Podcasting


Most Revealing Episodes of Toronto Mike'd in 2016

I recently shared my favourite episodes of Toronto Mike'd in 2016, but here are the episodes I deem to be the most revealing. There were stories shared in these four episodes that were completely unknown to me, and often unexpected.

Anne Mroczkowski

Anne decided she was tired of the smoke and mirrors and wanted to tell it like it was. She was incredibly candid and taught me a great deal. This was one of the most refreshing conversations I enjoyed in 2016.

Anne Mroczkowski and Me

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John "Spike" Gallagher

Spike has stories. Man, does he have stories. What he lacks, is a filter, and we're all the beneficiaries. He's returning when he's finished his book.

John

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Dave Hodge

Two words: pen flip.

Dave Hodge and me

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Mike Richards

Mike told me he was a good-time Charlie, and he most definitely aimed to please. I was blown away by how honest he was and what he was willing to share with Toronto Mike'd listeners. It was truly appreciated.

Mike Richards and me

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 207: Bob Elliott

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 207In this 207th episode, Mike chats with legendary baseball writer Bob Elliott about his years covering the Expos and Blue Jays, why he was banned from Bob McCown's Prime Time Sports, and the future of baseball in Canada. This episode is exactly 2:03:56.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Bob Elliott and Me

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Favourite Episodes of Toronto Mike'd in 2016

I haven't recorded a new episode of Toronto Mike'd in two weeks and I miss it. I'll make up for that brief pause with at least five new episodes before the end of the year, including visits by Bob Elliott, Denise Donlon, James Mirtle and Sean Fitz-Gerald.

This break has given me a chance to look back on the episodes recorded in 2016. I averaged more than one episode a week, and there were dozens of fantastic conversations, but here are my five favourite episodes of Toronto Mike'd in 2016.

Maestro Fresh-Wes

I had worked on getting Maestro to visit for years before his visit in September. I was a big fan and it was a delight having such one-on-one time with Wes. In a sense, the 200+ episodes could have been a ruse to make this 90 minutes possible.

Maestro Fresh Wes and me

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Ron Hawkins

Much like Maestro, I was a huge fan of Lowest of the Low. To this day, Shakespeare My Butt gets played in my house and every episode of my podcast closes with Rosy and Grey from that same album. Ron was everything I'd hoped he would be.

20160524_123530

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Ron MacLean

Speaking of Rons who did not disappoint, Ron MacLean was incredible. He's been the face of Hockey Night in Canada for as long as I can remember and having him visit my basement to field my questions still blows my mind.

Ron MacLean and Me

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Bob Elliott

Back when I had a commute to work, I'd listen to Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown and wish the two minutes with Bob Elliott were two hours. On a cold day in December, I got what I wanted. Bob visited me and shared baseball stories for two hours and it was everything I had hoped it would be.

Bob Elliott and Me

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Emm Gryner

This one, was personal. Emm is a tremendous musician and great conversationalist, but i needed this episode for purely selfish reasons. This one was for Mike Kic.

Emm Gryner and Me

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 206: Stephanie Smyth

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 206In this 206th episode, Mike chats with CP24 news anchor Stephanie Smyth about her years at 680, 640 and CP24. This episode is exactly 1:07:57.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Stephanie Smyth and me

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Survey Says! What Your Feedback Tells Me

On Thursday, I asked podcast listeners for feedback. I built a brief survey in Google Forms and hoped for twenty or so responses. As of this moment, 176 people have shared their thoughts.

I've read every word. Of particular interest to me was the "Advice for the host" section. Because many opted to submit the survey anonymously, there's some brutal honesty here.

I'm going to respond to some recurring themes. The overwhelming majority of responses were very kind and complimentary, but I'm going to focus on the criticism and requests for change.

Stop Interrupting
Several people pointed out that I tend to interrupt guests. Some called it rude, others thought it was annoying, and a few felt it stopped guests from sharing stories.

This is actually something I've been working on. I try to wait until my guest has finished his/her point before I interject, but clearly there's still room for improvement. I will continue to work on this so there are fewer interruptions in future episodes.

Stop Name Dropping
I've actually been doing this on purpose, but several listeners do not approve. In my mind, if a guest mentions Erin Davis, I want the listener to know there is an Erin Davis episode of Toronto Mike'd in the archives. I consider it cross promotion aimed at the many who have just discovered the podcast and haven't been listening since the start.

Absorbing this mountain of feedback now has me convinced it comes across as either pretentious or repetitive so I'm going to reduce my use of this tactic.

Stop Talking About Yourself
In my last episode, I took 10 minutes off the top to talk about the Dalton Pompey-Electric Circus connection. I wanted to share this update with listeners because the story (which I think is fantastic) was born from the previous episode with Dwight Drummond. I wanted to share the story and play "Summertime Summertime" before beginning my deep dive with Chris Zelkovich.

