This is it – I’m really pleased to have finished the full A to Z challenge. As much as this challenge was fully in my control and my success would be determined based on my choice to complete it alone, I was still worried on some level I would abandon it.
Back in 2008, when podcasting was just starting, I was a fan of an Internet radio station called Whole Wheat Radio. This station featured independent music, primarily in the folk singer-songwriter genre, and was user-driven, meaning that unless there was a live DJ, the music queue would be chosen by the listeners through a web interface.
The station was participatory at times and as a part of it I submitted some content of my own. Every day I commuted by subway to and from work. Along the way I would encounter several subway musicians. Because our city requires that the musicians audition, the quality is generally very good. In fact, at least one of our subway musicians, Roger Ellis, has won a Juno award (like the Canadian version of a Grammy award) when he played guitar with the band Edward Bear. You might not recognize the name, but some of my older readers will likely recognize the song. I remember my mom really loving it back in the day.
After seeing them day after day, I got inspired to interview them and ask them about their experiences. I did it all with a Zoom H4 portable recorder – relatively new technology at the time.
It was quite a bit outside of my comfort zone – I still don’t often talk to strangers – but I had such a good time doing it. The episodes are still available so you can listen to them below:
The series ended after four episodes but I had a great time doing it. It was surprisingly easy to start a conversation and people were really happy to participate. In the end I was really glad to have stepped so far outside my comfort zone. Every day we walk by people and think “I wonder what their life is like.” Being able to say “I’m producing a program for Whole Wheat Radio.” gave me both the courage and credibility to say “So tell me about your life.” I was excited and scared but also had the time of my life.
That’s it for the April A to Z challenge. I’m pleased with how it went and excited to keep my eye open for similar challenges. Are any of you doing any new challenges for May?