I just recorded the 175th episode of my podcast, Toronto Mike'd. Ron Hawkins, frontman, primary songwriter, lead vocalist, and one of two guitarists for Lowest of the Low, dropped by my home for a 90 minute chat and it was as awesome as I had hoped it would be. I've been a fan of Lowest of the Low since I first heard them on 102.1 in 1991 and I still can't believe Ron took the time to visit.
175 feels like a like a nice round number, and I wanted to thank some people who helped me get here. This passion project has been so incredibly fulfilling, I still can't believe I'm sitting down and conversing with Ron MacLean, Strombo, Matt Galloway, Ashley Buchholz, Ed the Sock and so many others I admire.
Here's a non-exhaustive list of those who helped out along the way.
Humble and Fred
Way back in 2006, Humble and Fred wanted to record a Christmas special, only they had both been fired from their terrestrial radio gig at Mix 999. They had the content covered, but they asked me to help out with the technical aspects of creating a podcast, and on December 17 we recorded The 17th Annual Humble & Fred Christmas Show at Dan Duran's house. They produced the MP3 file and I took it from there to ensure fans could hear the festive joy. In 2006, few knew what a podcast was, making this a rather educational experience. It was the very first podcast I ever produced.
We'd meet up a few more times over the years to produce Humble and Fred podcast specials, and then in October 2011, Humble and Fred decided to make a real go of this podcast thing. They started podcasting daily.
In those early days, I was at their studio every day for the recording, and held Fred's hand as he learned how to maintain the XML file that powered podcast subscriptions. I'm proud to say they're still producing their podcast almost five years later.
Without this experience, and witnessing the creative content creation process up close, I likely never would have got the itch to try it on my own. One day I decided to start Toronto Mike'd, and Humble and Fred lent me their studio until I built my own.
When I did decide to start Toronto Mike'd, I wanted a co-host who would sound great on the air and with whom I had great chemistry. I honestly only thought of one person, my dear friend Rosie.
Rosie and I go back to grade ten when we found ourselves bonding over Mr. Dougherty's english class at Michael Power. She's the only person who attended both my weddings (other than me, of course) and if I was going to podcast, I wanted her sitting beside me.
Rosie co-hosted Toronto Mike'd with me through episode 56 and without her there likely never would have been an episode 1. By the way, she gave a speech about me in episode 45 that I would like played at my celebration of life.
The first 20 episodes of Toronto Mike'd were recorded at Humble and Fred's studio, but I wanted to take another leap of independence. I wanted to build my own studio in my own home.
It just so happened I had recently met an audio guru who was responsible for what you hear during Blue Jays home games on Sportsnet. His name is Andrew and he was kind enough to help me choose the gear I'd need for my studio. And by "help" I mean he literally told me where to go and what to buy.
$1600 later, I had kick-ass mics, proper cables and stands and a mixer. Andrew happily came over to help me put it together. If you think Toronto Mike'd sounds good, there's only one man to thank.
Episode 21 truly was broadcast from The House That Heaven Built.
When I was unable to meet Rosie's salary demands after episode 56, I found myself in need of a new co-host. If I couldn't have Rosie, I knew exactly who I wanted.
Elvis has been a great friend for over a decade, and he sounds fantastic on the mic. Since I have absolutely no broadcasting experience and never particularly liked my voice, I felt it was important to surround myself with great voices who knew how to articulate and use a microphone. Throw in a solid dose of chemistry and you've got yourself a co-host.
To this day, when I feel like recording but don't have an actual guest booked, I turn to Elvis. It's always a blast.
Great Lakes Brewery
As listener numbers rise, I often wonder if I'm leaving money on the table by not properly monetizing Toronto Mike'd. I've been hesitant to seek sponsorship, and only recently introduced the Patreon campaign. But when I received an email from Great Lakes Brewery asking me to visit their facility for a meeting, I curiously biked over and kept a very open mind.
GLB is independent, local and run by good people. This is a company I wanted to partner with, and I was pleased as punch when they signed on for six months. I'm all but certain we'll renew that deal.
Corporations seem hesitant to sponsor independent podcasts in this country, so it was great to see a company take a gamble on my little podcast. If any companies out there want to follow suit, let me know.
At the end of 2013, I knew what I wanted Toronto Mike'd to become. I didn't want it to strictly be "two friends shooting the shit", but wanted to have conversations with a wide variety of interesting Toronto people.
In January 2014, I was visited by Jonathan Torrens, Alan Cross and Todd Shapiro consecutively, and everything crystallized. That was Toronto Mike'd. I truly appreciate everyone who accepted my invitation and took time out of their busy scheduled to visit and chat.
Not everyone has said yes, but I'm pleased to report most have and I haven't had a bad experience yet.
Listeners Like You
Sure, it's a little corny, but it's your feedback that fuels this podcast. I really do try to learn from my mistakes, and I like to think it's only getting better.
Thank you for listening, thanks for letting me know when you like what I do, and when you think there's room for improvement. You can leave a comment, send me an email, tweet at me or rent a billboard.
And thanks again!