My Podcast Problem ALC708 Assesment 1

By Morgan Pinder

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you will know that I’ll often post uni work that is relevant to the literature, podcasting and writing nonsense that you will often find here. This time my first assessment is a blog post. This blog post.

I was going to try not to do this assignment on podcasts, but it is basically all I do.

  • I don’t watch TV or movies, I listen to Podcasts.
  • I get on social media to talk about podcasts.
  • I read books, but only so I can talk about them on my podcast.

I have a podcast problem. It started about 4 years ago.

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Green Cassette Tapeby bixentro

 

Licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Original source via Flickr

I have always loved audio books, I grew up with storybook cassettes (I can still quote the entirety of the Lion King audiobook, just saying), then moved on to Amazon’s Audible app as an adult (all because I wanted that free copy of “The Chicken Gave it To Me” because I am an adult person who has definitely moved past my childhood reading list).

I think I knew about podcasts or they were at the very least on the periphery of my consciousness. I knew Ricky Gervais had one, and that BBC released their radio dramas as podcasts, but it wasn’t until Serial that I downloaded a podcast app. Serial definitely had a huge impact on the mainstream acceptance of the podcast as entertainment and has inspired a whole host of incredibly popular true crime podcasts, with true crime being one of the most, if not the most popular podcast genres (Bruzzi, 2016). Serial had me hooked, from there I went on to audio dramas like The Black Tapes and horror comedy podcasts like Last Podcast on The Left.

Then I discovered the often silly, very nerdy underbelly of the podcast world. I discovered the smaller podcasts that sprouted up in the wake of Serial and My Favorite Murder, and the indie podcasts that had been there the whole time but by virtue of not being true crime had only amassed a modest, albeit devoted following. It can be tough out there if you aren’t a crime related podcast as there is a huge swing in listenership towards true crime as a genre (Bruzzi, 2016).

I became a serial subscriber, I would, and still do subscribe to anything, listen to a few episodes and only delete it when the unlistened to episodes number in double, sometimes triple digits. I also began to engage with other fans of these podcasts and often the hosts themselves on Facebook and Twitter.

I work listening to podcasts, I walk listening to podcasts, if I could read listening to podcasts I would (and sometimes do if Librivox has a copy of the book up). There was a day about a month ago in which I thought I could listen to West Cork and parent at the same time, I was wrong.

“Oh, by the way, have I told you about my podcast…”

We started making The FrankenPod in December 2017, and released our first episode in on January 2018, and we have a bit of a following, but the most meaningful outcome of blasting another podcast into the 500,000 others out there (Lopez, 2018) that has surprised me the most is the online podcasting community.

According to Markham (2012) one of the most commonly cited reasons for podcasting community fostered through producing, promoting and creating, and that has certainly been our experience. Within a week of us releasing our first episode, I had an email from Nick who hosts Nick and Vince’s Podcast asking us if we wanted to come on their show and talk about Frankenstein.

I often interact with the podcast community in Facebook groups set up for podcast promotion, or to share podcasting resources such as Underdog Podcasts and Lady Pod Squad. Both of these groups also have Twitter hashtags that you can attach to podcasts as a signal to other “Under Dog” or “Lady” podcasters to retweet and promote, under the understanding that you will do the same for them.

Finding Your People

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39 Church and Convent of Santo Domingo Lima Peru 1738by bobistraveling

 

Licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Original source via Flickr

The Twitter interactions between podcasts can move in genre groups. As our podcast, The FrankenPod is about gothic books and cinema and our relationships with other podcasters have not really stayed within that genre, but it is easier to collaborate with people who are doing something similar to what you are doing. The special interest groups tend to interact more closely together but podcasters will often promote across genre. Twitter has been my main point of contact with other podcasters and those interactions have allowed us to guest on other podcasts and set up some wonderful interviews with other podcasters.

The most valuable part of these interactive relationships with other podcasters is the relationships that are forged (Markham, 2012). Aside from everything else I have met some amazing, generous and intelligent people who love what they do. Podcasting is like a long rambling conversation with people across the world, many of them alone under doonas with a microphone to block out the noise of the outside world.

