The Earwolf Challenge Last Words: Television Zombies

Catch-up on The Earwolf Challenge! You can listen to the Week 5 “Using The Guest” Elimination episode here. Chris Piers on behalf of the Television Zombies had this to say about their Challenge experience:

“Oh… They’re calling me.”

It had been about an hour and a half past when we had been told to be available and I had (obviously) deluded myself into thinking we had a strong concept for The Earwolf Challenge’s elimination that week. So I sincerely was surprised to see the call coming in but hindsight is 50/50. Or something like that.

The call could only mean one thing – we were in the bottom three. Again. In week 2 the judges gave us some good advice on audio quality. We made some adjustments, bought some new equipment, but would we be able to shorten the learning curve in time? Apparently not. Again, we were mostly criticized for audio, although this time it was specifically that our entry was a bit chaotic with us talking over one another.

It’s a completely valid criticism and one I feel most responsible for. I edit the show. I have the tendency to get excited and jump right in and talk. Regardless, I listened to the criticism. I hope it will help us in the future. My biggest regret is not having an opportunity to hear more one-on-one criticism from today’s most popular podcasters. Because in the end, it was a privilege to compete on The Earwolf Challenge.

If I could go back to that phone call, I would have liked to emphasize that our podcast is definitely something Earwolf does not currently offer, and that despite our shortcomings, the real advantage to them was our ability to listen and learn. But ultimately, it doesn’t change too much for us. We probably weren’t going to go all the way since we aren’t a comedy show. We had a fun ride. We’ve been doing our show for years and it’s the highlight of the week for all of us. We just love talking about good and bad tv with each other, so we’ll keep making the show.

When we were asked to join the competition, it was a pleasant surprise. Our show can be considered niche. We don’t discuss just one show but we do talk exclusively about tv. We aren’t trying to do a comedy show but we like to think our opinions, characters, and games can be funny. Our weekly downloads seem to bear out that a lot of folks enjoy what we’re doing.

I would like to thank everyone at Earwolf for the opportunity, starting with Frank and Peter, the producers, who pulled our submission out of the 120+ and suggested it was worthy of competing for a slot on their network of shows. I got to talk to Matt “Fucking” Besser for several weeks. As a comedy nerd, that was an honor. He legitimately seemed to like the same stuff as us. We could talk to Matt for hours. Hopefully, once the competition is over, we will be able to book him as a guest.

One criticism that popped up on both the show and in the forums was our sound quality. It’s an issue that many podcasters deal with and as long as I have this platform, let’s get some discussion going on what is ideal to use. We record in two locations: Washington, D.C. is Jeff and I and Seattle, Washington is Chuck and Katy. I record using a Behringer Xenyx mixer with 4 pre-amp inputs to balance our levels. It records to a solid state recorder: a Handy Recorder Zoom H4n, so that the audio recording can’t crash. My mic is a TLM cardiod by Neumann but Jeff’s is just a simple one you’d get at Radio Shack. I have a Shure SM7b on order for him. Chuck and Katy use a USB mic, the Yeti, since they’re going over Skype. That was new to us and we’re still finding the sweet spot but it seems capable of really great quality. I’m interested in hearing what other podcasts that do their show from multiple locations recommend.

Thank you to everyone who participated as a judge giving us advice, our fellow contestants who helped push us to try our best, and listeners who made it all worthwhile. It was a good experience. Not great; we wanted to go further. But what can you do? In the meantime, we’ll keep cranking out a free weekly show. If you help spread the word, that’d be swell.

-Chris Piers (& the Television Zombies)

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