What It Is



Back before the podcast there was the radio show. One of my favorites was This American Life with host Ira Glass.

At some point they added an online archive, and in my mind, that was the day the podcast was born. Suddenly I could stream entertainment for my brain while I was working my mind-numbing programming job. At that point there were decades of This American Life to stream! (I burned through them in a couple of months)

Along came 2015 and the presidential primarys. Looking for news sources one day I hit on the podcast Chapo Trap House, self-described dirt-bag leftists whose irreverent commentary made me actually laugh out loud. I loved them because they served no masters. I listened to them grow from DIY jokers to people who could get interviews with powerful guests.

Their success (35,000 $5.00 a month subscribers) surprised everyone.

Now there are tens of thousands of podcasts, and dozens of very good ones, and while I don't imagine that anything I might do could be as interesting as those, I feel like giving it a shot. I had been thinking of creating a weekly podcast about my band, the Sporting Hill Ramblers, because most of the time the conversations that were happening at dinner before rehearsals seemed uniquely entertaining, and I had been recording them and our practice sessions and gigs. But then I tried producing an actual one-hour segment.

This was entirely too much to take on. There was no script, no agreed-upon give-and-take, no featured topic or interview. Just random chatter that was often hilarious but which needed extensive, exhausting re-listening and editing to make sense of. It could easily have taken 40 hours of work to produce an hour of show.

So now. I'm thinking of trying podcasting with a lot more effort in the front end. I will write out a script for myself, and possibly for others- at least until I find out whether I can be entertaining just winging it. I have a name for the thing, it's to be called What It Is, and it will be about anything. My take on stuff.

Now, this could be very bad if I'm not careful, so before anything goes official I'm trying it on in small chunks. Here's my first chunk. It took about an hour to write and edit the script, it took about a half hour to record it, and it took about a half hour to edit the recording. For three minutes of podcast.

That works out to 20 hours of work for an hour-long show! I need to get much better at this.

What It Is