It sounds a bit sad, but really it is a very beautiful way to nerd out with other people who enjoy the same very specific stupid set of things that you do.

Eat → Sleep → Podcast → Repeat

Podcasts not mentioned that should be:

If I’m going to go ahead and talk about podcast promotions I would be remiss if I didn’t shout out the independent podcasts I love who I haven’t name-checked so here are some of my #ff and episode release posts from the past few weeks.

Please check out these podcasts!

The film Nosferatu eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) which is used in the Tweet GIFs is out of copyright according to section 94 of the “Copyright Act 1968” (Australia Government, 2017) which states that copyright extends 70 years after publication took place.

References

 

ShitTown – Chapter 4

After hearing about the mottos on the sundials earlier episode I went looking because I was sure the one in our town was more positive than the grim mottos in ShitTown.

Let others tell of storms and showers, I’ll only mark your sunny hours.

Not bad huh! A little cheesy but I like a sundial that can acknowledge its limitations.

On to the episode. I’m now assured, and I checked, that I’m listening in the right order. So it’s definitly providing some context to his abruptness about suicide. It’s bizaare the way he relates the practicalities of his early death in a way that we are lead to believe people who are serious about suicide never do. But maybe the reason that people who talk about suicide seldom carry through is because some one listens and intervenes, not because the intention isn’t there. But when you are continually suicidality depressed like John there is so much intervention involved, so much loneliness, how do you fill that void? I wish he had of got professional help… easier said than done…

So how does someone who pays such close attention to the practicalities of his suicide not leave behind a will? This makes no damn sense.

We learn a little more about the cousins in this episode, a there are inklings that maybe Tyler’s sense of entitlement might not be a well founded as it first appeared. I’m not sure he’s untrustworthy, maybe just misguided. But the cousins, man Tyler does not like them one bit, even saying that the cousins wanted John’s nipple rings because they were made of gold. And it’s true, Rita and Charlie do seem preoccupied with the gold and other things John left behind. Not to mention we don’t know what has happened to Mary Grace, John’s mother who is now under their guardianship.

We also learn that none of John’s close friends were called before his funeral, there seems to be no logical reason for this, many of them are horologists (people who study the workings of clocks), and many of them suspect that there is some nefarious reason that some one didn’t want them at the funeral. 

There seems to be a foreshadowing of problems with Tyler, and maybe another version of events that shed a less positive light on Tyler and his interest in John’s estate. He has literally towed the buses he claims are his from the property.

Then there’s the gold that Faye, the town clerk, was told about in the freezer in her final phone conversation with John. The concersation in which he drank cyanide over the phone.

The gold that dissapeared, along with some of Mary Grace’s valuables some time between that conversation and when the cousins arrived.

A time when only Mary Grace, the paramedics and the police had access…. oh and Tyler

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ShitTown ACTUAL EPISODE 1

Instead of jumping up and down about the mistake that happened in my podcast app I’m deciding to embrace the misunderstanding. And it’s a good thing too because episode 3 is much stronger, and its no wonder because it flips the entire story on it’s head.

S-Town is an amazing and intricate story that suffers from the same issue as many podcasts with a massive twist suffer from, the people working on the podcast know why the story is worth telling, but it’s hard to convey to the audience the worth of the story without giving anything away. So the listener has to just trust in the host that this story is going somewhere.

So now the allusions in the later episodes to John’s maze make sense, and people being frustrated with the large swathes of exposition also makes a lot more sense.

I wonder the whole episode was needed.

But I still love it.

I still love John, even if he suddenly reminds me more of my father in law than he did previously. The maze also adds another dimension to the treasure hunt foreshadowed in what I now know to be episode 3.

What has this experience in misplaced chronology told me?

Apart from the eccentricity of podcast apps, the importance of editing, the dangers of immediate publishing and that I’m a sucker for non-chronlogical narratives? Well listeners and readers don’t need ALL the details right away. I must remember that in my own writing.

Chronology and time are abstract and fallible, huh, how fitting for a podcast featuring a depressed, fatalistic, genius clockmaker.

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ShitTown – Chapter 2

Bahh I listened to episode 3 as episode one so any references to earlier episodes are referring to episode 3…

😑 This is why you need to fact check even if you don’t want to research and come at the podcast with fresh eyes….

