By Scott Murray
September will mark the two-year anniversary of Assembly of Geeks. This year has already been tremendous for the show, as we’ve seen consistent surges in listener growth just in the last six months.
I can’t begin to tell you how much that means to me as the creator and producer of this show. When I ended my last podcast (a celebrity interview program) to develop one that focused on geek culture, I knew I had to focus on several things:
Then, there was this challenge – Do something creative that makes the show stand out. That was indeed a challenge.
After all, this is audio. There’s only so much you can do to be different. It would be a lot easier to just do a simple talk show format with good production value. A lot of good, successful shows do that.
I almost went that way. However, there’s a portion of my right brain that says, “No! We could do something more than that!” It was then that the geek show concept evolved into what Assembly of Geeks is today.
I thought, “What if it was presented as if the hosts, listeners and guests converged on this Hall of Justice-like fortress to discuss what was happening in the geek world. And what if there was this Jarvis-like character that took part in the discussion. Oh! And what if I incorporated music, sound effects and action sequences into the episode, tie it all together and give it some POP!”
Okay, it didn’t come together THAT fast, but you get the point.
I knew it was an exciting idea, but I also worried it might be too risky. I wondered if it was perhaps too much “pop” and that people might think it’s too different from the other podcasts they’re used to listening to.
Yet, I was willing to give it a go. I had to believe in how I could produce it and make it work. I also had mounds of faith in my co-hosts to help create engaging discussions.
So, I ran with it. Now we almost have two years of shows in that format. When I look at the growth we’ve had, the feedback we’ve received from listeners/colleagues, and the amount of content we’ve shared…I think it was the right call.
Though, I’ll be honest with you. It wasn’t always easy. Any creative professional or content producer will tell you that we like this thing called “instant gratification”. It’s not always easy to be patient and wait for things to happen. However, in the world of online content – it’s a marathon, not a sprint when it comes to growing your audience.
In the early days, our numbers were about average for a new podcast, but I wondered how long I was willing to wait for it to grow. It’s not because I didn’t believe in the show or that I didn’t enjoy it… it was the amount of work I put into it.
I’m VERY listener driven. The listener is in mind in everything I do and that’s why I put the hours into it. Each episode of Assembly of Geeks takes me anywhere between 6-10 hours to produce. Here’s how that breaks down:
Filling in the blanks
Just before a new show goes live on Wednesday, I’m already thinking about next week’s show. This includes topics, potential guests and story elements. If I haven’t done so already, I’m usually reaching out to potential guests by Wednesday or Thursday.
I will usually push script writing until Sunday morning, just in case a good news item breaks between now and then. When I sit down to write the script, sometimes I know everything I am going to do, and sometimes I know very little. When that happens, I have to brainstorm and build from scratch.
The show is divided into three segments:
We record on Sunday nights. If there are guests, we usually record the segments with them first. We then finish the script and the remaining topics. Recording takes 1.5-2 hours.
I usually fit in editing when I get home from work. Sometimes it means filling up my Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights editing.
When I say editing, I mean listening to the entire show from beginning to end. In the process, I adjust volume, tighten up long pauses, remove mic pops, remove some “uhs”/”ums”, take out places where get jumbled up talking and start over. I will also remove things that we say that make a conversation too long OR keep us off topic for too long.
After that, I will download Gary’s GANNIN read, infuse the right effects into it and drop each read where it needs to go in the show. I will then add music, sound effects, bumpers and our open/close.
Between editing, plus adding music and sound effects – it can take 4-6 hours to edit each show.
Once it’s complete, I normalize the audio and export it in the right format for Libsyn. I upload the show, fill out the information and publish it.
Once the publishing has been completed, I grab the HTML code, put it on our Episodes page, add show notes, links and the title to the listing. I then update the graphics on our front page.
So, it takes a lot of time to make it all happen. That time-crunch gets a little tighter when I am also producing Comic Book Noob/The Peggy Carter Podcast and hosting The Flash Podcast in the same week.
But more and more people are listening. So, it’s more than worth it. So much so, I’m putting more time into more podcasts.
So, thank you listeners. I hope you continue to like what you hear and I’m looking forward to celebrating an anniversary and a new year with you – my fellow Geek Assembly members.
Geek topics from AoG hosts and contributors.