Jacksonville-based radio host Mark Kaye boasts an impressive Snapchat score of 48,943 -- aka the total number of snaps he's sent and received since joining the app. How'd he do it? Last September, Kaye started the first and only talk show airing exclusively over Snapchat.
The show, which has a weekly audience of over 50,000 people, is cleverly titled "Talkin' Snap." New episodes air on the "MarkKaye" Snapchat story every Monday and Thursday at 5 p.m. EST. Episodes are around 120 seconds each.
"When I first downloaded Snapchat, I was playing around with it," Kaye told MTV News. "I thought it was really cool, I would draw on it ... [I started] playing radio games on Snapchat, which people really liked."
This led Kaye to try something a little more fancy than your standard Snapchat geofilters and doodles. Here's all the behind-the-scenes details:
"Talkin' Snap" began when Kaye interviewed Shaun McBride for funzies.
Kaye soon discovered that Snapchat, just like its brethren YouTube and Vine, has its own loyal crew of well-known users. He reached out to one of the most famous Snapchat stars, Shaun McBride -- whose "Shonduras" Snapchat stories regularly receive hundreds of thousands of views -- and asked to interview him through the app. Kaye then posted this video to his own account's Story, and McBride gave his gazillions of followers a heads up about the interview.
"All of a sudden I went from getting 15 views on a [Snapchat] story to thousands of views on a story," Kaye said. "[I realized] this is how you build an audience on Snapchat."
He started interviewing celebrities via Snapchat.
Realizing he was onto something, Kaye continued interviewing more and more people on his Snapchat account. He works for a top 40 radio station, so whenever musicians come through the studio, he'll ask them to appear on "Talkin' Snap." Charli XCX, Flo Rida, Kevin Jonas and Jake Miller have all hung out on the show.
"Kevin Jonas, he was pretty good because he was actually the first person to reach out to me and ask to be on my show," Kaye revealed.
Kaye also interviews a ton of Vine, YouTube and Snapchat-famous people. Last November he featured Yale senior Christine Mi, who goes by the name "Miologie" on Snapchat. You've probably seen her crazy cool Snaps like the one below everywhere on the Interwebs.
"Every time I interview someone my audience grows and grows," Kaye said.
He films and edits every episode with his phone. Yep, just his phone.
"I do everything with an iPhone. I don't use any other piece of equipment," Kaye told us. He uses various apps to edit and stitch together the footage.
His interview process is even backwards. When someone agrees to be interviewed, he sends them a list of questions; they reply with their video responses ... and then he actually records himself asking those questions, along with some banter.
"Once [I] have their answers and get a feel for where they are, I'll go to my 'Talkin' Snap' studio and record my questions [with] funny interactions ... If it's a Viner or YouTuber, I'll put in their clips and edit it all together [on my phone]," Kaye explained.
Because the episodes are often under two minutes, not every laugh or reaction makes the cut. Years of talking on the radio trained Kaye to do some "harsh self-editing," which keeps the show short and sweet. Viewers can see deleted scenes and other fun stuff on Kaye's Instagram.
"Talkin' Snap" is not officially affiliated with Snapchat.
Snapchat doesn't sponsor "Talkin' Snap" or feature it as part of the app's Discover section. The show only airs on Kaye's "MarkKaye" account, under his Story.
"I'm just a guy who downloaded the app like anyone else," Kaye said, who also told us that no one from Snapchat has ever contacted him about the show.
"I hope they like it. I can't imagine they wouldn't."
Kaye makes interacting with (and building) his audience a priority.
In his show, Kaye often poses questions to his audience. They respond by sending him their own snaps, which add up to hundreds per day. He tries his best to respond to as many as he can, but "you can really only get to 50 to 60 at a time," he said.
Last New Year's Eve, he held a contest so that viewers could compete to be the show's first guest in 2015. People voted by snapping names to Kaye, and Steven Balloons -- a balloon animal artist in Boston -- was one of the winners. Mr. Balloons makes the standard balloon dogs you'd expect, along with some, um, more x-rated ones (NSFWish).
Kaye's advice for aspiring Snapchat stars? Collaborate with everyone else.
"Collaborate with other snapchatters looking to grow their account as well," Kaye advised. "You have to collaborate with other people, because there's no way to market yourself with Snapchat. With Twitter you can just hit a follow button ... with Snapchat it's so hard to find someone."
And he's totally right. To friend someone on the app, you need to manually type in and search for their name, which he called "ridiculous and unheard of in this day and age."
Snapchat is still relatively new, so it has less competition than YouTube or Vine does. Some social media superstars transferred their massive followings onto Snapchat, according to Kaye, but this isn't always the case. Some start fresh and some use Snapchat for content that differs from their usual posts on other sites. Take the insanely famous Vine celeb Jerome Jarre, for example.
"The things he does on Snapchat [are] very different from what he does on Vine," Kaye said. Snapchat posts offer more "depth" than Vines do, simply because they can run much longer.
Kaye doesn't produce new original content for YouTube or Vine, but maybe that's because he's crazy busy working his normal day job outside of "Talkin' Snap." He's a full-time radio host with his own nationally syndicated show, "The Mark Kaye Show." Even though "Talkin' Snap" has several sponsorships, Snapchat is pretty much just a hobby to Kaye.
"Some people draw famous works of art, some people take pictures of their food and put eyes on it," he said. "This is my thing."