I have to admit that I pretty much gave up on listening to the radio a couple of years ago. Local radio stations didn’t seem quite as good as I remembered them being from my youth and I would either feel that the presenters weren’t quite as energetic as they used to be, or I started to find parts of their act a bit tedious. My feelings on modern chart/radio-friendly music are pretty strong where I couldn’t tell you what is currently in the charts and the bits of chart music that I have heard (admittedly not through my own choice), don’t exactly capture my imagination. Then again, these songs and artists don’t have me as their target audience. They target a slightly younger audience who will buy their posters, t-shirts, other bits of merchandise and think that One Direction and Twilight are the great artistic works of this century.
There are exceptions, such as Radio 4 for their interesting array of programmes on a variety of areas (and the Shipping Forecast, even though I don’t have a clue what they’re on about most of the time), Radio 2 for music that is slightly more up my street and presenters I actually know and other niche markets and programmes like Test Match Special and Radio Le Mans for all of my motorsport news and commentaries.
Then, I stumbled across the world of podcasts. I think The Joe Rogan Experience was my first podcast, which makes sense since I can stretch back to as early as episode 10 when it was still him and Redban sitting in their “studio” goofing around with snowflake effects. I don’t even know how I found Rogan’s show, but it’s probably around the same time that I found out he wasn’t just a UFC commentator and that guy who used to present Fear Factor, but he was also a pretty good comedian.
From there, everything sort of snowballs. I would listen to podcasts with Rogan’s friends and from there, I started finding out more about these people. I got to know more about Doug Stanhope, listen to his back catalogue of work and I’ve now seen him two or three times where he’s probably one of my favourite comedians. I found out about their crazy friend called Joey “Coco” Diaz who has a life story crazier than that of the most over-the-top Hollywood film script. The great thing about these shows is that because Rogan can do two or three podcasts in a week, you get to know him over time, you know Redban and you get to know their crew of friends.
I was on board with the Deathsquad network from an early stage too and have come to find out about personalities like Ari Shaffir, Brody Stevens, Esther Povitsky, Tom Segura, Christina Pazitsky and numerous others. Through their shows, you get to know about those people too and after a couple of shows, it just feels as though you’re listening to friends having a conversation. I don’t recommend talking back to the podcast since that’ll seem a bit weird, but you can certainly converse with these people on Twitter and send them emails.
It just keeps on growing though. I started to find other fans of Deathsquad on Twitter and get to know that online community of people from all over the world. I both follow and have followers from across the USA, Canada and parts of the UK and in some situations I’ve seen the power and effect that this community has on people. It brings people who would otherwise be complete strangers together to form friendships and perhaps most importantly of all, everyone gets inspiration from somewhere. Some like me, take the inspiration to stay creative and keep writing blogs as well as other side projects, some have started to chase dreams and taken to the stage to try their hand at stand up comedy and some have their own podcasts.
I’ll take Mick Guzman (@postalpoet on Twitter) as an example, since I was listening to his podcasts last night and we shared some thoughts online. Mick is someone that I don’t know personally, but I’ve been following him on Twitter for over a year now and we’ve shared some interesting thoughts. He started his own podcast called ‘Ask My Boss’ and over the last 8 months or so, he’s taken his creative process in a couple of really interesting directions with Keep Making Noise, Going Postal, his podcasts with “Pastor Joe” and more recently, he’s embarked on a creative journey looking back at his education going from his beginnings to where he is today in life. As I say, these latest episodes are something a bit different to what I listen to in podcasts these days, but they’re really interesting. I’m learning a lot, not just about education but also about Mick. I plan on being onboard for the rest of the journey to see where we finally end up.
Podcasts really are a powerful thing these days, and for me they’ve all but replaced radio for day-to-day listening. They serve as a fantastic way of getting to learn about other things in life, getting to know people you wouldn’t ever meet otherwise and as a platform for finding like-minded people in the world. I still listen to my music from time to time, but my iPod these days is heavily dominated by podcasts and comedy album. I always say I want to get my own podcast started and get another way of expressing my ideas and thoughts into the world, as well as getting to share some stories with friends.
Maybe 2013 is the year I finally do it...