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Podcast Roundtable #3 #PPAMonth2021

Podcast Roundtable
Around the roundtable we go!

Pokemon Podcast Appreciation Month is roaring and this time we have a Podcast Roundtable! We have gathered some for your favorite Pokemon Podcasters to get their thoughts on podcasting! From the tears, joys and COVID! We got your favorite Pokemon Podcasters together to talk about…podcasting!

Today at the roundtable we have…

Nick Yurko and Jake Abrams from Pittsburgh Pokemon Podcast (Pokemon TCG)
Josh Fjelstad and Tanner Greenring from EXP. Share
Professor Jacob from Welcome to the World of Pokemon
(Pokemon of the Episode)
Ben Montoya from I Chews You 

Now that we know who is at the table, lets ask them some questions!

What inspired you to podcast?

Pittsburgh Pokemon PodcastNick and Jake (Pittsburgh Pokemon Podcast): Playing the TCG, being apart of a community, and helping others improve how and why they play the game.
EXP. ShareJosh (EXP. Share): It was the summer before the release of Sword & Shield, and my childhood dream had always been to play a Pokémon game on a console. My bud Tanner was also excited about the release because he had a Switch, despite having not played a game really since Red & Blue.

He already had a podcast and I work in podcasts, so the discussion naturally progressed to… what if we just played all the games and recorded our experience?

Tanner (EXP. Share): Just wanted to find a way to spend more time with my friend Josh.

WttWoPProfessor Jacob (Welcome to the World of Pokemon): In all honesty, I just wanted to spend more time chatting with my friends! Oh, and also spreading knowledge of the wonderful world of Pokemon biology to all who are interested
I Chews YouBen (I Chews You): I think the first time Jeremy, Evan and I wanted to make a podcast was in 2008 or so when we were listening to a lot of IGN podcasts like Game Scoop, Beyond! and GameSpy Debriefings. We also listened to a lot of Welcome to Nightvale when it came out and I think that also inspires some of our more absurd bits and jokes.

Since then it’s always been something we wanted to try together. I think it’s fair to say that after more than two years of making ICY, the thing that inspires us the most to keep making new episodes every week is the community of listeners that have formed around the show. The Chewsies we’ve met along the way never ceases to make us laugh and it’s so fun to see everyone’s reactions!

What is your thought process when it comes to picking music for your podcast?

Pittsburgh Pokemon PodcastNick and Jake (Pittsburgh Pokemon Podcast): Finding Open Source (non royalty music) that is available to use.
EXP. ShareJosh (EXP. Share): I have a friend and former coworker, Matt Shilts, who I casually knew had been in an 8-bit band in high school and was a Pokémon fan, so working with him to compose the music was an obvious choice.

Tanner (EXP. Share): When we started the show, we brought on a composer named Matt Shilts to make us a few chiptune-y jingles. As we invent new segments, we go back to Matt and ask for new drops and he’s always happy to oblige.

WttWoPProfessor Jacob (Welcome to the World of Pokemon): We don’t put a lot of emphasis on music. However, since none of us know how to write/record music we try to find public use music.
I Chews YouBen (I Chews You): We write and produce all our own music so at this point we have a little bit of a process.

We all decide on which theme song we’ll parody, Ian writes the lyrics and I’ll draft up the instrumental. And then we spend a few weeks recording and mixing before teeing it up for our episodes or making a video to go along with it.

When you record your podcast, who do you wish to reach with it?

Pittsburgh Pokemon PodcastNick and Jake (Pittsburgh Pokemon Podcast):  Pokemon TCG players who want to understand, learn, and improve how they play the TCG game.
EXP. ShareJosh (EXP. Share): New and old Pokémon fans alike.

We want to provide a nostalgic ride through the early games for folks who grew up with them, but also look at them with a critical eye at times and provide knowledge that newer/younger players wouldn’t know if they haven’t played the games before the newer gens.

Plus, we’re good friends, old men and not competitive (at least professionally) players, so we also go off on tangents about how cute or ugly Pokémon are, or pop culture more generally.

Tanner (EXP. Share): Any Pokémon fan, really. But specifically, we’re looking for those fans our age who grew up with Pokémon and have a lot of nostalgia for it.

WttWoPProfessor Jacob (Welcome to the World of Pokemon): We hope to reach anyone with an interest in Pokemon and enjoys a good laugh!
I Chews YouBen (I Chews You): I think we want to reach Pokemon fans in general with it.

Sometimes people hear the premise of the show and think we’re anti-Pokemon but even though we’re cooking them, each episode is usually more of a celebration of that particular Pokemon (with the exception of a few).

But I think we also want to attract listeners who aren’t super hardcore Pokemon people. We actually spend a fair amount of time talking about everything except Pokemon so I think it can be a fun listen for someone who isn’t necessarily a Pokemon fan.

