My name is Ben, and I am a failed podcaster.
I know. To fail at “My people’s Jazz” (my people being tall skinny white guys with enthusiastic but misguided facial hair) should be enough for me to slink from the internet, holding whats left of my dignity, back to my home turf of in person dungeon and dragon games until I’m eventually replaced by the newest edition of Skyrim.
But here we all are.
So. You have either heard our podcast, in which case you definitely know what I’m talking about, or you haven’t heard our podcast, in which case, you kind of also prove my point.
We released the first episode of The Menagerie Podcast a little under two years ago, and have chalked up a few hundred listens since then. We never fully mastered audio quality, because figuring that out was hard, we never had much of a format, because we wanted to be free wheeling and spontaneous, and so what we were left with was, as you might expect, totally impossible for anyone to actually sit through.
Originally, I planned for this article to be a list of things I’d learnt, and pass on the thing’s I wish we had done differently. We could have picked a more marketable niche, and spoken about bitcoin or retro XFiles episodes. We could have tidied up our audio. Spent more on promotion, or really tried a little bit at any of these instead of shouting into microphones and spending our imaginary future T Shirt sales money.
But the truth is, I’m sort of glad we didn’t make a very good podcast. Making a really good podcast is a ton of work, often it’s a work of compromise, and difficult discussions and decisions, especially if your not a formal company, but just a bunch of friends.
So I’m pretty glad our podcast didn’t take off, even though it is a little sad, and honestly if I really think about it, I do think there were flashes of very good material in amongst the hours of mic crackle and the obnoxious lack of a pop filter.
Because by making a bad podcast, we just hung out, every week, as a group, and talked to each other without too much of an agenda or pressure, and that was pretty nice.
So what lessons have I learnt about how to fail at podcasting? What wisdom do I have to pass on?
That failing was a fucking good time, and I hope we resurrect the old monstrosity soon.