Creator Download: Dr. Glaucomflecken

TikTok star Will Flanary shares his experiences moving into the podcast world

TikTok has proven to be a popular channel for many podcasters seeking to put their content in front of a wider audience, but there’s a growing number of creators who have taken the opposite path - using an established TikTok following to launch their own podcast

One such creator is Dr. Will Flanary, better known as Dr. Glaucomflecken, who has amassed a sizeable following from his comedic videos satirising the US healthcare system and the quirks of working in medicine. With a combined audience of around three million subscribers across TikTok and YouTube, Flanary launched his podcast - Knock Knock, Hi! with the Glaucomfleckens - in January 2023, co-hosted by his wife Kristin.

We spoke to Flanary about the transition from short-form to long-form content, moving out of his comfort zone, and putting the humanity back into medicine.

How would you describe your podcast? 

It's a weekly podcast with me and my wife, who goes by Lady Glaucomflecken. I'm Dr Glaucomflecken, and the two of us bring on a guest every week who is either in medicine or around the medical field. Sometimes they're people who played medical people on TV, or something like that, but mostly it's people actually in healthcare. We ask them to bring a few stories with them about healthcare. 

A big part of what I try to do is to humanise doctors and show people a lighter side of medicine – that physicians and other people in healthcare are not these machines that have no emotions and no thoughts or feelings, and so this is a way to break down those barriers and talk about some more fun things around healthcare. After sharing some stories and talking through those, we usually come up with some kind of game to play with the guest that tries to take them out of their comfort zone a little bit.

Why did you start your podcast?

It's something that my wife and I have been wanting to do for a while, and I wanted to do something a little bit more long form in terms of creating content, because obviously most people just see me for 90 to 120 seconds at a time [on TikTok]. I wanted to be able to talk about things a little bit more in-depth, share some laughs and have fun just doing something a little bit different. The production company I work with offered to do, like, 50% of the work, so that was what gave us the motivation to really get going on this - because otherwise we wouldn't have time in our normal lives.

What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started?

We've been working on it for about three to four months now, and I guess what would have been really helpful was to have been more proactive in building relationships for the last five years, so that it would be easier to know which people to invite on the podcast and who to talk to. I'm a little bit more of an introverted person by nature, so it's sometimes hard for me to reach out to others. That's been the most challenging thing for me: putting myself out there and trying to bring people into my little bubble. 

How many people does it take to create an episode of your show?

There's me and my co-host Kristin, we have our guest and then we have a production team; that's three people. And then we also have a couple of people that have contributed with music and our opening and graphics and stuff. So about seven people or so. You could certainly do it with fewer people, but it would not be nearly as good. 

Do you monetise the podcast?

Yes, it is monetised. We're working on that – getting sponsors and stuff. And we do have a Patreon as well, which at this point is mainly covering our production costs. It feels more just doing it as a creative outlet; it's just fun, you know? And maybe we will get some sponsorships that change that calculus a little bit. But I think we're always gonna just do it as long as it's fun and interesting, and that's always going to be our driving goal.

How do you promote your podcast?

I have social media platforms. I've been on Twitter since 2016, and then also have TikTok and YouTube. And so every now and then I will post something or share a review or a tweet or about it. Then we also have our production team; they work with a PR firm to try to get little clips on other podcasts, and then we try to get booked onto other podcasts to talk about it. So we’ve got a little PR marketing campaign going right now.

What have you learned about yourself since starting the podcast?

That I'm almost too much of a perfectionist for podcasting. It really is taking me out of my comfort zone because the way I make my normal videos, I retake so many shots so many times to get it just right with my intonation and my facial expression. It's almost to a fault. Podcasting is not that way, right? You're putting yourself out there, having a conversation and not rehearsing it, not perfecting it before it goes to the public, and that's a very big change of pace for me. It's been really difficult to accept that. And I find it hard to listen to myself sometimes. But I'm having to learn how to accept my faults and realise that it's not going to be perfect and just let people decide if they like it or not.

Who listens to your podcast?

I don’t know - people do! Honestly, I'm still kind of surprised that people are actually interested in what I have to say, but it is nice. It's fun to see people reacting to it. I think a lot of people in healthcare are finding it first, and that's a large part of my audience as well. I'm hoping that people outside of medicine will also start finding it, because there's a lot of stuff we talk about that's humanities and humanity in medicine and really could resonate with people who have interacted with the healthcare system, whether or not you work in it.

What was the last podcast that you listened to?

I have been listening to The Prestige TV Podcast on the Ringer network because I've been really interested in The Last of Us TV show. I played the game and was so excited about the show. I've been deep-diving into their reactions to the episodes and stuff. It's a good podcast.