Ok, so welcome to my latest podcast review, blah blah blah. I have reviewed a few podcasts in the past, (click on podcast on the tab thingy on the side to see them), and I have had a few requests to review this one. Now, I am not a listener of this particular podcast so I wanted to give them a fair shot. So in the past month or so I have listened to 8, count them 8 episodes of Rawrcast in order to be fair and nice and all that. That is over 14 hours out of my life. I have no life. Anyway, that’s been written so that when I get grief for not being fair later I can give you all the middle finger.
The thing about podcasts is that they are an entirely new medium and a very old medium all at the same time. When Steve Jobs got up at the Apple convention a few years ago and said that itunes would support podcasting, it blew the whole thing wide open. Over-night every dog and his biscuit got in on the bandwagon, as you can do it from home whilst wearing a dressing gown which is hanging open to reveal most of your dangly bits falling out as you munch on some sort of disgusting fried food and yell at your kids to shut the fuck up. That’s the new medium part. The old medium is that they are essentially a radio show. And a good radio show comprises how a subject matter is approached and the ability of the host or hosts to deliver it. All the new fangled technology in the world won’t cover your butt if you are poor at these two basic criteria.
The Rawrcast podcast is hosted by Stompalina and Hafrot, (yet again another example of hosts not using their real names which I hate). They have been going since November 2008 and they manage to put out an episode every Sunday. Their website is very professional, maybe even the best one that I have seen, and they have a nice calender where you can see which guests are featured in upcoming episodes. They have an obviously strong community behind them and I am certain by the amount of passion and energy that they put into the show that this is something very important to them.
So it’s a pity that I hate it.
Look, you can only go so far when waffling on about your own lives and what you have done in WoW that week before my eyes glaze over and I begin to wonder if there is a Gilligans Island episode that I may have missed 20 years ago. The average length of their show is a tad under 2 hours. Now this is a long time. The reason that it’s a tad under two hours is because of how much time they talk about fucking crap. I’m going to use episode 63 as an example for this review as it’s the most recent one that I listened to. And I am going to compare it to The Instance podcast because those guys get it right. Listen to an episode of the Instance and the hosts spend an average of about 14 seconds saying hello to each other and saying what they’ve been up to. Then they’re straight into the content for the show. That’s professional. In episode 63 of Rawrcast you have to wait over 22 minutes for them to get to their news segment of the show. All they talk about is what they have done that week in the game with their guild, their achivements, what has been going on with … I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
Either you’re doing the show for the general public or you’re doing it for yourselves and the people who play the game with you. If you’re doing it for the general public then stop rabbiting on about bullshit for so long. If you’re doing it for your friends then don’t put it on itunes.
I’ve got to talk about one thing now, I can’t let it go. You see, as I’m writing this I’m listening to this episode again, (in order to be fair), and it just keeps coming up. Stompalina is a girl in real life. She is the main host of the show. And she has a habit of laughing all the time at … nothing. Nothing that would be amusing to you or I but apparently to her it’s fucking hilarious. At the 22.16 minute mark on this episode she breaks into uncontrolable laughter accompanied by pig snorting of all things, (I’m not making this up), because her co-host interrupted her. At the 22.50 minute mark she does it again because she mispronounced a word. Two hours of this. I listen to podcasts with headphones while I drive. I almost crashed my car the first time I got one of her pig snorts it freaked me out so much. Perhaps if you know her in real life this is funny but I don’t know her. She’s putting out a podcast that she expects people like me who play WoW to listen to. If you’re going to do this don’t laugh every minute or so at nothing. And don’t do pig snorts into the microphone for gods sake.
Stompalina also says the word ‘fuck’ a lot. Now readers of my blog know that I like to use this word as well, I am no prude by any means. But there is foul mouthed and smart and foul mouthed and stupid and lets just say this podcast isn’t rocket science. My blog isn’t rocket science either. But I use that word to highlight something, to put an amusing twist on a situation in order to stimulate a reaction. She uses the word as she uses it in everyday conversation. Which makes it crass and after a while it just begins to wear you down a little.
Her co-host, Halfrot, isn’t that bad. I don’t think that he’s great or anything but next to Stompalina he appears to be. He’s got a calm manner, the sort of guy who just cruises along and does his thing. He is knowledgeable about the game from what I can tell. I just wish that he wouldn’t set Stompalina off so much as he knows just which button to press in order to get her to start laughing.
Then we get to their interview this week which is two of the guys from wowhead.com. This has to be one of the most inspired interview choices for a WoW podcast that I have ever come across. Most podcasts just interview hosts from other podcasts which turns it into a big clique get the in-joke nepotistic kind of thing, (which Rawrcast does as well I must add). But interviews like this are just fantastic and even though Stompalina interviews them she manages to keep her laughter in check and it really is worth a listen to. I also like the fact that both hosts don’t do the interviewing. This is a trap which a lot of other shows fall into and what you usually get is a bunch of people interrupting each other or a conversation being inadvertedly steered away from what was a very interesting chain of discussion. So that doesn’t happen here, and this interview is well worth listening to.
The thing is though, the interview shows up what is wrong with this podcast. Stompalina interviews them in a calm and professional manner. Sure she jokes around a bit but she always steers it right back, because she doesn’t want to waste their time. But apparently the listener doesn’t deserve the same treatment, because as soon as the interview is finished we’re back to another 90 minutes of waffle about their lives mixed in with current issues and events in WoW. I think that the hosts put a great deal of effort into the behind the scenes aspects of their show: the website, the forums, the interviews that they organise, they are all very well done. What lets them down is how they deliver the show both in how they approach the material and with their own presentation. And unfortunately, at the end of the day, the show is really all that you have.