Five Rookie Podcast Mistakes You Can Fix Today

Gardner Douglas is the host of the Oyster Ninja Podcast

As a content creator and editor of podcast, I have seen shows come and go. I have created over a dozen myself that have faded away into the ether. A friend of mine started a podcast based on his niche of being a professional oyster shucker. Before I met him, I didn’t even know that was a thing. I want to share some things Gardner Douglas also known as the Oyster Ninja has done right and identify some things you can do to fix or avoid the rookie mistakes all new podcasters make.

Let me share a little about Gardner.

He is a married US Army veteran and a devoted family man.  Gardner has been shucking oysters for ten years and can be found in the DC metropolitan area. Gardner learned the art of shucking from his father, and fellow oyster champion, Samuel “Sam Sam” Fisher. Gardner has shucked at the best raw bars in DC including Whaleys, Rappahannock River Oysters, The Local Oyster, and The Walrus & Ale Oyster bar. He has also shucked at DC’s most premier events include Chef for Equality, the DC oyster Festival, The St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival, Shuck-n-Suck, and The Oyster Riot at Dc’s Historical restaurant, Old Ebbits Grill. As a business owner, running his own oyster catering service and mobile raw bar, Gardner has shucked for some of DC’s most elite.

He is also a champion oyster shucker.

• Ranking 6th place in the 2016 National Oyster Shucking Championship.
• 2017’s Best Shucker in Philly,
• Ranked 2nd place at the 2016 Best Shucker in Baltimore and Baltimore Rotary Competition
• Ranked 5th place in the Boston Seafood Expo Shucking Competition.

Currently, Gardner can be heard sharing his knowledge about oysters and shucking skills with the world via his podcast The Oyster Ninja, which centers around oysters, oyster shuckers, farmers and other oyster related things. The Oyster Ninja can also be spotted in the Eating Oysters: Chesapeake Style a Maryland PBS documentary.

Whether on camera or behind an oyster bar, Gardner Douglas’ personality is infectious. He draws you into the art of oyster shucking as if you were watching a performance. Gardner Douglas’ shucking skills are a work of art. There is no wonder that they call him the Oyster Ninja, as his techniques make shucking oysters look as easy as eating them. The art of oyster shucking is lost on most until you decide to try opening an oyster yourself.  Gardner is a sought after expert that works with caterers, bars, parties, and special event to provide the seafood delicacies.

Oyster Ninja Podcast

How do you not screw up?

Here are are things to help you avoid making rookie mistakes in podcast. Everybody is selling something.  so you have to specialize in this crowded world in order to survive. Gardner’s niche is in the seafood industry. He prepares and presents oysters for bars, cocktail parties and high end events. He was born almost with a oyster knife in his hand. He learned from his father who passed an Eastern Shore tradition to him. Gardner is also concerned about the environment. His niche is as deep as the ocean. He has a lot of things to pull from, he just didn’t know it at first.

The first goal for a successful podcaster is preparation. You have to know where you want to go. You don’t have to have all the answers but you have to know that you are providing a service, or a reason for us to listen. How long is your show going to be? What persona are you going to portray? What does your album art look like? These are just a handful of questions that will frame your show before you even find a microphone you want to buy in Amazon. I suggested Gardner get a notebook and write his vision down. Something happens when you put it on paper. For me, its more concrete and fluid than coming from a keyboard. I am very proud of my brother Gardner. He actually listened to me on more than one occasion and is doing well.

The second goal is to figure out who wants what you are selling. In other words, you have to identify your target audience. This one takes a little time. Everybody does;t want what you have. Everybody won’t like your voice, your delivery, your accent, your graphics, or something. The good news is those that do, will love you to pieces. They might not look like you or live near you but the good news is, they are somewhere on this big blue marble. Your job is to find them, connect with them and deliver.

The third goal we all must take after we get going is to actually take action. It is easy to get a paralysis of analysis. There is always something else to buy. There is always something just not quite right. One of the great things about social media and tech today is that you fix it on the go. Gardner did that and has made connections already that he will use when the time is right. Yoda said it best, “Do or Do Not, There is No Try.”

The fourth thing you should be working on is to solve certain problems for specific people. When someone invest their time with you, do something for them. Teach them. Inspire them. Make them laugh, think, moan or cry. Whatever you do, just don’t be boring.

The fifth and final goal of this blogpost is to do what Gardner is doing well. Create a “tribe” and tap into a more loyal and highly engaged audience. Even though he isn’t creating a podcast episode every week he is still working on building his base. He is working social media and good old fashion networking to share what his show will be. He has enough episodes for newcomers to listen to and a lot of upcoming shucking events where he meets potential clients, guest and listeners. He is not resting even though you don’t hear him.

oyster ninja podcast knife gardner douglas Five Rookie Mistakes You Can Fix Today About Your Podcast
oyster ninja podcast knife by gardner douglas

The Oyster Ninja podcast is going to be successful. Right now, Gardner is being a good Christian father and husband so the podcast creation has not been as regular as maybe required to grow exponentially but he knows it. He chooses to do the right things, and I am positive that when the time is right, you’ll see and hear a lot more about and from the Oyster Ninja.  This is his new knife he created to get a buzz going.

