As Long As I’m Asking for Advice

podcastSometimes, thinks piss me off.  Yeah, I know that comes as a surprise, but quite often, I listen to podcasts that just bug me, mostly because of their focus, when they talk about it, on liberal politics.  Not too long ago, there was one that I was warned I’d hate, was told that it would spawn a pile of posts, and it did, but what it also did was get me thinking.

The sad thing is, there just aren’t any atheist podcasts that I’m aware of that have a conservative bent, at least I’ve never found one.  I’d love to know if there are.  There are some that are totally apolitical, but those tend to be few and far between, most of them are distinctly liberal and, to be honest, pretty emotional.

So I had a really stupid thought that I started kicking around, what about having a conservative atheist podcast?  I immediately brought this up to @jeh704 on Twitter, since he’s one of the very few other conservative atheists I know,  and he thought it was a good idea, but honestly, I want more out of it than that.  See, I have listened to a lot of podcasts over the years and most of them start to sound alike.  They start to fall into a couple of distinctive categories and while I do want to borrow some of those concepts, the fact is, I’d rather create something unique.

Some of the ideas I’ve currently got rolling around in my head are:

1.  Organized.  Lots of podcasts are just a bunch of guys sitting in a room shooting the breeze.  More often than not, they never seem to accomplish anything, the discussion just meanders around until they run out of time.  No thanks.  If I’m going to do something, I want it to be segmented into definable sections.  This section for news, this section for this, this section for that.  We don’t have to hit all of those sections in every show but I don’t want shows to just wander.

2.  Rational.  This is a big one, I think, I really don’t want to see yet another overly-emotional podcast where people just react off the cuff without stopping to think about it first.  Now I know podcasts are pretty spontaneous and you don’t really have a chance to go do research when something comes up, but at least I want it to seem like we’ve thought about it a little bit.

3.  Educational.  A lot of atheist podcasts, they just take news stories and laugh at them and while I think that’s certainly worth doing to some degree, I want to provide more.  There are some, like Reasonable Doubts, that have segments where they try to inform the listener about various gods, etc.  I want something like that.

4.  Not guest-heavy.  Lots of podcasts just have a different guest on every  single week, mostly so they don’t have to do that much work, they just lay it on the guest.  While I’m certainly not adverse to having guests from time to time, I don’t want that to be the majority of what we do.

That’s about all I’ve come up with so far, I wanted to see what others think, what they’d like to see in a podcast, etc.  I’m also curious what people think is a good name, so far I’m not coming up with anything clever.

The lines are open, let’s get some calls.

10 thoughts on “As Long As I’m Asking for Advice

  1. Well….my first thought regards your idea of guests….you don't need my liberal butt for a guest…you need conservative atheists. I would put on as many as you could find that fit the other things you want—educated and rational. I would use it to give conservative atheism a forum. As you said, there really isn't one. Why not be that forum.

    I don't really have much experience listening to podcasts. From what I can see, the format you laid out seems great. I like the idea of an organized format, however, I also like the idea of a bunch of people in a room discussing a particular topic, so I would not rule that out all the time.

    The more educational and organized you want the program to be, the more work it is going to be. Not that this is a bad thing, but I suppose you need to figure out how much of what type of segment you want per episode. To do something like Reasonable Doubts is going to take a decent amount of prep time for each podcast, that you might like to spend in a different way, such as preparing questions for a guest…

    Not sure how helpful I have been…either way I look forward to checking out what you come up with.
    My recent post Atheism Does Not Require Faith

    1. Your third paragraph is something I was going to mention below as well, but you beat me to it. Yes, it's going to take some prep work, but if it's going to look more professionally produced, and if it's something you really want to do, you'll make the time for the preparation. For an hour podcast, I can't see taking more than maybe 2-3 hours a week for pre-production preparation. that includes deciding the subject(s) to be discussed and any research necessary. Like today, on Cephus' post about women in the middle east, I ran across an article that I sent in the comments about the Saudi king appointing 30 women to his advisory council. Amazing stuff. So, yes, prep is important, and yes, it takes work to produce a quality product.

      1. I don't think it'll take nearly that much prep time, but it will take some. So many podcasts are just a bunch of people get together and start talking and nobody is actually bringing anything to the table, half of them are probably just wandering around the net aimlessly hoping to find something to talk about while they're already recording.

