How to Create a Podcast as a Window into People’s Souls with Trista Polo

Show Notes

Get podcasting tips and advice from a podcaster who created a show that provides a window into people’s souls by telling the stories behind their personal license plates.

Remember to share what you got out of my conversation with Trista by leaving a review at

Learn More about Trista Polo and Her Show “Trista’s PL8STORY Podcast”

Episode recorded on March 2, 2021.

Music by Valence – Infinite [NCS Release]


James: In this episode of Podcast Tactics, you will get podcasting tips and advice from a podcaster who created a show that provides a window into people’s souls by telling the stories behind their personal life.

Remember to join the mailing list at so you can keep learning about podcasting, get inspired and stay motivated.

I’m James, the host of Podcast Tactics. Thanks for listening in. Now, let’s get into it!

Joining me right now is speaker trainer and coach Trista Polo from Highland, New York. Trista, thank you so much.

Trista: Joining me. Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here.

James: Oh, I’m excited to have you here. I, uh, you are, you are up to something that is very creative and clever in the podcasting space. I’m not going to take away your thunder.

Please tell us what the name of your podcast is and what it’s all about.

Trista: Sure I would love to. So the podcast is called “Trista’s PL8STORY Podcast”. And the plate story piece is I find people with vanity license plates and I find out the story behind why they chose the plate, which it turns out is often a.

Window into their soul. What makes them tick or really important event or part of their history. And then once we’ve gotten through that piece, we see where the road takes us and learn all about them.

James: How, how did you come up with this idea?

Trista: How does any idea really happen? You know, I had my own experience with my own vanity plate and I realized you only get one license plate for your car.

Even people who get tattoos, they have room for more than one to express themselves. Right. But with your car, you only get one plate. So. You must’ve had to go through quite a process to make a decision. Like this is how I wanted to find myself whenever I’m in my car. And it started out as a curiosity. And then I realized, you know, I was right.

There is a story behind these vanity plates that people choose. And it’s usually pretty interesting and pretty dynamic. And then I realized that, you know, when we’re driving, we can be. Not very patient and understanding to the fellow drivers that we’re on the road with. Maybe they’re too fast, too slow, you know, driving too close, passing too far.

And if we just kind of realize these are people living their best lives, trying their best, going through their own challenges, having their own triumphs, that maybe we can have a little more patience and kindness and compassion for each other on the road. So it started as a curiosity. And now it’s sort of a mission to have us all have a little bit more of a benefit of the doubt for each other when we’re on the road.

James: So I have to ask you since I, I believe you said you have a, uh, a custom plate or a personal plate, have you had an app? Did you put it together an episode for your plate yet? Or you did. Okay.

Trista: My podcast is set up to be all about the other person. I really try to highlight my guests, but at the end of each episode, I have them ask me a question about myself and it can be anything at all.

And the idea behind this was every week, people would learn a little bit something about me from the perspective of the interviewee, my guests. But every single person was asking me, what’s your vanity plate? Why did you choose it? What’s the story behind it? What’s the story with the podcast. So I decided to do an episode where I just, you know, share the whole story, the origin story of the plate and the podcast, and now people that are guests on my show can ask me anything, but those questions and that makes it a little more interesting.

I get questions like, you know, my favorite place to travel or what I’ll do as soon as the pandemics. Or, you know, stuff like that. How many

James: plates have you spoken about so far?

Trista: Um, just came out as of this recording. It was plate 59. Wow. Yeah. So I have about 64 or five that I’ve interviewed and I am putting them out, you know, as we go, they come out about once every week to two weeks.

But yeah, it’s, it’s a, it’s a podcast that’s been around for about a year. And it’s so funny because there’s so many plates. If you go on Instagram, vanity license plate accounts are sort of this subculture on Instagram. There are so many accounts that just collect pictures of plates that they see in the row on the road and get they collect from, you know, followers, et cetera.

So there’s so many plates that I could do that I only have. About 60 or so.

James: Yeah. You’re, you’re scratching the tip of the iceberg there for sure. Yeah. I mean, you know, I’m just remembering, like, in some restaurants that I go to, I don’t know how these people do it, but like sometimes they bring these custom plates in and they, you know, like they put them up on the walls.

