Friday, October 26, 2012
POLITICS + PERSONALITY: PODCASTING: THE DEFINITIVE MODERN SELF-EXPRESSION TOOL
Fridays at Justin + 6 are Politics and Personality with Washington DC-based gay party guy, and creator and host of Swish Edition, R. Scott Wallis. Expect to be challenged. Expect to be offended. Opinions expressed here are Scott's and Scott's alone.
Most likely, you are reading this post on an electronic device that has both a microphone and a fairly decent video camera. They’re there, just staring you in the face. And with those, a simple audio editing app, and an inexpensive hosting service, you too could be producing your own regularly scheduled programs for the world to devour.
Of course, you have to have the desire and a concept. Having a little bit of personality and a passion about something—anything, really—doesn’t hurt either.
There are tens of thousands of audio and video podcasts listed on iTunes and on umpteen other delivery services like the free Stitcher Radio app for most smartphones and tablets. There are programs about every subject imaginable. From theatrical movies to religion. From quilting to masturbation. From vegan cooking to stupid animal tricks.
Famous movie stars podcast. Comedians podcast. Evangelists, deejays and software geeks podcast. Even our beloved Justin podcasts*.
From the stay at home mom who has a show about scrapbooking to actress/comedian Aisha Tyler. From marketing executives who record their show from a Dunkin Donuts to director Kevin Smith’s very own podcast theater. You can do it with a lot of fancy equipment in a studio or sitting right in front of your iPad on the train.
Heck, even I do it.
It started as a hobby for my friend Dale and me back in late-2009. We had both worked in traditional radio back in our school days and we got this itch one day to tell the other gay dudes here in Washington, DC what we thought about the gay nightlife scene. So, we sat in a small room in my house, shared a single microphone hooked up to a cheap digital audio recorder, and when we wanted to interview someone…well, we aimed the microphone down towards the speaker phone on my landline phone.
(Landline?! What’s that?)
A few simple edits, a theme song we stitched together ourselves, an RSS feed for $20 a month, and BAM! We’re were listed on iTunes and tens and tens of people started downloading and/or streaming our crazy-ass shenanigans.
Real people started to listen!
About a year later, and after we started booking non-local celebrities as guests, we took the show national and changed the name from, “It’s a Gay Thing DC” to the “Swish Edition.” And 102 weekly, 90-minute episodes later, we are one of the leading gay-themed, comedy podcasts in the world; we’ve been downloaded in over 140 countries; we were recently ranked #115 out of 5,000+ comedy podcasts on iTunes; we’ve attracted the likes of Wanda Sykes, Lisa Lampanelli, Margaret Cho, Hal Sparks and Brent Everett as guests; and, we’ve recorded shows at the Wynn-Encore Resort in Las Vegas, onboard an Atlantis cruise, at porn star Michael Lucas’ house on Fire Island, and on the red carpet at Los Angeles’ Trevor Live event.
And we don’t share a microphone anymore, thank goodness, ‘cause I like my space. We moved out of my house, into a studio down the block, and we have room for eight people on the air at once, as well as equipment and technology to do live broadcasts, Skype in guests from anywhere, and we even have our very own life-size cardboard cut-out of actor Taylor Lautner.
I think what makes the “Swish Edition” work is simple: It’s three gay guys (the aforementioned Dale, our friend Steve, and myself) sitting around with cocktails, talking about their silly lives and the even sillier world of pop culture, whether it’s gay or not. We’re real, we’re decidedly NOT politically correct, we’re very much dirty-minded, and we make no excuses nor do we eve apologize. Our shows aren’t scripted (save for a loose outline) and they are totally organic and ever changing.
And we get to do two things that we absolutely love: 1.) Talk to celebrities as well as movers & shakers who are doing something interesting with their lives and 2.) Feature new music from individuals and groups who might not otherwise get the attention and exposure they deserve.
From humble beginnings to the world! Hooray for us, right? Well, not so fast.
We still have a long way to go. We still have to learn to fully monetize our program. We need to branch out from strictly audio programming to video (‘cause video is where it’s totally at right now; and we’re working on that as we speak). And we need to fucking figure out how to grow our Twitter followers! (How can we have nearly 4,800 Facebook “likes” and less than 500 Twitter followers? What are we doing wrong? Ummm, are you listening, Justin?)
Why am I doing a commercial for podcasts (and mine specifically) when my Friday posts are supposed to be about Politics and Personalities? It’s simple: 1.) If you aren’t already consuming, podcasts you should be. They are an absolutely free, wealth of entertainment and information. Believe me, there is something for absolutely everyone. And you can only listen to that damned “Let’s Have a Kiki” song so many times on your way back and forth to work. 2.) I’m a personality, of sorts. 3.) I want to encourage others to try their hand at creating their own show, too. 4.) The “Swish Edition” rocks.
There, I did it again. But it does, rock. And being a big famous gay podcaster let’s me get into clubs like XL for free. (Totally kidding. See Justin’s post from Wednesday.)
Bottom line…if you have something to say, say it with your own show. Try it out. Won’t cost ya much at all. And if you don’t want to and have never checked out a podcast before, I encourage you to go search through the thousands out there. I bet you’ll find a new favorite in no time and be hooked, just like me.
SCOTT’S TOP FIVE PODCAST PICKS
1. “Swish Edition”
2. “Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler”
3. “Nerdist Podcast”
4. “Gay Pimpin’ with Jonny McGovern”