For some moms simply dealing with the kids is enough, but for Paige Heninger and Gretchen Vogelzang being a mother isn’t just a full-time job, it’s also a business. The long-time friends launched MommyCast, landing sponsorship deals with Dixie and Pampers to name a few.
With over forty HD videos published to date, the moms are now enjoying celebrity clout in mom-culture with fans clamoring for more video and attention from the Hollywood Reporter. Between soccer practices and dirty diapers, Heninger and Vogelzang find themselves making stops in Tinseltown to interview celebs that kids and moms care about—the two sat down with the cast of The Suite Life of Zach and Cody when the Disney stars launched their feature film career.
Tubefilter caught up with these super moms and Vogelzang’s husband, MommyCast producer Paul Vogelzang to learn how they keep both the show and their kid-filled lives running smoothly.
Tubefilter: How did all this Mommy celebrating begin?
MommyCast: Paul has a background in marketing and internet and was interested in learning more about new media. It was early 2005, so podcasting was just emerging from the blog world. Paul had seen what an impact blogging had made on the presidential election and wanted to start a podcast and shared his thoughts with Gretchen. When she understood that podcasting was time-shifted entertainment, or “on demand,” she thought it would be perfect for moms.
Gretchen quickly came up with the name of our show. At the time, Paige was nearing the end of her fifth pregnancy when Gretchen and Paul began planning for the show by buying some inexpensive equipment. The show was really an outgrowth of the friendship between Paige and Gretchen, who had been friends for several years and talked every week on the phone. As the show took off, we were thrilled when we realized our downloads were so high that we began to get noticed by traditional media, adding to our audience, and sponsors.
Tubefilter: How many many episodes have been released, and how many do you plan for in the future?
MommyCast: Currently we have around 350 audio shows that we started recording in March 2005. We have 42 HD videos online at the moment and we started publishing our videos in April 2008.
Tubefilter: How did your sponsorship deals come together?
MommyCast: We received the first sponsorship deal with Dixie, a Georgia Pacific company, in 2005 very shortly after launching the audio show. After Paul prepared our media kit, we were contacted by the company handling PR for Dixie. Dixie was interested in getting involved with new media and the agency lead working on the Dixie account was familiar with MommyCast because his wife was a fan of the show.
Tubefilter: How long have Gretchen and Paige known each other? Where did that relationship start?
MommyCast: Gretchen and Paige met in September of 2001. The oldest sons were the same age and in the same school. The families went to the same church and Paige and Gretchen served as cub scout leaders, so always friends. MommyCast has been a wonderful way for Paul and Paige’s husband, Jeff, to build a friendship as well as our business. Paul handles the operations, marketing and outreach and Jeff, an attorney, operates as counsel for our company, KDCP productions, LLC.
Tubefilter: How did the show come to the internet instead of other traditional media outlet possibilites?
MommyCast: Podcasting remains a simple way for small operations to reach mass audience, and do so with limited funds. We quickly realized that “limited funds” was OK for some instances, but once sponsors become involved, we had to begin improving our equipment, marketing efforts and develop business plans and budgets. In other words, we turned the show into a business so it could move between the internet and other outlets, which it has done. We are presently available on TiVo, and Paige and Gretchen are being sought as commentators on traditional television.
Tubefilter: What has the response been from viewers and moms?
MommyCast: We have gotten really positive feedback from our listeners and our viewers in the form of email, comments, and digital phone messages, often numbering in the hundreds per day. We have heard people say that after viewing all of our videos they still wanted more. So they watched them all again. Most people who like our audio show are thrilled with the video because they can see our facial expressions when we interact. Paige can get silly on the camera, Gretchen more serious, and sometimes we post the out-takes to our YouTube channel, where we get additional comments and sharing.
Tubefilter: What’s in store for the long run of MommyCast?
MommyCast: Paige and Gretchen are so grateful to being doing the show, and for its broad reach, large audience, and helpful advice given to audience. We love working together and have learned so much in the last three and a half years. We are constantly amazed by our audience. Parenting is hard work and we are not perfect, but we offer a community to our mom audience of support, tips, guidance and friendship. We work at it everyday and I think our listeners and viewers appreciate that we aren’t perfect and that they aren’t alone.
It is humbling to know that we are helping women (and men) feel inspired as parents. Our goal has been to help women realize that they have the power to change the world through how they raise their kids.