Archive for the ‘Eurovision Podcast’ Category

On Publishing Five Hundred Podcasts

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Last Friday saw one of the moments where numbers conspired to mean something. Over on ESC Insight, I posted the five hundredth episode of my Eurovision Song Contest podcast. There was nothing particularly special about the contents, it was a regular episode of ‘ESC Insight News’, covering the last two weeks of news in the world of the Song Contest.

The only concessions to the episode number was a sad party twizzler sound effect at the end of the show, and the subtle use of a Fiat 500 as the key image in the post and shared social images.

And while it is podcast #500 on the RSS feed of ESC Insight, I’ve done more Eurovision podcasts and audio that have been sent down other channels – the podcasts and radio shows for the SBS Eurovision pop-up radio station, the work with Radio Six International, the syndicated radio preview shows each year, and even the commentary work I’ve done have all been part of the audio adventure. These shows are not in the core 500, but they all arose because I podcast about something I love and became one of the ‘go to voices’ in the space.

This is the point where inspirational posts would suggest some grand lessons over the last six years of ESC Insight. I’m not sure there are any, beyond find a passion, keep the quality as high as possible, always ask if you can do more, and say yes to every opportunity you get.

The ESC Insight podcast has taken me on some amazing journeys, from a midnight flight into Yerevan to armed guards blocking my path into Azeri press centres; from commentary booths around the world to talking to TV and Radio executives across Europe and beyond; to be welcomed by a community and to create a new community, it has delivered all that and more.

As for what comes next, I’d highlight podcast #499. This is part of a series called ‘Eurovision Castaways’, where host Ellie Chalkley interviews members of the Song Contest community about their favourite records and finds out more about them. That episode arrived in my podcast player with no input at all from me.

I may have started the Eurovision podcast many years ago, I may still contribute, but the podcast is now something much bigger than just myself, a microphone, and some passion.

Now that personal passion is the shared passion of tens of thousands.

Some thoughts on podcasting and what engages me

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Last week I had the opportunity to experience podcasting from the other side, as a listener looking in to a world and being guided by experts on the other side of my headphones, and it remind me just how powerful podcasting can be when it finds the right environment.

The event was the 24 Heures du Mans, and my guides were the team at Radio Le Mans. In the build up to the event they previewed the four classes of cars that were racing, reported daily on the practices around the circuit, covered the scrutineering, the damp fizzle that was qualifying, and when it was time for the race they switched to live streaming for every minute of the event.

Yes, I can enjoy Le Mans without them, but having excited experts, fans, and reporters talking to me every day made for a much more engaged and exciting event. For me, this is where podcasting works. It’s social, it’s engaging, and it gets multiple expert voices (and switch on lay fans) in discussion.

It’s also given me a big checklist of things that I need to be careful of when the Edinburgh Fringe podcasts start coming out nearer the end of July and into the daily shows during August… making sure the introduction to the podcast is strong and acts as an index to what is coming up in the rest of the show; remembering the different levels of knowledge listeners will have; and that while all the guests and news will vary, the host is the constant that will keep people coming back for the next show.

And while the Eurovision Song Contest podcasts go on a much slower schedule now (two fifteen minute episodes per month for June through September, compared to a daily 30 minute show leading up to the Contest in May), the principles are the same.

When people ask me about the differences between audio podcasts and videos, the safe and quick answer is ‘time’ – video online needs to be much shorter, and audio can offer more time to get involved. But if you want to expand on that, an audio podcast offers a chance for more education, more entertainment, and more information. While there are moments when short podcasts are ideal, the podcasts that work well for me are the news magazine style of shows, rather than the breaking news bulletins.

Part of my #back2blog community series of blog posts.

On reaching two hundred episodes of the Eurovision Insight Podcast

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

I’ve been involved with a number of long-running podcasts (and a few ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ shorter run shows), but I wanted to take a moment to watch the episode counter tick over and reach ‘200’ on my Eurovision Song Contest podcast (iTunes link). That’s a lot of weekly shows (although for the two weeks leading up to the Contest in May it does switch to a daily schedule) and looking back on the path it has taken me on, I’m really proud of them all.

I didn’t do anything ‘special’ for this show as it’s the middle of the Eurovision Song Contest season. You might think it’s one show in May, but there are thirty-nine countries all looking to select a song through countless live TV shows, radio auditions, online voting, and a few committees behind closed doors, and that all started back in December, so there was a small mention at the top of this week’s show, and then on with the mix of news, editorial, and music that has been part of the show over the last four years.