Several people did not like this. They didn't think the story had anything to do with my guest and felt it took time from that conversation. One recurring piece of feedback is that I should not delay my deep dive with the guest and should stop talking about other topics or sharing personal stories. This advice had me noodling my current structure for days.

Here's how I currently structure episodes:

1. Opening theme and intro
2. Updates, current events, light chatter with the guest
3. Sponsor mentions
4. Deep dive with guest - typically an hour or longer
5. Closing theme and extro

Some would like #2 to disappear. I've talked to friends and family who listen about whether #2 detracts from an episode, and they all seem to enjoy it, and it's actually an important part of the equation for me. You see, I'm typically meeting a guest for the first time 5 minutes before we start recording, and I use #2 to establish some rapport and warm things up before the deep dive. Without #2, I'm not sure I'd be as effective with #4.

Some of course, enjoy #2. Here's what one listener wrote:

I think the format is perfect - the first few minutes are like the year-long ongoing conversation with the listeners, and then the next hour is the conversation with the guest. I'm curious to find out how the biking is going, how the Mazda is hanging on, how the house league hockey is going - because these are all things I can relate to as well.

I think I will hold on to #2, but I'll try and keep it brief and incorporate the guest more. Thankfully, the vast majority shares my passion for the Dalton Pompey-Electric Circus connection.

Enough Rohmer Talk Already
I admit, I'm fascinated by the fact Ann Rohmer retired twice and is on CP24 to this day. I'll also admit that topics I'm passionate about will seep into podcast episodes with great regularity.

I pledge to suppress my Rohmer fascination and only raise the topic when I'm speaking with someone who has worked with her. Otherwise, the Rohmer talk is off the table. Unfortunately for those who are tired of this topic, my next episode is with a CP24 anchor, so I might have to mention the cake one more time.

Length Matters
Episode length is a recurring theme. Some think episodes feel rushed and wish they were longer, but the majority mention that episodes are too long. There are suggestions I break up long episodes into two-parters. Others feel overwhelmed when an episode is listed as 1:40 or longer.

I'm not sure what the optimal length is, but I can certainly aim for an hour and only let it go if it feels there's more meat on the bone. I'll certainly do my best to reduce the number of episodes that exceed 90 minutes, but should I slip, please feel free to abuse your pause button.

More Sports! Less Sports!
When it comes to content, there seems to be too primary camps emerging. Some love the sports media guests and want more while others dislike the sports media guests and want fewer.

Guests typically reflect my own interests and passions, and sports is high on that list. Sometimes, when it seems I've gone too heavy on sports media personalities, I make a concerted effort to invite guest from other areas of interest. I'll continue to try and strike the balance here, but I suspect it will be impossible to satisfy both camps.

Other Contradictions
There were plenty of other contradictions. Some say I should be tougher on guests, others say I should be easier on guests. Some love the opening theme, others hate it. Many remarked that I was very well prepared but at least one respondent said I should do more homework. One person made my day by telling me I'm cute, but another told me I need to gain weight.

I'm so glad I collected this feedback and have taken it all to heart. With no broadcasting experience, I've been learning on the job and was craving constructive criticism. I'm confident I'll only get better and hope you'll be around to notice the improvement.

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Toronto Mike'd Feedback Desired

If you listen to Toronto Mike'd, I kindly request you take a couple of minutes to complete this short survey. Including your name and/or email address is optional, but it might help me if I have follow-up questions.

Thank you in advance!


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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 205: Chris Zelkovich

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 205In this 205th episode, Mike chats with sports media critic Chris Zelkovich about his years at The Toronto Star and Yahoo! and the current state of Toronto sports media. This episode is exactly 1:14:31.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Chris Zelkovich and me

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 204: Dwight Drummond

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 204In this 204th episode, Mike chats with CBC news anchor Dwight Drummond about his years at City TV and the CBC, being racially profiled by police in 1993 and his cameo in Maestro Fresh-Wes's Let Your Backbone Slide video. This episode is exactly 1:14:04.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Dwight Drummond and Me

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 203: Sophia Jurksztowicz

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 203In this 203rd episode, Mike chats with Sportsnet host Sophia Jurksztowicz about her career in sports media, the attractiveness double standard, her various excuses for postponing her visit and much, much more. This episode is exactly 1:47:35.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Sophia Jurksztowicz and me

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 202: Christopher Ward

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 202In this 202nd episode, Mike chats with former MuchMusic Veejay Christopher Ward about his years on City Limits and MuchMusic, co-writing Black Velvet for Alannah Myles and his recent dive into the Much archives for Is This Live?. This episode is exactly 1:14:04.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Christopher Ward and Me

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