The Eternal Question
It seems somehow very appropriate that the first ever blog post since updating our website would be about release dates for the Hardcore History show. It's the Number One question we get. “When's the next HH coming out?” I hear it in my dreams.
Thank goodness you care! That's the first thought that always pops into my head as I am stressing over release dates. We are so fortunate around here to have listeners who are passionate about the subject and the podcast, that no matter how frayed I get I never lose sight of how amazing it is that I get to do this. As always...we appreciate you making this possible.
Those among you who have followed us for a long time have seen the evolution of the HH podcast over time. Your feedback has been part of why the show has evolved the way it has. You didn't care if the episodes ran long (we used to freak out if the show ended up longer than an hour!). You could handle the multi-part shows. You enjoyed the extra details we continually added. And going deeper (and more intelligently) into the subject matter seemed to have the very opposite effect those in the Old Media told me to expect...you all thrived on it. And because you did, we did.
But we no longer are in the pure podcasting business. The longer tales we tackle are short audio books when taken as a whole. We release them in a serialized form the way many books have been released (chapter by chapter or section by section) in newspapers. Those who are hearing our multi-part work as we release it are getting the “book” piece by piece as we finish each piece. People who discover us after a series is completed will have the luxury of getting to hear the whole “book” back-to-back without having to wait for the next installment. I have to keep reminding myself that most people who hear these shows will hear them in the future. We are crafting this work to last.
But I realize it's really frustrating for those who are waiting for a new show to be released. It is especially bad with the current subject (the First World War) because the reading load we have had to tackle is unprecedented. There is so much out there (it's the hundredth anniversary too, so a glut of books has hit the marketplace recently) and so many perspectives one needs to explore that I am drowning in books. I just bought two more that I just found that relate to what I am discussing right now, so I am going to read them too. We have a sort of “look before you leap” history on this podcast when it comes to topic selection. Several times now we have chosen simply huge topics and are then forced to figure out how to manage them once we are already committed to the work. I mean, what fool chooses the entire First World War as a podcast subject?! Or the Decline and Fall of the Roman Republic? Or the Mongol Conquests of several generations of Mongol rulers? Oh well...I'm lucky to have a job that challenges me. I appreciate that all of you have been as patient as you have while I figure out how to manage what I have put on my plate.
The good news is that we are pretty much managing to get the same rough amount of History content (in hours) completed each year. Some years we're able to get out more actual episodes (and sometimes at shorter wait intervals), but even this year, when we will have released only four shows (which I think is a new low), the hourly total should be about the same as we released last year. So, I guess amortized over the year we have been pretty consistent.
The hardest part of the scheduling is trying to do anything BUT the podcasts. Any lost day of work is just that, a lost day for the podcast. As we get to about 4 weeks from release, I am working 7 days a week on the show (and near the end, even Common Sense shows stop happening as we will no longer be willing to “shift gears” away from the HH momentum). Somehow the rest of the stuff that I need to do needs to work around that time. Whether it is business-related for the podcast, promotions related (me going on some other show to promote the podcasts) or even something for my personal life (a family vacation, for example), it all comes out of precious and finite podcast production time. I would be lying if I said that I had mastered the art of such a balance or that I had figured out how to be relaxed about it in any way.
So, as usual, I am stressed right now, the show will be late (I think December) and we are focused on quality. What else is new? Thanks for your patience and support. My goal for 2015 is to finish up everything to do with WW1 in the first quarter of the year (hopefully with a Blueprint for Armageddon VI...and then an “Extra” show to complement the series) and switch gears a bit with a Blitz edition and then hopefully a nice, single-edition HH show or two. These multi-part epics we often do are great challenges, and I like them once they are in my rear-view mirror, but while actually producing them (especially in the later episodes of the series, they get harder as you go along) they are a stress-inducing art project.
The goal, as always, is to have you feel after you hear the show that it was worth the wait.