Adelle Onyango is Legally Clueless

Adelle Onyango is Legally Clueless

Say hello to Adelle Onyango, founder of Legally Clueless Africa.

Adelle started Legally Clueless in 2019. That same year, she was one of only two Kenyans to be included in the Africa Youth Awards' 100 Most Influential Young Africans.

Born in Kenya, Adelle studied journalism and psychology at United States International University Africa, where she specialized in public relations.

Where are you based, where did the idea to start a podcast come from and how long have you been doing this for?

So, I’m based in Kenya. I’ve been in the media here for about 14 years. At the start of Legally Clueless Africa, I had been a radio producer & presenter for 10 years. I was producing and hosting a breakfast radio show that was top 5 shows in Kenya on one of the top stations, KissFM. I quit my job because well, I had reached my growth ceiling where I worked, I found the traditional media industry to be very toxic, I didn’t see enough African stories amplified, I had little creative control & at the point of quitting I was leaving media altogether to go into the NGO world.
However, as I was serving my notice, my partner sent me a link about podcasts, I then started reading up on them, on USB microphones and really that’s how I discovered the new media world.

What genre or category does your podcast fall into?

Legally Clueless is categorized under society & culture and really built on storytelling. In every episode there’s a different African sharing stories of their lived experiences.

How did you come up with the name for your podcast?

At the time, I was serving notice at my previous radio job, going through exhausting meetings with my then CEO and everyone thought I was insane for quitting this glamorous job and whenever I’d tell them about podcasts, not many people knew what those were. So I felt like I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. To calm myself down I had to truly acknowledge that not knowing, being clueless, is an integral part of this human journey and it’s ok, it’s allowed. Hence, Legally Clueless.

Take us back to the beginning. What equipment did you start your podcast with and what are you using now?

Well I started with blue yeti microphones and an HP laptop. What I have changed is my laptop. I truly love blue microphones. When we go on tour our production crew prefers rode wireless go microphones. What we have upgraded is editing software when producing our audio. We started with only audacity but now we use audition, and a few more AI backed production tools as well.

Lets talk about aesthetics. Who did the artwork for your podcast/ brand and what is the inspiration behind it?

Our artwork has changed twice. Our first artwork was created by me, the second, which came after we hit 100 episodes, was done by a listener as a gift to celebrate us and the current artwork is by me. Although to be honest there wasn’t too much work to be done as our production lead had done a spectacular shoot, incorporating our main brand colour (yellow) and so we used that.

How often do you record and publish episodes?

So every week we have to produce & publish 4 episodes. 3 episodes go on Trace radio (Trace East Africa) we’ve been syndicated there for 3 years and then 1 episode goes to online podcast directories. So we have weekly studio sessions and we record storied for 3 month runs, then take a one month break.

Image supplied: Adelle Onyango

Legally Clueless is the first syndicated podcast in East Africa. What does this mean and how did you achieve this?

It’s marvellous because it truly revolutionizes how as Africans we engage with new media, how even those who haven’t made the digital shift can still listen to home-grown shows & how African creators can earn from their shows. I’d always wanted to syndicate Legally Clueless Africa’s podcast for those very reasons. So even before episode 1 was out, I was pitching it to media houses. A few pitches down the line, I pitched it to Trace. At the time I had enough episodes for them to run the show weekly for a year. Coming from radio, I knew they would need a higher frequency of the show and I believe they saw how prepared I was, our mission in amplifying African stories is very aligned with trace East Africa and so it made (and still makes) sense to partner on this.

How much time and effort does it take to plan, edit, produce each episode?

This is my fulltime job. So before planning, I have to identify the storytellers, make prompts specific to their stories, we then schedule recording dates, record them, bulk produce the stories. Then weekly, as the host, my bits in the podcast are recorded and then produced. But before that, each episode has a prep sheet that really details the episode including what the host needs to record. So as soon as you’re done producing the 4 episodes, it’s time to start producing the next 4!

How have you marketed your podcast, and which tactic do you feel has contributed the most to your shows growth?

Every week we have 6 marketing assets from the episode that goes to podcast directories. These are then shared on social media across the week. We also have a marketing budget and have run both traditional and digital campaigns to boost our show. But I believe the strongest backbone in our success is our consistency. Since March 2019 we have delivered weekly episodes and over time, that has allowed our audience to just keep growing armed with our marketing campaigns & events.

Image supplied: Adelle Onyango

When did the idea to turn Legally Clueless into business arise? What does the company do.

As soon as we got our first advertiser, 50 weeks in, it became clear that this could be expanded into a business. We began by firming up our content pillars; podcast, video series, tour series. Once those had a rhythm, we built our digital content curriculum so we could begin running workshops. We then started our wellness events. So today, Legally Clueless Africa is a new media platform dedicated to amplifying African stories, upskilling Africans and ensuring the wellness of our African community.

If you were to teach someone just one aspect of podcasting, which aspect would that be?

I think the aspect of building sustainable content. So, at Legally Clueless Africa, we built an entire curriculum on this. Sustainable content is built on actual content ideas than can birth an infinite number of episodes, that can attract advertisers and a community can be built around the show. This is very important to us especially when it comes to Africans. New media is a space which we can use to reclaim our voices & stories so we have to learn the skills to make it sustainable.

What avenues of monetization have you explored for the podcast?

We use traditional modes of advertising such as having host mentions or full features (fully sponsored episodes). This, we’ve seen to be less invasive than dynamic pre, mid and end roll adverts. We also have been able to build long term advertising partners on our video series & tour series, both of those platforms are also linked to our podcast. So we have a very intentional approach to partnering with advertisers which is working pretty efficiently for us.

Lastly, what are the last 3 podcasts you listened to?

I am a huge true crime fan so I’m constantly listening to Case Files & Serial Killers. The third podcast is a fantastic sex positive podcast from Ghana: Adventures from The Bedrooms of African Women.