We chatted to Popternative founder Peter Roumeliotis (Petey Beats) about growing his brand since 2015, interviewing a number of notable figures, his new venture Popternative TV and more!
Founded in 2015, Popternative is a “digital platform with the latest content and news from the worlds of digital media, entertainment, sports, lifestyle and more.” At its heart is the founder Peter Roumeliotis or Petey Beats, as he is known on social media.
Read on below for Peter’s full interview with Courageous Nerd. Or, alternatively, listen to the audio version on our YouTube, linked below.
Welcome Peter and thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.
Peter Roumeliotis (PR): Conor, thank you for having me. This is different! I’m usually the one asking the questions, so it’s a change of pace. I love it!
You founded Popternative in 2015. How has the brand changed in that time?
PR: Yeah, I started in 2015. It’s interesting Conor, because it’s definitely grown over the years and has changed, in terms of what it is. I was doing my Masters in Communications and Sports. It started as these conversations between me and people who worked in sports and entertainment industry. It was live, at the time. Then, it’s just kind of grown and changed.
Now, it’s a full-out media brand. You go from sports, pop culture, entertainment, music. All over the globe. It’s very interesting to see… Popternative 2015 is not what it is now. It’s completely different.
With 6-7 years under your belt, was this always a direction you saw yourself taking?
PR: I always wanted to make things. I always wanted to make content. That’s kind of what I am, basically with Popternative. I’m a content creator. Popternative is a media brand that covers a lot of amazing things. I create a lot of things. I wanted to have a brand where I’m able to do this. That’s basically what it is.
I was always interested in TV, pop culture and sports growing up in Canada. I always knew I was going to do something in the entertainment industry, for sure.
How would you describe the process behind initially starting the brand?
PR: Podcasts, at the time, were very popular. Especially sports. So, I wanted to do a podcast. I just finished my Masters, I was applying for jobs. I said, “This is the opportunity. I want to do something where I’m interviewing people, having conversations in sports and entertainment.” So, that’s kind of where it came from.
Originally, it was a lot like a podcast. And in a lot of ways, it still is a podcast. The audio only version of our interviews are posted on Spotify, Apple Podcasts. Wherever you listen, you can listen to our interviews as well. Obviously, we push YouTube the most. It started as kind of a podcast, some of the interviews were a lot longer. Now, they’re like 12-15 minutes, not an hour-long podcast.
Has there been a turning point or moment in particular where things started to rise?
PR: I’ve talked about this a lot in interviews. March 2020, basically the start of the pandemic. This is where the views, followers and everything just started to spike. Everyone was at home, locked down and watching things. I remember I did interviews with a lot of the cast of Outer Banks on Netflix. A lot of those interviews were getting a lot of views with so many people around the world. I’m getting followers and interest on our channels all across the globe. It was an amazing thing to see.
It just started growing, growing and growing. The pandemic was basically a time where Popternative really, really got up to speed, became pretty popular and started buzzing, I would say.
You had a memorable interview with Neil Jackson where he was open and candid about his mental health struggles. Considering how light and casual your interviews tend to be, how do you approach when people go in a heavier direction?
PR: You want to be in a situation where they’re comfortable to speak about those things. Kind of reading the room a little bit. They’re in a conversation with someone and a sense a great opportunity to talk about things. Neil was a great interview. He was very open about a lot of that stuff, as well. We did an Instagram Live with him after the finale of Stargirl Season 1. People were asking him about that as well. It’s very important.
I want Popternative to be a platform where they can talk and promote a lot of things. I also want it to be an opportunity where self-reflection is done, Conor. Where you can speak about mental health, your past. Talk about things, we can share ideas. We can help each other. That’s what it’s there for as well, Conor, don’t forget.
You have also recently expanded further with Popternative TV. For anyone who’s unfamiliar, how would you describe this new facet and what it entails?
PR: It kind of goes back to what I was saying. I always wanted to be a content creator and provide content. But, I also wanted to collaborate with amazing content creators. It’s one of those things where I knew Popternative wasn’t just going to be a podcast or a website. It’s a media brand, where we cover a lot of amazing things.
So, as I know a lot of people that create content, I always had this idea. I have a YouTube channel that’s doing very well right now. It keeps growing and growing – thanks to everyone who subscribes and watches all our videos. Popternative wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for you all. Popternative TV came up as an idea, I was like, “Let’s expand the channel, make more content on the channel. Let’s see what we can do.”
So, I reached out to a lot of people who create a lot of things. It’s very hard to get eyes on a lot of things these days. Believe it or not. a lot of them had things banked, that they did 3 or 4 years ago. They’re just sitting there on a hard drive, maybe had a film festival run. I had the idea to ask, “Do you want to put it on Popternative TV?” They said yes and the first one was, as you know, my friends Jesse Camacho and Erica Deutschmann with Cross Rhodes. We recently put Stephanie Baird’s amazing short, Baby Making 101. She wrote and produced that.
We’re trying to get more content out there before the New Year and post-New Year as well. It’s a way to expand the brand, Conor. That’s basically what it is. I get to promote a lot of amazing content that might not have been seen.
In addition to your own interviews, you have also been able to faciliate opportunities for others, including Courageous Nerd. What have you taken from helping others be in the position to conduct interviews?
PR: That’s a great question. I think it comes down to community. You see it with a lot of shows on YouTube and all the podcasts. Certain people retweet/comment on everyone’s things. When you can, you help people out. Some people, like us, Courageous Nerd and Popternative, do interviews. Some people don’t do interviews. They do reviews on TV shows, the podcast form.
But, the podcast community specifically when we started was pretty tight. A lot of people were sharing new episodes to each other. I think it’s just the natural community aspect of things. You want to help, share… I’ve become friends with a lot of actors. They’re looking to talk about their work that they’re very proud of. If there’s opportunities to connect them with someone else’s show, I’ll do that as well, right? It’s very quick in this day and age.
Over the years, you have interviewed countless people from all walks of life – whether actors or athletes. Do you have a favourite area of expertise when conducting these conversations?
PR: I love it all. I don’t think I could pick anything. [However], I do like when there’s crossover. For example, I got the chance to interview a lot of the cast of Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. A lot of the original Ducks, as well. Matt Doherty, Marguerite Moreau. It was just amazing to talk to them. It’s hockey, but pop culture because it’s The Mighty Ducks. So, those are pretty cool ones as well. I’m also a really big music guy.
To wrap this up, what do you hope to accomplish in the coming months as we head into 2022?
PR: I want to continue to build, create, keep the momentum. I want to provide our amazing viewers and listeners with amazing interviews and amazing content on the website, Popternative.com. We have a lot of email interviews as well on there; we don’t just do video interviews. I want to expand the brand, continue to grow the brand a little bit. Get some more stuff on Popternative TV. Continue to build moving forward, man.
Thanks again for taking the time, Peter. Take care and stay safe!
PR: You too man. Thank you so much for having me, Conor. This was awesome. Keep up the good work with Courageous Nerd, you’re building an amazing media brand there. Keep it up, seriously, you’re doing a really good job.