IT was an idea that started in the garden shed of their home in Blackrock, Cork.
But in a remarkably short space of time, three siblings have made their mark in the competitive world of podcasts.
Shirley, Keith and Alan Donovan launched ‘The Mental Floss Podcast’ from the shed in their garden just a few months ago, offering listeners a humorous take on events that have happened across the globe.
Now they have been told, to their enormous surprise and delight, that after fewer than two dozes episodes, their podcast is trending in the Top 40 on both the iTunes and Spotify Charts.
The world of podcasting is rapidly growing around the country.
The term stems from a combination of the words iPod and broadcast, and involves recording a digital audio file and making it available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device. Among Irish people with popular regular podcasts are Blindboy, Eamonn Dunphy, and Alison Spittle.
Aspiring participants are arriving on the scene on an almost daily basis, and the trend was underlined when Cork held its first ever Podcast Festival last October.
In an extremely tough industry, and Cork siblings Shirley, Keith and Alan Donovan never expected to be making waves in it so soon.
Their idea of starting a regular podcast came about from numerous family gatherings, where the trio got together and bounced comedic stories off each other.
Their humorous quips resulted in relations constantly advising that they should “have your own show”.
The idea blossomed and the thoughts of a podcast began to become a reality.
The family trio of Shirley, Keith and Alan Donovan began to get the wheels in motion, and with both Alan and Shirley having backgrounds hin the local radio industry, the tools were put in place to get the podcast to air.
The trio decided to operate under the pseudonyms of ‘Will, Kate & Andy’ and ‘The Mental Floss Podcast was born.
For their content, they decided to delve into the weird and wacky news stories from around the globe and discuss them with a humorous twist on their weekly comedic podcast.
Keith explains: Essentially, it is a podcast based on the ‘Water Cooler Banter’ discussions that we all have on a daily basis within our workplaces.
“We began working on a shoestring budget which forced us to begin recording the podcast from our parents’ garden shed, battling both weather elements and lack of electricity from the beginning.
“This created some humorous moments in the first few episodes, where the battle for electricity sockets between us resulted in hilarious panic live on air!
“The podcast was a slow burner to begin with, but gathered momentum with each new episode released.
“It wasn’t without it’s hiccups though as a leak in the shed damaged a lot of our equipment, forcing us to beg, steal and borrow to keep the show on the road.”
A decision was made to invest in new equipment and move forward with the production.
The operation has since moved indoors, where it has remained ever since, despite the protests from their parents!
Keith adds: “Episodes came thick and fast, with the unique format of improvised and unedited shows becoming an instant hit with listeners from the get go.
“We also decided to bring stories to the table each week without discussing anything prior to recording.
“This resulted in genuine reactions, which are one of the highlights of this hilarious podcast.”
Having now surpassed the 20-episodes mark, the Blackrock siblings’ podcast recently began trending in both the Spotify and iTunes charts.
Not only is it proving popular in Ireland, but it has attracted massive numbers from the United States also.
Keith added: “Subscribers have even contacted the show enquiring as to how to donate to the podcast in order to drive it on further.”
The New Year promises to be an exciting and opportunistic time when the trio will be working closely with Headstuff, Ireland’s largest podcast platform.
“Headstuff have numerous long-running successful podcasts and their expert advice will steer us in the right direction and develop the podcast further,” explained Keith.
As well as this, the gang will have the opportunity to record in the newly built ‘Podcast Studios’ in Dublin.
These custom-built studios will provide the podcast with a platform to record quality audio to publish in future.
Keith said: “We have set the bar high from the beginning and have major plans for the future, with live shows in the pipeline for the coming year and with numerous sponsorship talks currently being discussed.”
“It seems the only way is up for the Mental Floss Crew.
The Mental Floss Podcast is available for download on Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher.