Startup Review: Callisto.fm


Callisto.fm is a Boulder-based startup with the goal of helping people listen to and discover podcasts more easily. Here’s the scoop…

The Story

Michael Sitarzewski had been bouncing the idea for a site called YourTuner around in his head for a couple of years. As an avid podcast listener and producer, he wanted a better tool for the podcasting market. So, in January ’09, Jeremy Tanner helped organize a PodCamp in Boulder at the newly setup Threadless offices, and Michael decided to present his idea there to see if it had any traction. At that Podcamp presentation, Richard Jones volunteered to help Michael build the product, and Callisto.fm was born. Over the next few months, Michael and Richard roped in Travis Silverman to help them work on the design and user interface and quickly had a prototype up and running. This is a classic scratch-your-own-itch type story, and one that’s sure to have good things ahead.

The Team

  • Michael Sitarzewski – A long time web-enthusiast, Michael has been creating web applications since the early 90’s. He’s working on business development, strategy, and so much more. His favorite color is blue.
  • Richard Jones – Boulder resident and ZendFramework extraordinaire, Richard focuses on making things work. His favorite color is green.
  • Travis Silverman – An RIT graduate and current designer at Slice of Lime, Travis ensures that things are looking good and feeling right. His favorite color is black.

The Boulder Bump

According to the Callisto.fm team, it’s meant everything that they’ve chosen to start their new business here. They pitched their idea and formed their team at Podcamp and Boulder Open Coffee. They trust the feedback they’ve gotten and trust even more that nobody’s here to steal their idea. A direct quote – “Without Boulder, there would be no Callisto.”

Why They’re Different

One word: Integrity. A majority of other similar podcasting services out there have a simple revenue model – we’ll scrape the web and index as many podcasts as we can while displaying and injecting advertisements while paying podcast producers little to no money. Callisto.fm flipped this on it’s head and built a platform that they hope podcasters will want to use, for their and their users’ sake. As such, no podcasts are added without the permission of the owner. This effort has paid off as it is one of the main reasons that Leo Laporte and his This Week in Tech podcast are listed on the site.

Features to Watch

There are two features I thought were pretty rockin’…

  1. Every Search Is A Playlist – Whenever you perform a search on the site, you can instantly start using the results as a podcast playlist. See Here. Just click that “Play this Channel” button.
  2. Suggest a Podcast – Have a podcast you want added to the listing? Head over here to suggest it. Just under 100% of podcast owners that visit the site when their podcasts are suggested by real users, sign up to get their podcasts in the listing.

In conclusion, if you’ve never listened to a podcast, Callisto.fm is perfect for you. If you have, even better. Head over, check it out, and let them know what you think.

About the Author:
Loving Boulder. Working at Quickleft.

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4 Comments:

  1. msitarzewski May 25, 2010

    We're amazed at the support this community provides startups. I've never seen it anywhere else.

    If your readers have questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

    Thanks for the profile. 🙂

  2. andrewhyde May 25, 2010

    Alright, getting off my butt and using callisto to check out some podcasts!

  3. Lesley Yarbrough May 25, 2010

    Awesome, signing up now. 🙂

  4. msitarzewski January 09, 2012

    We’ve pivoted away from this model. It’s still there at http://play.callisto.fm – but we’re doing much cooler work now. More later. 🙂

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