If you can’t wait, you’ll find him on social media:

instagram: oysterninjapc
Facebook: The Oyster Ninja Podcast
Email: oysterninjapc@gmail.com

Remember there are five things you can do to avoid the rookie mistakes I made. Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance. (plan) Figure out who your audience is going to be. After you get and idea of what your show is going to be — do it. To be successful, solve a problem. Have a reason for your show that is of more interest than you just being cute. Create a tribe from your identified audience and change the world; or why else do this?

The world is your oyster, shuck it! – Kenn Blanchard

The Surprisingly Simple Remedy for My Lukewarm Christian Life

Here’s an example of a podcaster using what is available in social media to reignite his passion for the Lord.  The tale of a project called Miracles & Atheists.  The surprisingly simple remedy for my lukewarm Christian life.

What do you mean, “when was I born again?”

I grew up in a church, I’ve always believed…it’s awesome that you found Jesus right before you were about to take your life, that God spoke to you as you opened the door to cheat on your wife, that you were delivered from your 10-year addiction, but I don’t have a story.

The Dilemma

I prayed for Jesus to be my Lord and Savior when I was a kid I guess, but I don’t remember being saved. What I do remember is praying that same prayer several times throughout my childhood, on 5 or 10 occasions maybe. I suppose I just wanted to make sure I was saved, but nothing happened.

The point is, I don’t have a story so don’t ask me about it, I get uncomfortable.

I don’t like being uncomfortable.

The truth is, not having a dramatic story makes me wonder whether I truly am saved. I believe, sure. At least I think I do.

But what does it really mean to believe anyway? I’m supposed to know that I know that I know I’m saved, right? That’s what the pastor says. Ok then, but how do I know for sure?

Faith is being convinced about things we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that; but am I convinced? The whole concept sort of stresses me out. Jesus tells us those who believe will cast out demons in His name, they will speak in tongues…wait tongues? What’s that all about anyway? I grew up United Methodist man, I don’t know what all this means.

Those who believe will pick up snakes with their hands and drink deadly poison without getting hurt. They’ll place hands on the sick and the sick will be healed…seriously? (Ref: Mark 16:17-18)

I certainly haven’t experienced any of that. Maybe I don’t believe then. But why not? What am I doing wrong? If I’m not saved, why am I wasting my time with church?

These are the things I struggled with during the first 38 years of my life as a lukewarm Christian.

People always used to tell me about the freedom they found in Jesus, but all I felt was condemnation. Paul says there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) so I felt confused all the time. What’s the point of it all?

My lukewarm Christian friends used to tell me not to worry about it…that I was bearing fruit, I was fine. Even so, I had a potty mouth, an adulterous heart and an empty feeling inside….continuously searching for fulfillment, for something more.

Far from freedom, I know.
The truth is I was doing something wrong. I was going through the motions: seeking after the Lord with one hand but holding onto the world with the other. I’ve learned it doesn’t work that way.

About 18 months ago I started an unexpected journey in search of making sense out of it all. It was a Sunday afternoon, where despite having three energetic kids running around the house, I found myself scrolling through a mind-numbing playlist of movies on Netflix, most of which were full of sex, violence, and self-centered living. I’d been watching too many of those lately and I needed something kid-friendly, but not a kid’s movie, I couldn’t stomach anymore of those.

I selected a documentary called “The Finger of God.” I thought to myself, “hey that’s different.” The premise of the film was to investigate why some churches were on fire for the Lord, while others were well, lukewarm, perhaps? The film’s producer, Darren Wilson, sought after churches that were seeing real-life miracles, with the goal of capturing them on film.

Before watching this movie I knew absolutely nothing about miracles. I never even thought about signs and wonders before, or that any of the miraculous things Jesus talked about still happen in the 21st century. The Holy Spirit was basically an afterthought to me.

I figured miracles were a conceptual thing, not literally something us humans here on this planet could actually partake in. But I tell you, this documentary got the wheels turning for me. I was fascinated by some of the things I was seeing: deaf people’s ears opening up, knees being healed on the spot, manna showing up in people’s Bibles. It was weird…was this the same Jesus I thought I knew?

The idea of seeing miracles stayed in the back of my mind for the next six months. I wanted to know more, but I didn’t do anything about it.

Doing something would make me uncomfortable, and I don’t like being uncomfortable.

It’s funny though, the Lord doesn’t seem to be concerned about my comfort. It’s like He has other plans for me or something…

So I figured the best thing would be to start getting into the Bible; to see what God’s Word says about miracles. Didn’t they go away? The problem was I found the Bible boring and confusing. I was going through the motions when I read the Bible and felt guilty about it. It shouldn’t be that way, having guilt didn’t feel right.

