Just after Christmas Adrian and I had one of our many lightbulb moments. We are quite good at having lightbulb moments. They always come out of the blue and, quite often, more often than you might think, we actually carry them out (after all, Hobeck was the first of our lightbulb moments and look where that got us). But the lightbulb moment I am referring to here was The Hobcast.
We had been tinkering vaguely with the idea of podcasting for a while. Initially, Adrian was going to host a podcast which was to be not separate exactly, more like parallel, to Hobeck. He had his broadcasting skills to back him up and we had the equipment so it was going to be an easy thing to launch. For ages, we just didn't get around to going further than thinking about it. While talking about this podcast, we would occasionally flirt with the idea of me taking part. I could be quite enthusiastic about it when it was just an idea.
'Yes, sure, sounds great!' I'd say.
'Yeah, that's never happening,' I'd think.
Then, just after Christmas, we decided that the idea should become a reality and that it should have physical shape. The podcast, we said, could be based around Hobeck. The podcast, we realised, could be part of Hobeck. And to be part of Hobeck it would definitely need to include not only the Ho of Hobeck but also the Beck of Hobeck. We gave the idea-now-reality a name: The Hobcast.
'Yes, sure, sounds great!' I said.
'Oh crappity crap crap crap,' I thought.
It was early January, just a few days later, when we recorded Episode One. Adrian was bursting with excitement to be back behind the audible wheel. I was bursting with the need to escape to the water closet to be behind the audible wheel.
'You'll be fine,' he assured me.
'No, I won't,' I retorted, crossing my legs, my mouth dry.
The last time I'd recorded anything had been circa 1980 when my sister and I were Radio 1 DJs in her bedroom, a tape recorder and a tiny microphone our equipment. She might not remember this but I do. We'd record songs off the radio and take it in turns to DJ between the songs. We were brilliant it at. Of course we were. We were young and without an audience. It was the cusp of the 1980s. Radio 1 was our life back then.
Fast forward forty years and I am no longer decked in pastel colours and jeans with zips, I am instead perched on the edge of my chair staring at a microphone on a stand that to me looks like it would be better placed on the Top of the Pops stage. What's more, I was required to speak into it. What's more than that, I was required to speak into it next to an 'expert'. Gulp. And, finally, I was required to say intelligent stuff, if I could manage it, not just introduce the next hit from Wham.
That first attempt at podcasting was, in a word, ok. It wasn't more than ok. I survived. I had a voice. I wasn't a complete mouse. I had a bit of a wobbly and stuttery voice, but I had a voice. I can't say I enjoyed it. I got through it. Thankfully, for that first time we interviewed one of our authors, AB Morgan, who along with Adrian-the-expert made the job easier for me by being her bubbly, talkative self. I didn't need to say too much. They did most of the talking.
The second attempt went a little smoother. I felt a little less star struck with my co-host besides me. He encouraged me. For that, I must thank him. He was ever the professional and has been a great mentor to me. That second time, he told me I'd done a good job. Whether that was true or not it doesn't matter, I needed to hear that.
Now, as I type, we have recorded eight podcasts and I can say with confidence that I absolutely love podcasting now. I have found my voice. I still have a tingle of nerves when I sit in front of that beast of a microphone. However, the tingle of nerves is my fuel. I use it. I run with it.
This morning, we recorded the interview for episode ten and I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent behind the beast. Adrian and I work well together. We have developed our own rhythm and way of signalling to each other: 'Do you want to ask the next question?', 'This is going well' or 'I'll take the next one'. I simply love it. There's a buzz to it. I think I may be a little bit addicted to that feeling.
We have had some positive feedback to our podcasting efforts which is wonderful and it helps, of course it does. It gives me enough confidence to keep going. I have no idea as of yet how far we will reach in terms of audience or time with our weekly jabberings. But actually, that doesn't matter. To paraphrase one of our authors during a recent podcast interview: so long as one person appreciates what I do, then I'm happy. I've done my job. I am satisfied. She was, of course, talking about her writing. But the same applies to the Hobcast. If there is one person out there who listens to us every week and gets something out of what we say, then that's enough for me. I will keep talking to that person, let's call him Derek, so long as he is willing to listen.
Thank you, Derek!