“The Toast” co-hosts, sisters Jackie and Claudia Oshry, initially thought their podcast would be a “stepping stone” to a TV or reality show, but have since realized that their top-rated daily podcast, which is now in its sixth season, is a rewarding end in itself.
During TheWrap’s Power Women Summit panel discussion Empowering Women in Podcasting on Tuesday, Dec. 13, Claudia told moderator Taylor Strecker of the Taste of Taylor podcast, “I used to think of the show as a stepping stone to a TV show or a reality show. A few years ago, Jackie and I realized, ‘No, let’s invest in the podcast. Let’s not use the podcast to get somewhere. Let’s let the podcast be this somewhere.’ We made the conscious decision to bloom where we’re planted, to be happy with what we have. The growth of podcasting in the last few years only proved us right.”
The Toast began as the Facebook Live show “The Morning Toast,” and was modeled on network morning shows. But along the way, the hosts, encouraged by the response from their growing audience, realized that it worked better as a podcast and it didn’t need the morning segments they’d originally included — or the word “morning” at all.
“We didn’t intend to rebrand. We set out to get a new logo made. We weren’t changing our name,” explained Claudia how the name change was suggested by the ad agency they consulted. “Everybody calls it The Toast. No one calls it The Morning Toast.”
When Jackie moved to Florida, they were worried about keeping up their in-person rapport, but the transition has been seamless, they say, to the point where listeners are continually surprised to hear the sisters aren’t in the same room anymore.
The distance means their “formula” for their content now includes more sisterly catch-up about what’s going on in both their lives, explained Jackie. She credits Claudia’s “welcoming presence and force” for making the show a hit, while Claudia praises Jackie’s strategy and decision-making skills.”
“A huge part of longevity is Jackie’s brain because she has this impeccable way of exclusively making the right decision,” she said.
It was Claudia who came up with the idea of putting daily clips on social media. “That changed our business. She is a relevant content queen,” said Jackie.
Added Claudia, “If you’re not making vertical content out of your [podcast], you’re irrelevant,” adding that their “insane commitment” to vertical content kept them from ending up in the post-COVID podcast graveyard.
In October, they moved to Dear Media, which is also home to Taste of Taylor. Claudia gushed about CEO and Michael Bosstick and wife Lauryn Evarts, who hosts The Skinny Confidential Him and Her podcast.
“I think what they’re doing is so smart,” she said. “Dear Media has really proven to be a very successful and relevant media company. We just like their values [and] their ethos. It was exactly where we were meant to be.”
Claudia agreed, as Taylor said, that “the backbone of podcast is networking,” and praised the help she’d gotten from Keltie Knight of LadyGang, who gave her advice on how how to market her book, “Girl With No Job: The Crazy Beautiful Life of an Instagram Thirst Monster.”
Strecker told the sisters, “You really have changed the landscape in so many different ways. You’re such pioneers. I really feel like you’re changing conventional media, and I thank you for it. You’re making it much more accessible. [It used to be] there was no room for a middle class in the entertainment industry. You were like, nothing or Jennifer Aniston. And I feel like there has become a definite middle class, upper middle class, and I think it’s thanks to you guys.”
The Power Women Summit (PWS) is the largest annual gathering of the most influential women in entertainment, media and technology. The event aims to inspire and empower women across the landscape of their professional careers and personal lives. This year’s PWS provides two days of education, mentorship, workshops and networking around the globe – to promote this year’s theme, “A Time to Unite.” Learn more here: thewrap.com/pws.