Why I Started the Signal To Noise Podcast

Why I Started the Signal To Noise Podcast

I was recently approached by an individual who runs an audio engineering website, and was offered a cross-promotion arrangement: I share a few of their links to my “audience” a few times a month, and they will share mine. We can both grow our audiences. I said no. Besides the fact that I don’t have an “audience”, that is not, and never was, the goal. I write blog posts and articles about sound system engineering simply because it’s interesting to me. It’s something I love talking about. It doesn’t run any deeper than that. There’s no master plan, no end goal.

During the first conversation I ever had with Jamie Anderson, he asked me what my career goals were. My answer was lousy: I didn’t have any career goals. I told him I just found this stuff interesting, and wanted to do more of it, and learn more about it. I do this work for its own sake.

If I woke up tomorrow and all of a sudden found taming elephants interesting, I would probably go and do that instead. Please don’t misunderstand – I count it as a tremendous blessing that I am able to do something I greatly enjoy for a living. But I do it because I love it.

That’s also why I started the Signal To Noise podcast.

“You should add an image.” – Chris

After a long day at an event site, I love to head out for food and drinks with the crew, usually at a place that serves pancakes. We sit down, eat, and chat. The conversation is often technical, but it’s also casual and fun. Enjoying not just the fascinating technical aspects of our field, but also the amazing human beings who have chosen this career path.

The Signal to Noise podcast is simply my way to continue having those conversations. For me, it’s not work. It’s recreation. It’s what I look forward to doing, after a long week, or a stressful project, or when I get a bit overwhelmed with something in my personal life. I get to sit down for an hour and talk about audio with my two tremendously talented, accomplished, funny, passionate cohosts and some truly incredible guests. It’s not designed to be hard-hitting technical journalism. It’s designed to feel like you’re sitting there with us in that booth at Denny’s after the show. 

It is something that I hope feels approachable to new listeners, for those just starting to find their feet in the audio world, and for seasoned professionals alike.

Our listeners should never feel like they’re being lectured to, or talked down to, or left out because they might not have deep technical knowledge in a certain area.

My cohosts, Kyle Chirnside and Chris Leonard, are on the show because they are world-class professionals, and I respect them greatly. They each have different backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences than I do, which allows them to bring their unique viewpoints to the table and engage with our guests in ways I could never do on my own. The conversations are better as a result, and we all benefit from that. They are both also wonderful human beings who I am fortunate to have as friends.

We strive to invite guests who are enthusiastic and generous about sharing their knowledge and answering questions. We try to keep our background research to a minimum, so we can travel through the learning experience along with our listeners.

Our listeners know we are never afraid to ask stupid questions, or to get things wrong. In fact, our episodes are riddled with silly mistakes and botched introductions that we don’t edit out. We keep it authentic and fun – not for the listeners, but for us. Because it’s something we enjoy doing. (Why is Mike Green‘s song Break Free our theme song? Because I like the song.)

It’s critical that the Signal to Noise podcast (or as Kyle sometimes calls it, the Signal to Moise podcast) continues to be something that we enjoy, because that’s why we continue to make it. If the day ever comes when we feel like it’s an obligation or a chore, we will  stop making it. Until then, the show will continue to exist simply because we want it to.

For those who are not interested in our conversations, or would prefer those conversations be conducted in a different manner, there are many excellent audio engineering podcasts that you may prefer to enjoy instead. Please feel free to ask Chris for recommendations – he’s far more in touch with these things than I am.

To further the pancake metaphor, we set this table for ourselves to have a nice meal, but there is a spot for you to sit down and join us. I know I speak for my cohosts in that I wish to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you to all the folks who join us every week, either as a guest or as a listener.  Please continue to enjoy the conversation. And the pancakes.

4 Replies to “Why I Started the Signal To Noise Podcast”

  1. You three have the best chemistry in audio podcasts. Reminds me of the chemistry between Lee Fields, Jeff Samdstrom, and Andrew Stone at MxU before Andrew’s sudden passing. The dynamics of three can not be overstated. It hasn’t felt the same once Andrew left.

    You provide a place where we audio folks feel can connect to when commuting. Thank you for that.

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