Well, that didn’t last long.
Due to circumstances beyond my, or even AnMiTh’s, control (the hosting company he was using for GameScribe closed its doors, giving him virtually no notice before shutting his servers down), On The Grid is now off the air. It’s not likely to resume, as, in the wake of this disaster, AnMiTh has refocused on his new project, which is more closely tied to EVE Online, and doesn’t even involve a radio station anymore. Can’t say as I blame him.
In truth, it turned out to be a lot of work to (a) do the show, (b) do it well, and (c) keep doing it on a regular basis. It’s given me a new appreciation for those radio talk show hosts that do this week-in, week-out…or even do it five days a week. Of course, they have armies of staffers, writers, and so forth to help things run smoothly, while I had basically me, myself, and I. Let me explain what went into the program to show you what I mean.
The process would begin on Fridays (the day after the previous show went out), when I’d start looking for both news links and something to put into my second “feature segment.” (I started out trying to do three segments total, the news and two features, but Selena saw that it was basically too much and forced me to cut it back to just one.) Each show would get its own “notes” document on Google Documents where I’d record this information. As it got closer to Thursday, I’d spend some time writing the segments themselves; I’d hold off writing the “news” segment till Wednesday night, to give me the maximum amount of time to find “fresh” news, but I’d write the “feature” segment as well as the “intro segment” before then.
Thursday morning, at work, I’d print out the completed “notes” page for that evening’s show and bring it home, where I’d spend some time that evening in SAM laying out the musical selections, as I would for a regular DJ set. Of course, I’d lay it out in a strict format, using the appropriate “fill” and “title” tracks where required, as well as “silence” tracks to mark the points where I’d pause the playback so I could speak my pieces. (The title music for On The Grid was supplied by Shi; it was an excerpt from her track “Escaping.”) If you listened closely, you’d note that, amongst my eclectic choice of tracks, I always included three things:
- A selection by Nightwish.
- A selection by Marillion.
- A selection by Shi (other than “Escaping,” that is).
Then I’d bring up all the programs I needed for the broadcast, across two different computers:
- My regular broadcast rig (SAM, Frostwire, and an Explorer window to drag tracks from Frostwire into SAM when necessary).
- The SL client, so I could get IMs with requests. (At first, I put myself at “home” in-world; later, I stationed myself at GameScribe’s building on Lexxotica.)
- Firefox, with which I’d post the “Links” post to the show blog before airtime.
- An IRC client, which tied into GameScribe’s Web chat system, so I could get requests that way.
- TweetDeck, for additional connectivity and feedback.
- Google Talk, which I used to communicate directly with AnMiTh and synchronize handoffs between his “jukebox” system and my broadcaster.
After that, it was just a matter of waiting for 8 PM my time, grabbing control of the GameScribe Radio server at the right time, then playing the music and speaking my pieces at the right times. After giving control back to the jukebox and closing down things, though, I still wasn’t done. I then took the “board tape” of the show (recorded as an MP3 file automatically, via an option on the encoder in SAM) and loaded it into Audacity, to transform it into the RePodCast of the program. (“RePodCast” is a term I came up with, a portmanteau of “rebroadcast” and “podcast.”) The finished track had to be uploaded to the GameScribe server via FTP; regular browser-based uploads choke on files that size. Then I’d do the “RePodCast” post on the blog, reprising the links as well as including the link to the file. And then it would be time to…think about doing it all again next week.
And all this while I was doing my real job during the day, as well as putting in my usual time helping run Just After Sunset and doing the regular housekeeping. Is it any wonder I started feeling like I was about to blow a fuse?
I’m not sorry I did it, though; it was a valuable experience. But I don’t know if I’d want to put myself through that again. And I hope at least some of you listened and enjoyed it.