As I’ve often discussed all over the internet, I am a huge fan of podcasts. I got my start listening to podcasts years ago when I discovered Diggnation and The Totally Rad Show, and from there I’ve followed a long, winding path as a listener to dozens of shows. Eventually, this path led me to the 70Decibels podcast network, which was headed up by none other than Sir Myke Hurley before it was acquired by the 5by5 network.
Some of my favorite shows are on this network: 512 Podcast, Bionic, CMD+SPACE, Enough, and Generational.
After listening to these shows for a while, I eventually came into contact with Myke himself via Twitter, and it turned out he was an awesome guy to crack jokes with. I’ve heard Myke conduct lots of interviews throughout his podcasting, but I thought it’d be fun to turn the tables a bit and interview him, and in my own way.
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Tell me a little about yourself. Who are you, where are you from, and what are you most known for?
My name is Myke Hurley. I reside just outside of London, England. I am a podcaster in my spare time and I make lots of spelling errors on social networks.
The selfies truly are a sight to behold.
A sight of pure beauty.
Can you describe the path that led you to becoming a podcaster and internet mogul?
This is a story I’ve told many times, so I’m hoping it will one day become legend.
I have always yearned for a creative outlet that fit me. Blogging didn’t work, but boy did I try. Then out of the blue, myself and my best bud Terry Lucy decided we should transition our frequent phone chats about technology and pop culture into something the world could hear. From this, my first podcast, The Bro Show, was born.
This show morphed into an interview show, and then later became CMD+SPACE, which I now host on my own.
“I have always yearned for a creative outlet that fit me. Blogging didn’t work, but boy did I try.”
After building relationships and making friends online – mainly through interviews on The Bro Show – more shows were born and they later all became part of 70Decibels.
The rest, as they say, is history.
You said you podcast in your spare time. As your fans already know, before being acquired by 5by5 you somehow managed to maintain a thriving podcast network while holding down a full-time job. Can you talk a little about how you’ve juggled these two aspects of your life?
Short answer: not very well.
The last three years have been tough. It’s been a lot of work. It’s pretty difficult to juggle these two mindsets constantly; I very frequently find my mind wandering with ideas and problems, when I should be thinking about something totally different.
I also don’t sleep very much. Basically, I work my 9–5 then start podcasting from 7–12. Don’t get me wrong, I *love* this stuff and it’s my choice. I could stop doing this, but I don’t want to. I honestly believe I have a future in podcasting, but I know it takes this amount of work to get there.
“If you don’t put the time in and do what’s needed, you wont get to where you want to go.”
I am very lucky to have amazing people in my life who support me. My girlfriend, family and friends never bother me and tell me I spend too much time doing this stuff, as they know it’s what I want to do. I have had to sacrifice a lot, I miss lots of social events and have to let people down. But again, everyone understands.
I honestly believe that it’s this type of commitment to something that makes you successful. If you don’t put the time in and do what’s needed, you wont get to where you want to go.
As a listener, I can tell that you put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes, but I also sense that you have a blast making these shows.
The vibes of the particular shows I listen to are all that of friends getting together and having great conversations. Would you agree with that? Does it ever feel like real work once you’ve hit the Record button or is it more like playtime?
Without a doubt, podcasting is my hobby. I love it, and I love spending my time creating the shows. I can’t imagine what people do with their spare time — I think it would drive me slowly mad to just watch TV or something.
I am lucky that the people I record my shows with are all my friends and I think that does come through. We’re just having a good time talking about the things that we love. And with CMD+SPACE, I’m getting to talk to personal heroes — who wouldn’t enjoy that?!
“Sometimes I have to take a moment to realise just how lucky I am”
Of course, there is an element of work that goes along with everything and once in a while that hits me, but this is always when I’m off the mic. When I’m talking and my Mac is recording, it’s all fun.
That’s great to hear. So, what does a typical day look like for you? Walk me through a day in the life of Myke Hurley.
I’ll take you through my Tuesday. This is my busiest day podcasting-wise.
7am: Wake up and prepare for my day
8am–9am: Commute. Catch up on email and tweets
9am - 5pm: Corporate Stooge time. Throughout the day, as well as doing my work I will be responding to email and tweets relating to the shows as well as reading RSS and preparing show topics. My employer is cool with this as long as I meet my deadlines.
5–6pm: More email and tweet catch-up. Finalise show topics and/or questions
6pm–6:20pm: Record The News
6:30pm - 8:00pm: Record, edit and post Bionic
8:00pm - 9:30pm: Record, edit and post Enough
10:00pm - 11:30pm: Record, edit and Post The Pen Addict
11:30pm - 1:30am: Email, Twitter RSS
Wow, I hope you’re managing to get some food and sleep in there somewhere.
