn’t make. Early in the year, Hamish Downie, who we had interviewed previously picked up on a request we made during one of our episodes and started sending us a weekly column about Pop Culture in Japan entitled “News Sushi: Morsels of News from Japan and Beyond”. So, now we had some regular contributors and content for the website daily publishing. The webcast continued to grow and prosper as well.
Even author Tom Leveen joined us as a contributor right after Phoenix Comic Fest. Then in late May we had the opportunity to visit Los Angeles and attend one day of WhedonCon. We went to support Neal and Jana Hallford in their release of a new episode of their old time radio program “Uncharted Regions.” While there we saw Gene Turnbow and chatted him up for an hour or so. During that chat we were given some information that would change our lives. Gene showed us the Alexa.com rating for TGGeeks.com. At that time we were ranked at 9,960,639 which is the top 33% of the 30 million websites tracked. That was mind blowing. I guess daily publishing and our weekly webcast made a difference. In that same conversation, Gene invited us to be a part of Krypton Radio with our very own slot in their 24 hour content. As a result of our deal with Krypton Radio we reworked our episodes to fit into a one hour timeslot, which we had been working toward for some time. Our brand was taking off. As our 4th anniversary rolled around we had published 174 episodes of our weekly webcast.
We started our fifth year on a high and added Tommy Cannon as a contributor with his Dr. Zombie Monster Family Physician that has now reached a milestone of one year of publishing. We have added several more contributors throughout the course of the year. E.M. (Erin) Knowles came on board to cover some of the gaming industry in her spare time while trying to raise a child and have a demanding work life. Al Sparrow joined us to share a few pop culture items and maybe a comic or two down the road. Russ Kazmierczak joined us with his Karaoke Chronicles. Michael Hickerson joined us to add his unique perspective on Pop Culture. We added Neal and Jana Hallford as creative consultants as well as Patricia Chica as our foreign correspondent and talent manager. DaVette See and Robert See joined us in time for the Oscars last year as our LA correspondents. Even Brian “Arkle” Webber is one of our guest contributors along with Stephanie Liebold. As you can see, we have grown tremendously in number of contributors and content for our site.
In September of 2018 I decided it was time to start looking at our numbers since we had been publishing a webcast every week for almost two years as well as content on the website every day for most of the year. I signed up for an Alexa.com account and when our first “official” numbers appeared we were at 3,546,424 out of the top 30 million, which translates to 11%. We had jumped form 33% to 11% in six months. We felt we had finally arrived… Of course, as I said earlier progress only happens with change. We have learned that if we are to succeed we have to constantly reassess where we have been and where we are to determine where we are going. Some of it has been frustrating and painful, but inevitably worth it.
As 2019 started, we revamped the website completely to make it more accessible with new categories and menus. It is much easier on the eyes and to navigate to the content you want to see. That has had a major impact on traffic and exposure to some additional resources for content.
Our content continues to spur readership and our webcast has become rather popular around the world. We are international. In our evolution we started out talking about Pop Culture and just happened to be Two Gay Geeks. As we went along we became more involved with the LGBTQ+ community and as we have said became “accidental activists”. As George Takei told us, don’t be accidental, be intentional activists. We continue to engage with the community as well as continue our focus on Pop Culture as we move forward.
We now stand at a crossroads in more ways than one. Five years is a long time for a podcast to be in existence. History shows that most begin to wind down and “pod-fade” after five years. I think our secret has been to be willing to see what doesn’t work and change it. We are in that process constantly, whether it is on the webcast or the content we publish. We have had a tremendous amount of good fortune to be surrounded by people who are willing to share their experiences and advice with us. Sometimes we even listen to that advice… There are so many people to thank for our success, some of whom we have mentioned in this article. We want to especially thank our listeners and our readers. You are the reason we do this. It is a labor of love and we couldn’t be happier that you are here with us.
As of June 20th, 2019 we are celebrating our Fifth Anniversary with over 226 webcast episodes and 2000 articles published on the site. Our numbers are currently 2,109,669 which is top 7% worldwide and 736,838 which is top 4% US. I think we can say that TG Geeks has become a Media Empire now (If you can call it an empire and not make any money except for the $22…)?
What is next? Well, probably more change. It is nothing to be afraid of, and we try to do it a little at a time so that it isn’t too disruptive. We will continue to build relationships and develop new content. Our commitment to community and outreach will continue and grow as we grow. As we are fond of saying, we welcome your feedback on all of our content. Please, if you have a concern or suggestion, you can let us know in the comments section below. As always, please play nice.
As a late addition, we were interviewed by Echo Magazine, the local Phoenix LGBTQ+ community magazine. The print copy is out and the online version is: https://echomag.com/the-two-gay-geeks/ Here is a link to the whole magazine site: https://echomag.com
THANK YOU ALL for being on this journey with us.