By Chris Parsons
Two years and 10,000 mistakes into this whole ETG thing, and we are continuing to move forward. A bunch of our regular listeners and friends that have been involved with us have decided to start their own shows and things of that sort, and we normally end up talking about what we have found works and what doesn't. This passion project has turned into an obsession and I now geek out over audio gear/programs. So today, I'm going to run you through what we do that works and a few of our failures.
We started out with an idea. I knew that I wanted to host a podcast, I just didn't know what it would be about. I was working in the car business at the time and hated it, and I missed the hobby. I missed comics and games that I no longer had time for, I missed the amazing people who would come and share their expertise. I decided to go with Entertainment Geeky, a parody on entertainment weekly, where we would dive in to what was going on in the world of nerds. I started doodling logos and decided before saying this is the name/ brand that I should see if my new found name was in use. It wasn't technically, but there were things that were close enough, so I modified it, and changed it to Entertain the Geeky.
After deciding on a name I went on to buy a domain. I initally used GoDaddy, which offered a site builder. Sounded Like a good deal to me. I then started looking into Microphones. Now, I didn't want too much of an initial investment, just because I may decided that podcasting wasn't for me. So I went with a Blue Yeti Pro. It is a USB mic that has an option to connect to XLR, should one decide to plug this mic into a mixer. At the time it ran me about $150-$200. I actually sold a GoPro that I had to come up with the money. For audio software, I decided to go the Audacity, a free option that is opensource software. (I love open sourced projects.)
As I waited for the microphone to ship to me I researched how to host a successful podcast and other things along the lines of that. One thing that was constantly brought up was having a co-host or interesting guests. For the sake of accountability, I thought that a co-host would be best and I knew just the person. Rodger! I called him and told him what I was looking to do. Being that he too was in a soul-sucking job, he was in.
The microphone arrived and I called Rodger to have our first recording session. We recorded a 3 hour episode and planned to do two more before releasing any content. Based on the research that I had done, I had found that having multiple episodes go up upon launching a show is extremely important, because it gives your listeners enough content to fall in love with, so to speak. I located a news show intro, that I could legally use, then had my Stepdad, who went to school for radio broadcasting, help record an intro, which is still used for Nerd News. We took the next few weeks to record more content and to decide on a hosting site.
We ended up going with Libsyn, and Rodger agreed to pay for it, because I had already put a couple hundred bucks into the show. We went with one of the lower priced plans, not the bare bones base plan, but I think the one above that. It was like $10 monthly. We learned very quickly that with our two to three hour long episodes we needed more space and the additional space that we needed unlocked reporting, so you could really see how your show was doing. It was also at this time that we found out how to get the show put on itunes, google play and all of that good stuff.
Now we have this show that we are recording weekly, and people are listening; we need to build that site to send them to. We sat down and made this abysmal website, but it was functionalish... Lots of folks recommend Wordpress, so we started trying to use that, and with neither of us knowing anything about coding (or caring to learn it) we reached out to a friend, Andy Yang. He but together a more functional site, and we were content for the time being. Thank you Andy!
We kept that web page for a while, and then decided to revamp it and again we produced this Frankenstein like creation, but it kind of worked... Who am I kidding? It was shit! I listen to the Joe Rogan podcast and he had an ad for squarespace come on, and I decided we needed something different, so I looked into it and this seemed to be the best possible option for us. We moved everything over from godaddy and wordpress and started from scratch.
Now, lots happened in the meantime here. We decided to start EG Games and brought Jason in, to host Nerd News/become a partner. Now, we had been looking into merch for a long time and knew that we needed an e-commerce option for our games, and once again Squarespace had a perfect option for us that kept cost low, compared to other options. We also sought out a sponsorship, with Slugfest Games and they agreed! We were killing it! After bringing Jason aboard, another sponsor approached us. We agreed and proceeded with our two sponsors.
Here are a few things I would have done different. The Blue Yeti is a great mic and works well in many situations, but audio quality suffers when you start to get back off of this compressor microphone, which you can't help but do when you have four people on one mic. This is our fault, not the microphone's. I would have purchased a mixer with an audio interface right out of the gate.I ended up buying a Yamaha MG10XU. It would have saved so much time and frustration with editing and sound quality. Knowing what I know, I would have gone with a dynamic mic, like the MXL BCD-1 or Rode Podcaster.It's just important to use the right tool for the job, and that isn't what we've done. A dynamic microphone picks up sound from one direction and tends to work better when you have multiple people talking an a small space. I am very happy with Audacity, so I wouldn't change a thing about using this beautifully simple recording software. You saw above what I had to say about site hosting. I would have loved to have just used squarespace out of the gate and been done with it. I would have also reached out to potential sponsors sooner. Don't be afraid to ask. There are a bunch of other things I would have done different, to make things smoother but you live and you learn. Comment if you have questions on anything. If you are interested in bringing your show to the ETG Network, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, stay geeky!