My podcasting roots
slaningham 100000GSNP Comment (1) Visits (2002)
Last night I was thinking back over my life-long attraction to talking into or making strange sounds into a microphone. As a young teenager, I created my own little comedy radio shows with my Dad's reel-to-reel tape deck, then later with the amazing, ground-breaking portable device, the analog cassette desk. Stan Freberg was a big influence on me back then and still lurks in my mind as I do these dW podcasts. There's a side of me that would love to throw in a ooga horn now and then or an interview with the Abominable Snowman.
Later on I got into radio, doing a jazz show on my junior college FM station and then overnighting for a local FM rock station where I once feel asleep long enough for the needle to take most of the label off of the center of a vinyl LP I was playing. During those years I created a box full of cassette tapes worth of comedy as I collaborated with various roomates. Sitting in a bug-infested one-room flat in NYC in 1985, I put some of this silliness to music and recorded the song Moose in My House, which later won a call-in contest and was picked up by radio stations from Roswell, New Mexico to -- I've been told -- somewhere in Russia. The heart of that song was a drum riff created on three kitchen pots ending with a scream, recorded on a 10 dollar RadioShack microphone -- the antithesis of high tech. People are still downloading it today.
I eventually found myself balancing between serious broadcasting, reporting news on Public Radio International and freelance writing for Charles Osgood, and the lighter end of things, contributing to a radio comedy service and interviewing the likes of Gilbert Gottfried, Emo Philips, and Jerry Seinfeld.
A decade later, here I am with high-end equipment (an ElectroVoice RE20 broadcast mic, a laptop based ProTools recording/editing system), and a dW podcast agenda to inform, inspire, and entertain, with all of these former experiences fighting for the stage in my head. Fortunately, I have an enormous pool of IBM technical talent to draw on for the substance of these podcasts. But I thought it might help to know where I've come from for those times when you might be asking yourself, "where on Earth is he going with this?"