ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Podwaste —

I’ve had a mind to do a podcast/audio show for some time. The reason there isn’t one yet is because I want it to be good.

This minor hurdle doesn’t stop a lot of people; they’re doing it for themselves and for the people they think are like themselves and so they kind of go for it. In some cases, they’ve already had audio/radio experience… in fact, some podcasts are simply syndicated collections of already-extant radio shows. I’m not sure if those “count” by some standards.

Mine will not be live, it will be edited. It will have interviews, music, and a bunch of stuff, but hopefully be about a solid hour. I would be unlikely to do it more than once a month. I would be shooting to make it a sort of timeless work, which would still be listenable for years afterwards.

Obviously, I have a lot of priorities ahead of it. But I do think it over occasionally.

Here’s some of my promises of stuff my podcast wouldn’t/won’t do. Maybe it should be a pod-listeners’ Bill of Rights.

  • I promise that my podcast won’t start and stop with a complete song, as if I’ve got some sort of syndication deal and the music is providing a buffer for all my syndicate stations (which is why most syndicated shows do this). There’s a number of words I feel go by in my mind when a 40 minute podcast has a 4 minute song at the beginning and a 4 minute song at the end; those words include unnecessary, bloat and wasteful. Do people who do this seriously think the listeners are queuing up for the show while the music plays?
  • I promise to never ever ever read directly off a newswire or weblog posting. I realize that by doing this, I end up being mildly annoying to the people who play podcasts at double speed, and actually sucking the life out of others who don’t. I realize that if all I do is tell you the day’s top headline, I am foolishly hoping my voice training is better than a syndicated radio announcer’s and inevitably failing at such, meaning now I’m just some guy in your headphones reading the paper over your shoulder, out loud.
  • I promise that if you hear the microphone “pop”, hear rushes of wind as I move stuff around in front of the mic, or hear papers being shuffled around, you can have one of my lungs as a cat toy. I took many classes in audio production. I would use what I learned.
  • I assure you that I will take advantage of the medium and not set myself up to be easily replaced with a text-to-speech converter. It will be in stereo and need stereo, and have multiple tracks and need them.
  • I promise not to use commercial music, making it needlessly sketchy to store copies of my podcast and demonstrating to my audience that I can’t even talk a good game about using ‘free culture” material with my own stuff
  • Holy shit I would never use Skype ever. Or interview people over the phone. Or interview people over skype. The intense irony of people lauding the future and the wonders of technology and then having their interview subjects sound like their aircraft carrier is under attack wears off after a few minutes. In its place it leaves a sort of entertainment black hole.
  • I promise I will have fun.

And yes, this comes from listening to the hundreds of podcasts and “shows” I’ve listened to over the years. A few were simply amazing. Others have literally caused my hearts to dwindle down, like a Zelda game.

I’ll keep you updated as to this side project’s progress.

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  1. I’m sure you’re aware of it, but there’s a lot of podcast-friendly commercial music out there. for example uses Creative Commons licenses extensively, and encourages podcasting. It’s still commercial music though – they sell CDs (and cd-quality downloads).

  2. l.m.orchard says:

    This is me, cheering and clapping. I can’t really imagine a podcast produced by you in which I would not be interested.

    I hope there’s swearing, if only occasionally. Perhaps along the lines of “Dick-suck cock-bear fuck-bag ass-munch douche-licker”

  3. Jason Scott says:

    “Podcast-friendly” just means “slightly less restrictive”, but I appreciate your wanting to help. I used the Open Sound Pool for the BBS Documentary, and will use and other sources for my own. Maybe I’ll even make some of the music myself.

  4. djmollusk says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about not having a song at the beginning and end. It may be unnecessary, bloat and wasteful, but I’ve been introduced to many new artists this way. Also the style of music really has the ability to set the tone of the show. Background music generally is just ignored.

  5. Jason Scott says:

    I’d almost agree with you on that idea, except I’ve never seen it used that way; I have 10-15 show runs with the same full song played completely on each end. I want my 8 megs back!