Have you noticed I haven't written anything on this blog in a very long time? As you may know, blogging, for me, comes in waves. When I rebranded this blog in 2014, I was working at a job where I had a lot of downtime. Blogging was a good way to pass the time while I waited for meetings or emails.
In 2015, I started a new job that keeps me very busy. I'm writing this on the train to and from work, since I barely have any other time. I feel that this is something that needs to be written.
I actually wrote a few blog posts that never got posted. I wrote a rather long "hot take" on Gamergate that I never posted because I ultimately felt it added nothing to the conversation. I also blog for my employer on occasion.
I felt I could let this blog languish because I had a podcast to allow me to air my thoughts in public. I don't have a podcast anymore, and I want to explain why.
From 2005 to 2010, my good friend and co-host Pat Hughes and I were two thirds of the owners of a comic book store. We lived near each other and saw each other almost every day at the shop. By the time it closed, the distance between us had grown. It was difficult to get together to hang out.
We started calling each other on Skype every so often to talk about toy and comic book news. Sometimes we'd play an MMORPG together with my wife.
In late 2010, when podcasts were still relatively new to the mainstream, two of our friends started Sad Clown Radio. I enjoyed listening to their conversations. This laid the groundwork for our future endeavors.
Finally, in 2012, we were struck with the brilliant/ stupid idea that people might want to listen to our dumb conversations, too.
We decided to record a test episode. I hadn't prepared at all, so I stumbled through the introductions. Obviously, in our private conversations, we never had to introduce ourselves. After the rocky start, we fell into our routine pretty quickly.
I was, and am, an avid podcast listener. I understood the structure (no pun intended) that others used to be successful. Pat once asked me why we had such long ending music. It was because we were mimicking another podcast I liked, and I liked the music we chose.
The podcast was also a way for me to stretch my technical skills. Instead of just hosting on Podbean or Libsyn like others did, I created a system that was completely under my control, buying space on a CDN and hosting our own Wordpress site with a custom built theme.
In 2014, Pat and I discussed reorganizing the show into several smaller shows. This led to us breaking Special Edition and The Multiverse Review into their own shows.
The driving force behind this decision: I was losing interest. Plus, the addition of a baby to the mix meant free time was at a premium. In theory, each show would be shorter so we could focus the content and be less fatigued about certain topics.
Expecting that I might not always be the one editing the shows, I switched us over to a SquareSpace website that was easier for non-techies to use. I built a web application that would take nearly any audio file, convert it to the proper format, and upload it to our new host, SoundCloud. It then presents you with the information you need to enter the episode into SquareSpace.
For a time, we were revitalized. Unfortunately, we had a hard time sticking to the "smaller" part of the plan. Our shows continued to be long, and now they were numerous. And then a second baby arrived.
Some time around episode 194, I told Pat I was done after episode 200. He begrudgingly agreed. We always said we'd keep recording, even if no one listened, as long as it was fun. Well, it was still fun. It was always fun. But the burden of late nights and trying to find time to edit and release the episodes was nullifying that fun. It was time to end it.
Our listenership had also waned. It was never very high to begin with. Never more than thirty people ever listened to an episode (and that's accounting for robots scanning for new episodes). At the end, it was literally one or two people. Most podcasts would have considered it a failure from the start.
We didn't though. We didn't care who was listening. In some ways, it took the pressure off us and allowed us to experiment.
I'm positive we could have grown our listener base if we were better at social media. We started this podcast to talk, however. Not to post. We had pages on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, SoundCloud, and YouTube. I personally only post on Twitter, so posting as or about the show on these other platforms was a stretch. Plus, self-promotion always sort of feels like begging, and we didn't care enough to beg.
So for now, we're done. I'm sure in the future, Pat and I will find some other means of making stupid shit for you to consume, but for now you'll have to consume someone else's shit. Pat's got a lot of voices in his head, and they're gonna need an outlet eventually.
In the meantime, you'll probably see me blog more. Pat and I will still have Skype chats, you just won't be able to listen in anymore. You can always find me on Twitter if you want to talk.
To those of you who did listen, even if only once, thank you. Producing these shows was one of the highlights of my life, and I'm glad you were there for it.