In this episode of Podcast Tactics, you will learn how to podcast powerfully and be unstoppable, one day at a time. Today’s guest is a successful and experienced podcaster who happens to be on the autism spectrum. Despite this, his passion for podcasting shines through.
I can’t wait for you to hear his remarkable story!
In today’s show, you will be inspired by a podcaster who is a voice for those on the autism spectrum. He and his mom are on a mission to remove the stigma associated with autism and other conditions that many think are disabilities.
Listen in to hear how he is building a successful show that attracts celebrity guests.
What did you get out of this episode? Leave a review at https://www.podchaser.com/PodcastTactics
Learn More & Connect with Sam Mitchell
- Website: http://autismrocksandrolls.com/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamMitc95075321
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/autismrocksandrollspod/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sam-mitchell-b782b31b1/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/229025325159144
Episode recorded on February 26, 2021.
Join the mailing list at https://podcasttactics.com/ to get new episode notifications.
Music by Valence – Infinite [NCS Release]
James: In this episode of Podcast Tactics, you will learn how to podcast powerfully and be unstoppable, one day at a time. Today’s guest is a successful and experienced podcaster who happens to be on the autism spectrum. Despite this, his passion for podcasting shines through.
I can’t wait for you to hear his remarkable story.
Welcome to another episode of Podcast Tactics. This is the show where you will learn how to podcast from other podcasters.
Hello, I’m James. In today’s show, you will be inspired by a podcaster who has a voice for those on the autism spectrum. He and his mom are on a mission to remove the stigma associated with autism and other conditions that many think are disabilities.
Listen in to hear how he is building a successful show that attracts celebrity guests. Enjoy the interview and remember to join the mailing list at PodcastTactics.com to get new episode notifications.
Now let’s get into it.
Joining me right now is Sam and Gina Mitchell from Indiana. Sam and Gina, thank you so much for being on the show.
Sam and Gina: Thank you. We’re really glad to be here. Yeah, we’re really glad to be here.
James: Let’s dive right in. Let’s talk about your podcast. What’s the name of the show, and what’s it all about?
Sam and Gina: Autism Rocks and Rolls and it’s about autism, and how I cope with daily struggles that you may or may not understand.
And the reason why I started is I’ve seen a lot of podcasts lately and moving into the whole spiel of why later. But what I’ve noticed is, and I realized it now it was doctors, they’re the ones who do this. They’re boring. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true. It’s like one in 54 people live with it, autism disability. It’s more in boys than girls, whether or not you can find that on the internet easy, but they don’t see the emotional side.
They don’t get the opportunity to see that. There’s nothing they could talk about with honesty and bluntness. They use, they could find some conversation, but they don’t understand it until they live it.
Yeah, this is coming from… direct from you, right? So tell me how the whole idea started for starting a podcast.
James: Was that your idea or was that your mom’s?
Sam and Gina: Um, mine.
Um, so here’s the story. So it’s kind of a part… It’s not like the main part, but it’s a little part. So we have a hospital in our area it’s called Riley Hospital and that’s where the sick kids go because they’re not going to make it past possibility and they might die, but.
Our school, where they have dance marathons, where you can play corn hole. You can do Sumo suits. You can dance all 24 hours. And yes, they really do. I promise you, I wouldn’t lie about that, but our school had our first annual one and I see people coming out there. What are doing? They had cameras, microphones. And I find that found that fascinating.
Still do, but I thought let’s go ask what they’re doing. And I did. And. Sure enough, they’re talking about this media club, you know, it’s all about this blah, blah, join next year. And that’s where next year, that’s where I found the podcast and I still do our own school’s “Thunder Casts”, Thunder Cast.
And we’re starting a new podcast, which I don’t know the title of it yet, but if I do, I’ll keep you updated. And, but I decided to eventually start my own podcast and make my own name and call it autism rocks and rolls. And the English teacher, her side came out. And she decided what do you want the purpose to be?
And I decided to make it about autism because I noticed that there was no emotional side to autism that people are talking about.
James: That’s awesome. Sam, would you mind if I ask how old you are?