I’ve been to a few restaurants where they’re doing that. And it’s, uh, anyway, that just reminded me of what you said, you know, where people are collecting them on Instagram and, uh, you know, kind of featuring them. It’s your podcast is the. Uh, kind of the audio equivalent to that actually it’s a video too, since you’re on YouTube as well.

That’s right. Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about your experience with, uh, you know, doing a podcast that is both, both video and audio? Well,

Trista: I’ve done podcasts in the past. I have had two different podcasts where I was a co-host with another person, and that was probably five or six years ago. And back then it was audio only, but of course technology has advanced.

And since then I’ve had, I have a YouTube channel and, you know, being able to just record video. Right on your computer being able to edit it with garage band or, you know, some other thing like that, like final cut pro or other software, it’s just easy to incorporate video. So when I was going to do a podcast, that was an interview based where I had a guest.

I thought it would be fun to include the video of our conversation. As well as the audio. And I think it just adds another layer of getting to know the person. Yeah. I didn’t start this way. The first few episodes I was going to try and do an in-person interview, but I realized I just didn’t have the technology necessary to make the audio really pristine.

And then the pandemic happened and then it didn’t make sense to get together with people in person. So I started to rely on zoom, which is a video and audio based platform. I found some great software, which I love that makes it really easy to edit transcripts, audio, and video all in one. So it just makes sense.

I would love to share it. I told them that I keep telling them that they should send me stock in the company. I recommend them all the time. The software’s called descript, D E S C R I P T. Like description, but shortened and it’s affordable. It’s powerful. And you end up with a transcript and audio and a video and you only have to edit it once and you can actually edit the text.

Like the written word and you’re automatically adding audio and video as well. So it makes things so much quicker and easier than for example, final cut pro or one of the other audio or video editors. Okay.

James: We’re going to go down a rabbit hole here. This is where I, you know, I’m going off script folks. Um,

let’s uh, would you mind like kind of describing your workflow with that? So you completed an interview. You, you know, you have, you know, the files on your computer, what happens at that

Trista: point? Sure. So these scripts, you just upload it into their software and they collected on the cloud. That’s one of the things I love about it.

I have a Mac book pro see, now I’m going to get a little techie and I’m not a techie. But I do like to have technology that works with my workflow. So I don’t have to manage the technology in order to get my work done. Yeah. So when I was getting a new computer, I made sure I wanted a laptop. So it would be able to go with me because I’m an online entrepreneur.

I do a lot of stuff out and about, but I also wanted to be able to do video. And so I got the best computer I could. That was both video card. And. Portable. Yeah. And even with that final cut pro, which is the software I was using, because it was the most powerful option that I had and I paid a pretty penny for it at the time, it would use up like 10 or 20 gig.

Of storage on my hard drive because it had such a large working file. So I had to empty my whole hard drive as much as I could putting as much as I could onto external drives. It was a nightmare. And I was constantly like bumping up against my computers storage just to edit one file. Yeah. So one of the things I love about descript is that it does it all on their own clouds.

Service. So it, they want me to have 20 gig on my hard drive available for it to use, but I never feel like I have to fight with my storage limits in order to get my, my workflow done. So I put the file up. The raw file. It loads it in it transcribes it, it identifies the speakers. I mean, my workflow is I let it do all the work.

I mean, you see why I love it right? Once it’s done all its thing and I’ve identified the speakers, which is typically two people, myself and my guests. And it identifies them. I just say yes, that one’s me. And that one’s my guest. Now I have a fully transcribed file, which is attached to an audio and video.

So there’s a video that I can see what’s happening. Yeah. And then there’s also the audio file at the bottom, which has all the different layers that you’re used to. If you do audio editing, I use the script. Um, with the text, that’s how I edit. So I go through and I edit the text, which is wonderful because it means that I can remove entire chunks.

It means that I could even move. Like I had one interview where I had really wanted to ask a question, but I’d forgotten to ask it where it made sense. So I was just able to copy. The sentence, move it to earlier in the interview. And I didn’t have to fight with where does it go and splicing, right. That’s amazing.

You’re going to everybody. I have told about it. This is why I said they should give me stock in the company. Everyone I’ve told about it takes the time to call me up and thank me. For making their life so much better. So I got to say,

James: I don’t know if they have an affiliate program, but if they do send me the URL, I was going to say, send me the URL.