        We talked on Skype last night for almost 2 hours about some topics we could discuss. All it takes is the knowledge that we're going to talk about something this week and being able to develop some salient points and being able to speak intelligently on the issue, then getting together and talking about it. It's nothing we have to rehearse, just something we have to be aware of and willing to come to the table prepared.

    2. To be honest, while we're not going to do a lot of guests all the time, if I limited it to just conservatives, it's going to turn into an echo chamber, which is what so many liberal podcasts are. They only have on people they already agree with on everything and it turns into a back-patting session. I'd want people on who are intelligent and who can argue their position rationally and have a good discussion. I'd only want people on the show that I respect and you certainly do fit into those criteria. I think we could easily use the podcast to find out if there is a good middle-ground between conservative atheists and liberal atheists on some of the major subjects.

      As far as show prep, we both agree we don't want a scripted show but we don't want a totally freeform show either. There are far too many shows out there where there is no show prep at all and it shows, in fact, I just turned off a podcast in the middle where it was just a bunch of people sitting around shooting the shit about nothing in particular. It was just wandering around, chatting about whatever they wanted to chat about and by the end of the first hour of the show, they still hadn't hit on any single subject of any importance to focus on.

      1. You're right about the echo chamber if you have only Conservatives. I hadn't thought about that. I still think it could be something you could occasionally do. I think that there are more conservative atheists out there that don't really know where to go, it could be a great service for them…so long as it doesn't become an echo chamber.

        As far as the prep work goes, as long as you are willing and have the time to do it, you'll have a great product. Your both certainly competent enough to ensure that.

        Lastly, I appreciate the compliment that you paid to me. Thank you, I do try my best to be rational!
        My recent post Atheism Does Not Require Faith

  2. As we discussed, it's one of the things that bother me with the current podcast I do. I've been wanting to have pre-production calls to talk about what guests, if any, and what subjects we're going to discuss. I know people are busy, hell, I'm busy, but a 30 minute call once a week, say Wednesday(since we record on Saturday) isn't asking too much.
    I really like the idea of a podcast not only being entertaining, but educational as well.Most that I listen to(admittedly very few, and I include the one I do in this) aren't. but I can say that when we first started talking about the current podcast, we never discussed that as being part of it. I've also tried to get the others to consider doing segments, and we are considering that, but it also takes extra editing time and right now, when it takes 5 days from recording to uploading, I don't think that this would work. In the near future though, I can see that changing.
    The technical piece is the biggest issue for me. We first started off on Blogtalk radio, but one of the other hosts complained about quality and so we started using Skype. Well, I really don't see a difference and I would like to go back to Blogtalk. Our problem, as it turned out, wasn't Blogtalk, but our equipment(microphones). that's pretty much been cleared up now. The other plus is that people can listen in "live". I like that idea. And you can have a call-in to answer questions or get comments from listeners.

    whew. I'm tired of typing(not that I can do that anyway), more later.

    1. To be honest, I don't know that having a live broadcast is all that beneficial, especially when we're going to be doing a lot of editing along the way before it gets uploaded. What does a live broadcast actually give you? It's not like we're taking live calls or have a live chatroom or anything, what does it do for us to be live? Are we really gaining anything that we can't just address the next week by answering questions with answers sent in by listeners?

      I don't know, I've just never seen the sense of a live show unless you really take advantage of it.

  3. I would definitely listen to the podcast you are describing. As a liberal atheist, I think it would be good for me to listen to such a program from a rational, intelligent conservative.

    I have one suggestion, you mentioned some podcasts just talk until they run out of time, I wouldn't worry too much about making sure it is the same length every time, I would just make it as long as is appropriate for the topics that come up. If some episodes are 20min and others are an hour and a half, that's okay. I know some shows try really hard to fit into a certain time slot, and it is always annoying when they end a discussion early or when they are just filling time.

    Other than that minor point (which you've probably already thought of), I think this sounds great.
    My recent post William Lane Craig Doesn't Understand Infinity

    1. Oh, I agree. Podcasts aren't like TV programming where they have to go on for a specified amount of time and then get out of the way so something else can come on afterwards. They ought to go as long as they go. That doesn't mean they shouldn't have a length in mind, otherwise we'll be here all day, but there should be no clock.

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