Sam and Gina: 18. Senior in High School.
James: Oh, a Senior? Alright! Let’s talk a little bit about the challenges of podcasting. What kind of challenges have you ran into with that?
Sam and Gina: Uh, the media, the technicality. I mean, I like things. The interviews are great. I mean, if you watch them, they’re great. But then sometimes there’s a little tech, technical issues every once in a while, be like a little beep coming off. Um, you talk a little loud and they talk so low they get real loud.
Then you get real low. You get real loud. It just. That stuff and that’s annoying as hell.
James: Yeah. That’s a popular one. I mean, mastering the technological aspect of it. I think that’s kind of a Holy grail for a lot of people, but I think content is King. What you’re up to with your show, uh, totally outshines, any technical glitches that might be there.
I listened to a couple of your episodes. Honestly, I didn’t hear any technical issues. I was impressed. Your content was really strong. So that’s what takes a precedent over any technical issues. Quite honestly.
Sam and Gina: Yes, sir.
James: Let’s talk about your successes with the podcast.
Sam and Gina: All right. So yeah, it’s a very successful and I like to think I have now sponsors is going to give a shout out to Wellspring Paint Solutions and Perfection Auto Glass along with Salon 45 and our other sponsors, which are (Commercial Service), Commercial Service.
Yep. Thank you. And, uh, (Life Paths Counseling), Life Paths Counseling CPA and CPA Tax Service along with Bells Built Automotive and the Green County General Hospital. I think you got them. Yep.
James: What an achievement to have so many sponsors at this point. How long have you been a podcasting for
Sam and Gina: A little over a year since October 2019 (two years.)
James: Okay. Okay. That’s a long time. How’s that been for you?
Sam and Gina: It’s been fun, been a fun journey, a little hard. I won’t lie, but it’s a good journey. I know I can go to bed and be happy that I’m doing this for now.
James: That’s awesome. What’s the hardest thing you find about podcasting?
Sam and Gina: The hardest thing, honestly, when, when technology messes up.
James: Yeah, it is. It is. We rely on it in many ways, not just podcasting, but yeah. What do you love about podcasting?
Sam and Gina: The editing.
James: You do? Wow. Okay.
Sam and Gina: The line and you get your get the “ums” and “ands”. When you first hear it man, just like “blah”, this stinks, but the more you, the, when you give her those “ums” and “ands” and ands – little tongue twister.
Um, and the dead spaces when there’s like the big line of no one’s saying anything. It sounds more professional. It sounds so much better.
James: So I have to ask you, do you, do you edit your own shows then?
Sam and Gina: Yup.
James: Fantastic. And when you do, let’s say an interview show and it goes, well, I mean, how long is your raw footage?
Does it, is it about an hour? How much do you cut out of it?
Sam and Gina: For the most part? It’s a little, it’s sometimes it can be 35 minutes. It could be in short can be an hour. The last one was like, Pat was, my longest, was a long- the longest. Was a record. It was the longest one alive. That I’ve done. So it all depends on the interview.
Depends on the topic. It all depends.
James: Uh huh. Uh huh. So, so sometimes you’re leaving a lot on the cutting room floor and sometimes it’s a, you know, easy, not much dead space to cut out.
Sam and Gina: Yeah.
Just from kind of looking in, um, it seems like to me that the interviews like the, the popular interviews, maybe the ones with the celebrity or ones that are going to be like.
Like that everybody’s really excited about those tend to go longer because yes. And there’s a reason for it though. What I want, if you watched a big interview of Dan Rather, to be honest, my dad introduced me to him. And I’m not saying I liked it, but I don’t like leaving people people hanging. Yeah. He wants to be full circle, complete.
He wants to make sure that his guest, um, what, like get gift all of their thoughts out that they want to, and he’s very thorough. So yeah. He was just like “So what do you do?” Okay. That’s kinda boring, but you leave me hanging. Let’s get to the point here. Let’s, let’s get the information that people need to know about you.
And not just this little, teeny itsy bitsy part.
