George and Jess Podcast 220

The number of radio personalities turning to podcasting as an alternative to their on-air career continues to grow. Thanks to new technology that makes it easier to record a podcast, that trend is growing beyond the hosts who arrived in podcasting fresh from multimillion dollar radio contracts and the financial ability to hire teams to help produce their show. The latest example is in Mankato, MN where former morning show hosts George and Jess Blais are still doing a show each weekday morning. But instead of for their former radio station, they are posting a half hour podcast episode each day at 6am.

Jess Blais tells the Mankato Free Press that the genesis of the podcast began in March 2020 when due to the pandemic their morning show on Alpha Media “Country 103.5” KYSM shifted to a work-from-home setup. They ultimately decided to leave the station in January, but quickly realized they missed the interaction with listeners. So in March, the husband-and-wife team debuted the George and Jess Podcast. On the show the couple talks about their life as a blended family, projects on their midcentury home, cooking, and musing about all things parenting and marriage.

“I’ll be forever grateful, because without that 11 years that we did the morning show together, we would have never been able to grab that many people and bring them over to this new platform. But I just felt it was time,” George Blais told the Free Press.

The couple may have been better prepared than many others for starting a podcast. They already had recording equipment in their home that they used for freelance voiceover work. They were also experienced at creating content for YouTube and TikTok for their radio show -- now they do that for themselves and their podcast.

Jess Blais -- who now works as a business and community relations manager at a Mankato construction company -- told the Free Press that they have been able to leverage some of their relationships with radio advertisers for their podcast. “I think that it’s just a natural evolution. And it gives us a chance to partner with brands that we’ve known and worked with and built relationships with,” she said.

Back at KYSM, Alpha Media earlier this month tapped Jeff Spence and Doug Gerdes for morning show duties. Spence had hosted afternoon drive on KYSM for more than 11 years as well as shifts at rock sister KMKO.