But I’m conscious that the show delivers a great service to a highly distributed audience around the world, has opened many doors for me (including a number of commissioned shows broadcast nationally by SBS in Australia), let me travel around Europe and visit destinations I would never have considered or reached otherwise (the delights of Yerevan and the Armenian winter spring to mind), and I’m glad the podcast (and the associated website) has been welcomed as a small part of the Eurovision Song Contest community.

Now excuse me, I need to pack my bags and catch a flight from London Stanstead so I can go to the ‘Song for Europe’ selection shows in Germany, Austria, and Hungary this weekend.

Judging this year’s Eurovision Songs on the Juke Box Jury

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

As in previous years, the majority of my thoughts about The Eurovision Song Contest will be found on ESC Insight (www.escinsight.com). Rather than daily news about the Contest, an area well served by many sights, ESC Insight looks at some of the issues in more depth – think of it like a Sunday newspaper compared to the daily news of sites such as ESCxtra.

Alongside the articles from myself, a core writing team of three others, and a number of regular contributors, it’s also the home of my Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast. There’s enough Eurovision news throughout the year for a weekly news podcast, but as the Contest gets ever neared (May 26th) and the countries all declare their songs for Europe, the ESC Insight team sit down to judge every single song on the podcast, in a series of “Juke Box Jury” shows.

A simple format (we listen to each song, five per episode) and rate them Hit, Miss, or Maybe. After some lively discussion. Two episodes have already been posted, with the rest to follow one a week each Friday till Eurovision starts.

 

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Episode 1:  Albania, Finland, Moldova, The Netherlands, and Turkey.

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Episode 2: Macedonia, Hungary, Latvia, Iceland, and Slovenia.

Don’t miss an episode of this year’s Juke Box Jury (or any of The Unofficial Eurovision Podcast episodes), subscribe to the RSS feed dedicated to the podcasts. iTunes users can find us in the iTunes Store and get the show automatically downloaded to your computer.

Junior Eurovision 2011 and the first Juke Box Jury round

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

There’s another Eurovision Song Contest around the corner (Junior Eurovision will be on Dec 3rd, and broadcast from Yerevan, Armenia). Leading up to the contest, the traditional preview shows on the Eurovision podcast will be running, but this time the regular guests on Juke Box Jury have been stood down. It’s Junior Eurovision, so that means Junior Juke Box Jury and the kids from Duncan Place deciding on a Hit, Miss, or Maybe.

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Round 1 has the songs from hosts Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belgium.

As always, more fun and games at ESC Insight, along with a bundle of coverage on JESC (as the abbreviation goes)

Gimme Gimme Gimme a Eurovision Podcast

Monday, September 26th, 2011

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With the latest Eurovision news, Ultra Nate’s potential song for Switzerland, and just a tiny hint of a riff from Abba… RSS and iTunes, with more commentary on ESC Insight.

Eurovision and the Crystal Ball of Baku

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

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With news on the JESC and ESC finals, the Crystal Arena, who’s in and out for the contests, and music from Marie Myriam. Follow all the Eurovision Song Contest fun at ESC Insight (or in iTunes).

Start the Clock on the Eurovision 2012 campaign (and the ESC Insight podcasts!)

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

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The clock has started, 267 days to go, songs can be published and still be eligible, and the Grand Final is set for Saturday May 26th. All that, more news, and music from Georgea Blakey, in the latest Eurovision Song Contest Insight Podcast.

Eurovision Insight’s Ultimate Juke Box Jury from the Fringe

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

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Frisky and Mannish join in the Eurovision fun with the latest editition of Ultimate Juke Box Jury. Apart from them being great guests, they’re one of the few judging combinations that could give a fair crack of the whip to Abba. Enjoy!

Edinburgh Fringe Show #1 – New Media for Old Rope

Friday, August 5th, 2011

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With Rohan Gunatillake (Festivals Lab), James Master (FestaFriend) and Paul Levy (Fringe Review). More at the Edinburgh Fringe Podcast and The Stage. Follow via RSS or in iTunes.

The latest Eurovision Insight news podcast

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

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Keeping up with the fun and games of the Eurovision Song Contest over on ESC Insight with my regular news podcast.

Ultimate Juke Box Jury Heat 13

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

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Which is the best Eurovision winning song of all time? The quest continues over on ESC Insight, as Luxemburg (1973), Israel (1998), Ireland (1980) and The Netherlands (1969) are judged.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Semi Final 1 Commentary

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

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(Cross posted from ESC Insight)

For the third year, it’s a delight to present my alternative commentary tracks for the Eurovision Song Contest. You’ve lived with the ESC Insight podcasts not just from Dusseldorf, but in the run up to the contest, through the national finals, and from the "Post Eurovision Depression" summer last year.