James: How are you booking your interviews? How are you getting connected with people?
Sam and Gina: Message them.
James: You just reach out and ask?
Sam and Gina: And you pray to God they’re on messenger because if they don’t have it, you’re, you’re out of luck.
James: So messenger is the primary way that you reach out. Do you try to reach out in other ways?
Sam and Gina: Um, nope.
Sam and Gina: Well you don’t but the editor does no, he does. So his role with his business, he started it. He’s the boss. I mean, he tells me what to do, but he, when he started it, it was really just him. But then as it got bigger and bigger, you know, he did ask for help.
And so everything that, not everything, but a lot of things that happens that you don’t see is, is what I’m doing. And then he is the voice. For sure. Like the voice of it. Although I did step in this last… On the last one, there was some kind of some miscommunication and he wanted to make sure everybody was comfortable.
And so he asked me to co-host with him and like on the spot spontaneously. So, uh, we did the best we could with it, but it turned out really well done. I think that’s usually just him. And then we use messenger. I’ve used email. I’ve used Instagram, Twitter. If he really finds somebody that he really wants to reach out to we’ll search everywhere for it.
James: Well done! One of the intentions of my podcast is to connect people with the podcasting community. Is there any requests that you have for the podcasting community that you want to make?
Sam and Gina: Gordon Ramsey on it I’ll be happy.
James: Get Gordon Ramsey on?
Sam and Gina: He has certain people…
Sam and Gina: For sure. Um, we realized that the two big ones, yeah, Mick Foley is he really likes WWE wrestling and has, so yeah, his favorite wrestler is Mick Foley.
We’ve always say like, if we could, if he would, that’s his dream game. I met him though, like not “podcastly”, but just, you know, personally. There’s people that I would really like to have Dan Akroyd on because he is on the autism spectrum. Um, yeah, I just want to meet Ellen so awesome personally. So, but as far as Dan Akroyd, I think he would be such a good guest because he’s so successful.
And like Sam has embraced who he is, his quirkiness and has turned it into a successful acting career. So I think he would just be phenomenal on there.
James: Absolutely. So, I do want to talk a little bit about a couple of your episodes. I listened to episode 101, the first one. Um, I’m always curious…
Sam and Gina: It’s not my favorite, I’ll be honest.
That wasn’t… that wasn’t my favorite!
James: Can you explain? Is that because it was your first one?
Sam and Gina: Yeah, but it was kind of, I just sounded “blah”, like boring.
James: Hmm. Okay. That’s interesting. It did not occur to me that way. I will tell you why I kind of listened to him backwards. I listened to your latest one, the most recent one first.
And then I went back and listened to 101, and you are consistent. You’re very strong, uh, on the air. I was very impressed. Yeah. I mean, it’s hard not to judge oneself, you know…
Sam and Gina: Further problem you didn’t see, but I kind of call out someone by accident. Oh, we, well, so I guess to kind of explain that too, he, when he first started.
There was no boundaries. Well being on the autism spectrum, that’s kind of a struggle anyway for him. I think like he and I have talked about that before, but he just got on there and talked and then there was, you know, like an issue about his high school and then it was. Something that he was kind of frustrated about.
And then he didn’t say a name, but he kind of pinpointed somebody that worked there with their title. And so when it was over, I’m always the one that I listened to it before he publishes it. And just to give him tips, or if I see, like we’ve said something, like I said, he was an idiot. He called him a name and then I was like, buddy, They like, it’s obvious who you’re talking about, the superintendent’s not going to listen to a podcast highly, highly, maybe, but that’s what he, so he, when he first started, I don’t think he thought about that.
And then as he became more professional, now he’s very aware that, you know, like, It’s a podcast! It’s very public right now. So you have to, you gotta be careful. You gotta make smart decisions.
James: Yeah. Yeah. Let’s talk about the temple Grandin episode. How did you get connected with her?
Sam and Gina: We messaged her!
