The Crazy Canucks #58 – Cardiac Kids on the Corner

This was recorded last Friday night and posted today. Been a tough last few weeks as Canucks fans. But what can I say? I just like hockey, not to mention good drink and talking hockey. Plus it’s a super short one, so listen up!

What would you expect while our team is currently sitting outside a playoff spot? A drunken, raw and rant-filled episode of course!

Record as of this episode: 26-21-6
Northwest Division: 4th
Western Conference: 9th

We go mobile for this quickie episode while our team is on a downward spiral. Dave and John take to the streets and record their thoughts on our recent loses while tossing in some speculation, rumours, and flat out wake up calls to the team and some fans. Just for kicks, Dave even throws in a shout out to the Agridome… and something to do with horses.

11:05 minutes
The Crazy Canucks

RadioZoom#142 – August Long Weekend in Osoyoos

Edited last night, posted today.

This is some audio that we recorded last August after spending a weekend in Osoyoos, B.C. This audio has been sitting around for nearly six months, and I finally got around to editing it. There’s more where this came from, so look for more in the future.

There is still music in this one, as does every episode of RZ.

50:53 minutes

Speaking at MooseCamp, Northern Voice 2008

Canada's Blogging and Social Media Conference Northern Voice 2008 is quickly approaching, and it will be here before I know it. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing because that means I have less time to prepare for actually participating this year. In fact, I won’t be just helping out with the event as much as actually being a speaker on both Friday and Saturday.

MooseCamp is on the Friday, and this year will be slightly different than previous years, if I have understood correctly. The intent is to have this day be more of an introductory track in terms of teaching and sharing the ins and outs of various elements of new media and all the various fun things on the internet that folks like myself like to use. It’s also an unconference[wiki] where nearly anyone with an idea for a session can show up that day and toss their hat into the ring to present something. Generally there is a gathering at the start of the day where everyone nominates what they want to see, and the winners get a time slot.

I’ve been asked to lead a thirty minute session on an intro to podcasting. I’m simply calling it, “Podcasting 101: You do not need an iPod – A crash course on what podcasting is and how you can become a podcaster”. With a short amount of time, there is no way you can cover everything you need to, so this will be more of an introductory session to give you more of an idea of the nuts and bolts of podcasting as well as a guide for things to think about beyond putting out your first episode.

I know I’m not a pro in that I’m making tons of money with the podcasts I produce. Still, I know how to make a podcast, and this is what I intend to share to anyone who wants to learn how that happens. Being that I’ve been podcasting with RadioZoom since 2004, I’ve seen the methods change and morph through many phases. And let me tell you, it’s so much easier now than it was three and a half years ago.

Photo credit: jeffreykeefer on Flickr

Northern Voice 2008 kicks in full force on Saturday. There are already a variety of sessions on the schedule that I know that I am looking forward to, but I’ll also be on a panel that day as well, this time as a full representative from The Crazy Canucks. In fact, we will all be there for a panel discussion on “Sports Blogging and Podcasting“. It’s a topic that hasn’t seen a lot of coverage in blogging conferences like this, so it should be interesting discussion, if not to raise awareness with the struggles that bloggers, who are fans, have when it comes to sharing their passion in what they write or podcast about.

So with that being said, I really need to get cracking. It’s not so much that I couldn’t spend thirty minutes talking about podcasting. It’s limiting myself to 30 minutes to talk about podcasting that will be tough, not to mention time for people asking questions. Here’s hoping that all those speeches in college paid off.

The Crazy Canucks #55 – The battle against the New Yorks

Episode #55 was released yesterday.

Surprising enough, we are all together for this episode, but just for a brief time. Dave chimes in by phone from downtown Vancouver as we gather all of our thoughts on the games against the Rangers and Islanders. We also cover a variety of topics regarding the team in terms of new players, Superskills, ownership of the team, the coming All-Star Game, and other news topics about the NHL.