And I’ll like, you know, I’ll drop that in there. I’ll drop that in the episode description for this episode, for sure. Cause you did a great job. I don’t want to go down to the script rabbit hole here. I feel like, you know, thank you for sharing that I want to talk about you and your podcast. This segment is called the love hate segment here.

Um, what do you hate about podcasting?

Trista: Um, you know, that’s a great question. There’s not much I hate about it. It’s mostly what I hate about myself with podcasting. And what I mean by that is I started the podcast because I wanted to tell people’s stories, but I also want to be good at what I do. So I want to increase my skills and every video I watched, every podcast I listened to and every person I talked to on clubhouse.

They’ll give you tips on how to better your engagement, how to increase your audience, how to improve your technology. And the next thing I know something I started because I just really wanted to tell people stories. Now I get obsessed with download counts and audience reach and monetization and what Mike I should use.

And I get sucked in to that piece of it. And then I get. You know, frustrated that it’s not further along, you know, that I haven’t been called, uh, by, uh, Spotify yet to purchase my vodcast or whatever. Right. And so it’s really what I, when I get frustrated about myself is that I do get sucked in to that side of it.

It’s not why I’ve started a podcast. I never started it to monetize it and become the next Joe Rogan and make a zillion dollars. It’s always been a passion project. But because I want to improve my skill and be the best I can be, because that’s my personality. I tend to get caught up in that other stuff.

And then I remind myself, that’s not what you’re doing here.

James: You’re catching it though. I mean, you know, I think you’re, you’re keeping your feet on the ground, so to speak. So, you know, I mean, I think you, I don’t know, personally, I think it’s great to have goals and like, you know, to have this kind of idea of like, yeah, I want my podcast to go somewhere.

I want, you know, I mean, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with like, wanting to monetize your effort, you know? I mean, I think what you’re doing, it’s very entertaining. It’s really heartwarming. I mean, we’ll get into your episode in a little bit, but let me back up because I want to ask you. The flip side of my original question.

What do you love about podcasting?

Trista: The people I’ve had so many people ask me, what’s your favorite episode, your favorite license plate. And it’s probably similar to asking a parent who’s your favorite child, right? Like it’s, it’s like sure. I have interviews that I feel went better than others or that the person was more dynamic or whatever, but each one of these people, it’s their story.

That we’re telling, and I love being able to share people’s stories. And so that’s what I love the most is the people that I get to interview. Most of the people that I’ve interviewed, they’re not used to being interviewed. They’re not used to being in the spotlight. They’re just regular, everyday people who happen to have a vanity plate.

I’ve had a couple of people that are more well-known have followings and band bases and that kind of thing, which is also cool. But most people, this is the first time they’ve ever been interviewed. And so I get to really make their experience special, give them a platform where they can share their story without judgment or.

You know, a Barbara Walters moment unless they choose to go there and, you know, just be able to share who they are and their uniqueness in the world. Because no matter how average we think we are, we all bring something super special. And I get to highlight that in a

James: specific way, not be surprised if you’ve had a few Barbara Walters moments.

On your show because it is, you know, you, you get, you let people tell their story. First of all, I mean, as an interviewer, I really caught on that. Like you, you are, um, you ask questions, but then you just let them tell their story. And that is, um, a scale I’m inspired by that. Thank you. Uh, yeah, let’s go ahead and talk about an episode here, because I did listen to Ray now, which is episode or plate number 59.

I should say. Yes, the way she told her story, extremely touching, like this is, uh, I mean, it’s obviously it’s her story, but you allow that you give her the space to do that. And it was, um, very engaging in a way that I was like, this is about a license plate, but it’s not. It’s about somebody’s life.

Trista: Exactly.

And isn’t that interesting. If you had asked her what someone typically would have asked her? What’s your business. What do you do for a living? We might have gotten into the story of her divorce and her background, which is where the license plate story starts is a very painful divorce, but we started with something.

Very unique, why she chose her license plate. Now, when I asked her the question, I do a pre interview because as I said, my guests don’t typically have experienced being interviewed. And I found that usually it gives them an opportunity to have a comfort level. They know what to expect. They know I’m not going to sideline them.