No, I was happy. I was fairly happy, like really happy with this guest. She was really smart. She’s was on the spectrum. She has been through a lot. It’s kind of interesting. Actually, she was talking about a young woman who they all good grades and all did well. Problem was she didn’t know how to buy something in the store. She couldn’t learn how to do that without like crapping her pants or like fidgeting around.
Yeah, she was, I think her point there was Temple Grandin was when, cause I, you know, I was, I was, I was ecstatic when she got called me, cause I was just about passed out because we had messaged her. Um, Oh yeah, it had been several, like several weeks before I, we didn’t hear anything and you know, it was one of those things.
I was like, I’m sure she gets approached all the time. And she’s so incredible. So he was outside listening to music and my husband and I were in the house and my cell phone rang and I picked it up and it’s, I mean, her exact words were yeah. Temple Grandin here. And I went, come on, like, and I said, And so I think I said something like, “What?”
And then she said it again. And then I, but for just a second, I was like, who is doing this? Like, who is playing a trick on me? Well, just playing tricks on us again! This is Temple Grandon. And she said, yep. She called me on my cell phone and wanted to talk to him. And we got it all situated. And I, you know, I, I just feel like she must’ve, there must’ve been something for her to say, I, I wanted to be a part of this because I’m sure she’s, you know, like approached all the time.
So it was incredible.
James: It was such a great, great episode, a really good interview. I was impressed by how… it’s… You were well prepared. And I wanted to ask you about that. Like how well prepared were you? Did you have a script or an outline? And did you deviate from it?
Sam and Gina: Let me show you. I’ll show you my notes.
Sam and Gina: This is what I always do right here. At the top, I always like put the intro cause I’m nice. I like to have, as a way of gratitude, I always have liked to pick my guests pick their favorite songs. Totally do. But one of ’em um, since I do, I sound to pick their favorite songs, just one. This is, um, de Souza is this is, um, the outro.
Their favorites and then of course shout outs and all the business stuff. And then the questions right here typically come up with 50. She eliminates them and then I mush them together. And, um, so we definitely have, we definitely have a system going. Yeah. Um, I always want to keep the same five questions.
Like what does having autism mean to you? What were your initial thoughts? How you think our brains operate? What is the most difficult thing about having autism? What advice would you give to someone who has autism? And then the end question, I also like to keep, like, what’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite vacation?
What’s your favorite TV show? Is there a good memory that you could talk about for us? Reason being is because there’s so much other podcast out that I don’t want to ask the same questions. You know, I don’t want Temple Grandin to be like. I’ve heard that before.
James: Yeah, that’s understandable. Absolutely.
Sam and Gina: That part is kind of the meat of what the interview is.
And then he always, he wants to start with maybe some thought provoking questions and then those end ones are fun. You know, to kind of end the interview. You gotta have fun with doing this. I mean, you got to have fun.
James: Yeah, that’s great.
Sam and Gina: I think I do. I try to, at least.
James: Almost everybody that I have interviewed up to this point. They definitely bring that up. If you’re not having fun, maybe time to hang up the headphones.
Sam and Gina: Absolutely.
James: The other thing that I was enjoyed about your interview with Temple Grandin is you seem to really, uh, engage with her, uh, on a, on a fun level too. When she, when you asked her about why is having manners these days important, her response was absolutely golden.
I don’t want to ruin it. I want people to listen in on it. She was like, yeah, this is why, because. And I’m not going to say it because I want people to listen in on that episode.
Sam and Gina: Yes. She was very straightforward, but it was interesting when they were talking they’re both straight forward.
Sam and Gina: When you have people, their brains are wired, not the same, but in a similar fashion, it was just such a neat thing to see both of them just really open up to each other.
James: Ya, that dynamic! Definitely. I’m also remembering when she was talking about artificial intelligence and how. The ground up thinking and how, when they train AI is how she thinks and you immediately were like, “That’s how I think!” That was a cool moment in that episode.
Sam and Gina: Yeah. Thank you. It was neat.
James: Sam and Gina, I want to ask, and I think you’ve already answered this in some way, but I’m going to ask it again anyway. What is it that you want people to get out of listening to your show? Why should people listen to your podcast?