55:34 minutes
The Crazy Canucks

If you make a podcast, you should listen to your own podcast

I some times get flack for listening to my own podcasts. It’s never serious when this happens, but when someone asks you what you are listening to on your iPod, it can be slightly embarrassing to say that it’s your very own podcast episode that you made just yesterday. Usually a joke about loving yourself or being narcissistic ensues.

There’s more to the point.

First off, it’s quality control. You need to check out to see if what you are producing is any good, and that’s more of a quantitative task to begin with. How are your production skills working out in terms of your opening theme or anything else that you pre-produce? Bumpers, liners, stingers, transitions, etc. How do they sound? Are they much louder or quieter than other portions of your podcast?

John Boy
Photo credit: duanestorey on Flickr

It’s quantitative because it’s all about decibels[wiki], the way that sound is measured in terms of volume. Still, you don’t have to be an expert about the science behind it. You can tell a lot by listening with ear buds. If you have to crank the volume all the way up or down in certain parts to control the way you can comfortably and coherently listen to something, then perhaps you have some things to work on or adjust for next time.

If you want to be a stickler and go back to fix things you have already done, it’s entirely up to you. I say move forward and work on the next episode to fix things. Maybe that’s just the radio guy in me because once something is over the air, there’s no going back.

At the same time, just scan your podcast for problems. From time to time, data gets corrupted, and when that happens to audio files, weird things happen when you play them back. There are numerous reasons how it can happen, but the point is that you never can tell when that might be. Blips, screeches, or digital artifacts are just a way of life, and you probably won’t know it’s there until you play it back.

Lastly, you are your own, worst critic. Listen to yourself. Do you like what you hear? Chances are, you probably won’t as you first start out. The only way you will get better is to develop a style that is comfortable to what you want it to be. It’s not as much as “loving yourself” as much as being able to stand how you sound.

You are not Anderson Cooper[wiki], Ira Glass[wiki], Adam Curry, or Tod Maffin, and you never will be. But there are things that you might admire about the way someone else does something, and you can work on incorporating that into your style while you work out the things you don’t like with how you, personally, sound.

This is a technique I used to share with people during my college radio days. It will bring out the uh, um, and oh problem that plagues so many in the world when they get behind a mic or podium. Even those crutch phrases will get to the point where you tell yourself, “Ugh… I say that way too much.” Well, if that drives you nuts, now you know what you need to change.

Truly there is no wrong or right way to make a podcast, but when it comes to people asking me how they get better, I always tell them to just get started. Don’t expect miracles out of the gate. Expect to work on how you sound. It could take ten episodes to two hundred episodes. You don’t know until you start.

What does it take to podcast The Crazy Canucks?

A first, sneak peak at how The Crazy Canucks is made

I’ve been thinking of doing a more, detailed post about how a typical episode of The Crazy Canucks comes together, but I’m going to make a simple list of all the gear we use to make it work.

  • Skype – Without this, we have no podcast. With Alanah doing her thing on the island, Dave on the north shore, and the rest of us in Vancouver, this is the crucial piece of software that ties us together. This also allows us to bring on any other guests that also use Skype on their PC.
  • Ubercaster – This is the recording software that I prefer to use. I’ve watched Ubercaster go through the ropes of development and been impressed with every step of the way. It also has a built-in function to record Skype conversations, making it even easier to record our conference call. It is worth the time to setup templates for your podcast because it makes it very easy to fire up the program, open a template, conference call on Skype, and you’re rolling.
  • Levelator – Due to the various setups that everyone has and the fact that Skype is really difficult to control audio input levels on, I always export the vocals first to run them through Levelator. You might not get the best audio quality from our “Voice Over IP Hot Stove”, but at least you’ll be able to hear all of us.
  • Apple iMac – This is the work horse that ties together our recording hardware and software. Speaking of…
  • Behringer Eurorack UB1204FX-PRO 8-channel Mixer – With anything you do in the world of recording and/or broadcasting, you can never have enough inputs. Most podcasters don’t need this much, but I’m a geek. You never know what you’ll wanna try to do, and this mixer has a slew of other nice features as well.
  • Shure SM7 and Behringer XM2000S microphones – I have one of each of these, and perhaps a bit more of overkill for the average podcaster. However, I’ve been doing the radio thing for ten years now. I have accumulated a collection of toys.
  • iPod nano (2nd gen) + Belkin TuneTalk Stereo – This is what I’m using to do mobile recordings these days. The quality is really surprising, and for podcasting, you can’t ask for more than something that sounds good as well as being small and very portable. Records stereo WAV’s at 44.1Khz as well as mono. I also put a standard microphone wind screen over the Belkin add. Additionally, I taped down the small switch on it because it had enough movement on it that it caused a slight rattle in the recordings.
  • FeedBurner – We push our RSS feed through their service simply because they are really good at what they do.
  • WordPress + PodPress – This is the CMS/blogging platform that we use to publish TCC episodes. PodPress is a plugin for WP that we use on the site that allows people to listen to our podcasts from the website as well as download them or make them available in our RSS feed.

