Since starting the Wonder Junkie Podcast earlier this year I've had the huge privilege of speaking to a variety of people from all different walks of life. Having just passed episode 10, I'd like to share five things I've learned from doing the podcast so far. Thank you as always for supporting the podcast, no denying that 2016 has been a trying year but getting to interact with you throughout this journey has been the ultimate pick me up.
1. Progress in space exploration is slow but worth it.
When speaking to Dr Matt Taylor for Episode 01 of Wonder Junkie about the ESA Rosetta mission, I found out that the original paperwork for the mission dates back to 1987... two years before I was even born! I still hope that my generation will see it's "Apollo moment" read more on that here but I've come to understand breakthroughs such as a human on Mars or a permanent base on The Moon are not only incredibly difficult to achieve scientifically, but even more of a challenge as government budgets around the world continue to get tighter. It's still something I hope to see in my lifetime, though.
2. Live music venues need better access for disabled people.
In episode 06 I spoke to Mystery Jets frontman Blaine Harrison. Blaine was born with the disability spina bifida, which has affected his leg muscles since he was a child. He told me how he works with the charity Attitude Is Everything, who lobby live music venues up and down the country to provide better access for disabled people or even just training up venue staff members to be able to deal with disability issues easier. I must admit I thought this was an issue live music venues would handle individually, so to learn about the charity was a real eye opener and they do some really fantastic work, be sure to check them out.
3. Acting out boxing is just as difficult as real boxing.
"When Sly gets on set it's like Ceaser coming into Rome" The words of professional boxer Tony Bellew in Episode 03 talking about his role as "Pretty Ricky Conlan" in Creed. I always wondered how difficult it must be to act out fighting and when I asked Tony he said: "If anything, you have to throw through more because when the fight scenes are choreographed you're throwing punches that aren't to land but when you're in a boxing ring and I know I'm throwing punches that will land, I have to pull back" Either way, I'll be leaving the boxing to Tony!
4. Rock music will always struggle economically on traditional radio.
It's not every day you get to interview your boss, but after everything that happened with TeamRock Radio in the summer I thought it'd be good to catch up with Moose and get to the bottom of why rock music always seems to struggle to make money on radio. The answer? "It's simple, the numbers are not very big and all of the spend in radio is governed by agencies who look at the audience and say oh no they're evil, they have long hair and all they do is lay about. They don't understand the audience." I still think that someone will get the formula right one day to make a rock station succeed financially, but clearly the model has to change to make that work.
We're seeing signs of that model beginning to emerge and a familiar point came up when I spoke to Sahil Makhija in episode 05. Sahil decided to crowd fund the new Demonic Resurrection album through Pledge Music and amazingly, it's already hit 145% of it's target. In the interview Sahil said "I think with the crowd funding option, even your fans get a sense of purpose with what you're doing. It gives them a closer look where they feel more involved and responsible for making the album happen" I couldn't agree more with this and think that as traditional advertising revenues continue to decline, we could potentially see radio stations adapt this model to not only better engage with their audiences but to develop a more stable economic platform as well.
5. Love what you do, otherwise, there’s no point.
In perhaps what might have been the easiest podcast to record from an interviewers perspective, I thoroughly enjoyed my chat with Sky Sports F1 commentator Crofty. You can hear in that podcast that he genuinely loves commentary, radio and of course rock music. The formula 1 gig comes at a price of being away from his family for half of the year and I’m sure the travelling takes it toll as well but as Alan Watts said “It’s better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”
The last point is the one I find most poignant, I think if you’ve found something in life that you love to do and can get paid to do it, that should always be the first option you strive for. Life is just too damn short to not pursue the things you're passionate about.
I look forward to everything else I’ll learn along the way through podcasting and have new episodes coming online soon varying from more great music guests to ancient Egyptian history and even marine biology… If I was only this interested in all this stuff when I was at school eh?