Sometimes I do :)
With such a busy schedule on your hands, how do you find time to actually listen to other podcasts anymore?
On the account that I still have a jobby-job I have a commute. My commute is like two hours a day, so that helps.
I also listen throughout the day. Podcasts are my favourite choice of entertainment. I listen on my lunch breaks and just throughout my day.
This seems like a good opportunity to get into some behind-the-scenes geekery. What sorts of tools do you use in your podcasting workflow, and how do you go about managing the time/scheduling differences between yourself and those of your cohosts and guests?
The time thing is always interesting. It has some advantages and some disadvantages. It allows me to record with most people when I get home from work as 6pm for me is typically early afternoon time for my guests and hosts. However, there are times when I’ve needed to be recording until 3am to accomodate someone’s schedule.
I tend to use Google or some world clock-type apps to track this for me. I don’t really have any amazing ones to recommend.
My ‘podcasting workflow’ is nothing amazing, really. I plan for most of the shows in Google Drive documents as they have great collabaration tools, and I record and edit in Garageband. I plan to learn a more powerful tool this year, but I’m waiting to see what happens with Pro Tools/Logic X before jumping in.
What sort of physical recording equipment do you use? And if someone were interested in getting into podcasting, what minimum setup would you recommend for them (something hi-quality that won’t break the bank)?
Ah, you see, this is where it all changes. I am using some very ‘pro’ equipment (just not very well). This is my current set up, all stolen from Dan’s Podcasting Equipment Guide:
- Heil PR40 Mic
- Mackie Onyx 1620i
- RØDE Boom Arm
- This all feeds into a Mac mini
I need some other stuff to add to this set-up (like a good pre-amp) and will be doing this soon. This kit is far more than I really need at the moment, but I decided to futureproof myself.
Whilst recording I use a 13" Retina Macbook Pro to collate shownotes and take care of anything I need for the show itself. I don’t touch the Mac mini whilst it is doing the recording.
If you are just starting out, I definitely believe you should be buying yourself a mic of some kind. Don’t use your Mac’s built-in mic or your iPhone headset.
I would suggest the RØDE Podcaster as a great starting point. It produces great sound and is really reliable. However, it’s a big entry point at $229. If you don’t want to drop that cash, then go for a Blue Yeti (around $100). I used a Yeti for years and it did me well. Just bear in mind you will want to upgrade it at some point, and the RØDE is a good next step.
Great stuff. On the subject of beginners, what kind of advice would you give to someone just starting out? Also, if you could go back in time and meet your past self, what kind of tips would you give them?
I have two things that I have tried to live by and that I recommend to new, aspiring podcasters (or anybody trying to make something on the internet):
Show up every day. You should have a recording schedule that you stick to and make sure you get your shows out in a timely fashion. People will want your stuff so make sure you give it to them. You have to put the time and effort in to your work and this will mean sacrificing other things. But – if you really want it – you’ll find a way.
Build relationships. I would be nowhere without the kindness and generosity of others. People that have been guests on my show and promote it, people that have given their time to becoming hosts and those who advise me. Without their help and support I would not be where I am right now. Just try to build friends online who can help you. Start small, be nice and don’t be over-keen.
I’m not saying this a golden ticket or that I am a MASSIVE success because of it, but this has served me well so far and I believe it be the right thing.
In all honesty, I don’t think I have anything I want to change. I am happy with the path that I’ve taken. Every mistake was a learning experience and if I was to change anything or give myself any tips then I may spoil the timeline. ;)
I agree with those principles, especially in regards to building relationships. In all honesty, one of the reasons I wanted to do an interview series on this site was to build relationships with people whose work I respect.
The point you bring up about not being over-keen is an interesting one, though. I imagine that CMD+SPACE has afforded you the opportunity to have conversations with many of your own heroes. What has that experience been like for you? Do you find yourself having to restrain your enthusiasm so as not to scare them off?
You have literally no idea. On a weekly basis I get the chance to talk to people whose work I love and who I have been a fan of for many years. Seriously, it’s insane and sometimes I have to take a moment to realise just how lucky I am.
“It can be really easy to slip into fanboy mode.”
It’s a difficult thing to do, trying to restrain one’s inner fanboy — but with work it’s possible. I’ve found that people like to know that you admire and respect them, but don’t really want you to be telling them every little thing you know about their lives. There’s a balance to be found, something that (again) takes practice and fine-tuning.
It can be really easy to slip into fanboy mode, especially if you’re nervous. But it’s possible to get these nerves under control and if you do, you’ll create better content for it. Excitement is really good. Creepiness isn’t.
