September 30th is International Podcast Day. To be honest it's the first I've heard of this annual celebration but I'm all for it. I think it's a great way to recognize and perhaps even introduce the form of media to more people. It's also a great opportunity to make new friends. Some that may even last a lifetime.
I got into podcasting back in 2005. First as a listener. Was about to buy an XBOX 360, had a bunch of money down on the preorder and games, and to further research my pricey decision I started listening to Major Nelson (XBOX representative). This led to me buying my first mp3 player, an iPod shuffle, so that I could carry podcasts with me. Could take them out on bike rides and in the car for the commute to work.
Stuck with video game podcasts mostly back then. Shows like 1up Yours, Uncle Gamer, Gamertag Radio and Achievement Junkie to name a couple of my favorites. And then I found PS Nation and the VGEvo Podcast Network. Attended a local gaming event called the Midwest Gaming Classic and had the opportunity to meet some of the co-hosts I was listening to. I was so enamored with podcasts that I felt like I was meeting actual celebrities. Was even nervous to approach them and introduce myself.
I began to realize that podcasters were just regular people with an abundance of passion for their hobbies. There was a tremendous sense of community around the co-hosts as their passion was often infectious, so I joined in. Got to know the guys involved and even became friends with a couple of them. Was honored to sit in as a guest on a couple of their shows which began for me in 2008.
The next couple chapters in my story are depressing but there was a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. Sometimes the worst experiences in life can lead to the most amazing things.
I was in a new band back in 2009. We were preparing to play our first gig and then my thumb swelled up. Eventually was diagnosed with tendinitis that prevented me from being able to play guitar any longer. Not to be overly dramatic but I was devastated. Spent the next couple months probably close to a state of depression. Fortunately I found some relief and a similar sense of creativity and entertaining an audience with podcasting. I reached out to a friend who's podcast was struggling to stay on schedule. Releases were sporadic and I wondered if I could help. He accepted my request and within a few weeks I was invited to be a regular co-host on 360 Nation. Spent almost a year there before the show disbanded and I was then invited to join PS Nation as a co-host. I began to realize that my reach entertaining an audience was larger with podcasting than it ever was playing music. This excited me.
Was with PS Nation for two years before the tendinitis became something much worse. I had a heart attack. Scary situation and one that almost took my life. I immediately had to make some life changes in order to decrease stress and one of those changes was leaving PS Nation. Tough decision since I had so much respect for the show and even more respect for my co-hosts. Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would have been more careful to preserve and maintain all the relationships I established while being a part of PS Nation.
Podcasting is about relationships. An important lesson I learned along the way. The relationships you form with listeners and relationships you form with like-minded individuals. Some of my best friends are because of my podcast.
I resumed podcasting in 2012. Only took a couple months away and immediately missed it. Started ABOG with a good friend Bill. He co-hosted the show with me for a year and then left. Was feeling much better health-wise at the time. Medication, life-changes and a career change improved my situation. I was even able to resume playing guitar again.
Video games, music and podcasting were all back in my life and all in a positive manner. Shortly hereafter I met Shane. And a year or so later I met Karl. Not only are these fine gentlemen co-hosts with me on ABOG, but I also consider them as two of my best friends. If it wasn't for podcasts and podcasting, I never would have met Shane and Karl. I never would have met two of the most positive influences in my life and two guys that bring me joy every single week when we get together and record ABOG. Also wouldn't have met many other fine people such as listeners, podcasters, musicians, bands, video game developers, etc.
Please join us in celebrating International Podcast Day on September 30th. It's a medium and an art form that changed my life, made me a better person and ultimately improved my quality of life. I hope that you too can find as much positive energy and form as many friendships as I have. All starts by reaching out and getting involved.
You can decide how you celebrate and below are a couple suggestions (suggestions shared from InternationalPodcastDay.com):
- Tell someone you know what podcasts are and where to find them
- Share your favorite podcast with someone (coworker, friend, teammate, etc.)
- Send feedback to your favorite podcasts and tell them thank you. Engage.
- Provide a rating and review on a podcast in iTunes, Stitcher Radio or a comment on the Podcaster’s website.
- Nominate your favorite show for a Podcast Award.
- Subscribe to a new show and talk about it using #podcastday
- Become a Podcaster Yourself