Essays on Technology and Culture

Crush On Radio Signs Off

In May of 2012, I got together on Skype with my Internet friends Andrew Marvin and Matt Keeley to start a podcast about music and being a music fan: Crush On Radio. The premise was simple: we’d all pick an album, we’d all listen to each others, and then we’d talk about it along with some general music-fan chat. Occasionally, we’d bring on a guest, and have them provide an album for us to chat about.

After two years of the show, the challenge of scheduling three people with full-time jobs, one in Seattle, and two on the East Coast, and finding time to listen to albums became a hassle–even moving to a bi-weekly schedule, not that we’d been great at keeping to weekly. Even after streamlining the recording and editing processes, putting the show together still remained a tedious pain the rear. Perhaps if we had any audience traction, it might have been worth it, but our download numbers peaked at around 150, and averaged in the low double-digits. I needed a change.

The original idea for Crush On Radio was to be an interview show, talking to interesting people about the music that shaped them and focused on albums. Realizing this might be a bit beyond me, I decided to draft my friends and do it as a panel show. The change was to go back to the original idea, and with two years of podcasting under my belt, I figured I could make a go of it. I just didn’t want to edit the stupid thing. If I could unload the tedious grunt work of audio editing onto someone who knew what they were doing, everything would be in place to bring the show back with a new format. That’s when Ben Alexander came in.

I was connected to Ben through Sid O’Neill, who helped create Constellation’s web site. I shot Ben a quick proposal, and he accepted me into the family. I was part of a network, and the editing would be handled by house editor Lorenzo. I reached out to a few dream guests, and got a couple episodes in the can before going live: Merlin Mann and Patrick Rhone. Lorenzo edited, and I put them out into the world, and everything seemed gold. Then, things got a little crazy in Ben’s life. While Ben was unable to publish shows, my pipeline of guests dried up. Rather than double-down and try to get more episodes out the door, I got discouraged with the lack of guests, the lack of feedback, and the difficulty of doing a podcast. I stopped producing shows

Turns out that trying to organize and book guests, especially when being on the show requires homework of both picking an album and listening to it, is a pain for both sides of the call. Even without the main editing job, I still had a bit more to do with the audio than I found pleasant as well: cleaning up my side, making song clips, etc. And, with the irregular release schedule—a problem since the start as an independent—any signal boost from interviewing Merlin and Patrick out the gate dried up. I was back in the same place I was after two years of podcasting, but enjoying the process even less.

So, I’ve decided to put an end to it. There’s one episode left in the queue, with Myke Hurley. Myke reached out to me after Patrick’s episode went out, and that is the professional highlight of my brief career as a podcaster. It should be out soon, as Ben rebuilds Constellation as Fiat Lux. After that, I’ll be hanging up my podcaster hat, though I still have my Blue Snowball. The possibility exists that I might try something less ambitious in the podcasting realm in the future, but I want to focus on writing and on Sanspoint.

Things could have been different. If Crush On Radio had a larger, more supportive audience, it might still be a going concern. I had dreams of getting sponsors, doing live shows (streamed and in-person), and being the music-fan equivalent of a 5by5 show. It didn’t work, for whatever reason, but all of them come down to my own failure to make the show on a consistent basis. There’s other factors, but the only person who should be falling on the sword is myself. That said, there’s still fifty-seven episodes in the can, and I can point to them and say “I (and my friends) made this.” I got to speak to some of my heroes, and got turned on to new bands. It’s a net win all around, and I thank everyone who supported the show.