Eleven Dubcast: The Process

By Johnny Ginter on December 26, 2012 at 12:00p
6 Comments
Let me show you around the studio

Hey there everyone, and welcome to an irregular version of the Eleven Dubcast!

Hopefully you're all appropriately full of holiday cheer right now, and if you're anything like me, you're probably also appropriately full of snow and buckeye candy and ham and jelly beans and a bunch of other nice things.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that we didn't do a Dubcast this week. More on this in a second, but seeing as how we record on Tuesday evenings, it just wasn't going to happen this week. Still, in the spirit of giving, I have torn myself away from the cornucopic orgy that is holiday food and sleep to bring you a little behind the scenes peek at what Sarah and I do every week with the Dubcast to get it published on the site.

It's not exactly All The President's Men, but I thought it would be interesting to take you guys through the general process, and to solicit listener ideas for things you want to hear, get feedback on things you like, and take some constructive criticism on things you don't. So let's get started!

THE SETUP

Hardware-wise, things are fairly simple at Dubcast HQ. I've got a three year old Lenovo laptop that still putters along on Windows Vista (I know, I know). Initially when we started the Dubcast in 2010, I used the embedded mic in the laptop, but the sound quality from that was predictably horrible, so soon afterward we splurged on a Snowball mic, which does the trick nicely.

All Dubcasts are recorded through Skype; I call up Sarah and we use a program called Pamela to record the call itself. Usually podcasts are broken up into individual segments, but that doesn't necessarily require that they be separate calls. When we bring on guests to interview, I just add them to our call, and Pamela takes care of the rest.

Editing can be a little tricky. I use Audacity for that, but to tell the truth I'm no expert with it. Most of the problems that I've had is finding the right balance between when to fade in and out for the audio transitions. I also tend to spend a lot of time editing out weird pauses in the conversation or any stray dumb things that come out of my mouth. It's odd how much a simple editing job can change the context of an entire conversation, and to tell the truth that makes me feel somewhat nervous from time to time even thinking about how much power an editor can wield.

Me, every Tuesday night

I publish the Dubcast using Podomatic, which started out as a minimal investment, but because of the popularity (and sheer numbers) of the Dubcast, we now require a lot more space and bandwidth than we started out with. Overall, from start to finish, it takes about 3-4 hours to record, edit, and publish each episode.

THE SUBSTANCE

I was going through some old Dubcasts recently, and I was surprised at how much different it is since I took over as the "lead" from Luke. He has a distinct style that I pretty much will never be able to replicate, but I think what's more important is that the show develop a unique tone and voice under my general direction. Sarah of course plays a huge role in that as well; I really enjoy the dynamic that we have, and our styles, so to speak, complement each other fairly well.

Interviews are always tricky. We've made an effort to get bigger name guests as of late (national reporters and the like), but the larger problem there that I've found is that they can rarely be scheduled more than a day or two in advance due to their schedules. Also, I would love to get any suggestions from our listeners about who you guys would like for us to try and bring on; oftentimes the best suggestions come from 11W itself.

Ask Us Anything has always been fun as hell, and it's even more fun the weirder the questions are. I've been trying to brainstorm other ideas for segments, and that's where you guys can come in, too. Anything that you'd like to see Sarah and I do, be it reviews, announcements, yo momma jokes, etc., be sure to let us know by either commenting here or dropping us a line at [email protected]

THE STYLE

Unlike Luke, I am no great follower of podcasts. I might grab one here or there, but there aren't any that I latch on to and listen to religiously, so as a result, I kind of just go along with a conversational style that works best for Sarah and myself. Our goal in general has to been to make a show that's more like two people hanging out and talking about sports that seems natural without being forced. Not exactly an original concept, but it's harder than it looks. I've got all the respect in the world for guys like Spencer Hall who can do it without breaking a sweat.

Ultimately one of the things that we are trying to do with the Eleven Dubcast is show that sports can be fun and sensational without being sensationalized. Not every game has to be a battle or a war, not every bad thing that happens is the end of the world, and not every good thing that happens is sliced bread. Sports are fun, and discussions of them shouldn't devolve into stupid hyperbole week after week.

