Rebranding My Podcast and Not Losing Ground
Nobody likes to lose. It is the fear of loss that keeps us from doing much in life. Podcasters and social media producers are really loss adverse because other people can see our followers and subscribers. If you want to rebrand your social media property, I say go for it. You may lose some people but if you persevere through the dip, you will be ok. If you have a track record of being a change agent, folks won’t miss a beat if you decide to change. They will already have an idea of who you are and may be ok with it. If it is a dramatic change, expect a dramatic change up or down because of it.. Not everyone that starts off with you always finishes the journey with you anyway. You wish it weren’t the case but it is. Think about school(s), the military or wherever you have matriculated through where there was a bunch of different people. Not all those acquaintances are still with you now. My journey has been long and the road twisted.
After discovering podcasting in 2007, I created the Urban Shooter Podcast now called the Kenn Blanchard Show to be able to reach people I have met as an activist and encourage them to stay in the fight for life. Some cliches need repeating. I have learned that no matter how good a job you do washing your arse today, you still have to wash it tomorrow. Someone didn’t get the memo, missed the briefing, or needs to be reminded that they can make it. That has become more important to me than some of the things I have done. You can start a lot of things. Finishing is a different matter. I for one, can create and start something faster than most. It’s the sustaining that I have a problem with. The Urban Shooter Podcast became the Black Man With A Gun Show for fourteen years. I didn’t want it to “podfade” just because I am going through a tough time.
My wife of 30 years had recently retired and was enjoying life. She started to complain of headaches and hives that were unexplained though. Several doctors told her it was “all in her head” as they attributed it to aging and hypochondria. An older doctor finally agreed to get her an MRI. He has a large tumor in the front part of her head. He wondered how she was managing it. She could have had a stroke, blindness or worse. It did explain some of her irritability and contribute to our lack of sleep for the past two years. We were going through a transition as a couple and I wondered if she was just getting old and cranky on me. I have guilt now for what I thought.
We sought experts for the surgery and went to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The neurologist connected with my wife and they had a good relationship. He assured her he was going to be as non-evasive as possible and have heard able to work again in 60 days if she wanted to. We were so confident that we didn’t alert our extended family. My wife didn’t want them to worry. A strong woman of faith that was still exercising and still in charge of a lot of things. The surgery happened during the pandemic. There were a lot protocols and restrictions but things got done.
On May 17, 2021, she had surgery to remove a meningioma, and since then has been unable to walk, talk, or swallow. She has been in an out of the hospital. She has been getting her feeding through her stomach since May. In July she caught pneumonia. She was home for a month before we found out she has fungal meningitis in the area of the surgery that has also damaged her ability to move. Her limbs are contracted because of it. She has skin break down issues from laying in bed for so long. In November 2021, she contracted and was treated for pneumonia and two blood clots. She is now in a nursing facility. We don’t have a prognosis. We hear different things every week. You don’t realize what your health insurance doesn’t cover until you need it. You don’t understand the callousness of the world, the indifference in hospitals and with some the people that work there until you are there. You don’t realize how people are going to react to you as you grieve the loss of the ways things used to be. 2021 was different for us. We didn’t celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or holidays like we had. Everything is different. She is currently in long term care. It has been a horrible time for all. (Thank you for your prayers.) If you want to help financially here’s a gofundme link.
So I struggled. (Still in the fight)
Take them with you.
I decided with the support of some of you to “do me” which was my suggestion of changing the show, cancelling some of the others I have and combining them into this one the flagship podcast. Going to do the same with this website. I will always be the Black Man With A Gun (trademarked) and will still be pro-gun. I am no longer alone in the universe though. There are a bunch of young guns that never even heard of me, and are spouting stuff on social media. It’s ok. I had my turn. I was pre- GOOGLE, FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM. I had to hide most of my work in the second Amendment to keep my job. I learned to be undercover in plain sight. I was envious of those that don’t have to struggle and that I have paved the way for with people and companies that looked at me as a unicorn but now get it and support others.
If you are going through something and decide to change your podcast or brand, do it.
Time never waits for anyone and the winds never require directions. It only depends on us how we use time and turn winds in our favor.