So let’s start the end of our journey for the 2011 winner as we begun, together, online, and with the podcast. You can either start with your national broadcaster, or head to www.eurovision.tv/esctv to watch the official stream (which is lacking a commentator).

As always, technical and legal reasons mean syncing up with the live broadcast without the help of the BBC Radio 2 production van mean you need to do a little bit of work, so grab the MP3, cue it up in your audio player of choice, be it portable on headphones, or on your PC. Feel free to start listening whenever you want, but starting as the show starts is fine.

I’ll remind you in the show, but when you hear a beep, you pause the track, watch the song performance, then start up the track again. Don’t stop for adverts or cutaways, just for the music.

The only potential gotcha is that with no opening ceremony or show, there’s no obvious starting point, so start the track, pause when I tell you and start up again when our hosts say "Let the Eurovision Song Contest begin!"

Enjoy! And you can still follow me real time on Twitter for updates direct from Dusseldorf and the Contest.

Eurovision 2011 Podcast: Semi Final 1 Commentary

Ewan Spence talks you though the first semi final of Eurovision. Press play before the show starts, and don’t forget to pause for the music when you hear the beep!

You can stay up to date with The ESC Insight Podcast by subscribing to the RSS feed for all the shows, or use iTunes to get the show automatically downloaded to your computer if you’re an Apple user.

Five seconds into the future – It’s Eurovision time!

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

As I write this blog post, I’m safely wrapped up in the Press Centre of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. For those of you keeping track of the dates, the live shows are on May 10th and 12th for the semi-finals, and Saturday 14th for the Grand Final. As is the norm for Eurovision, my experiences are a bit out of sync with the majority, but that actually helps the coverage I can do around the Contest.

The reason for "five seconds" is that my Eurovision experience is always challenging time. Last week I was at the Scottish "preview" Party for the Song Contest, which was the time where a big group of us all gather to watch Eurovision on TV – being three weeks before the broadcast we have to rely on the preview videos, but that’s my Eurovision on TV time.

During the dress rehearsals, I’m watching, taking notes, scripting and recording my commentary, so I’m watching the live show the day before the TV audience. And when they all settle in at home to watch the conference, the physics behind the transmission of the video signal from Dusseldorf getting to your TV screen means that my tweet-commentary can out-race the pictures.

Eurovision Insight

You might have noticed that there’s been a lot less coverage of Eurovision on my personal blog – there’s a simple reason for that. Last year I ran my podcasts from the Eurovision category on this blog, but after the huge response and listenership, it seemed the right thing to do was spin off the podcast and Song Contest coverage to a separate site.

In essence, the site here was an incubator for what has become ESC Insight, which is not only the home of the podcast (direct RSS, iTunes and Zune links), but also a ‘long-form’ blog and website that focuses on in-depth articles around the Song Contest. If you’re looking for a daily chat show, articles and commentary from Dusseldorf this year, that’s where you want to go.

And before you ask, the annual commentary for the live shows will still be happening on Twitter via my own account @Ewan.

If you’re looking for a bit more Eurovision, I’m also working with SBS, the Australian broadcaster, to provide a range of Eurovision themed shows and daily news bulletins from Germany for their DAB broadcast – head over to the SBS Eurovision website, and catch the highlights in their podcast!

Nul Points! The Eurovision Quiz Show

Friday, December 24th, 2010

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MP3 File – Show Notes – RSS Feed – iTunes Link

Now for something a little different on the podcast for the Christmas holidays, as Juke Box Jury takes a little break. What happens if you take every comedy panel quiz discussion show, mix them all up, throw in a little bit of Eurovision? You get this.

Nul Points! is the Eurovision Quiz show which challenges them to think on their feet, justify their choices about those moments and memories, and tests our pundits knowledge of the Eurovision Song Contest to the maximum. Whether you label it “points for punditry,” or “tell us something quite interesting”, it’s time to see where this pilot goes, and if you’d like us to add it in to the schedule of ESC Insight podcasts.

Nul Points! (December 2010)

Hosted by Ewan Spence, with Elaine Dove, David Elder, Danny Lynch and Ross Tillbrook.

Ultimate Juke Box Jury will be back in the New Year, on Friday 7th January.

Don’t miss an episode of The Unofficial Eurovision Podcast by subscribing to the RSS feed dedicated to the podcasts. iTunes users can find us in the iTunes Store and get the show automatically downloaded to your computer. You could support the site by buying Tim Moore’s Nul Points from Amazon (which has nothing to do with the quiz, but is a great Eurovision book).