Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Message: We Care

Confession time, the Hinderaker-Ward Experience (HWX) has often utilized audio clips that play at an insufficient volume in the posted broadcast.   They sound fine to me when I cut them.  Then something happens in the transfer and rebroadcast. Our Ricochet producer commonly advises me to pump up the volume or rip them through some sound enhancing web app first, but I have not.  I figured it was more of his overprotective mothering (I also regularly ignore his nagging to eat more vegetables and to call him more often) and it couldn’t have been THAT bad.

Fuller confession time, I don’t typically listen to the podcast after it’s posted. I was there, I lived it, and, no matter what levels of new excellence in punditry, interviews, or TWIGs and Loons I felt we achieved, I did not see the value of a replay.  More to the point, I have not yet reconciled with the reality that, while my voice in real life sounds to me like a combination of Morgan Freeman and David McCullough, on tape it’s an uncanny combination of Carol Channing and Tom Waits with a head cold.

A comment from Al Sparks in the Ricochet thread to this week’s podcast string shook me from my egocentric complacency:

I usually enjoy the Hinderwalker Ward Experience and that includes this week's.  But their production values could use some working on.  I don't care about the occasional discussions with their producer that were meant to be offline, but when they're playing the occasional recording of a person they want to comment on, it's at a very low volume.  To listen to that recording you have to turn the podcast volume up.  But then the recording is over, and they're back to talking, my ears are getting blasted before I manage to turn it down.  It's even worse when they do voice overs on a recording.
It's been roughly 9 months since I mentioned the production values problem, to James Lileks (during an NR Cruise) and he did say it was a concern at Ricochet.
I do think the problem has been addressed at the other podcasts, but the problem has stubbornly remained with HWX.  It's been around for at least a year.  Doesn't anyone at Ricochet headquarters listen to their output and self-critique?
For that matter do John Hinderwalker and Brian Ward care?

I think I can speak for Hinderwalker as well when I say our answer is absolutely, positively, yeah, I guess, whatever.

No, our answer is Yes. Yes. We. Care. Everything we do on the podcast, we do it for the listeners, and now that’s its been hammered home with guilt inducing ferocity, the low volume on our clips shall not be ignored.   We’ve heard you and soon the world will hear the roar of our audio clips!

Seriously, thanks to Al, this will be done.  Al’s heartfelt comments also compelled me to listen to our last episode with Victor Davis Hanson, and besides the low volume on clips, and the Channing/Waits duet, I heard something … else.   Something best described by Ross Perot in 1992 as:

I don’t know when or how this annoying unconscious vocal tic entered my speech pattern, but it’s on this podcast, early and often.  The Giant Sucking Sound, just dropped in at the beginning of a sentence, sounding like a rich combination of air and fluid.   The horror.

I don’t know necessarily how to stop an unconscious vocal tic, I swear it will be done.  This will not stand!  Unrelated, I also pledge to purge my other bad habit of enjoying a heaping plate of linguini and clam sauce during the show and snacking while Hinderwalker is talking.  Probably doesn’t effect the audio quality of the show, but you never know.

For next week’s HWX, tentatively scheduled for Monday evening, you can look forward to hearing the clips and not hearing the slurps.