Production Quality Must Improve
Make the show a multi-ender
LoCeltics needs to be a multi-ender. Jason Snell (2015) and Dan Benjamin (2008) have this topic well-covered; I include both here because the principles are the same even if the technology has changed. Everyone must be making local copies, and then a smart person pulls them together at the end.
Microphones, microphones, microphones
I was on Liftoff #12 back in the day, and that recording sounds like crap is because I didn’t test my setup in time, so I chose to go with EarPods for recording. Guess what? It sounded so crappy, even with a local recording going, that they went with the Skype. It’s awful, awful, awful, and I feel like I owe Jason and Stephen a beer for how bad that was.
The thing is, though, that I own a Blue Snowball and enough XLR-powered microphones to record everyone at my dining table. Also, Jason heartily recommends a Blue Yeti in a post about podcasting equipment, and if I were going to start a podcast, I’d consider it. (I’d probably end up with a TASCAM unit that brought in XLR microphones because I have them.)
If your core team — for LoCeltics, that would be John Karalis, Jay King, and Sam “Jam” Packard — are all locked on and ready to go with good microphones and local recordings that get pulled together at the end, you’re going to have a tighter-sounding podcast that will equal or exceed a radio show.
Get a producer (?)
I’m pretty sure that Karalis pulls the shows together, and that’s fine — host-led production is really common in the podcasting world because you already have someone who was in the room where it happened and has ears to what’s going down. But an outside ear may help, too, and for two reasons:
Eliminating/reducing cross-talk and vamping
Simply put, the show could be tighter. On the March 23, 2017 show, they vamped and vamped trying to get a final score on the Wizards game. Guess what? You can put the podcast on hold, wait five minutes, and break down the impact on the playoff seeding. No one needs to know that you were recording during the games, nor that you didn’t record through the end of the Cleveland game. Here’s how you could have done that.
- Karalis (or Packard, but probably John) could have recorded a voice-over of each score after the games were done. Simple.
- In the meantime, Karalis and Packard could’ve recorded little bits about each of the four scenarios — Cavs win, Wiz win; Cavs win, Wiz lose; Cavs lose, Wiz win; Cavs lose, Wiz lose — and speculated on what that means in terms of rest, lineup choices, etc.
The show leading up to the ending was really, really solid, and it just fizzled down the stretch like the C’s kicking away the Philly game last weekend. (Note to Jay King: in this situation, you are not IT.) I think that’s because John and Jam sacrificed the episode on the almighty deadline and working in real-time. If you don’t want to wait for it, you can script it up ahead of time and put it together in post! It’s not like you’re doing a real-time radio show, and anyway, the goal is to put those Felger and Mazz assholes out to pasture.
Non-host producers can keep the team organized
- Say that a host doesn’t know a stat — he can ask for it and wait for the producer to get it while collecting his thoughts for a riff based on that factoid. The producer can note the time hacks for the request and the response and cut out the wait time. Let the producer make you look smarter.
- A non-host producer can keep you on-topic and help you be smooth. Run a text chat behind the scenes with a large font delivering short messages and you’ll be fine.
- Non-host producers can feed breaking news and monitor social media.
- Non-host producers can also help with topic ideas / segments (Magical Mystery Machine, #jamjunkdrawer, etc.) and lining them up before the show.
Obviously, a non-host producer is going to be expensive in a number of ways, not all of them monetary.
You can’t call yourself the best daily Celtics podcast if you don’t record on weekends; because the teams play on the weekend, you need to be there. But this brings me to another point.
Add one or two more voices, schedule them, and do crossovers with other LO podcasts
The NBA season is lined up well in advance, so plan accordingly: two-host shows every day, three-host shows when you can, and cross-over shows — either one or two hosts going at it with a host (or maybe two) from another LO podcast before, say, a big and/or rivalry game. This keeps the show fresh, and if you do that you’re going to have more downloads and stop having your ads be for another podcast and damn car parts.
The other thing that scheduling hosts does is that you allow fans to know what to expect. John teased an interview that Jay has coming with Millyz for the Friday show. I love that stuff! Give me a reason to be in tuned.
The boys have to decide if they want to keep on being the #5 seed or be the #1. I think they’re going to be the #1.
Told you that I’d let you pick my brain, Jay.