I read some of the comments from the last blog and it started me thinking about what the podcast is… and what it has become.
This is by no means an attack on the people who said they stopped listening when Jamie left (I get that and those people really didn’t cause that drastic a change in the amount of listeners.) Many people listened to the radio show strictly and specifically for Jamie, and I don’t blame them she is a radio superstar with a unique gift that many have tried to copy (Jillian Barberie, Chelsea Handler), but none do as well. But lets face it, she was never a huge part of the podcast’s three year history.
I’m not going to lie, the podcast started as an “F” you to big radio… You think you can fire us and make people not care, we’ll show you. No radio show had done that, no one had taken ownership of their listeners. In days prior, you got fired, and if you weren’t hired at another radio station, you disappeared. There was no model, no one to look to to see how to do it, we kind of made it up as we went. Angela Channel tackled the technical part (With the help of Andrew) and built a system that would work for our subscriber based idea from scratch. There was trial and error, as those of you who have been here since the beginning know, but we figured it out.
We were a joke in the radio industry, look at those has-beens and their pathetic “podcast”. “It’ll never work, it’s just sad”, was the sentiment going around the business, but we swallowed our pride… and proved them wrong. Now, three years later, it is crazy to think of a popular show not podcasting, whether they are on or off “terrestrial” radio. The same people that mocked us on their radio show years ago, ran to the podcast format when they were let go. Ultimately the “joke” has become the standard.
But that is really not why our podcast matters. What it started as, is not what it has become. Our pod is not always the most entertaining, technically perfect or even relevant. Don’t get me wrong, some days it is all those things and more. The Jack and Stench pod (The name it has had for the majority of it’s existence) is about friendship and dedication, it’s about family and sacrifice, honesty and sharing. Not just between Stretch and me, but between us and you.
It hasn’t always been easy, for either of us. I won’t go into the stresses and challenges Stretch has gone through over the last three years, I wouldn’t want to speak for him (We all know he has his own voice!) Stretches of unemployment, a mental breakdown, divorce, full time jobs and full time families have all been intertwined through the fabric that creates the podcast. There were days, when the last thing I wanted to do was record that damn show… I remember recently, coming home from court, my divorce final, sitting down on my couch and breaking down crying, and thinking I have to pull it together, we have to record the pod in a hour. Or logging onto Skype the day after getting out of the mental hospital, having to confront my demons into that headset. There are days when I wish we could keep going, a hour isn’t long enough to laugh with my friend and talk about the world and it’s strangeness.
The pod is an inside joke between us and you, it’s good times and bad shared with friends, it’s our secret club that we’d at least like to think others would like to be a member of if they just knew about it. It’s not a radio show anymore, and it’s definitely not the Jamie, Jack and Stench Show. It’s become about us being loyal to each other through thick and thin, the line between audience and entertainer almost totally erased, you are the pod, we just show up to turn on the mics and make sure they record. Maybe that’s why it can’t survive, something that personal may not have the mass appeal to sustain it’s self.
The Pod Mafia, The Myspace Army, The Silent Listeners and those of you who have not received a title yet, You are the podcast… And no matter what happens (We haven’t given up yet), you should be proud… You accomplished that “F” you and you created a family from a radio show… And that Rules!