Okay before we get into the episode can we just have a moments appreciation for the S-Town website, that shit is beautiful. I love the way it moves and evolves as you scroll. It’s a nice change from some of the place holder websites you often see for podcasts. (No Usidore I’m not talking about Usidore Rocks, that is another exception {listen to Hello from the Magic Tavern for context})

Anyway onto potential spoilers for Chapter 2

Hearing John for the first time was exciting, he seems to be quite the story teller. Rambling frenetic anecdotes peppered with non sequiturs. Within the first sentence of Brian’s narration we get a tantalizing hint of the crime that John was obsessed with so it doesn’t look like that thread has been dropped. I’m so glad.

Kaybrum, Kabrum, Cabram, Kabram?

Who is Kabram Burt? And why can’t I google him properly? Yes I gave in and researched, well kind of. I’m currently paused on chapter 2 with 40 minutes to go of the episode and I couldn’t resist the allure of search engine spoilers. But without and easy answers I gave up.

Kyabrum? Kabrum (Kabram? Cybrum? Quebrim?) is the person that John suspected of murder, the murder that he was discussing with Brian prior to his death. You can find some speculative research here.

We hear about John walking into the tattoo parlour with his soapbox. We meet some rough, racist guys guys from Tyler’s tattoo parlour. We hear about John the miser, John the loner, John the shut in. But we also hear about the John who hated tattoos but propped up his friend Tyler’s business by getting multiple tattoos  and piercings

At the halfway point of this episode I think I may be in love with John B. McLemore…

But then we find out Kyabram Burt didn’t kill anybody. The guy he beat up didn’t die, and it was investigated thoroughly, there was no coverup, no murder. Just a fight… a nasty fight… but a fight. And there seems to be a weird rumour mill operating off half the truth that John seems to have latched onto for some reason which is strange for someone who is so meticulous.

The annoying truth of the situation seems to have depressed him more than before. He despairs for his town and “the clusterfuck” he sees around him. It’s like he was distracting himself from the apathy of the general population towards the slow detriation of the world and the futility of the human condition by looking into what turned out to be just another fight.

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ShitTown Chapter 3 mislabelled 1 dammit

So my podcast app messed up the labelling of this podcast…. and I ended up with episode 3 labelled as episode one…shit.

I pity the podcast that gets released today, surely the latest project from Serial and This American Life is one tough act to follow. S-Town is the euphamistic listing name for ShitTown, a new podcast narrated by Brian Reed in which he explores the unfolding drama in small town Alabama.

I WILL be binging this series, but I will not be posting all of my review articles today. I’m going through the episodes carefully, 1 at a time, and I WON’T be conducting external research yet, but I don’t rule that out in the future.

Spoilers to follow. You have been warned

“John B McLemore lives in Shittown Alabama”, he is a clockmaker and he is not a joyful man. He is extrodinarily clever, meticulous, intriguing and fatalistic. He has a fine sense of injustice and the world slowly turning to shit. He has a mother he cares for, friends who love him but he is deeply depressed a lonely in a way that people who feel the full weight of the problems of the world can relate to. He sometimes upsets people with his grim world view. Particularly his employee and close friend Tyler. Tyler maintains John’s house and helps out with his mum and is an unexpected saving grace for the middle aged, “celebate homosexual” as he termed himself. Tyler rides a motorbike, is covered in tattoos and has an unmistakable southern drawl. John is dependent on Tyler, John is a surrogate father figure for Tyler, Tyler  has a bed and clothes at John’s place, Tyler’s wife implores him not to go running everytime John calls in a suicidal funk.

So when John drinks cyanide one evening with seemingly no preparations made to deal with his estate or look after his mother confusion and chaos ensues. Including surprise appearances from suspiciously unconcerned distant relatives.

See John didn’t trust banks, he told his lawyer that he had a plan for his assets. A plan that seems to include gold…

Right out of the gate ShitTown is riviting and bewitching. John is relatable and endearing, and the chaos he left in his wake seems to be completely in advertant at this stage.

There are also hinted at connections to deeper mysteries that John was interested in which I hope will be a thread that gets picked back up.

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