THE UNITED STATES OF GEEKDOM
A podcast by geeks of all trades, for geeks of all trades. We will talk about comic books, movies, TV shows, and all things that make us geeks go tick. Power to the different!

My Unexpected Life as a Podcaster

by JediCole

There was a time in my life when I had never heard of podcasting. While I am not entirely computer literate even today, I still knew my way around the internet fairly well. And while I knew that YouTube was rapidly becoming the go-to site for posting your homemade film efforts or just footage you happened to catch of old Uncle Hank hammering shingles into the roof of the shed just as it collapses in on itself. You have to love the Video Age! But I had no personal familiarity with podcasts, podcasting, or podcasters. And yet somehow I managed to find myself joining the ranks of podcasters and have had the good fortune to have been a co-host on three different podcasts in less than five years! How did this happen? I often have to step back and ask myself that exact same question!

The answer is simple enough. I was running a kind of universal fan club called Fandom at Random DFW. Between that and keeping tabs from time to time on the local Star Wars fan club I got wind, via some website posts, that someone locally was starting up a Star Wars-themed podcast and was looking for potential cast members. I wrote a rather lengthy email outlining my credentials as a Star Wars fan and geek, being rather more flowery and persuasive than I needed to be as it turns out. All I really needed to do was say, "I'm in!", and that would have been sufficient. Not knowing this I really sold myself. That part is legendary within the history of this particular podcast. It was of course VaderCast and it was our friend Tim (who would also inspire Rick in the realm of podcasting) who was its founder.

Mrs. JediCole and I arranged to meet Tim at a comic shop not far from where he lived to discuss this venture. He was organizing the podcast with several friends as the initial cast members and I seemed a welcome addition. At the time we were planning our next Comic, Toy, and Collectibles Swap Meet and had the center we were using rented out for hours after we would be closing that up, so I offered the venue as a good place for the first meeting of the assembled cast. It was quite a success and a great number of ideas that would become the foundation of the show were put forward and we began to find the dynamic of a large cast with varied passions for Star Wars. It was a good start to the show and helped insure we would be ready with ideas before the first recording.

Over time we had a mixed group on the podcast. With a cast that size it was not necessary to have everyone one every episode, but it always had a nice round table feel. Like a group of friends sitting around talking Star Wars for an hour or so, yet with a focus and some set topics. It was ordered chaos at times and it worked! We started out recording episodes at local bookstores where the management graciously hosted us. We recorded once at one of my Swap Meets and once at FenCon. In fact the FenCon episode was one of the most satisfying. We were in a small room with an even smaller audience but had more fun entertaining a handful of folks, one of whom was blind. It was a real treat to have an audience sitting nearby listening to all we came up with both preplanned and ad-libbed. In the end we settled in to recording episodes at each other's houses for the best sound quality.

It was during my tenure on VaderCast that I met Rick and Molly. With the exception of Tim I was the only charter member of the cast that was on every episode recorded and there was a running joke that I was taking over. I wonder if Tim thought this was more than a joke when I told him one day that I had a new cast member who was perfect and could start with the next recording. Out of the blue Tim now had another co-host, none other than Rick! So from my beginnings in podcasting came Rick's as well. And he was a good fit in the cast which now consistently included Tim, Mrs. JediCole, Rick, and me with other regulars from time to time. And inspired by co-hosting VaderCast, Rick would go on to found his own podcast, Amazing ComiCast, a comic book themed show.

From the outset Rick set Amazing ComiCast apart from his work on VaderCast by co-hosting with his friend Matt. It was a good approach as it did not make it seem like half of the VaderCast group had spun off of that show. Rick and Matt produced a good catalog of episodes before Matt had to bow out of his co-hosting duties and Rick approached me to take over that slot. By then Tim had retired VaderCast as like Rick and me he had a lot going on in his life and could not maintain all of that and trying to maintain an online show and schedule. We had a great run, met some incredible people, and made a mark in Star Wars fandom in the process. A process that resulted in me becoming a career podcaster as things worked out. So naturally I jumped at the chance to join Rick yet again and be a part of another podcast that was certainly in keeping with my own personal interests and passions (with Star Wars still being primary).

When I came on board with Episode 17 Rick put it best when he said that the show would never be the same again. While I gave Matt considerable grief on the air about how easy it was to take over for him and how no one would notice his absence, the reality was that Matt was a great co-host and it was an honor to take over his old slot. And as with VaderCast I was soon joined by Mrs. JediCole on Amazing ComiCast straight through Episode 60, the last of that show's run. A run that brought some incredible episodes to the online airwaves and introduced us all to Andrew Farmer. And eventually Lance Sanchez as well. Mark this as Andy's entree into podcasting! The cycle never ends. But as the 60th episode approached it was realized that we were straying off of comic book topics rather often (Monty Python, Star Wars, etc.) and Rick decided that the best thing to do was jetosen the self-limiting theme opening the door for chapter three in my podcast career...The United States of Geekdom!

There is little need to go into great detail on this stage of my podcasting career. You are here. You are at least reading our posts on this site if not listening to our bi-weekly podcasts also (which you need to be doing if you are not already). You know that the whole cast of Amazing ComiCast moved easily into our new format and have been having a complete blast ever since. We have grown as a group, improved our timing and the dynamic of four co-hosts (often with added guests) and kept the discussion as lively as ever. I look forward to continuing to entertain and educate our listeners and readers with the podcast and my own writings here. The website had been a boon for me to go on at length on many a subject that is near to my geek heart.

So as this memoir comes to a close I want to thank Tim Kennedy especially for inviting me into this strange new world of online radio. I've felt quite at home from day one and will really miss this should I ever be away too long from podcasting. Thank you also to Rick Gutierrez our fearless leader who invited me to keep up the craziness on his first show, despite knowing me all too well. And for creating the USG so we would have brand new playground upon which to stomp about and enjoy all things that make us geek. No matter what the future may hold for me my amazing and quite unexpected career in podcasting will always be a great part of some of the best years of my life so far!

And thank you for listening. For reading. For joining me on any or all of the steps of this rarefied journey. I know you are out there. Rick assures me that you are.
1 comments:

Rick here: Yes they are. You would be surprised how many people called me out at the Zombie Palooza tonight! And not just people I have met from the various zombie events that I have attended. Complete strangers too!

Things are only going to get more and more exciting here at the USG so please keep listening, keep up the feedback, and most of all, keep talking about us. I never could have anticipated how well received this show has been and I am honored to have met so many of our local fans and fand from not just other states, but other coutries as well!


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