The purpose of this blog is to fill in the space between episodes. I do a lot of research for the show and filing away the pages of research seems like a waste when it's over. Plus, there's always stuff I forget to bring up during an interview or stuff I think about after that I'd like to add. This first blog post is Part I of "Making a Podcasterer" (see what I did there) outlining the process of making a podcast from scratch. I intend other posts to supplement the topics of each episode.
I can't say exactly what made me want to start the Wait, What if... Podcast. My initial motivation may have been my children. When you're raising two people you want to instill in them all the wisdom you've gained in life. Unfortunately, mortality yields limitations to the time we have on Earth and I hoped to "cheat the system" a bit and leave my spoken word in digital perpetuity for them to discover when they're a bit older. After all, my thoughts on the Fermi Paradox falls on deaf ears when trying to explain it to a couple toddlers whose highlight of the year was when the family dog regurgitated a leaf on the kitchen floor (albeit, it was the highlight of mine as well). Recording conversations and interviews with family and friends via a podcast seemed like a novel way to share experiences and lessons not only with my children but anyone who cared to listen. In the interviews, I try to encourage deep discussion about the meaning of our time spent on Earth and attempt to understand the different philosophies of those around me. I hope to impress upon anyone who listens an appreciation of the seemingly mathematical impossibility of being alive at this moment, in this time, together, on this eggshell thin sliver of an otherwise uninhabitable planet. Don't get me wrong, I am human too and I do enjoy turning off my brain and sitting on the couch to watch an episode of "The Walking Dead." However, it would be tragic to make a habit of ignoring the magic contained within our planet and the perplexity of utter chaos in our massive universe.
My motivation may also have been love of the medium itself. Podcasts define "on-demand" personal entertainment; talk radio that can be catered by specific topic, started and stopped, fast-forwarded and reversed on your schedule. There is a show for every niche imaginable and it affords everyone a voice. Ten years ago, there would not have been a logical way for me to start my own radio talk show while balancing a full-time job and assisting my wife with raising our two children. Conversely, podcasting takes very little financial overhead and time commitment which can be variable depending on individual goals. All an aspiring podcaster needs is a few hours a month with a standard smartphone and you have all the equipment it takes to launch your own program. As far as quality content and sound, that's a topic for another day. I find that if a podcast sounds like it's recorded in a bingo hall on your grandma's jitterbug, listeners tend to move on pretty quickly.
I have been a fan of talk radio since my days of listening to Opie and Anthony in Boston during my summers working construction in the late 1990s. I even worked part-time for a local radio station in Portsmouth, NH for a few months between being a useless liberal arts graduate and a tax paying member of society. This initial radio venture didn't last long as reality soon pushed idealism to the wayside and life sort of crept in with its own plans. Fast forward 18 years through a couple of combat deployments, marriage, graduate school, two kids and a mortgage and I have found myself behind the microphone once again. This time on my "home brewed" internet talk show that is produced entirely on my schedule, with my content, on my dime.
So here I am, with a little over a year of production under my belt and 50 plus hours of recorded material. I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't when recording a show and have so much more to learn in the coming years. Most importantly, I've learned that I absolutely LOVE this hobby. It may have strayed a bit from my original intention (my guest list has expanded beyond friends and family) but in doing so I have met new friends, heard amazing stories, and have learned a lot about life. Has the Wait, What If... Podcast been successful? It all depends how you gauge it? Considering my original goals, if I never recorded another episode, I would say it has been a great success. Oh, and for the "Time Travel" bit in the title, I always thought it was cool that technology affords us the opportunity to talk digitally to our grandchildren, great grandchildren and on and on for eternity... at least until the sun burns out. More on that in a future WWI Podcast episode ; )
Stay tuned for Part II of Making a Podcasterer