Sam and Gina: Okay, well, there’s another answer to it. It is the emotional side, but I also want people to know we’re not broken. I want people to know that people on the spectrum are not broken are not fix, or do not need me to fix, aren’t completely dumb. They understand what’s going on. They don’t need to live with their pants, the rest of their life. You know, I’m, I’m college bound. I’m not gonna live with her forever. When people say, Oh, he has autism.
I’m so sorry (grrrr.) no. There’s no, there’s no need to be sorry. He’s not, um, what was the, today? I didn’t tell you this, but, um, like I’m a teacher and the kids, you know, I was get, you know, I always get really good relationship with my students. I teach eighth grade and they’re very aware of like what Sam’s podcast and how successful it’s coming and becoming.
And they were really interested. We got approached to do an interview when we did decide to do it. I can’t remember. Oh the podcast. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say it yet because we are going to be on their show, but, um, I’ll just say that the title was… No, don’t say say the title, say the podcast. Well, I don’t want to say, yeah, I don’t want to, it was questionable the, like the, kind of the questioning that they wanted to ask Sam, and it was one of those things where I felt like they wanted to talk about kind of it kind of the negativity.
And they wanted to talk about like almost a healing process. Like how can we heal Sam? And I wasn’t comfortable with that. And it was completely up to him, but somebody today said in my classroom, we were talking about it and they said, you just don’t want people to pity him, right? And I said, “Why would I want them to pity him?”
He doesn’t, he doesn’t need to be pitied. It’s not, there’s nothing wrong. It’s not a… Does he have challenges? Every day, but I do too. And I’m sure you do too. I’m just saying that we all are disabled. I mean, he’s no more disabled than I am. Um, and so I don’t know. That’s just how we’ve always looked at. It is Sam has autism, but you still have to function, and you still are going to get good grades, and you still have to take trash out, and you still have to do your laundry.
I have always, my husband, I’ve always given him the, the, the resources, but. You have expectations, very high expectations, high expectations. You’re not like a strict person. Well, I just mean with survival. Yeah. I get that. I’m saying you’re not like, right right now, like March, like March that tight, I guess.
Well, and. The biggest thing in our family is being respectful, um, autism or not, I don’t care who you are, you nobody deserves to be disrespected. And so that’s kind of how he’s been taught. So even with autism, there’s been times where, you know, like he’ll be too blunt or something will happen and I’ll be like, “Bud, how else could have we done that?” And I know in that moment, he didn’t think I’m going to be disrespectful. It just happened because of brain wiring, but I don’t care. Like we’re still going to correct that. And there’s still an expectation for you, for him in this house and out there, like, you know, like he disrespects a boss, they don’t care if he has autism.
James: There’s going to be a consequence.
Sam and Gina: Absolutely. We never ignored it, ever. Like I’ve never, we’ve always embraced it, but there’s still an expectation.
James: Yes! All right, it’s time to get in our time machine. We’re going to go forward in time. Let’s go six months, a year, two years down the road. What do you hope for your podcast, Sam?
Sam and Gina: You know that time traveling, if you’re going to the future, you better. It’s going to make a U-turn because I don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know what the future holds for me. And yes, I know it’s kind of funny, but I don’t know what the future holds, so. That’s only gonna be as time will tell, honestly, what is it they always say, “one day at a time”? That’s what I’m taking this to one day at a time
James: That is a golden answer. Thank you, Sam.
Sam and Gina: I see huge possibilities. I mean, like I said, we said he had all of the, we have it, we mentioned as sponsors. Um, they’re talking about, you know, one of his sponsors is just going a thousand miles an hour, which I kind of do too. So it kind of works perfect. But you know, they’re talking, let’s do a non-profit, let’s do this, let’s do that.
And I’m like, Okay. He’s got to finish high school first and then we can talk. Then he really wants to go to college and I don’t want that to be taken away, but he definitely, this could a hundred percent be his job with what he’s monetary wise with what’s happening right now. But I want him to want to do that.
James: Sam, what are you gonna major in, in college?
