Open micSo last week I tried an experiment, and it wasn’t entirely successful. It’s probably a damn good idea… for someone who isn’t me, and has more free time, to try.

The idea was as follows: borrowing a page from the playbook of the ol’ teevee production days, record a week’s worth of daily podcasts in one session. Tightly time everything – each podcast should be roughly the same length. Work from a detailed outline. Get five of these done in a day… and… go!


First thing I ran into was that, even with an outline, I still rambled. I have a way to podcast hands-free, so invariably I wind up multitasking. In this case, I was making blueberry muffins while podcasting. Which is indeed as silly as it sounds. I rambled. I talked as much about the ingredients as I did the intended topic – I thought it was funny at the time. When I went back to edit the hell out of the results (I’m a stickler for eliminating the dreaded “um”), I found myself growing intensely displeased with the finished product. How the hell did this guy ever hold down a job in radio? (That’s simple: he wasn’t making muffins while he was on the air.)

It’s still a good idea… just not for me, sadly. I will try to re-record this week, without multi-tasking, and without any illusions that I have the time to do a daily podcast. That’s for someone much younger than me. I figured, since I’m trapped at the house with no vehicle for three days a week, I’d have that time, but the domestic grind never ends. My time is not my own. And if I’m actually going to put my name and my voice to something, I kind of want it not to suck.

The idea came from my first teevee job, during which Thursdays were a dreaded day: a local husband-and-wife evangelist team would descend upon the studio with their entourage of hangers-on, and they would record the entire following week’s worth of nightly Jim-and-Tammy-Faye-wanna-be schtick in one grueling (for me) three hour session. I had monitors, a switcher, a VTR, and the responsibility of choosing between the best of two camera angles. Neither of which really disguised the fact that this was an every-expense-spared local-televangelism-celebrity-grab.

That “block recording” idea is not a bad one, especially if you have a time limit, more or less rigidly defined topics, discipline, and loads of free time to record and edit. What I found out, in the course of my experiment, is that that’s not me – not at the moment, anyway.

I know I’ve been dropping hints about the return of the podcast. It’ll happen – just not this week, and not as an every-day thing.

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Earl Green ()

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3 Responses to “Good idea, bad execution”

  1. The “block recording” idea is indeed a good one. Good enough that pretty much all the game shows do it. When I was with my Brother and dad in L.A., we decided to take in a show at NBC studios in Burbank. First, we toured the place and saw where Johnny Carson did the Tonight show (this was in the late 1970’s). Later we looked at the schedule for shows to sign up as an audience. The Tonight show was already booked solid (even though it was 10:00 AM – those tickets go fast) but there were a bunch of slots for game shows. We saw the schedule for the whole week and noticed that there would be multiple slots for games shows one day a week and only that one day for that particular game show (I don’t remember what NBC games shows existed in those days). Since it was a Friday, pickings were slim, so we decided to watch “Chico and the Man” (post Freddie Prince – it was the hour long episode where we were told what happened to the Chico character).

    Nowadays I know several late-night shows (Ferguson and Letterman, for example) film two shows on Thursday so they won’t have to film on Friday.

    Oops, here I go rambling.

  2. If a guy were to try that sort of scheduled, I would think you would want to do tiny shows — like, 5-10 minute little blips. I think there’s a market for that, actually. Just little things to listen to once a day while the coffee’s brewing or you’re waiting to drop the kids off at school. I’d do it myself but I can’t imagine only talking for 10 minutes about something. Heck, I could talk for half an hour about not having anything to talk about!

  3. I was aiming for a 30 minute length, literally with a countdown timer running in front of my face. If I had a piece of music I wanted to play, I’d look up the time and subtract that from my allotted “talk time”.

    As for your daily 5-to-10-minute idea… watch this space.

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