By Pamela Muldoon published January 21, 2015

How The Chicken Whisperer Built a Media Empire in Backyard Poultry


We already know there is more content available than we can possibly digest. So how do we make an impact on our target audience with the content we do create? In this episode of Claim Your Fame, host Andrew Davis challenges us to think small to go big.

What’s your Fish TV?

What if you provided content you didn’t even know your audience wanted and didn’t even realize you were doing it?

That is exactly what happened to Dale Ordyne in 1993. Dale was in charge of Columbia (South Carolina) Cablevision and was excited to launch a new channel to the lineup: Sci-Fi Channel. But just days before launch, Dale and his team didn’t have the necessary approval from the Federal Communications Commission to go live with Sci-Fi.

So what did they do? Instead of offering dead air, Dale decided to take a different path. After all, Columbia Cablevision had spent a lot of money to market the new channel and subscribers would be tuning into it. So Dale rolled the office fish tank in front of a camera and put that feed on the air along with a scrolling message explaining the situation. He even added some classical music to spice it up.

Columbia Cablevision thought FCC approval would only take a few days, but it actually took a few months. The fish tank stayed on the air until Dale flipped the switch and the Sci-Fi Channel came to life.

Dale and his team expected some response from subscribers now that the Sci-Fi Channel was up and running. What they didn’t expect was the onslaught of complaints demanding to have the Fish TV channel turned back on. What? Yep. They had invented Fish TV. Dale had given his audience what they didn’t even know they wanted and when it was taken away, they wanted it back.

Andrew’s challenge to you: What content could you create that fills a hole in the market? What content does your audience need? Not want, but need?

What’s your Fish TV?

Information overload

Just because more information is available does not mean we can consume more. Back in the 1950s there wasn’t a big difference between the information available to us and the information we were able to consume. Fast forward to the 1990s and that gap started to widen due to the cable television explosion – we had over 200 channels conveying information.

Today that gap gets wider and wider. Many of us can access more than 600 channels. Add the digital content of the web; video, audio, blogs, etc., and it’s impossible to even make a dent in consuming all the information available. We make choices to consume the highest-quality content that resonates with us.

What can content creators do to make sure they get in front of their audience when there is so much content available? You must create information your audience actually wants to consume. You must create higher-quality content designed to attract a specific and more valuable audience. You must combat information overload.

The Chicken Whisperer

Andy Schneider, known to his fans as The Chicken Whisperer, turned content his audience really wanted into a successful brand. In 2009, Andy had his own show on a small AM radio station in his local Georgia town. He had learned a lot raising chickens in his backyard and started the show to share his knowledge with other backyard farmers.

Then one day, he discovered the BlogTalkRadio podcast platform, realized how easy it was to use, and moved his show to the internet. By 2014, Andy created his own media empire of sorts.

His podcast, The Chicken Whisperer, receives over 30,000 downloads per month – quite impressive for a niche audience. Andy spreads “chicken love” across the United States and the globe. He has been interviewed by CNN, Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal. He has his own sponsor – Tractor Supply Store – and tours the country twice a year to give workshops at their stores. In 2007, he published his first book, The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide To Keeping Chickens, and recently launched a quarterly publication, The Chicken Whisperer Magazine. He also has a Chicken Whisperer calendar. In 2010, he became the national spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services Bio-Security for Birds Program. In addition, he offers a Chicken Whisperer stamp of approval on select products.

Andy is creating valuable content his audience needs and it all brings in revenue. More importantly for Andy, it allows him to spend time with his family and work in an area that drives his passion.

Now, Claim Your Fame host Andrew Davis poses questions to you: What audience can you own? What content can you create that will motivate people to come see you at the local Tractor Supply?

Listen to full Claim Your Fame episode here:

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Author: Pamela Muldoon

Pamela Muldoon is the Podcast Network Director for the CMI Podcast Network. In her role with CMI, she assists the podcast hosts with the development, production, distribution and promotion of their shows. Pamela is a veteran podcaster who can be heard on the CMI Podcast Network with her latest show "Content Marketing NEXT". To date, she has interviewed over 200 business and marketing professionals as part of her podcast formats. She is also a professional VoiceOver talent specializing in commercial, narration, eLearning, and promo projects. Learn more at or Follow her on Twitter @pamelamuldoon.

Other posts by Pamela Muldoon

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  • Peter Loibl

    Absolutely love that Sci-Fi “Fish TV” story … fantastic!

    • tpldrew

      Thanks Peter. It’s one of my all time favorites. It’s all about finding the content your audience didn’t know the needed!

  • rogercparker

    This was a pleasure to listen to as well as a great lesson in podcast best practices. Fast moving, unexpected, and–once again–the broadcast benefited from Andy’s strong reiteration of important points and the series title. Congrat’s to all concerned.

    • tpldrew

      Thanks Roger! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Episode 3 is even better! I’m getting the hang of it.

  • harrigaggiotti

    what Phillip implied I’m shocked that some one can make $8126 in a few weeks on the internet . look at here now

  • carmenhill

    I love this story! In fact, after hearing about it in Andrew’s 2013 CMWorld talk, I put a post-it note on my monitor saying, “What’s your fish TV?” It was a handy reminder to keep audience needs top of mind—one that got lots of curious reactions and questions 😉

    • tpldrew


      That’s so cool! I’m so glad that FishTV stuck with you!


      – Andrew