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Interview: Savon Slater of The Need To Know Podcast

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

Savon Slater is a Long Island University alum with a bachelor’s in media and journalism. Prior to the Joe Budden Network and the Need To Know Network, he wrote for Hot 97’s BlameEbro blog and TUC Magazine based in Atlanta as a writer and editor. Savon is currently a co-producer and marketing for the Joe Budden Podcast along with being one of the four faces of The Need To Know Podcast that gives you what you need to know when you need to know, and all you need to know. Recently, the NTK created a Patreon to give content to their dedicated listeners. Click HERE to check it out and subscribe.

Jay: On Ferrocity’s Skills & Tech Podcast, you mentioned that you felt like your voice will take you further than your pen. You saw the pen as your bridge to where you needed to go. I loved how you said that we must respect podcasting as its own lane rather than classifying it as radio or television. What makes podcasting different to you compared to other forms of media?

Savon: The biggest difference between forms of media is podcasting is untapped, meaning people learning to monetize it and what it is. Some focus on visual audio scripted, less scripted. The biggest difference is podcasting is more direct to the consumer because you may stumble upon it but you went out of your way to find it. There are no commercials on television or radio about podcasting. I feel that nobody knows exactly what it is to take it to the next level because there are no gatekeepers, not yet at least.

Jay: For The Need To Know Podcast, it’s 143 episodes strong and it features Alex (Screen Man from The Joe Budden Podcast), Regi, Devvon Terrell, and in the past, Steph. You began working on your podcast back in 2015 and it was a rocky path for you due to a variety of issues such as working oddball jobs and finding a definitive path in the field of uncertainty podcasting had in its formative years. Today, it may be a bit easier now since the podcasting platform has become more marketable notably by the deals Spotify gave Joe Rogan and Joe Budden.

What changed in your approach to marketing for a podcast now that there are some clear distinctions in the field on “how can I make this profitable" and how having advertisements on podcasts is like making an investment?

Savon: My biggest change in the approach is investing in marketing. A lot of people in the industry have grown over the years, especially now that people specifically create marketing tools and strategies for podcasting. Before, I had no problem cutting clips and adding cover art to a video for a podcast post. I feel like the changes in attention span definitely play a factor.

Between Instagram reels, Tik Tok, and IGTV, it's more short formatted marketing as opposed to watching a clip for five mins. The pace of marketing on the social media front is the biggest change and also having visuals. Visuals are always going to be the allure for most podcasts, seeing it gives more allure rather than hearing albeit podcasting is normally consumed audibly. The visual components are as important because how you promote it is better rather than pushing a sound wave. Pushing the visual to promote the content and making sure the pace is not too slow or monotone, helps with getting to the point in order to keep a consumer’s interest.

Jay: I am sure you heard of the idiom made famous by Frank Sinatra in his song New York, New York, “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere”. The younger demographic would recognize that line by Jay-Z on Empire State of Mind, where he said, “I’m the new Sinatra, and since I made it here, I can make it anywhere, yeah, they love me everywhere”. Regarding the times we are in where social media can be a resume or business card nowadays, do you think the idea of going to a big city like New York, just to stick with the Sinatra example, is going out of style because of how tangible social media is? Or is there a need to move out to those big cities?

Savon: I think those big cities especially the coastal cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York are super important. Even though you can create a network on social media, you’re putting yourself at a higher percentage by being in the physical city having a casual lunch or being in the presence of somebody can’t be replaced. I’m a huge believer in big cities being a major key in a lot of the younger demographics' success. You need to build a team and network with people of similar interest to you, it could be Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago.

Jay: What would be some of your favorite episodes of The Need To Know Podcast? Mine are the episodes involving the friend dates because I went to VCU with the guy in the photo (episode 135 starting at the eight-minute mark) and I have my own opinions on that along with the Hoe Phases In Religion talk with you, Alex, and Steph back in early 2020.

Savon: That’s like asking who’s your favorite child. I can tell you my favorite conversation and topics, but I can’t harken back to one specific episode. I’m involved in so many different podcasts, four specific ones, the episodes where there's always an elevator conversation where we dig deeper into what’s currently being discussed are nice. I like to challenge and provoke thought. I walk out of the studio saying "that was a really good podcast conversation" because the range of conversation we were able to have is my favorite episode. I could say episode 142 because it's still fresh on my mind based on the diversity, back story, and hearing Alex's story, as well as Dev's and Regi’s stories.

Jay: You and Alex even began doing an exclusive “Locked In” interview series with the likes of A&R Hovain and actress Brianda. What really caught me to check it out was the minute-long clip I saw on Instagram of you chopping it with Brianda. The back and forth of camera angles, subtitles, and zoom-in on faces for hilarious reactions did keep me entertained as how we briefly discussed earlier in the interview. What would you define the “Locked In” series as and how does it carry onto the Need To Know brand?

Savon: We get a lot of inquiries and requests coming on to the podcast to have four personalities, it's hard to pick someone else. Between the four of us, we have a lot of people in our respective networks. The Locked-In series was an idea I had that wasn’t as refined pre-pandemic. It's us seeking outside of the podcast to introduce the audience to people we appreciate and have admiration for. It s a nice way to bring more content underneath the Need-To-Know media. You get jokes, camaraderie, and friendships aspect on our main podcasting platform. Then you get the interview series which displays a different side of the host and whoever the guest is.

It plays a role in the hub of media we have and we're trying to figure out how to do it more frequently. I enjoy the one-on-one content. It makes us more than podcasting personalities. We have a journalist background too. It makes it more honorable to cover them on a one-on-one basis rather than to have guests with four podcasting personalities.

Jay: What was the best no you have ever received and why?

Savon: There was a network and media company I thought I wanted to be a part of so I pitched my podcast to them and they said no. After that no, the trajectory of their establishment was on the downslide and I saw that it was a blessing in disguise that we didn’t sign and put our faith in there. I saw that my work ethic would’ve propelled me to a different level and because of how things fell out, maybe they didn’t have something that would’ve helped me build up more. It was one of my favorite nos because it would’ve had me trapped in a certain situation and restricted my creative freedom. I heard a lot of nos and they serve their purpose but that might have been my best no.

Jay: Who are some artists that you think need more recognition?

Savon: I'm going to start with my guy Devvon Terrell. I may be a bit biased sure, but his music is amazing, and he's very talented as a songwriter. He has range on his covers and he deserves a bit more shine because he has been grinding for a really long time. I was a fan of his music since high school, which was seven years ago. Kiana Ledé is another one I really enjoy. I have seen her get more looks very recently. I think her voice and content are amazing. She reminds me of some of that early 2010’s R&B. I think those two deserve more love in a mainstream sense. An honorable mention is Blxst. He’s an LA-based artist and he’s fire.

You can follow Savon on Instagram @savonslvter and Twitter @SavonSlvter . You can stay up to date on the NTK crew and content through their Instagram @needtoknowpod and Twitter @NeedToKnowPod . Subscribe to the Need To Know Podcast on all digital streaming platforms and check the NTK on Spotify.

Written by: Jay Guevara @justinhisprime on all social media.

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