Passionate Geeks: Podcasts!

Passionate Geeks is a monthly feature of someone exploring and sharing something they are passionate (and geeky!) about!

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Today’s Passionate Geek is David, co-founder and managing editor of ComparativeGeeks.com, a geek network covering anything and everything as long as there is a writer interested. He co-hosts the Comparative Opinions podcast (more on that below!) and has a webcomic, The Astral Chronicles. He does all of this with his wife Holly, along with their Geek Baby, and two cats, Merlin and Shadow.


People have asked a ninja, what is podcasting?

Ask a Ninja was probably the first podcast I subscribed to and watched. It was a video podcast, but iTunes would keep track of it and download it for me just fine. When I had time, I would watch them, and laugh, and watch again often, because they were short and sweet and awesome.

These days, a video like that would probably just be a YouTube video, and would not a podcast make. Podcasts through podcatcher apps – probably the most dominant of which is the one that is now standard on the iPhone – tend to all now be audio, and the move to the audio and the longer programming (longer than Ask a Ninja) kept me away from podcasts for quite a while. Finding a time and the inclination to listen made it hard. I’ve since found out that a lot of podcasts also have a live video they record at the same time, which generally ends up on YouTube, but that’s not what I’m looking for anymore…

Last year, I got back into listening to podcasts. I was doing a lot of repetitive tasks at work, or physical work moving library materials around, and I decided to try listening to podcasts to keep my mind going. I started with some niche stuff, podcasts around my Warmachine and Hordes gaming, and found one I really liked. From there, I branched out and listened to a bunch of others for the game – there’s a ton! I keep trying them, and people keep starting them up… some I like, some I don’t, and that’s the way of things.

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I’ve found a few other talk and opinion ones I’ve liked alright, but the one to really talk about is Welcome to Night Vale, one of the first things I listened to. Well, I haven’t caught up, so I guess I’m still listening to it! It’s a fictional radio show about a small, quiet, Lovecraftian town. It’s absolutely amazing if you love the Lovecraftian mythos and atmosphere.

But it’s also a fantastic representation of how people creating podcasts think about what they are doing: they are recording radio shows. They’ll joke and laugh when someone stops to Google something, or does something visual, or in some other way does something that totally breaks the medium – and tend to say something like “well that makes for great radio.” So I think some of the reason I wasn’t working podcasts in was because I don’t listen to the radio at all; my commute is short enough that a couple of songs from my iPhone is all I get to listen to, and my old car had a broken radio so CDs or my bluetooth speaker were my options. So I never turned to podcasts as a radio alternative.

That doesn’t stop me from loving podcasts. Getting in on the inside jokes. Sometimes interacting with the hosts via social media. Laughing, learning, thinking, motivating. I worry for the time when I’m not doing as much mindless work at work – because it’ll mean a lot fewer podcasts for me!

Listening to all these podcasts got me interested and thinking I could do one too. Some of what did that was episodes where the hosts would take questions from the audience – and often there would be questions about podcasting, about software and hardware and keeping a schedule, all those sorts of things. Having a topic that people want to listen to, where honestly a niche is probably what you want!

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Much like our website, the Comparative Opinions podcast is a bit more loose on subjects we’ll hit, so hopefully listeners are okay with that… We got an omnidirectional microphone for in-person recording, invested in Skype recording software for recording with guests on Skype, found music on the Free Music Archive, and we’re so far successfully using Apple’s Garage Band to manage the audio file, which we’re then hosting on our website.

We also came up with a format where our goal is to not need to do much editing – which is a major part of why Garage Band works, because it seems like it used to have settings and options for podcasting and those are all gone now. But with that, we found out that podcasting in general worked for us – we can very easily have a natural conversation, with very limited pauses or breaks, and record it to share. Many of these are like conversations we would have before writing a blog post, as we work our way through the ins and outs, think of examples and things that relate, go down tangents… all the good stuff! Recording that is like catching it in a bottle, and releasing it for others to hear.

Meaning, it’s been a lot of fun! There are a ton of podcasts out there these days, and I don’t know that I have great recommendations on what to listen to or on how to be found. I listen to what I’m interested in, and there’s probably some fun ones out there that you’re interested in. And in terms of being found, I’m still new enough into it that I’m not quite sure! But I suppose I could share a few links with you and maybe you could listen…

Find us on iTunes here, or the feed is here or on Comparative Geeks! And if you’re not listening to any podcasts right now, maybe give them a try, like during your commute or when you’re doing chores. They tend to be some people geeking out about whatever it is they’re passionate about, so find the ones for you and it’s like finding your geek community – or at least the radio part of your geek community! Happy listening!


Want a chance to talk about what you’re passionate about?  Let me know! I’d love to have more people share their interests!

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