With more than 11,000 podcast episodes, 13,000 guests, and 33 hosts who produce 40 to 50 shows per month across 18 podcasts, the Horse Radio Network has developed the ultimate equestrian audio empire. The face of that empire is founder Glenn Hebert, aka Glenn the Geek. Alongside Glenn is his partner in all things horse for the past 32 years—wife Jennifer Hebert, aka Coach Jenn. In fact, without Jenn’s horsey influence, the Horse Radio Network might not exist, and Glenn might never have become “America’s Horse Husband,” as he is known on air. While Glenn has been a jack-of-all-trades as the network has grown, Coach Jenn keeps it all organized with her producing, editing and hosting duties.
Glenn launched the network in August 2008 at the same time as his first podcast, the Stable Scoop Radio Show with cohost Helena Harris. He was determined to succeed, even though after the first six months, he and Harris only had 12 listeners.
“Back then, it was tougher to get guests, since nobody knew what a podcast was,” Glenn says.
But it then started growing faster as people learned how to listen to podcasts. People no longer ask, “What station is that on?”
The Horse Radio Network ended up partnering with a variety of national equine organizations, which helped raise awareness of this growing form of entertainment for horse people. Show hosts have also been critical to the network’s success.
“People come for the content, but they stay for the hosts, who really are engaging and who people like,” says Glenn. “I think that’s the key to success. I think the hosts are what make it. Eighty-five percent of podcasts start and stop within six months, and our shows have been around for years, so I think we’ve broken the mold in many ways in that they last longer, but that’s because we find the right hosts.”
The Daily Drive
Glenn’s goal was for the shows on the network to be “edutainment”—entertaining first and educational second. His dream of being a “morning drive radio guy” enticed him to push the envelope with a 90-minute weekday morning show—and Horses in the Morning was born with Glenn and cohost Jamie Jennings. It broke all the traditional podcast rules, including the one about keeping episodes short, says Glenn.
“If it’s entertaining enough, people will allow the time,” he says. “They listen to morning drive radio shows every day, so why wouldn’t they listen to ours?”
The show was designed like morning radio shows, featuring short segments, comedy bits, trivia, live call-ins, et cetera. Glenn says Horses in the Morning has become one of the top five longest-running daily podcasts in the world.
“My goal was always that Horse Radio Network would be the No. 1 podcast network in the world when people figured out podcasting,” he says. “And that did happen. I like being the first at anything. I don’t like doing it second.”
Horses in the Morning was the biggest risk for the network to tackle, because it’s an expensive show to produce.
“It’s still our biggest show, and it’s still our most profitable show,” shares Glenn. “It’s the one that the listeners really relate to, and it’s because we’re there daily for them.”
All of this has led to other opportunities within the mainstream podcasting industry, especially since the network was making money when many podcasters weren’t. Glenn has been asked to speak at a variety of conferences, including Podcast Movement and Podfest.
In addition, Glenn branched out to cohost a travel podcast, Finding Florida, with Jaime Legagneur on the Florida Podcast Network.
Luckily, Glenn’s fear of podcasting falling out of favor was not to be. Nowadays, there are more than 1.5 million podcasts, according to Edison Research. Does he fear the competition? Not a chance.
“I’m happy that there are new podcasts in the horse world, because that helps educate people about podcasts,” he says. “Nobody ever listens to just one show. The average podcast listener listens to seven to 10 different shows.”
In the beginning, he says he was just a horse husband who didn’t know much, but who would learn along with the audience. Now he’s 12 years in.
“We’ve done over 11,000 episodes, and I don’t know a quarter of what there is to know about the horse world,” admits Glenn. “Here we are thousands of hours of programming later, and we still haven’t scratched the surface. There’s just so much to the horse world.”