Sarah and I hope that we can bring you a fun, weird discussion of a fun, weird pastime on a weekly basis; if we've done that, we're doing okay. Thanks for listening, and please leave any suggestions or comments below!

6 Comments

Comments

AndyVance's picture

Johnny, thanks for pulling back the curtain and giving us a look at how you make the magic. I do a daily podcast as part of my chosen vocation, so here are a few gear-related tips based on one reporter's experience:

  1. Get a Mac. I record my 'casts on a MacBook Pro, but you could surely use a basic MacBook and do just fine. There are lots of benefits to going with the Mac, but the Skype app and its plugin "Call Recorder" have made my interviews a snap.
  2. If you take recommendation #1, you should ditch Audacity and go with Adobe Audition (there is a PC version if you don't upgrade to an Apple laptop). Audition will cost a little more than Audaccity, but it's worth the money. All the problems you have with editing will vanish, as if by magic. It is the gold standard for broadcast editing.
  3. If you opt for a new microphone, I highly recommend Blue's Yeti. It's a bit more substantial than the Snowball, but again, the uptick in quality and usability is worth the cash.
  4. There are lots of other things you can do to improve audio quality with processing and so on, but my basic setup is a Yeti into a MacBook Pro, recording interviews via Skype and editing/producing everything via Audition. Works like a dream.

You and Sarah do a great job, btw. If you've ever got questions regarding tech, or want some critical feedback on style, production, etc., feel free to drop my a line. Us old radio types are always willing to share what we know (or at least what we think we know).
Keep up the great work!

Johnny Ginter's picture

1. probably a no go on the mac thing. i really just don't like them in general, and as long as it takes me to learn new technology, i think there'd be an unbearable amount of kinks to work out before i would be comfortable with it.

2. see above

3. well, we got the snowball as kind of a quick fix, so maybe we'll upgrade to that in the event that it stops working. it's interesting; the podcast doesnt get that many listens (comparatively, i still think its amazing that even 20 people listen to this thing regularly, nevermind 500-700) so for me its hard to justify some of the really high end bells and whistles

4. i would love any and all feedback. time is a huge constraint on what i can do, but any suggestions on tone or content or whatever is welcome

AndyVance's picture

Well, I reserve the right to continue evangelizing about the wonders of Macdom, but I'll admit to being a fanboy, so take it for what it's worth :)
Check out the PC version of Audition - I'd say all other things being equal, that would be the single biggest gear/tech improvement you could make that would improve your workflow and sanity. When I started in Columbus radio 10 years ago, the program was called CoolEdit, and it was the undisputed king. Adobe bought it a few years ago, and the program has withstood the test of time. Really makes editing headache-free.

BuckeyeVet's picture

Sarah & Johnny, 
I'm going to leave ALL the equipment technical advice to Andy. However, you did say you would take any & all advice, therefore leaving yourself open to people like me going off on a tangent... ;-) On the other hand, when it comes to dogs, I'm your man. I've noticed how you lead off with the dog pictures, so..... 
1. Stick to black or yellow labs. The chocolate labs are a recessive coloring and have more skin problems & allergies than the others.
2. They are also (unscientifically) believed to be even crazier than the average lab.
3. By age 6 get their hips & lower backs radiographed. They have lots of arthritis, usually starting to show up at that age, and early meds & supplements can make their senior years much more comfortable.
4. I know that we 11W types are planning on zero losses during the Urban era, but just in case we do drop a game in 2017, I think we should plan ahead. I've noticed that MGoBlog puts up pictures of kittens after a loss to help their more suicidal members cope (may they run out of kitten pictures). I think, as a public service, that 11W should have a cache of insufferably cute puppy pictures ready to run in case of that loss, as a way to help our members cope. You could even lead off with a really cute picture of that chocolate lab as a puppy. I'm ok with MGo being known as a purveyor of kitten pictures. I just think puppies suits us better (yes, I have cats, too).
P.S. You can tell I have too much free time at work today - most of our appointments canceled due to the snow storm.
P.P.S. Great work, Sarah & Johnny. Thanks!

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."          - Groucho Marx 
 

Johnny Ginter's picture

hahaha amazing

i will take all of these points under serious consideration

nickma71's picture

Nice looking chocolate lab.