I’m not going to take them down a rabbit hole they’re not comfortable with. So I find the pre-interview is really helpful. Do you record

James: that? Pre-interview also

Trista: okay. Yeah. So I kind of have an overarching, I don’t want them to give me too many details because I want it to be spontaneous. Yeah. I get kind of like a little bit of the backstory, so I knew where we were going, but it occurs to me that if I had interviewed her as an entrepreneur podcast, We may never have had that conversation.

And I got to experience her sharing her most, maybe not her most, but one of her most vulnerable moments in her whole life as the start of the story. Yeah. And that’s so special to me to have a platform for people to share their stories because that’s who we are. We are a collection of our experiences.

And how we handled them and how we have overcome them. And she’s definitely a great example of someone who overcame and created something powerful out of her own

James: pain. Definitely. I mean, I don’t want to, you know, offer up any spoilers on this show here. People should definitely listen to your show because it is it’s really, I mean, it’s fun, but it’s also, it’s deep, you know, her story too, but she, from end to end, she had this.

Story arc. I have to ask, um, you know, how much of that was guided by you? How much of it, how much of the interview is getting left on the cutting room floor, so to speak?

Trista: That’s a great question. And I honestly don’t know for sure, because when we do the. Outline or when we do the pre conversation, I just kind of am looking to get to know them a little bit and I base what they share.

On, um, I kind of create an outline for it and some of it is what they’re offering and some of it is my intuition to pull at threads. Typically we talk about what we covered, but in more detail, but I will often hear something. And I’ll think during the actual interview for the episode, I’ll think I’ll learn a little bit more about that.

I want to pull it that thread a little bit more. So some of it is the pre-conversation where we’re following the outline. That’s the kind of the, you know, the scaffolding for the episode. But I don’t limit us to that either because I want it to be spontaneous and I want it to be in the moment. Yeah. And so I, I can’t, I can’t tell you for sure.

Cause it does. It does come from a place of kind of following my gut and really being, and if people are listening with the intent to make their own podcast, create their own interview type podcast, the biggest advice that I can give, and this is unsolicited. You didn’t ask me this question, but I’m going to offer it anyway.

So the biggest advice I can give, if somebody is looking to do an interview based show is. Be careful that you’re not trying to make an episode because when you’re trying to make an episode, you get lost in the episode and you forget to really listen to the guest. And when you’re really, yeah. When you’re really listening to the guest, You can take those extra moments like you did.

You’re like, Oh, let’s go off script. I want to hear about your process right now that turned out to just be like a little promo for this awesome software. It was more than that. I learned something listening and you let the conversation evolve instead of being attached to. Your plan. And if you’re doing an interview based show, I think that’s really crucial, like being a good listener and I can level up my skills as well.

I’ve been listening to a couple of different interviewers, like for example, Dax Shepard. I’m looking to elevate my own skills as an interviewer to create more of a conversation and less of a Q and a. So that’s what I’ve been working on this year. Um, cause again, I always like to be better and better.

James: I did not even know Dax had a, like, like I know I’m Dax, I didn’t know.

Dax Shepard had a podcast. So, you know, talk to us a little bit

Trista: about that. Yeah. He it’s called, uh, armchair expert. So he brings on people that you’ve heard of, most of them are actors, but lots of, uh, celebrity types, people that you’ll know who they are when you look at his guest list. He’s got an advantage over me, which is that he can do a lot of research about the people because they’re in the spotlight already.

He can read their book, he can talk to their publicists, watch a couple of their movies, read the news about them. And so if he doesn’t know them personally, which I kind of get the sense from the conversations that he does have a relationship with a lot of his guests, you have a lot of access to content that he can use to color the conversation.

So that’s what I’m really looking to level up my own skills in with interview.

James: Okay. Yeah. Thanks for that. I mean, yeah, me too. I will say that obviously. Right. I’m learning, I’m just starting out with this. Yeah. And it’s always nice to level up. I’m very curious and wanting to, you know, like level up quickly.

Um, how do you get your guests?

Trista: Well, you know, I used to have this postcard that I would put on someone’s car when I was driving around. Right. Because how do you get people who have vanity license plates? I don’t work at the DMV. Apparently I could go to a DMV site and pay money and have background checks.