Sam and Gina: Uh, plan on going to Ivy Tech for my general classes and then transfer to Vincens for either media or tourism, not for like to around the world, but just traveling just to like sit in the office and type me some kind of fun. Like when you find some fun in Paris or in the Eiffel Tower (like a travel agent.)
Yeah. Thanks. But I mean, find some fun to me when you find something fun in Paris, that’s not the Eiffel Tower. That’s pretty good. You get them away from the fancy thing that the that people don’t need to know that you know about it, but yeah, little holes in the wall.
James: Kinda off the beaten path. All right. So before we wrap things up, I do have one last question for you, Sam and Gina.
If your podcast gets developed into a movie, who is going to play the leading roles?
Sam and Gina: Who’s gonna play, who’s going to play the movie of me? Can I play myself?
James: Except for you pick a celebrity. Not that you’re not a celebrity! Pick a different celebrity.
Sam and Gina: Obama. No, I’m kidding. No, I’m kidding on that, um… Who’s who kind of thinks like you do?
You know what? We gotta go with Dan, we got to go, um, Who think thinks like me? You know, this is gonna sound kind of corny, but my teacher, one of my teachers.
James: I’m sorry. I stepped on that. Who is that? Which teacher?
Sam and Gina: My psychology teacher, creative writing teacher, and government teacher – Mr. Atkinson.
I can’t think of anyone else! You guys kind of do think alike though. You’re right. Like if you that’s, why he’s your favorite teacher? That’s funny.
James: Gina, how about you?
Sam and Gina: Gosh, I’m sitting here thinking. Probably your mom. Well, I’m thinking like celebrity. I’m kind of loud and I’m kind of loud and opinionated and trying to think of who would be like that.
I know, I know who I want to be. I think lady Gaga should play me.
I do love, I love lady Gaga, but here’s why I think that though, she, she is very bold. She’s very bold. She has, she thinks outside the box. Um, and I, I feel pretty bold sometimes. And I really in my classroom, I think way outside the box. So I’m going with lady Gaga.
James: Awesome! Sam, did you think of a celebrity or a, you want to go with your teacher still?
Sam and Gina: Fine. I’m gonna just go to my favorite, Tom Hanks. Oh, yeah, the only problem is that he might have to cut his hair a little bit. He’s very versatile. He would be able to adapt to anything.
James: Absolutely! Sam and Gina. Please tell us where people can find out more about you and your show.
Sam and Gina: You’ll find me on Podbeans Spotify, YouTube, LinkedIn, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud.
And (not there obviously). I think that’s just platforms, um. Website that I have is www.autismrocksandrolls.com. And that has everything you need to know about me. And that’s where you can find everything. There’s a link on that as well. There’s a, so autismrocksandrolls.com, but then there’s a sponsorship link.
Cause he’s getting quite a few sponsors where you can fill out paperwork for that. Um, There was something else. Oh, and then he’s all, all social media. He’s I mean, Tik TOK, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram. And he he’s he’s on all of those. So you can find him about anywhere.
James: You are so prolific you guys.
So I’d love to keep in touch. Maybe catch up six months down the road, if that’s all right with you.
Sam and Gina: Yeah.
Sam and Gina: Give me a holler when you need me, I’ll be here.
James: The name of the show is Autism Rocks and Rolls. Sam and Gina, thank you so much for coming on the show. It was an absolute pleasure. I wish we had two more hours to just sit and relax and converse, but maybe we can make that happen in the future.
Sam and Gina: Anytime you need us we’re here once. That’s what I always tell people.
James: Thank you so much. I wish you both the best of luck in the future with your show. We’ll catch up soon.
Sam and Gina: All right, bye bye.
James: Thanks again to Sam and Gina and Mitchell. Check the show notes for links to Sam’s website and to connect with him on social media.
What did you get out of this episode? Let me know by leaving a review on Podchaser.com. There’s a link in the show notes for this and feel free to make suggestions for what I can do to make this show even better for you.
And remember to subscribe and follow Podcast Tactics, to learn even more about podcasting and future episodes.