I don’t think there’s a show, podcast, broadcast or group of critics I listen to as much or as often as Alex Albrecht, Jeff Cannata and Dan Trachtenberg of The Totally Rad Show. I first started watching their show around the time it launched on podcast network Revision 3 back in the spring of 2007. I don’t remember how I got into the idea of listening to and watching podcasts while I worked or drove, but Diggnation was, I believe, one of the first ones I ever saw and one I still watch to this day. I got really interested when Albrecht started talking about his new pop culture review show called TRS on Diggnation and immediately subscribed when the show launched and have been a fan ever since.
While the format has changed somewhat drastically recently, the theme of the show stays the same: our hosts all play the same game, watch the same movie or TV show and read the same comic and then get together and talk about it, offering their opinions. They’re usually new video games, shows and movies, though the comics tend to be a bit older and don’t get covered as frequently. I’ve grown to appreciate their opinions even though they don’t always jive with my own, especially when it comes to comics. If it wasn’t for listening to these guys talk about new video games and movies, I would probably have very little connection with either of those areas because, as anyone who reads the blog on a regular basis probably notices, I’m not always up to date in those areas.
Until recently, the show was weekly, ran between 30 and 45 minutes long, usually covering three to four topics (almost always video games and movies with TV and comics thrown in here and there and sometimes mixing in live events like the guys geocaching or going to New York Comic-Con), but in the past few months, maybe longer, the show has moved to a daily format which means you’re basically getting more show, but it’s spread out over the whole week. A movie will be talked about one day, then a video game, then a show, then maybe another movie or a comic and Fridays seem to be game days, either games they’ve made up like Tag Line Take Down or existing ones like Dungeons and Dragons or Charades. At first I wasn’t a fan of the new format because I like to just select a podcast, hit play and be done with it. This might sound lazy, but having to hit the play button every 10 to 15 minutes while trying to write is a bit annoying, especially when you consider that the segments are all filmed on the same day and, essentially, could be one big show. It doesn’t bother me as much anymore, but if there was an option to download one big, long episode I would just assume do that and watch it all at once. I really like that the new format allows for more varied content, though watching people play games of a board or party variety and not being able to join can be a little boring. All in all, I appreciate their desire to give fans and viewers more content, but think that doing so in one big long show wouldn’t turn people off (if that’s what they’re actually worried about).
Watching TRS has actually been very inspiring to me over the years because it shows that anyone can do anything they want on the internet. Now, I don’t mean that to discount what these guys do in anyway, but even without the backing of a network like Rev3, you can make your own podcast. I actually attempted that very thing early this summer when I took a few swings at making my own video toy podcast called Toy Chest Central. I researched all week, shot segments on Fridays with my digital video camera (you’ve never heard someone say “uh” so many times, I promise you that) and then finally figured out iMovie, inserted images and was all set to post the results of my little experiment when I discovered that I’d have to split the thing up to get it on YouTube (which I didn’t really want to do anyway) or pay to have a site hosted somewhere (WordPress doesn’t allow video uploads on the version I have). Not wanting to take a financial risk at the time, I put it on the theoretical shelf. But I was happy to find out that I could actually do my own thing with just a camera and my computer, plus a little more money than I had at the time to play with, though not that much really. So, if anyone wants to help sponsor a toy and collectible-themed video podcast, gimme a holler.
Anyway, TRS is the future: people doing what they like and getting it to the people and still making some money off of it. I feel like this is the way of the future, something we’ve seen musicians move to and even director Kevin Smith with his own SModcast Podcast Network. As technology gets cheaper (I bought that digital camera years ago for not a lot of money on eBay) and people become more and more savvy with this crazy internet thing, I’m hoping we’ll see more high quality artistic productions that don’t have to bend over for huge corporations who might do more harm than good. I’m not saying all corporations are bad by any means, but when too much money gets invested in art, art tends to suffer because too many people are worrying about the outcome. I’m also not saying I think art like this should be free, but as physical copies fall to the wayside and digital versions of music and movies become the norm, hopefully costs will decrease with profits heading more towards the performers than others. With more people creating their own shows, music and anything else down the line, I think there’s a lot to look forward to in the growing digital age.