Retiring from Podcasting

I have decided, after nine-and-a-half years, to take a semi-permanent break from podcasting.

I realize that in the big scheme of things, I am nobody. For me to publicly declare my podcasting retirement is the equivalent of your drunken neighbor shouting from his window at three in the morning that he will never eat at IHOP again. It really means nothing to anybody except for him, and in that same way, maybe this means nothing to anybody except for me.

The decision was both easy and hard. It was easy because right now I don’t have enough spare time to put together quality shows. Depending on the podcast, I was spending anywhere from 4-8 hours researching, writing, recording, and editing each episode. Right now, between school, work, and family, I don’t have 4-8 spare hours each week to give.

What makes the decision hard is that I love podcasting. I love putting the shows together. Everything from picking the topics to crafting the segments was fun. As a kid I spent a lot of time in my bedroom playing songs on my record player and telling stories to stuffed animals while pretending to be a radio disk jockey. Almost a decade ago I started doing it again, this time on the internet. It was just as much fun.

And unlike those stuffed animals, you guys wrote me back. I loved receiving emails and Facebook messages and tweets from listeners. Over the past decade I have formed some real friendships both with listeners and fellow podcasters.

I have tried in the past, when life got busy, to put my shows on hold — to slow down production cycles or pause certain projects. I’ve even tried giving up on schedules and releasing shows “when they were ready.” By and large, this hasn’t worked, mostly because of me. No matter how much I promise myself that I’ll only release, say, one show a month, the minute one show goes out the door, mentally, I’m already preparing for the next one. 95% of my listeners were understanding when I was forced to cut back release schedules; 5% — oh, that entitled 5% — let’s just say, “not so much.” Nothing took the wind out of my sails faster than having the first response to a new episode be, “Blah. When’s the next one?” Occasionally, podcasting is soul-crushing.

Most of time though, it’s not. Most of the time it’s great fun, and to pretend like it’s not is stupid. For 9 1/2 years I recorded pretend shows where I told childhood stories and talked about computer games and arcade games and bad movies and got thousands of people to listen to them. I had a lot of fun, made a lot of friends, and even had a couple dozen people pay me for my shows. Yes, it was work, but it was fun work, and I loved it. I don’t want the takeaway from this post to be that this hobby is miserable, because it’s not.

For anyone worried about my library of shows, they’re not going anywhere. I have no plans, short or long term, to take Podcast.RobOHara.com offline. I plan on retaining this domain for the rest of my life. I don’t know how long the iTunes feeds will remain, but I have no plans to remove any of the shows I have created from the internet. Where things are now, as far as I am concerned, they will remain.

This semester I’ll be all but finishing up my master degree in professional writing. In addition to two other classes, I’m writing a science fiction novel that, if things go well, I’ll be editing (and then shopping to agents) in the spring. It’s an important project and an important time in my life, that moment where after being asked “what do you want to be when you grow up” for four decades, you finally know. Sometimes to make time for one dream, another one has to get put back in the closet.

And so, quite literally, the podcart (a cart with wheels that holds my laptop, microphone, and recording gear) has been shut down and wheeled into the closet. I didn’t go as far as to disassemble everything — who knows what the future holds, right? — but for the time being, the recording light has been turned off.

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17 comments to Retiring from Podcasting

  • I am very sad that this is happening, but based on your schedule, I totally understand. You are a huge influence on my own podcasting, and I will miss hearing your voice very much. I wish you all the best with your future projects and career! If you ever decide to come back, I will be the first in line. Thank you Rob, for everything.

  • Thanks Flack!

    I really enjoyed your shows.
    I will keep your RSS, hoping something will pop up there someday.

    Thank you Again,
    Avi.

  • Thank you Rob for all the years of podcasts, your dedication, time and energy. It’s been fun listening to your stories, sharing memories, and being along for the ride. Many of us will be sitting back waiting for your comeback tour, c’mon it will happen, remember all the rockstars that have retired many times to only come back again to rock and roll all night and party everyday. Heh. Take care of yourself and family. Your friends and fans will be here. Keep collecting lunch boxes and firing up your C64 from time to time. Cheers!

  • Hello Rob!

    Very sorry to hear you’re hanging up the mic for awhile, but completely understand.

    Yours is the first podcast I ever listened to, and probably the first time I ever saw/heard the word “podcast”. I think you had it in your signature on the Digital Press forums. I wanted to listen from the get-go, but didn’t understand how they worked… Would I have to pay for it? Would I have to download/update RealPlayer or something? I really didn’t have a clue!

    The first episode I listened to was Boss BBS, and I remember downloading it the evening before my wedding back in the Summer of 2008… because I was crashing on the couch that night because I had a house full of out-of-towners occupying the bedrooms. I was blown away with how captivated I was by the childhood stories of a perfect stranger. It was with that one episode that I realized the potential there was for podcasts and podcasting, not to mention your natural talent for it.

    I’m sorry it took this long for me to reach out to express my appreciation for all of your work over the past decade… but I definitely want you to know that I’ve enjoyed the run! Thanks Rob!