And I’ve never done that now. Mostly I get them from Instagram or Facebook or friends will refer people that they know or guests will refer. So I’ve done somewhere. I interviewed one person and then I interviewed somebody that she had done. You know, music lessons for when she was in high school. And then I interviewed that person’s dad, because everybody in their family had a license plate.

So a lot of re like connectors and referrals, but a lot of inter like, um, research on the internet and social media channels these days, because when the pandemic happened, I don’t go out as much, but also, you know, putting a hot, a postcard onto somebody’s car. It just feels a little too, not social distancing.

Cause I don’t know if that person’s going to be okay with me being near their car, touching their car, putting something I’ve touched on their car. So it’s gotten trickier for sure. Since the pandemic,

James: what is it that you want people to get out of your show? Why should they listen to your podcast?

Trista: That’s a great question.

And I, I hinted at it. I kind of touched on it a little bit at the beginning. You know, we are all going through life, trying to do our best, but we can get pretty impatient when we’re out on the road. And I think part of it is because we have less, uh, compassion for people we don’t know. Right. It’s easier to be angry at a stranger.

Than it is. We don’t give the benefit of the doubt if we don’t have that relationship. So by offering up stories of people on the road, I want it to be entertaining. I want it to spotlight someone who might appear on the surface to be an average regular, everyday person who has their own triumphs, successes, and gifts.

But I also want us to have a bigger picture that those people out there driving on the road next to us. With us on the journey we call life are just human beings, doing their absolute best that they can in any moment. And they deserve compassion and kindness. Even if it feels like they’re cutting you off or.

Driving too close up behind you or getting in your way if you’re in a hurry.

James: Well, you’re, you’re, you’re definitely pulling it off for sure. Let’s, let’s get into our time machine. It’s the time machine segment of the episode here. We’re going to go forward in time into the future. Uh, and we’re going to look back, so let’s go ahead and say a year or two down the road here.

What are your hopes for your podcast?

Trista: I mean, has Joe Rogan called, have I been on the Ellen show to talk about, right? Why not? I think that, um, you know, shoot for the moon and even if you miss it you’ll land among the stars, is that the saying.

James: I’ve never heard that. That is beautiful. I love it.

Trista: So, uh, yeah, I think that, um, having it, just really having an audience that can appreciate the stories that are being shared and having the people that are.

Featured get their spotlight, not necessarily their 15 minutes of fame, but just ears and eyes that can appreciate who they are and what makes them special in the world. Is there a

James: celebrity that you would be, uh, absolutely floored to hear that they listened to your podcast?

Trista: Oh my goodness. What a great question.

I think I listened to Dax his show, so it’s only fair. Right. Yeah. That, uh, that he listened to mine. He is

James: cool. He’s a cool dude. I got to say he’s a cool dude. So Trista, please tell us where people can learn more about you and your

Trista: podcast. Absolutely. So there’s two different places that you can go. I mean, the podcast is everywhere.

It’s on every platform from iTunes to Amazon, but you can go to the and just like a website or just like a license plate. It’s P L eight. Story that com you can also get there through my main website, which is I woke up That’s my coaching websites. You can get to that there as well.

If you’re not sure how to spell plate story, and I have a YouTube channel as well, which you can find from my full name, Trista polo.

James: Well, I’ll be sure to link all of that in the episode, show notes, to make it easy for people to get to where they need to, to find out more about you and your shows. Just out.

I’d love to keep in touch with you. Maybe catch up six months down the road here. Um, you know, do a catch-up episode. Maybe, maybe do another interview to see how things are going. I would love that too. Okay. So the name of the show is “Trista’s PL8STORY Podcast”. Trista. Thank you so much for coming on and, uh, having a great conversation with me so much.

I learned from you. I want to pick your brain some more. Uh, maybe we’ll do that.

Trista: Oh, great. I’m up for it anytime. So nice to have been here. Thank you, James so much for having me on your show.

James: Thanks again to Trista. Check the show notes for links to learn more about Trista and her show “Trista’s PL8STORY Podcast”.

Please share what you got out of my conversation with Trista by leaving a review on You can find out how to do this in the show notes and do let me know what I can do to make this show even better for you. And make sure you follow podcast tactics to learn even more about podcasting in future episodes. Thank you!

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