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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Podcast thoughts and news

With 13 episodes under our belt, and the better part of a long break remaining, I thought it might be prudent to talk about our Podcast for a quick second. This is a sort of a "State of the Union" if you will, and something I hope the listeners will appreciate. We value constructive feedback and are constantly trying to improve the show- both for ourselves and for our listeners.

If there is one thing I'd want people to remember as they listen to our show, it would be this:
We are not professionals. We know the audio quality and content is not necessarily anything to write home about. What we are is a group of passionate gamers who devote a significant portion of our free time to recording a podcast. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes, despite what the drunken silliness you hear may imply. More work could be done in preparation, but this is a meta-hobby shoe-horned in to several already busy lives!  I hope you can look back and notice the constant, almost linear progression in quality (both in terms of content and audio quality).  We will be constantly improving for ourselves and for our listeners!

Because I strive to make sure we are a "by gamers for gamers" podcast, I ensure we go to great lengths to reply to every e-mail we get, and remain accessible. This has lead to several continuing e-mail chains with people who we generally find very interesting and have grown quite fond of! We are opinionated fellows, but we know we're not always 100% right! If you totally disagree with us, let us know! We'd love to chat about it- we're gamers. We love a little good natured conflict!

I think we've settled on the Format we'll stick with for the immediate future. Three segments broken up by two breaks just feels about right, Similarly, the two hourish timeframe is where we seem to have naturally settled. I was adament about keeping the podcast much shorter when we started, but frankly for the amount of time it takes to setup and get everyone together, any less than an hour and a half feels rushed. I know the length has turned a few people away and I do apologize for that.

We still periodically have intermittent audio problems and I am very cognizant of that. I have a ton of good recording equipment from my days of recording and playing in bands. Unfortunately though, most of the microphones I have are not "broadcast" mics. They are designed for adequately picking up a drumset in a big room, but not so great at being close up for someone's voice. As our podcast continues to mature I do intend to get some broadcast microphones, so just bear with me! In a lot of the episodes we had such a mismatch of mics, that some people came in sounding very badly, and others too loud- I am working on that as well! It takes me a while to develop an ear for something. I got good at recording rock bands, but now I have to shift gears and try to get spoken voice down. That is part of the hobby appeal of podcasting for me as I am a tinkerer at heart.

On a related note- after listening closely to the last few episodes I've settled on two changes: No more AAAARRGGGHHHH section, and no more than 3 people in the studio at once. The decision to cut the AAAARRGGGHHHH section has to do with pacing and mood. I really don't want to have a whole segment devoted to us being negative anymore, even though we tried to have constructive criticism thrown in for good measure. I know lots of gamers are whiners by nature (you know who you are :) ), but I don't want to perpetuate that. Though we were always aware of that fact, it's hard not to have that segment devolve into us wantonly complaining. I think those segments are a little bit embarrasing.

As for cutting back to 3 people, I've just found that with 4 there's too many "side conversations" going on, and everyone trying to get a word in edgewise- combine that with booze and cheery dispositions and we get entire stretches of the podcast that are unlistenable garble. Conversely with three people, conversations seem to flow more smoothly. On top of that, the audio quality is much harder to get right with 3 people as there aren't 4 different mics all coloring everyone's voice tone and generating barely noticable phasing issues. 

In closing, our Podcast has been an absolute blast and again I want to thank all the WWPD crew for helping me out with it! Mostly, I want to thank the listeners for making it worthwhile. When someone goes out of their way to tell us they like the podcast or that we help keep them interested in FoW, it warms my heart! Likewise, when someone chimes in with constructive criticism, we always take it to heart and try to re-evaluate ourselves constantly. Here's looking forward to 13 more episodes!


jmezz382 said...

Bravo Steve ... I am glad to be part of the team ! I am just happy that I get to wear the silly hats !

Johnnyutah said...

I must agree I love the 2 hour format and I'm pretty sure anyone complaining about quality is nitpicking at this point. I appreciate all of the hard work you have all done to make this podcast a success and I can't count how many times I've listened to each episode sitting at work. Each time it seems like I pick up a little more information than the last. And I completely understand getting rid of the ARGH section although I've agreed with every one :)
Anyways keep up the great work gentlemen and I'm looking forward to many future episodes.

pudson said...

@Joe - Best part about the funny hats is the media form that you "display" them in. I think your hats sound great!

@Steve - Recording crap gets expensive; I'd rather you guys kept going and used a 4-track than quit because you don't own a $25,000 board/mic setup.
Besides, I'm guessing the emails complaining about what your mics are picking up or what you're not processing out are coming from a tiny minority that does not represent the vast majority of your listeners.
As for cutting out the drunken anger-fest section - the stuff's going to come out anyways! You probably didn't need a whole segment dedicated to that, so it was a nice move to trim it.

@Luke - I hope you looked up MVE Frozen Tanks at work.

@Jon - Don't ask him what they are.

Please keep on keepin' on, guys!

JMHahn said...