    -Chris

  • Dave P

    I hope someday you return. You have such talents. I enjoyed meeting you at Cactus Jacks last year. I loved both your books and all your podcasts. But I understand sometimes life gets in the way. If you ever make it to Wisconsin or even Galloping Ghost shoot me an email. Take care!

  • For whatever it’s worth, I always looked forward to the shows about stuff that I didn’t think I’d be interested in, because invariably there were stories that made it worth the listen. I’m not a UFO guy, but I loved the UFO episode. I’m not a ninja, but I loved the show about ninjas.

    At the same time…I totally understand your decision. This is very much the same rationale that made me realize that the ‘zines I was putting together were a giant time sink which had no detectable ROI. I’ve been on my own podcast hiatus for health and personal reasons, but it’s not a hiatus that’ll last forever.

    However you choose to tell your story, I think you’ll find there are plenty of people who are interested in hearing more from you.

  • Matt

    My favorite podcaster has retired! Your reasons are 100% understandable, but that fact provides little consolation for the listeners who have lost a reliable source of quality content. Total bummer!

    Thank you very much for your work through the years. Your contributions to the retro airwaves will be sorely missed!

    I wish you the best in all of your future creative endeavors, and I anxiously await the day you decide to dust off the ol’ podcart for the obligatory reunion tour. :)

    Godspeed my friend!

    Matt (aka “Cynicaster” at AtariAge)

  • While the guys and I at IHOP will miss your drunken 3am antics, I can’t wait to see your other projects come to fruition. I’ll certainly be lining up at midnight to buy your book. Thanks for all the great shows Rob! You better not stop blogging. ;)

  • Paul in AZ

    Hey Rob – I get where you’re coming from. I’m not a podcaster, but I’ve run out of time to do a lot of things I used to love doing. Things change. Keeping up with the production of numerous podcasts cannot be easy. I hope someday you return, because I love the stuff you do (never owned a C64, but I listen to Sprite Castle; not a horror movie buff, but I listen to Multiple Sadness; I’ve never owed a cabinet, but I listen to Cactus Flack’s; And I feel like I’ve gotten to know Flack – and it’s been wonderful). Until then, I’ll keep re-listening to your old stuff; it ages really well. Be well, and best of luck with the novel. I do read Science Fiction, so I look forward to it. – Paul Kane, Peoria, AZ

  • Hi Rob. Sad to hear you’re hanging up the mic for now. I can echo Paul’s comments above: I too have never owned a C64 (I’m an Apple II guy) but I listen to Sprite Castle; I’m no horror movie fan, but I have started listening to Multiple Sadness; and I’ve never owned an arcade cabinet (I do own an iCade and love playing the old games in Mame) but I listen to Cactus Flack’s; but the first and foremost podcast I’ll miss though is YDKF. You and I are pretty much the same age (both born in ’73) and I enjoy hearing the stories from your youth – many of which parallel my own experiences growing up in the 80’s even though I’m on the other side of the planet (Australia). I hope that you conquer the new goals in your life, but know this – you definitely have a gift for story telling, so anytime you want to pick up that mic again I’m sure there will be many of us still around eager to listen! :-) – Mike Stephens, Central Coast, Australia

  • Jamie from Australia.

    I will miss the podcast. Always worth a listen. Thanks for all the shows. :)

  • I will miss Flack! A lot. Thanks for everything you have shared in your podcasts.

  • Hi Rob. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your podcasts over the years. But I totally understand your reasons for having to hang up the podcast mic. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll come back for a special episode or something. We’ll be here if you do.

    You said, “maybe this means nothing to anybody except for me.” Absolutely not. It means a lot to a lot of us. We will miss the podcast. A huge thank you for all the amazing work you’ve put in over the years. It’s been both highly educational and entertaining. And good luck with the book!

    Michael

  • Thanks for all of the really great episodes. You have a tremendous podcast talent and voice. We will relish all that you have given us. Thank you.

  • J. Alexander Jacocks

    Rob,

    Your effort in putting together quality shows was always reflected in the result. I have greatly enjoyed a number of your podcasts, over several years, and will miss them.

    I definitely do understand that life must come first, and would make the same decision myself.

    Thanks for the memories!
    – Alex

  • Gray Defender

    Hi Rob, I only recently discovered your podcasts, but have enjoyed them immensely. I will miss YDKF and Spritecastle. I do understand the monumental amount of time it takes to put together these shows. It feels a little bit like losing a friend but I know you are still out there. In my opinion you have to be having fun doing this stuff so that it doesn’t fell like a job. My hope is that you will return to doing atleast one podcast once and a while when the mood hits you. Come back soon! – Glenn

  • james

    Thanks for letting us know Rob.

    I definitely think you underestimate how much free entertainment you have given to us over the years?! Most of us never reach the level you have, well played sir.

    I’m glad to have enjoyed all of it! Take a well deserved break, you earned it. Take care, i stay subd and will check your blog for updates on what your doing.

    Finally, i going to listen to the Ninja episode (my fav) and have a beer and snacks now. Cheers

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