Posts Tagged ‘esc insight’

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.

The start of another Eurovision season means a new podcast

Monday, September 11th, 2017

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Imagine if the only football you watched was the FA Cup Final in May? If the only baseball game of interest was the World Series. If the only American Football match was the Superbowl. And imagine the delight if you found out that there was a season’s worth of action…

Well, it’s time for the Eurovision Song Contest season to start. Sure, everyone will tune in on Saturday May 12th for the Grand Final, but there’s a world of music before that point. IT;s one I follow with the team at ESC Insight, and the first podcast of the season is now online.

Its going to run fortnightly for a few weeks, so don’t worry about being overwhelmed, but it’s a great place to jump on board this year’s fun.

You can follow the ESC Insight podcast through its RSS feed, or subscribe in iTunes.

On reaching 250 Eurovision podcasts

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

This week I published my 250th podcast on The Eurovision Song Contest.

Given the show is a ‘weekly’ (with some notable exceptions during the year, such as the twice daily schedule in the few days before the Contest), 250 is as good a milestone as any to take note and remember where the podcast has taken me.

The first audio tracks I recorded for Eurovision were from Moscow and the 2009 Contest – those downloads were three ‘alternative ‘commentary’ track so you could watch the show along with me. It was during the run up to Norway in 2010 that the podcasts started ‘for real’ (mostly because they had their own RSS feed) to deliver news updates, analysis, and round-table discussions.

After the 2010 Contest burned through far too much bandwidth on this site, I realised that a dedicated home was needed and ESC Insight was born. Since then, the Eurovision Song Contest has been really good to me personally and professionally. I have friends all over Europe and beyond. I’ve learned many new skills, broadcast documentaries and music shows on terrestrial radio, appeared on the BBC World Service, countless local radio stations, and vox-pops from around the world. I found a practical use for my puppetry skills. I’ve even been an ‘official’ Eurovision Commentator at Junior Eurovision last November.

Most of all, I’ve made more people smile in the world through the coverage I’ve helped create.

But the podcast is where it started, and it’s the podcast that everything else spins out of. So I’m really pleased to reach two hundred and fifty of them. And I hope you have enjoyed listening and participating with me. Right now I’m in Helsinki, ready to take the audio/video kit out to the Barona Arena to watch Finnish television choose their singer for Eurovision 2014. I’ll tell you all about it next week on the podcast…

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.

All the 2013 Eurovision songs rated hit, miss, or maybe

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

With this year’s Eurovision Song Contest happening next weekend, if you’ve not been following my podcasts, there’s a single page on ESC Insight where you can listen to all eight shows that cover all thirty nine performers. Enjoy!

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.

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.

ESC Insight’s Ultimate Juke Box Jury returns

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

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Myself, David Elder and Andrew Main discuss four Eurovision winning songs and rate them Hit, Miss or Maybe. It’s Heat 12, with Lys Assia, Dima Bilan, Amina and Lulu being judged.

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!

Tell King of Shaves that they’d be perfect for Eurovision Insight!

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Now I’m back from SXSW (more on that shortly) it’s time to look ahead to the next adventure. Which is the Eurovision Song Contest.

I’ll go into more depth on the planned coverage and work I’ll be doing at the contest in the near future – but if you’ve been following everything over at ESC Insight you’ll know that there’s going to be a daily audio show coming out of Dusseldorf on the podcast, and various articles on the site.

Which means this keen mind turns to the interesting question of sponsorship. A podcast, with a passionate audience, all looking for the latest thing, that’s a prime property isn’t it. All that’s needed is a company that’s switched on, that realises just how big Eurovision actually is, and appreciates the power of the online world.

So if you all wouldn’t mind telling Will King (@KingofShaves) that this would be a pretty neat idea, then I’d be very grateful.

King of Shaves and ESC Insight