Definitely liking the 2 hour format-- I agree that it just feels "right" or natural in terms of length.

Audio quality doesn't really bother me. "It is what it is" as they would say in Illinois-- I wouldn't want to dump serious cash on recording equipment (out of pocket) for something that sounds good enough already. Maybe when/if the following gets big enough (I have no idea how many followers you have download the podcast) you can try a shout-out auction format similar to the D6 Generation? It might help with upgrade costs. I've no idea how to run a podcast, so take that with a grain of salt.

Also, way to be a closet Rock Star.

indierockclimber said...

Oh yeah, recording stuff is very pricey. Fortunately I already have a decent base line setup, it's really just the microphones that aren't made for broad(pod?)casting. And yeah- you hit the nail on the head. We'll still be critical! Just not in one concentraded format :)

@JMHahn- yeah we've thought of a few different ways of generating some revenue to pay for studip upgrades & the like. We want to tread carefully here- we love the D6G but the ads are a little annoying (really, they don't need to keep plugging La Quinta Inns and Suites haha). I do really like their "less for more" ideas though, I think that has serious merit.

We never got all that far, but we had a handful of CDs and vinyl singles released! We also toured quite a bit which was an absolute blast. Longest I was out was around 6 weeks.

freekickhero said...

I appreciate the podcast and the work you all put into it. The casual tone is absolutely what brings me back for each podcast. You guys play more than enough FOW for me to learn something every single time I listen or re-listen to your show.

My favorite part so far - The casual conversation between the WWPD that is damn near exactly the tone and subject (and off subject!) matter my friends and I use when we talk about our FOW games.

Thanks to WWPD, I've gotten the motivation to complete the first FOW army I purchased two years ago (US Airborne) and played in a tournament this past weekend - after swearing off tournament play.

And even though there was some douchery (Note - not a real word) at the tournament, I'm still going up to Denver to play again this weekend in another tournament.

Again, thanks for the hard work and for the company while I'm crash painting my ridiculous stash of FOW minis.

JMHahn said...

Yeah, point taken on the D6G and the advertising. I totally got suckered into staying at a La Quinta once and it wasn't such a glowing experience. There's a lot to be said about having a minimal amount of sponsors. Maybe a quick and easy donate button? I'd gladly donate a few bucks here and there to help with misc costs.

If you were touring you were clearly pretty good-- perhaps an Indie Rock Star. Just think, your clearly pioneering a Rock-Star-like legacy in a pivotal founding of the Indie-Rock-Lumberjack look.

Miniature Rommel said...

I've been listening to your podcast for a month or two now, and it helped me get my start in Flames of War. Through your YouTube channel, blog and podcast, along with the Battlefront site and new podcast I have learned alot about Flames of War. I have shared emails with Steve and he has been very helpful. Keep up the great work.

Son of a 29er said...

Hey guys,

I really enjoy the podcast. 2 hour format works for me. I like the content, and I have no complaints about the audio. Keep up the great work!

indierockclimber said...

Thanks guys! I appreciate all the comments!

Episode 14 end of Feb :)

Luke said...

Is that Justin Bieber?

Joyous_Oblivion said...

You guys can talk for 4 hours for all I care! Aside from yourselves and Battlefront (3rd episode was good!) there are no FoW podcasts!

I've listened to each of your guys podcasts 2-4 times, they are great content wise and help to keep the fire burning to work on my models more!

Keep up the awesome work!

scaramouche1963 said...

Hello Lads, I really enjoy the podcasts and have listened to everyone so far the 2 hour time frame is good for me you could even go on longer if you wanted to, and I follow your blogs Steve and Joe which I also enjoy. So basicly keep up the good work because if it was not for you guys I would never have gotten into the hobby, the fun and enthusium radiates out from you lot and ........ you got me hooked !!

P.S. Sorry for any spelling mistakes, product of a mis-spent youth I'm afraid .

Shan said...

Just about every podcast that I listen to (and that's well over a dozen), has issues with the mic quality at some point. This is just part and parcel of the whole "do it yourself" nature of podcasting. I would not take it too hard, even TWiT's Leo Laporte had this problem, and he is a Radio professional from way, way back.

Also, Love the podcast, I still catch every one :-)

Uriah said...

WWPD was my gateway drug into the world of podcasts, and I look forward to every episode you guys do. Keep up the good work!

Pete said...

Glad to be part of the team, Steve! Here are to many many more episodes!

Wodensraven said...

Love the show chaps, keep up the good work, i find your podcast splendid and a change from the usual yanky annoying shouting and idiocy i hear on some podcasts (ducks from abuse from across the pond). Good humour, constructive talking great for a F.O.W nOob like me!, as with most wargamers i listen whilst painting the mountain of lead that seems to collect over the years and find myself smiling. As for the length of the podcast i say the longer the better. Thanks Lads and may the Gods of War keep smiling/grimacing/killing/maiming etc. ^^.
Rol. Brits All the Way!!!!

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