Welcome to Stuff I Learned Yesterday. My name is Darrell Darnell, I bungee jumped once, which was enough for my lifetime, and I believe that if you aren’t learning, you aren’t living. In today’s episode of Stuff I Learned Yesterday I share lessons learned by going through change.
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What I Learned Yesterday:
Tomorrow will be the end of an era. On Wednesday, May 21, 2014, the final episode of Revolution will air on NBC. Once it ends and we record our podcasts on Thursday night, it will mark the first time since we started podcasting in 2008 that Golden Spiral Media will not have a podcast about a currently airing TV show. Yes, we’ll still have our LOST podcast, and Triplecast is coming back in the next couple of weeks, but it’s a distinction that’s worth noting.
It’s worth noting because we have tried very hard to avoid this situation. When we weren’t sure if Fringe would get a fifth season, we made the decision early to find a show that we could get excited about and start covering it. We didn’t want there to be a lapse in our shows and take the risk of losing the audience we’d spent four years (at that point) building.
It turned out that Fringe did get a fifth season, albeit a shortened one, so for several months, we had two shows that we were covering. When the show runner for Fringe announced he had a new show called Almost Human, we immediately got on board with that too. That meant that this TV season we covered Revolution and Almost Human.
While we get to choose the shows that we will podcast about, we certainly have no influence on deciding when or if those shows will be canceled. Despite doubling down our efforts and doing all we could to make sure we always had a show to look forward to, FOX cancelled Almost Human and NBC cancelled Revolution, and both of our podcasts got cancelled right along with them.
A year ago I would have been in a quiet panic. I’m the type of person who has to have everything planned out with as much advance as possible. I’m also a bit of a control freak, although I’d like to think I’ve come a long way in that area.
However, over the course of the 18 months, I’ve learned a lot.
I used to have this notion that nearly every person who listened to our Fringe podcast would follow us to our next project. I don’t think I thought that out of arrogance as much as I did out of ignorance. I thought that because our audience loved our podcast so much, that they’d follow us. I thought that because we all loved Fringe, that we’d all love the next show too. I thought that we’d pick up right where we left off and keep the magic going.
As it turned out, while much of the Fringe audience did give Revolution a spin, it didn’t grab much of the audience they way Fringe did. It also turned out that my Fringe co-host would not be able to do the show and I’d have to find a new co-host. I picked another geeky friend of mine, but our chemistry was not the same. The show didn’t feel the same as our Fringe show did.
Even though Fringe had fewer people watching season 4 and 5 and the back half of season 3 than Revolution had in it’s second season, we had a listening audience that was over 3 times bigger for Fringe than we did for Revolution. I thought that our Almost Human podcast would explode and most of our Fringe listeners would come back, but that didn’t happen either.
The truth is, every show is different. I think that NBC and FOX would tell you that it’s not always as simple as looking at numbers on a page or following a formula and I can certainly attest to that.
While I learned a lot of stuff over the course of Fringe’s first 4 seasons, I’ve learned a whole lot more over the last 18 months.
Here’s just a smidge of what I’ve learned.
Because every show is different, there is no specific formula for success. There are some things that we’ve done that have helped us engage the fandom of each show and help improve their experience and enjoyment of watching the show. Those are things like our feedback and Twitter segments, our entertaining and intelligent conversations, our reliability, and our professional sound.
However, I’ve learned to allow each show to find it’s own footing. Revolution was different in part because Jeremy had never podcasted before. It was awkward for both of us at the beginning. But our Almost Human show was not like our Fringe show even though it did have the same hosts. Why? Because the show itself was different and it evoked a different response from us.
I learned that owning Golden Spiral Media does not mean hosting every show for Golden Spiral Media. When Clint first told me that he wouldn’t be doing Revolution, I panicked. However, if he had done the podcast, I never would have added Jeremy to the team. If I’d never added Jeremy, I might not have added other people. This summer we’re launching or relaunching at least 2 new podcasts, and maybe even 4. At the most, I’ll be hosting one of those new shows.
Because we had a good run with Fringe, Almost Human, and Revolution, I know that we’ll be able to have a good run with whatever shows we choose next.
Will those shows have the same success as Fringe? I don’t know. There’s no way for me to know. But I’ve learned that we’ll have a great time doing it. I’ve learned that I’ll get to meet some new people. People with great energy and amazing ideas and a passion for that show. I’ve learned that I’ll get to engage with existing listeners and develop even deeper relationships with them. I’ve learned that there are some listeners that I may never interact with again. Honestly, that bums me out as much as never finding out what was over the wall in Almost Human.
But the reality is, that’s part of life. There are people whose paths will only cross with ours for a time. We will walk that stage of life together and then, when the time comes, we’ll find ourselves at a diverging point. We may take the same path or we may not. If our paths do separate, the best we can do is remember and relish the times we shared, and hope that our paths intersect again one day.
So that’s it. I’m extremely bummed that both Almost Human and Revolution have been cancelled. We’ve reached one of those crossroads. I don’t yet know which shows we’ll do next, but I know that we will have a new show to announce soon. We’ll do our best, have some fun, and enjoy it while it lasts. One day that show will end. And when it does, I’ll pause, reflect, learn, and change. After all, without change, there is no growth.
I’m Darrell Darnell and this has been stuff I learned yesterday.
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