Making it all come together has taken me about a year and a half to get efficient at. Every episode has something different to it, and I’m very much a fly by the seat of your pants editor. As the recording is happening, I can envision how I’ll go back and edit something, make a mental note as to where it was in terms of time of the epsiode, and get the podcast encoded and uploaded in about 20-30 minutes after we are finished recording. After that, it’s just a matter of making the blog post and publishing it to the world.

The Crazy Canucks #53 – Happy Hockey-days

Recorded and posted today.

So it’s been a while since the last episode. Big deal, wanna fight about it? And truth be told, the end of the year got really hectic for us to all link up and get a new one recorded. We tried a few times, but the real world kept getting in the way, not to mention a string of Canucks games. We love our podcast, but recording during the games? Not unless you’re buying the beer.

Anyhow, the crew is back in form, but Alanah is a healthy scratch. The rest of the crazies gather together to reflect on the past few weeks and talk a little hockey. Of course we’ve got the Canucks, but we also get into the Spangler Cup, World Juniors Championship, and the very impressive Winter Classic in Buffalo.

Nearing the half way point in the season, there is much about the Canucks to discuss, and we do our best to sum up the action since our last episode. As always, we look ahead to the coming games, anxious to see both New York teams come to town for the first time in five years, and there is even some Surrey love.

50:33 minutes
The Crazy Canucks

The Crazy Canucks #53 – Pittsburgh night in Vancouver

Late to post it here, but we recorded and posted this one on Monday night.

There are only four of us in this episode, but Alanah shall return again soon. In the meantime, we all gathered together before the game tonight against the L.A. Kings to get you some of our thoughts on the last few games that have been.

Record as of this episode: 16-10-2
Northwest Division: 1st
Western Conference: 2nd

We hit the last few games to give our thoughts on how they went, but a lot focus comes back to the recent game in Vancouver against the Penguins. There was a lot of build up to the game, and we all feel like it lived up to be quite the event. We also look ahead to the coming games while looking even further at the new schedule that will take affect next year. We also hear from a listener in Seattle about his thoughts on the NHL expanding more into the Pacific Northwest.

40:48 minutes
The Crazy Canucks

The Crazy Canucks #52 – We’re not complaining

Recorded and posted yesterday evening.

We haven’t been ignoring you. Life has been moving too fast for all of us to link up and get an episode recorded. We’re still without Rebecca on this one, and Alanah had to leave the rest of us half way through. Dave, J.J., and John stick it through to the end to round out the episode.

Record as of this episode: 13-9-2
Northwest Division: 1st
Western Conference: 3rd

A few episodes ago, we were down in the dumps. Even with all the players cycling through with injuries, we are not complaining about how well the Canucks have pulled together and surprised all of us. From the bench to the guys in goal, it’s been a nice few weeks, no matter how much Pronger sucks. Oh yeah, and Bertuzzi made his Vancouver homecoming.

53:11 minutes
The Crazy Canucks