This year is my sixth year of podcasting, so I thought I’d write about why me and my chums do it.
A couple of years ago in Edinburgh I spoke to a reasonably well known comedian who told me that he couldn’t understand why people did podcasts when the audiences for them are so small. He was right of course, unless you have an existing audience base built up through years of live work it is unlikely that your podcast will trouble the iTunes charts.
So why bother?
We bother because there is something wonderful about writing, performing, editing and publishing something yourself. It’s nice if lots of people listened to it too but audience figures are not the driving force. It is the joy of produce something with very little money that is only limited by your own talent. In my case, extremely limited. In fact you may well call it a hobby and if that hobby suddenly becomes successful as in the case of the Answer Me This and Welcome to Night Vale, all the better. But being in the iTunes chart should never be a reason for continuing or ending a podcast. The shows I do with my friends are not in the charts and probably never will be but we still get a several hundred downloads a month. The way I look at it is if you were doing a live sketch show for 800 people, you’d feel that you were doing quite well. So why bother that you’re not getting ten thousand? You still have an audience.
Podcast audiences are the nicest around. They support podcasts like a football fan supports their favourite team. Recently we unexpectedly found ourselves in a tricky situation. The sound recorder we had used since 2008 to record all our podcasts died and the problem could not be repaired. We had tried in the past to record podcasts using a variety of computers but had found that the computers generated so much electronic noise that the recordings were unusable. So we were stuck. None of us are particularly well off so the £100 required to replace it could as we have been £1,000,000. That’s when I hit upon the idea of starting a funding page, I quite honestly didn’t believe anybody would donate money to keep us going but I submitted the page and told the people of Twitter and Facebook what we were doing and within 80 minutes we had passed our target. This completely stunned me and I was speechless for some minutes that such kind people had put their hands in their pocket to save our enterprise before being moved to tears by some of the kind comments made with the donations. No, we’re not at the top of the iTunes charts but we do have the best listeners in the world. Beat that ‘Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4’.
In the spirit of supporting ones favourite podcasts, here are mine in no particular order.
Adorable comedians Michael Legge and Robin Ince discuss their favourite music and musicians in a bid to encourage people to buy more records and tapes. It is a joyous half hour of old men shouting at each other, imagine a lovely Statler and Waldorf and you’ll be somewhere close to how entertaining this can be.
To call The Trap a sketch group would be like calling Albert Einstein ‘a bit brainy’. They are in fact a quantum singularity of hilarity created by the critical mass of Jeremy Limb, Paul Litchfield and Dan Mersh. Their podcast is called ‘POTOm’ and it makes me hurt laughing. It is also the reason for Brainjam’s house style of referencing old radio and TV shows. Being similar ages to Dan, Paul and Jeremy we often found that we were treading on each others toes and I’ve lost track of the times I’ve deleted sketches after hearing a funnier version weeks before we were set to record. In short POTOm is the gold standard for comedy podcasts.
Angelos Epithemiou and Barry from Watford have teamed up for this ridiculously funny podcast. Best not to listen while using heavy machinery as my mate crushed his head while laughing near a mangle.
The Colonel and Sage Macorkadale have been a fixture on my iPod and iPhones for many years now. The brainchild of father and son double act Josh and George Tobin-Dudley it is a regular tour de force of character comedy. One day I hope to see them do this on a stage in front of an audience.
Adem Koci off of Australia talks about the things that vex his brain. It is the only podcast on this list not on iTunes.
Set in the community radio station of a small desert town called Night Vale, Cecil Palmer – who from what we can tell is the only presenter on the station, narrates the strange adventures of the town’s population.
You know what this is. If you don’t, shame on you.
Of course it would be remiss of me if I didn’t plug our podcasts. To make it easy just go to brainjam.co.uk, where there are links to all five of our podcasts.
I’m away for a weee. Byeee!