Backstage with Abhay MaheshwariQ.1. Tell us about your recent project and it’s status.

LaaL Chashma is a Hindi short-stories podcast where I publish stories written and narrated by myself. The 7th episode released last weekend and few bonus episodes are in pipeline. Since its inception in January 2020, It’s got 5k+ listens and audience count and a total of 300+ followers from across all major podcasting platforms

Q.2. When was the first time you discovered podcasting?Abhay Maheshwari

As a kid, I was an avid radio listener and was always fascinated by the sound productions, but I first learnt about podcasting as a concept and platform in January 2020, at Kommune’s Spoken Fest in Mumbai. Not that I am a camera conscious person, but the fact that you can create a theatre of the mind, purely with the power of audio intrigued me a lot, especially at the time when I was getting compliments for my engaging voice during live storytelling performances

Q.3. Where are you based out of and what is your day job? Are you a full-time podcaster?

I am originally from Delhi and moved to Pune ~5 years ago for my job. I work full-time as a consultant in a reputed management consulting firm providing services and solutions primarily to the pharmaceutical industry. On a relatively less hectic day, I try to formulate the structure of my stories in between work meetings or tea/food breaks, but in most cases, I get to write, develop and produce them end-to-end only over the weekends

Q.4. What is your favorite time to listen to podcasts? Can you share a few of your favorites?

I usually listen to podcasts while I am doing my house chores, or when I am traveling to and from work or elsewhere. Blockbuster in English and Phantom Pandey in Hindi are my current favorites as they have multiple layers of sounds to create a live storytelling experience in your mind that moves your soul

Q.5. What were the greatest challenges while beginning to start your podcast?

Narrowing the theme and genre was most difficult for me. I would always think about how I would pitch a podcast to someone and at most times, I would fail at explaining to them my concept. It took multiple trials to finally arrive at the theme which became the unique selling proposition to LaaL Chashma for which it has been admired and loved by the audience

Q.6. What will always remain your fondest memory from your production days?

Once the word spread and traction started to build, I started receiving messages from listeners on social media. It would uplift my day and I gradually started believing that if a stranger took time and effort to find and message you on social media – surely something in my stories would have struck a chord deep in their heart. No amount of money or materialistic pleasure can match this feeling of happiness, self-content, and satisfaction

Q.7. How are you promoting your podcast? What have been your learnings?

I was hardly active on social media before podcasting, so for half of my connections, I was mostly a dormant contact, and reviving that activity and presence continue to take some time even today. But with my limited time, I have only been able to leverage basic features of Instagram so far – I took help from friends who taught me how to make creative posts and add flavor to them. I am still learning every day on how to make LaaL Chashma reachable but I believe no amount of branding or marketing can compensate for the quality of your podcast

Q.8. You have a very unique artwork for Laal Chasma. What is its story?

My stories are themed on emotions that we have felt around us, but are hidden in plain sight and cannot be linguistically described. The podcast title is itself a character – LaaL Chashma (Red Spectacles) is a magical lens that empowers a world glued to its screen, to lift their head and cherish, absorb the depth of these emotions that make us human

Q.9. How important is the artwork for any podcaster? What is your take on that?

Podcast listeners are very subjective. Personally, for me, a good cover art does draw my attention as artwork in any context sets the tone for what’s about to come. However, I feel it’s optional for podcasting and very subjective to individual podcasters, as most of the consumers anyway are passively consuming content visa-vi being constantly glued to the screen.

Q.10. How has been your experience with Kuku FM? What is special in your relationship with Kuku FM?

Saying from my own experience, I believe KuKu is one of the best platforms currently with an excellent multi-lingual listener base that’s penetrated across all tier 1, 2, and 3 cities. I wanted to target a broad base of Hindi listeners and with KuKu that reach was not just possible but it grew exponentially in just a few weeks. Their core team has been very supportive of aspiring podcasters like me – helping us learn more about the industry and best practice to upskill ourselves. Having my podcast on KuKu FM was probably the best decision I made in my early stages of podcasting – the benefits of which I continue to reap.

Backstage with [Podcaster]:  A fortnightly feature series. Every 3rd & 18th of the month we ask a few questions to a podcaster about their woes & wonders. And share their responses with the larger community. We not only invite but also accept nominations. How can you participate? DM on 9321926619 or email at kalakaar@kukufm.com with the subject line: Backstage

You can listen to the podcast Laal Chashma-Hindi Short Stories at KUKU FM


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