How has podcasting in the last year changed due to COVID?

Pittsburgh Pokemon PodcastNick and Jake (Pittsburgh Pokemon Podcast): We started in 2020, It allowed us to still chat and discuss the game.
EXP. ShareJosh (EXP. Share): We already recorded separately because it’s easier to edit, but the biggest change is that Tanner fled NYC for the country—aka Connecticut—so we can’t meet up at bars and battle anymore.

Fortunately a Bug Catcher (fans of our show) told us about Pokémon Showdown, so we still get to throw down, and the show gives us an excuse to hang out every week, which is awesome.

Tanner (EXP. Share): We’ve always recorded remotely, so it didn’t really change much. If anything, it made it easier because Zoom added a bunch of helpful new features when everyone in the world started using the platform.

WttWoPProfessor Jacob (Welcome to the World of Pokemon): For us, it hasn’t changed too much since we all recorded from separate locations already. If anything, it has given us more time to do planning and editing.
I Chews YouBen (I Chews You): Since day one we’ve recorded over Skype so having to record remotely didn’t change much for us.

However, I do think that since the pandemic we’ve made more of an effort to utilize our small platform and community to support causes we believe in. We’ve done several successful fundraisers for different organizations like Black Lives Matter and Stop AAPI Hate and it’s something that I think we only started doing in this past year of severe trauma.

We hope that we can be a space of healing and laughter for people and realizing our ability to make a difference was something that maybe would’ve have happened if not for COVID.

What is the hardest part when it comes to podcasting?

Pittsburgh Pokemon PodcastNick and Jake (Pittsburgh Pokemon Podcast): The hardest part is organizing the time to talk. We like having guest on and both of us are really busy outside the podcast so it takes time to plan ahead and meet our episode deadline.
EXP. ShareJosh (EXP. Share): We cover every game gym by gym, and the length of game between each is inconsistent. So some weeks it’s two hours of gameplay and sometimes it’s ten—not to mention if we’re grinding before battling each other—and with jobs, families, etc. it can be real tough to fit that in plus editing it every week. But obviously, it’s worth it.

Tanner (EXP. Share): The time commitment. We’ve got to play the games each week, record for 90+ minutes, then edit the episode, which takes several hours.

WttWoPProfessor Jacob (Welcome to the World of Pokemon): Being consistent. Which also is the most important part. It is hard to convince myself to prepare, record, and promote the podcast every single week. But being able to make my friends laugh and learn about Pokemon makes it all worth it!
I Chews YouBen (I Chews You): I think the hardest part of making a podcast is wrapping your mind around duration of a currently running show and not getting burnt out.

And that covers everything from simple scheduling like when to record to more conceptual questions like how we continue to make a show that excites new and old listeners.

What has been the best Podcast moment you have had?

Pittsburgh Pokemon PodcastNick and Jake (Pittsburgh Pokemon Podcast): We started doing listener questions and the number of questions that came in. It is awesome that players want to be apart of the discussion.
EXP. ShareJosh (EXP. Share): I once beat Tanner with just five Pokémon on my team. That was pretty good.

In all seriousness though, it’s definitely seeing a community build up around this show and getting to interact with people who share interesting lore with us (including Pokémon Crossroads!), “interesting” Pokémon art, and also keep us in check with our (aka Tanner’s) name mispronunciations.

Tanner (EXP. Share): I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people and make a lot of new friends. A podcaster I’ve always really admired became a fan of the show and started tweeting about it. We’ve had him on several times now and we’ve become friends. That’s pretty rewarding.

WttWoPProfessor Jacob (Welcome to the World of Pokemon): My favorite moment has definitely been the wonderful response we got from the Pokemon podcasting community when we first reached-out asking for guests on our show.

We were very nervous since our show is pretty new and really small. However, we received enthusiastic responses from much larger podcasts that we never expected to hear from at all! That spirit of collaboration is what makes me so proud to be a part of the Pokemon podcast community!

I Chews YouBen (I Chews You): I think my favorite ICY moment so far was the live episode we did for Episode 100.

It was something that we had planned for a long time in advance and I was really anxious about how it would go. But it was such a fun episode to record and be able to see everyone watching at home!

My favorite part of dropping the new theme song at the end of the episode and watching everybody freak out in the chat.

Huge thanks to these amazing Podcasters! Thank you Nick & Jake, Josh & Tanner, Professor Jacob and Ben for taking the time to answer these questions.

We hope you lovers of these fine podcasts also enjoy learning a bit about what makes podcasting so amazing and challenging.

Make sure to give them all a review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcatcher! Don’t touch that Totodile! See you all next time at the Roundtable!

Ongoing Conversation