Podcast: The End

That’s a wrap, folks.

Two years ago we bought some podcasting equipment and consulted our friend Alan (who has long-produced podcasts for the local NPR affiliate) on how to edit audio. We drove around our hometown, collecting stories from friends and family who had owned VW buses. They referred us to other people. I taught myself Hindenburg and called Alan when I ran into trouble. Miracle and I hit the road on two shakedown trips—one to the Finger Lakes and a second one to Michigan, where we really started to gather up some stories from complete strangers. 

Then we left on the big trip and began producing from the road. In all, we interviewed well over 100 people and produced 85 episodes (detour episodes included). It’s hard to write out exactly what the podcast—these silly little 15ish minute episodes about this goofy vehicle—has meant to me. To us. I’ve always been a solitary writer—only going out to my trusted beta readers and editors at the end of the process, spending the rest of my time blissfully alone in some quiet space. But a podcast—a podcast produced in partnership with your spouse—that form of creating has an immediately collaborative element. You’re meeting people for the first time and having a conversation with them. While you’re recording, you’re managing the ambient sounds and volume levels, thinking what parts of the conversation could be strung together. Miracle, ever the librarian, ever curious, is the better interviewer, asking the questions I would never ask, catching the details I would only catch when I went to edit the episode. After her concussion, she had lots of memory loss, aphasia, and a hard time reading. Producing the podcast became a lot harder during her recovery.

More than writing, I love stories. Whether a story is funny or sad or intriguing or scary doesn’t matter to me so much as that it is a good story—a story well-told. You can take a pedestrian story and with enough style craft it into something unique. Or you can have a story of absolute heartbreak and tell it as a comedy. Each episode of the podcast introduced us to a new person with their own voice—both in terms of orality and style. And then it became our job to edit the full interview into a 15ish minute segment. We talked to Shawn and Emma for two hours. How do we boil that down? We talked to Colin for 95 minutes and the conversation webbed out in different directions and the road noise nearby was terrible. We only got 14 minutes of audio from George so we gotta make that episode stretch. And the recorder—well, I forgot to turn it on until halfway through Brett’s interview. Jesse is an amazing storyteller (that’s why he has two episodes and a detour), but he has these really long pauses in his speech. But, after trying to trim them out, I realized the pauses are part of what makes him a good storyteller. Then I had to craft the filler dialogue—the parts where Miracle and I set the scene, introduce the person, do some narrating to keep the story moving, cohesive. We’d do a read-through and I listened to how Miracle said her parts and we edited her sections of the script into things that sounded like her. 

The podcast has been lots of fun—start to finish. At the moment, I don’t have any plans to do another podcast, though I won’t discount the possibility. I for sure won’t do any more episodes of this show; our world is too full of reboots and spin-offs and revivals and sequels. I like when things are done and I like that this project is done. I can’t wait to see what’s next. 

2 thoughts on “Podcast: The End

  1. I have listened to a few of your podcasts. I liked it very much. I wish you guys all the best in your new enterprise.
    One more thing, which episode talks about the yellow Puma I see in the first picture? Puma is an emblematic brand in my home country, Brazil.


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