It’s hard to believe, but this summer marks ten amazing years since the launch of ETF Prime.
Some already know the backstory, but the podcast actually began as a local radio show in Kansas City. Its roots go back to early 2011 when I found myself in a packed Starbucks discussing ETFs with a business acquaintance. Even though ETFs had been around since 1993, we were debating whether the average person even knew what an ETF was.
After one too many cups of coffee, I decided to settle the argument. I approached the nearest person and simply asked, “Have you ever heard of an ETF?”
I kept asking, person after person. “No.” “Nope.” “What’s that?” I asked people at nearly every table. But not a single person had heard of ETFs.
Seriously. Not one.
It left a huge impression on me that this investment vehicle offering so many potential benefits was unknown to everyday investors. Having helped launch an investment advisory firm branded around ETFs several years prior, I had already grown frustrated at the lack of ETF education and awareness in the market.
So, I decided to help change that.
ETF Prime (then called The ETF Store Show) was born.
ETF Prime Evolves
Sometimes, you just have to jump in with both feet. We had zero podcasting experience and no background in radio or journalism, nor any real master plan for the show. Our goal was simple: Try our best to educate the local KC market on ETFs.
If you listen to the earliest broadcasts – and, unfortunately, they live online forever – they were absolutely brutal. However, we did right one thing right: Stick with it. We never gave up, and slowly – very slowly – we got better.
To our surprise, listeners began to reach out with interesting comments or questions. We started inviting guests onto the show, who thankfully were kind enough to accept. After gaining a little experience, we packaged the radio show into podcast format and distributed it through iTunes and other podcasting channels. We started hearing from listeners across the country.
From there, a positive feedback loop developed where we heard from listeners, which led to a desire to put more energy and effort into the show, which increased our need for preparation, which resulted in a better listening experience, which made it a more attractive platform for higher profile guests, which led to more listeners and feedback, and on and on. Then, in 2018, we formed a wonderful partnership with ETF.com, which helped further our goal of promoting ETF education.
Now, ten years and nearly 500 shows after we recorded our first episode, we are set to begin a new chapter.
The Guests Make The Podcast
Over the years, hundreds of truly phenomenal guests have joined me on the podcast. Looking back, it’s mind-blowing the people with whom ETF Prime has allowed me to connect.
Nearly every ETF issuer has appeared on the podcast, many multiple times. I visited with ARK’s Cathie Wood in 2016 and again in 2017. ETF industry pioneer Matt Hougan was one of our earliest guests in 2012. I chatted with Morningstar’s Sam Lee in 2013; Cambria’s Meb Faber and Alpha Architect’s Wes Gray in 2014; Ritholtz’s Ben Carlson and Tadas Viskanta in 2015. I’ve gotten insights from the smartest minds in the business: Dave Nadig, Eric Balchunas, Ben Johnson, Todd Rosenbluth, Elisabeth Kashner, the list goes on. And I’m extremely proud that ETF Prime has been a platform for both larger fund companies and upstart, entrepreneurial firms.
While some might call me an ETF cheerleader, I have always attempted to present a balanced view on the topics we cover. From day one, my goal has been to lead with education.
But ultimately, the guests make the podcast. I have simply viewed myself as a conduit between these knowledge experts and end investors. My job is to help convey the stories, investment beliefs, and passions of the guests.
Sometimes I wonder if I have gotten more from the podcast than listeners. For someone who came from outside the investment industry, the past ten years have been the learning experience of a lifetime.
Introducing A New Chapter
Tom Hendrickson and Tom Lydon have built a powerhouse ETF platform and assembled a dream team of ETF experts. I thought I was early to ETFs with The ETF Store in 2008 and ETF Prime in 2011, but Tom Lydon started ETF Trends in 2005 (!) and has been at the forefront of promoting ETF education ever since. Meanwhile, Tom Hendrickson has deep experience in financial media, including serving as President of Investopedia before its successful exit to Forbes Media.
Thinking about the possibilities of how we can improve and expand the podcast has me feeling like I did back in 2011: energized, excited, and ready to jump in with both feet.
I hope you’ll continue on this ETF journey with me. I want to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who listens to the podcast and to every person who has ever joined me as a guest. Simply put, you have helped make ETF Prime what it is today.
Thank you, and I look forward to the next ten years!