Hmm that’s…hey, look over there! *tosses hand-written stack of notes about Myke’s family over my shoulder*
So, going back to tech stuff for a sec, do you have any favorite non-podcasting apps at the moment you’d like to share? And it doesn’t have to be iOS/Mac-related, I know you’ve been trying out lots of Android devices lately so feel free to talk about any of those apps if you’d like.
Haha! Yes, indeed!
I dont want to be the Android guy but some apps that I love include; Falcon Pro, Robin and Press. They are some real excellent quality apps that would be in the best apps I’ve used, regardless of platform.
On the Mac and iOS I don’t really use anything that people aren’t already using. Apps like Tweetbot, Reeder, Kiwi, etc.
I don’t often drool over Android apps, but I’d love to take that Press app for a spin.
So where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years? Still podcasting, or pursuing some other creative endeavour? If the podcasting world somehow falls off the face of the planet, what would you turn to next?
In all honesty I imagine that I will still be podcasting. I have been doing it for three years now and I love it just as much as I always have. I can’t see any reason why I would want to stop pursuing this dream.
“I want to have done something totally new, something that nobody has done before and something that will change the course of podcasting in some way.”
I do believe I will be creating the shows as my profession and will be supporting myself and my family from them. But who knows? Some new form of entertainment could be born that fits me even more!
If podcasting ceased to exist, I have no idea what I would do. I’m not much of a writer, so I don’t think I’d enjoy that too much. Maybe I’d try my best at becoming a YouTube sensation. Is that cheating?
Not at all. If I remember correctly, you and I both sort of stumbled onto podcasts via shows like Diggnation and TRS, and I’d say there are worse things you could try to emulate :)
Let’s say podcasting never dies, and maybe it becomes regarded as one of the greatest forms of media in history, right alongside television, film and radio. What kind of impact would you like to have on such an industry? What kind of legacy would you hope to leave behind?
I have no doubt that podcasting will be considered a great thing for many years to come. We are building a totally new type of broadcasting. It’s still evolving and changing, that’s one of the things I love about it.
I have no idea what it will look like, but I want to be known for making a mark on the industry in some way. I want to have done something totally new, something that nobody has done before and something that will change the course of podcasting in some way.
That’s the dream. I just need to work out what it is exactly.
At the risk of sounding like a suck-up, I think you’re a smart and talented guy. I’m sure you’ll figure something out.
You’re a kind soul, Mr. Gonzales.
Well, I think that covers just about everything. So as we wrap up this interview, I’d like to ask a couple more things: 1) Would you mind sharing some stuff (music, comics, movies, whatever) that you’re absolutely loving at the moment, and 2) are you working on anything that you’d like to plug before you go?
Naturally, I’m enjoying Adventure Time (I think everyone knows that) which is probably the finest cartoon in recent history. I must recommend the comic Scott Pilgrim. There are 6 volumes in total of this book that were previously released in black and white, however they are now all being colorised and re-released.
If you haven’t seen Glengarry Glen Ross, then you should. I am currently listening to Daft Punk, that’s a good choice too. You should definitely seek out Anamanaguchi too.
Right, so we are now five episodes into The Prompt and things seem to be going well with it, as far as I can see. Can you talk a little about what the show is about, what the post-unveiling experience has been like, and what you've got coming up in the future?
The Prompt is a show that I have wanted to make for a long time. A more 'round-table' show, with multiple hosts and occasional guests. I started seriously working on the idea for this show a few months ago, as we started to transition over to 5by5. I didn't have a name or even co-hosts, I just knew the type of show I wanted to make.
I was really lucky to be able to get Federico Viticci and Stephen Hackett on board for the show. The three of us have great chemistry and are a great balance of skill and history on the Apple platforms. Basically, on The Prompt we discuss topics and news of the week, pertaining to Apple and the world that surrounds it. We don't focus too heavily on the news but it helps drive some of the topic directions we are going for and I think we're doing a pretty great job.
The Prompt has received the biggest reaction to anything I have ever made before and it's easily the most successful thing too. It was just a mix of right-time, right-place and right-people. We are still growing and adapting the show, lining up correspondents (this is what we call our guests. We have correspondents on the show that are experts in specific topics we want to cover) and getting used to each other on the mic. But I think we have something really special.
Awesome, thanks for taking the time to chat with me. I know you’re a busy man but I hope you had as much fun as I did.
Thanks a lot for the interview Chris, I have really enjoyed this one. Excellent questions.
Take care, Myke.
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There you have it. I wish Myke the best of luck in his podcasting endeavors, especially with The Prompt. It's quickly become one of my favorite shows.