I thought that scheduling should be easy. How hard can it be to get three Dad’s of young children together for 3 hours to record a podcast? Well, as we would find out- it was very difficult.
My name is Andrew Keefe and I am the co-host of The Music Challenge Podcast. A loose, nerdy music commentary podcast (that you can find anywhere) and we’re about 11 episodes deep. And this written series chronicles our first season.
Let’s Catch Up
I’ll re-frame the scenario and the setting in a chronological fashion.
- I conceive of a podcast and recruit my good friend Jed as a partner shortly after the holidays in December 2019.
- Three weeks later, we unexpectedly pick up a 3rd host Robb.
- The three of us spend up to 2 months honing our concept. It used to take a paragraph to explain- now it took a short phrase. This season is about “your formative albums”. Period. We got down to linguistic forensics working on it. And you should too.
- We have the basic equipment required (mics & cables).
Difficulties of Scheduling
One of the precarious challenges of scheduling three dads of younger children, which we were, is that family always comes first. Most of the time anyway. So, finding a time that worked for everyone was not easy. Jed and I could be available during the day- but Robb had a job he often worked late at and was almost always exhausted from (though he never complains). Jed also had limitations at night. This wasn’t going to be easy.
Also, we were in the depths of winter and we just didn’t know where to record. I had read that you shouldn’t record in your garage because it sounds like you just don’t care. Well, my garage was the only thing that was offered up. Other places, in our homes were too noisy, not enough space, etc.
The problem with my garage besides its general condition and hollow reverb was that it was not heated. Attached to the house on two sides, but not heated. That would turn out to be an issue later on. But we’ll get to that challenge when we cross it.
The original plan was to do four practice runs. Four podcasts. Maybe even publish them. But after we got moving, we felt like we didn’t have four podcasts to throw away. We wanted to be fresh out of the box. But, I also wanted us to feel prepared.
I have a decent amount of vocal experience. I did speech team when I was young and did well in that (including the radio speaking event). I also was an airshifter (jock) at WEFT in Champaign, IL. It was a community station and ran a full spectrum of shows. Naturally, I kept to the music shows (mostly jazz and jam bands) but learned my way around a studio pretty well. Other tiny things here and there that made me comfortable hearing the sound of my own voice.
Jed, on the other hand, had no experience. That’s okay. Most people don’t. And I was initially confident that he and I would “gel” soon because of our natural friendship. I was not concerned about his inexperience, it would come along. And it has. But, trying to convince Jed of that was a tough sell. So, nurturing his confidence was key while still allowing him to find his own way.
Making a Trailer
I was super excited to make a trailer and “kick-off” the podcast. A trailer is a 1-2 minute explanation of your podcast that you publish before your podcast begins issuing regular episodes. I really just wanted to be doing something after all of the preparation.
I was very excited to record it and publish it simply because I wanted a piece of the action. I wanted to record. I wanted to edit. I wanted to publish. Not the worst idea to publish a trailer early though most do it within a few weeks of the first episode, but I was also sensitive because I offered a time period in which we would start producing episodes. I do not recommend offering a time table. Scheduling is unpredictable. Simply we couldn’t get everyone together in time to try recording episodes. Blowing the deadlines bothered me, I’m just the type of guy who wants to stay on schedule.
I do not recommend offering a time table in the trailer. Scheduling is unpredictable. Simply we couldn’t get everyone together in time to try recording episodes.Author
The Long Awaited First Session
We finally got time together. We were going to meet at my house at 8:00 on a Saturday night in late February. It was toe-biting cold. And, Robb and Jed hadn’t even met each other. There had been a last-minute dash for cords on the day of recording as I was the only one thinking about headphones. Once, again, the radio experience helped.
Once we were all there, we entered the garage where Jed and I had set up the equipment earlier in the day. It was dimly lit with all the trimmings of a functional though messy garage with the faint smell of lingering gasoline.
We stood looking at each other as if we were about to climb into The Spirit of St. Louis and fly across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. We knew it was an adventure we were about to undertake. And, ready or not it was all about to come to a head- one way or another.
Be sure to read the entire series of “My Podcast Adventures“.