Like when you clean your house, when you start moving things you see how much more you have to do to be complete. I have to redo this website too. It is daunting. Despite the daily offers from people in India and Pakistan to help, I don’t want just anyone messing with my mess. The Blackmanwithgun.com url has been around since 1999(while the world was planning Y2K). Then AOL 1.0 became a thing. Most people thought if you had American Online’s email account that was all you needed and you were on the internet. Websites have changed since then and so have I. A good friend helped me financially, get the Black Man With A Gun Blog online. It was a major and financial undertaking back then. It was created by a PhD back when HTML was a science to sell my first book and talk about my firearms training business. It had flash and music. It took about thirty seconds to load the home page which was a color photo I used for the cover of his book, Black Man With A Gun, (the first edition). The photo was taken by a famous photographer I found by accident, Jason Miccolo Johnson. If you had speakers on your computer (sold separately) you heard James Browns’ “Super Bad.” At the time, most corporations didn’t even have websites. I was “ballin”. The Black Man with a Gun book was a homage to the only other book of its kind written by Robert F. Johnson, “Negroes With Guns”; published in 1968. I learned early that you shouldn’t use copyrighted music or photos. Getty Images got me once. They are evil about that. It was the space where folks launched their podcast and blogs from, with greater success. Being first is not all its cracked up to be.
When I got started in firearms training in 1986 for the US Government, I noticed how the knowledge I had wasn’t common. Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug in 1990, decided to open my own firearms and emergency medical training company. It failed. I didn’t know what I didn’t know about business, the gun culture, and the myself. By 1991, I became a gun rights evangelist. First introducing the practicality and responsibility of gun ownership to families in Baltimore, and Prince Georges County, Maryland. I founded the Tenth Cavalry Gun Club. It grew faster than I was prepared for. I started working with the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, the National Rifle Association, CATO Institute, and others gun groups that didn’t get along with each other. I became an ambassador and diplomat in the gun culture. I fostered relationships, screened and helped people get seen. The gun club grew into a chapters in DC, Baltimore and NJ.
Still employed by the government and now being watched by internal affairs I sacrificed promotions, positions and a career. I feared every media photo or TV appearance. This was before Google, Facebook and modern social media platforms used today by the hundreds of pro-gun activist, gun bunnies and trainers.
As an unpaid lobbyist and activist I have and testified before the United States Congress, Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, and Maryland for an individual’s right to self-defense.
I have been involved in almost every pro-rights case that involved a person of color in the background. I have voiced commercials for TV against racist gun laws in Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore. I’ve been featured internationally and in four documentaries. I have been speaking professionally since 1992. He has provided voice-overs for pro-gun commercials in Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore.
The first edition of Black Man with a Gun was featured in the August 2001 edition of American Rifleman. I was featured in the Washington Business Journal on Jan. 2002. I was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal (1999) as a security expert. I have served on the Urban Affairs, and Training committees of the NRA in the past. I’ve was an advisor/editor for the creation of the Refuse to Be a Victim course book. They had great marketing. Then the creatives who were much younger were lured into MySpace. It was finally taken over by strippers before being shut down. I should be a king of social media with that tenure but alas I am not. “Somehow I missed the gold rush. I wasn’t able to quit my 9-5, get a four hour work week, buy a home in Puerto Rico, or build a school in Africa from podcasting, but I still have hope.”
After discovering podcasting in 2007, I created the Urban Shooter Podcast changed to the Black Man with a Gun Show and now (finally) the Kenn Blanchard Show.
Since I began, I have taken the position of counselor, cheer leader, motivator and protector of the realm. I am the unofficial chaplain of our movement. I care more about my community than products. I protect and serve now more often one-on-one, sharing life experiences, wisdom and dad jokes.
I changed the name this time because there is only one me. Every other name or iteration I could think of for a podcast has been taken. I have been sharing the social media juice with Dr. Ken H. Blanchard for a long time. I have been using two “NN” in my name to differentiate myself from the king of leadership manuals and pithy quotes.
If you undertake a change of brands, go hard, be persistent and easy on yourself if the world doesn’t embrace your change. People usually don’t like change. Give a chance and a reason to refollow you or understand your why. It’s really important that you understand why you are doing it first though. That is one of the reasons for this post. Thank you for following me on my journey. One of the good things about me getting older is how my judgment has changed and how I have come to understand the cycles of life. It hasn’t stopped either. Each day I have amazing flashes of understanding. If you want to change, take us with you. Life is a journey with problems to solve, choices to make and things to learn.
To quote Mahalia Jackson and Dr. M. L. King, Jr.
If I can help somebody, as I travel along
If I can help somebody, with a word or song
If I can help somebody, from doing wrong
No, my living shall not be in vain
Check out these podcast: Black Man With A Gun Show , Speak Life church , and Indian Motorcycle radio The Books, Kenn has written.