God knew I would get frustrated and blow off my Bible reading, and I did. So He put someone in my path who was well-versed in miracles, signs and wonders. I met Cale Nelson at a conference for podcasters in early 2017. We had only talked for five minutes or so, but I could see this guy was on fire for Jesus. I admired that, all the while wondering why I wasn’t on fire like he was…what was I missing, seriously?

At this point my finances were a mess and my marriage was about to fail. I was full of pride and selfish intentions. Yet, I put up a really good front. By God’s grace Cale and I kept in touch online, and after a few weeks I asked him whether he’d be interested in talking about Jesus with me more regularly.

Through Cale’s example, I learned how truly different real followers of Jesus were from the rest of the world. That scared me.
I was comfortable in my lukewarm world; I wanted to blend in.

Even so, I recognized in my search for fulfillment that I needed to make some sort of change. We all know the definition of insanity. So one of the first things I did was pray the Lord give me a hunger for His Word. If His Word truly brings life, I want to understand how.

Miracles and Atheist project

It took a few months, but the hunger I prayed for did eventually come, gradually. I made a commitment that the first thing I would do after waking up is get into the Word of God before I did anything else, even if just for five minutes. To my surprise, I actually started enjoying my time reading! For understanding, I started devouring any Christian media I could get my hands on related to miracles: audiobooks, YouTube videos, podcasts, and more documentaries.

It opened up a whole new world for me! I couldn’t believe I’d been missing out on such life in the here and now. For my whole life I’d just been concerned about not going to hell, but for the first time I realized Christ is actually inside me in the form of the Holy Spirit, I just needed to learn how to access Him.

I was sitting in church alone one Sunday morning and the pastor gave a sermon about taking risks for the Lord. He said faith had to involve some sort of risk, that without risk, it wouldn’t be faith. The message resonated with me.

I realized I had developed a fear of man. If I were to talk about my faith, to move outside my comfortable, lukewarm world it would be awkward. Talking to Cale every week was fine, but getting out into the world and being that weird Christian well, that was different.

Yet Jesus said “so everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33 ESV

Acknowledging Jesus would mean I’d have to take a risk, probably more than one, and I didn’t like that very much. On the other hand, I didn’t like going through the motions anymore either.

It was time.

A lot of Christians love to learn, but far fewer take action on what they learn. I wanted to take action.

The Lord gave me a vision of bringing atheists and believers together to talk about miracles, signs and wonders. The problem was that atheists intimidated me. They thought Christians were stupid, they talked with big vocabulary and I didn’t want them to challenge me on my beliefs. My theology wasn’t all that strong and I didn’t want to jeopardize my faith, so I stayed clear of any religious talk when I found myself in a conversation with an atheist. Nevertheless, I respected them. They weren’t like me, in that they made a decision. They didn’t question their beliefs, they just didn’t believe and moved on.

There’s something to be said for being decisive, yet I couldn’t understand why they would be willing to jeopardize their salvation. It was a fascinating worldview, and I realized I had a heart for the atheist.

So I took my first risk, I took action.
I needed to find atheists and Christians willing to have a conversation. So I put out a polarizing post on Facebook about the folly of the aggressive, Bible-thumping, “you’re gonna burn” Christian. I mentioned that I would be working on a project to address the issue. I put out the post at around midnight on an early Wednesday morning and within 24-hours, I had nearly 300 comments and 20 private messages asking me what I was doing.

My post took people by surprise, it was out of character. And it also struck a chord. The next day I found myself filled with what could be none other than the Holy Spirit. I felt like I was high! Nothing else mattered, not my finances, not my frail marriage, not the kids, nothing…just God.

It was one of the most fulfilling experiences I can remember; that day I was baptized of the Holy Spirit. I took my first risk for the Lord, and I got my first taste of real faith. Shortly thereafter I found myself laying hands on the sick, rebuking illnesses and starting to see people healed. It’s been nothing short of amazing (and a little crazy).

One week later I launched a four-hour livestream on Facebook – I call it Miracles & Atheists. The premise of the show is to facilitate a healthy dialog between atheists and believers about the supernatural. It hasn’t been easy, but incredibly fulfilling.
Piece by piece, brick by brick my faith strengthened.

Nowadays, I see my wife and kids growing in their faith. My marriage is stronger than it’s ever been and God’s handling our finances. My six-year-old is even laying hands and praying for the sick! It’s been an amazing roller coaster of a ride.

I don’t care about being the weird Christian anymore, I just want to help the lost and heal the sick.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 NIV

I had read that verse for years, but I never knew how to truly apply it in the fray of life, until I took my first risk for the Lord. Seeking God’s kingdom first means to truly die to yourself, every day. It’s means listening to the Lord when He calls you to do something, whether you know for sure that it’s Him or not. If it’s aligned with the Word of God, you go for it.

For me, I’d already lived the first 38 years of life for myself, so I’ll go ahead and live the rest out for Jesus.

If you’re like me, you may be afraid of going all in for Jesus. You probably don’t like being uncomfortable – believe me, I don’t either! Just know that your fear isn’t from God, it’s from the enemy. Push through and take that risk! When the dust settles, don’t be surprised when that mountain moves.