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TSP: POD LIFE!

Due to the dramatic (well, it was more ‘typical Saints’ than dramatic…..) Derby County defeat, there’s no game for us this coming weekend, with participation in the FA Cup ending at the very first opportunity this season.

Then again, who’d really want to go to Accrington Stanley (Who are they? Exactly!) anyway?!

So, with a rare chance to take a weekend off from hosting Total Saints Podcast (TSP), but also a void to suitably manage, I thought I’d take the opportunity to construct a blog-piece for Robbie’s fantastic SaintsWorld site.

A blog about what, I hear you say? Podcasting of course…..

Creating Podcasts wasn’t something I knew anything about before I started TSP in July 2017.

I’m not a techie. I never have been. I’ve never been into computers. Or software. Or recording. Or anything like that.

Or at least I wasn’t.

To be honest, I’ve reached that age (nearer 40 than 30!) where I deem myself an official technophobe.

Even my 5-year-old can use the iPad better than I can!

Embarrassing to say, but I’m the one regularly shouting up the stairs to ask him for the passcode, or for clear, step-by-step, instructions on how to reach a certain site or story. He’s 5!! (thankfully I think he’s still too young to truly judge me for this).

Anyway, I completely self-taught myself on Podcast creations – how to record them; what to record them on; how to edit them; how to host them; how to share them; RSS feeds etc. etc.

It wasn’t easy. Especially for a technophobe. But TSP has really taken off, and I’m very proud, and grateful, for that.

Supported by great partners, including SaintsWorld and Happy Hot Tubs.co.uk, I’ve worked hard to make sure every Episode is varied, entertaining and relevant – and that as many people around the world as possible, have the opportunity to listen to it.

It’s not been all plain sailing mind. Indeed, at times, it’s been very hard.

Until recently (under super Ralph Hasenhuttl), winning football matches wasn’t something Southampton did regularly!

Episodes tended to sound rather similar.

They’d cover lost leads, dropped points, defeats……and often all three! It was depressing stuff.

Motivating oneself to head off and record a Podcast after an absolute pumping at somewhere like L*verpool wasn’t easy!

On average, whatever the result/performance, I spend an hour or two preparing ahead of each Podcast.

I make all my introduction notes.

Prepare the themes/sections.

Think of all the questions I want to ask our regular TSP panel members, Adam (Leitch – Chief Sports Writer, Daily Echo) and Steve (Grant – Owner of SaintsWeb.co.uk).

Review latest match/player stats.

Include any listener comments/questions.

And organise any additional/specific guests.

Essentially, I make sure we’re 100% ready to go!

We then record the Podcast just after bath time (the kids, not mine!) on a Sunday night. On average, that takes between an hour and an hour and a half, depending on exactly how much needs covering.

With our current Monday morning (first thing) release time – as Adam, our journalist-supreme, believes that to be a peak period for weekend football reaction – I spend the rest of a Sunday night editing the Episode.

Sadly/annoyingly, with only myself to blame, I’m a bit of an ‘editing perfectionist’.

Therefore, I listen to our recording all the way through again – start to finish – and edit appropriately.

I remove the majority of the “you knows” and “errrr’s” so that Adam, Steve and myself hopefully sound like seasoned recording professionals, instead of your run-of-the-mill football type.

The editing takes me around three to four hours, and often means a very late Sunday night/early Monday morning finish – before a few hours’ sleep, in advance of heading off to work in my real job (filling in spreadsheets for a large financial institution!)

If you’ve lost count along the way, it’s about seven and a half hours of my time (rounded up) per Episode.

My main driver in all of this is knowing, by the time that Podcast Episode goes out on a Monday morning, it really is as good as it can be (given the technical limitations an old git like me has!)

For whatever reason, I’ve seen a few Podcasts (including Saints-related ones) taking a bit of a hit from those on social media for being too numbersome etc. these days.

The good thing is that you never have to listen to a Podcast if you don’t want to. They’re not compulsory. And, if you do listen, you’re often doing so for free.

On that proviso (not getting much for free these days) my – completely bias – opinion is that Podcasts (and Podcasters) should be embraced rather than ‘mocked’, for the personal commitment that goes into each Episode.

From a TSP point-of-view, I create the Podcast for several reasons.

Firstly, and most importantly, its because, just like you, I bloomin’ well love Southampton Football Club!

It’s my City. It’s my home. It’s my team.

Talking about them, alongside two like-minded and knowledgeable guests, gives me that release from mundane spreadsheets at work.

Secondly, its because I hope anyone who does listen will find TSP entertaining, learn something, get their view discussed or question answered, and/or that they’ll eventually feel enthused enough to tell one (or more) of their friends about us.

So far, we seem to have hit the spot!

At time of writing, TSP has had over 65,000 listens to the various Episodes since our inception. A full St. Mary’s, listening twice over!

Thanks to SoundCloud (the site which hosts TSP), we can also see where our listeners listen.

Alongside the more common countries/continents you’d expect, we can see people listening in New Zealand, Nepal, Chad and Brazil etc. That’s pretty cool!

Indeed, we’ve already had more listens this season than we did in the whole of last (37,000 since August 2018). That definitely makes all the hard work worthwhile.

We’ve also introduced ‘Total Recall’ this season – in partnership with SaintsArchive.com – so that, alongside modern times, we can reminisce and reflect on yesteryear games and players.

Saints are a Club that pride themselves on their history. Playing a part in remembering and promoting that history, via the Podcast, is very important and rewarding to me.

Anyway, based on how TSP has gone so far, I’m certainly not going to rest on my laurels. I want to keep growing it – both in terms of what we offer, the quality of that offer and who/how we offer it.

If you’ve any ideas/recommendations on how I achieve that then please share them. I’d love to hear.

With Hasenhuttl in charge, it appears Saints could be in for some exciting times over the next 12-24+ months.

Being able to discuss and reflect on those moments, through the Podcast, really excites me.

If they do come along, then the seven and a half hours of Podcasting each week (more if you include a Total Recall recording/edit as well!) will be more than worth it – and, I hope, as listeners, you’ll think so as well.

So, wherever you are in the world, thanks for all your TSP support to date. It is genuinely appreciated.

Keep Marching In!

Ben

P.S – Don’t forget you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and at our host site SoundCloud

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