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Velocast Co-Host, John Galloway, Presents His Unique Take On The World. These Are The Sofaboy Chronicles.

Saturday
May112013

Aspirations, Content and Commitment

So, two and half months into this great adventure that is making a living broadcasting via new media and it's been a steep learning curve.

Some easy lessons learned: Be nice to PR folk without being sycophantic and they'll typically go out of their way to help you with no strings attached.

Some hard lessons learned: It's not jollies to races and continental glamour 24/7. It quickly became very clear that we produced better race analysis and connected with the audience better if one of us was at home base. Manning the emails and Twitter, watching the races as they played out in full and with a big fibre internet connection to help folk out as and when necessary.

For the last few days Scott and I have really been worrying at one particular issue.

No beating about the bush, here it is.

The one day Classics were all about "the day" and "the atmosphere" as much as race analysis. Listening back to the shows I think it's some of the best stuff we've ever done and the shows found their feet pretty quickly.

Increasingly though we're feeling that Grand Tours are not the same.

Grand Tours are about a developing narrative, Interweaving stories that play out over three weeks and. to be honest, as much about the relationship and understanding that develops between us and you lot over the three weeks. We've done this for three Grand Tours before and each one has left us missing the daily connection when the GT's finished.

So, as we're hitting our stride with the Giro we're wondering whether the plans we made nearly a year ago before starting this learning curve still hold water. To be blunt we're wondering whether Scott or I going to the last week of the Giro "on the ground" will actually provide better content and a better experience for you and us. Without being too wanky the daily discussions have a mind of their own and we're wary of disrupting the shared following of the developing race that we have with you lot. One of us flying to Italy on the second rest day for the final week might provide great interviews and atmosphere but equally it might provide a jarring break on this journey through the Giro that we're all on together, particularly if we struggle with connectivity.

Make no mistake, the trips are budgeted for, the dog/childminding is in place, we're ready to roll. All we give a toss about is providing subscribers with the absolute best content and coverage we can. This isn't proving to be exactly what we imagined it would be though. The best thing about new media? We can change fast to be the best we can be.

So, we need your help. Give us some feedback about what you want either via comments on this post, the contact form on velocast.cc or Twitter. This is our job, but your show.

 

John

 

 

Monday
May062013

Getting the Premium Shows on Mobile Devices

So, as Scott and I wrestle with the realities of mobile data transfer lets take a look at how you can get the premium shows directly on to your mobile device with no need to tether to a computer via iTunes or the like. First let's look at Downcast, our favourite iOS podcatcher. Home Screen   Image 30-03-2013 at 10.09     as you can see I haven't had much time to listen to podcasts since I left The Royal Mail.   Image 30-03-2013 at 10.04Image 30-03-2013 at 10.03     and that's all there is to it!   Next we'll take a look at Doggcatcher on Android.   Image 30-03-2013 at 10.57   Image 30-03-2013 at 10.58   Image 30-03-2013 at 11.05   Image 30-03-2013 at 11.02   Image 30-03-2013 at 11.03     and that's it. Most apps will take minor variations of these procedure but if you have any problems don't hesitate to get in touch and I'll work them out for you.   John   Edit: One of our beloved listeners @RabAusten has posted this walkthrough for a free Android alternative.  LINK
Thursday
Mar282013

Flanders and The Velocast Productions Outdoor Broadcast Unit.

So, as you all know, Velocast Productions starts it's year of "on the ground" race coverage with this weekend's Tour of Flanders. We could not be more excited and committed.

Well, yesterday Scott and I sat down for a final production meeting and we discovered we had independantly arrived at the same conclusion, someone had to stay at home base. There ensued a slightly embarrassing "You go!", "No, you go!" session but in the end I insisted I stayed. I'll explain the reasons at the end of this post.

First though why did one of us have to stay? Two reasons.

1:Account setup and tech support.

There has been the occasional hiccough when folk sign up for a subscription. It's easy to sort but with sketchy mobile internet connections whilst we were on the road we might not be able to make sure folk get what they pay for as soon as possible after they pay for it.

Add to this the fact that the subscriber's stream direct to mobile devices when we did it for the Grand Tours last year resulted in a fair number of tech support requests one of us had to be on hand to deal with those requests in a timely fashion. Again, all about folk getting what they've paid for as soon as possible after they've paid for it.

 

2: Safety Net.

This is a new adventure for us all and we want to make sure the systems we have in place work. If it all goes south on the remote "on the ground" content submission front? I'll be here with my big fibre connection making sure subscribers get the content they've paid for.

 

So, why me? Well I could say that it's usually me who does customer support etc. Simple truth though? Scott has never been to the Ronde and I have, from a fan's perspective (and we are both really just fans) it's a new experience for him. If we still feel one of us has to stay at home next race I'd far rather be at Roubaix this year. ;o)

We've got a great team on the ground. Scott's accompanied by Sean Lally, my co-host on Tech 5, and also by our good friend and media savvy charity rider Stuart Potter as Go-fer. I'll be deeply involved via IM, email, Skype and simple phone calls many, many times each day. I'll actually get to watch the race unfold on the TV and add that to the perspective we bring to the premium content. The structured shows will still be Scott and I with additional folk. It's our gig.

Most importantly though this isn't about freebie trips to races for us, it's about making sure we bring you the best content we possibly can and providing good customer service/support.

Shit just got real, we're determined to do our very best for you.

 

Forza!

 

John

 

p.s. Don't feel too sorry for me. I'll be at all the races, just the first one is too important for us not to have a "Plan B" for you.

 

 

Saturday
Dec292012

The Problem with Brad.

Slightly provocative headline because in truth, other than "cunt"gate, "wanker"gate etc, I don't really have a problem with Brad. In fact, whilst I've strongly and distressingly frequently critiscised such PR faux pas, my most used phrase during this year's TdF was probably "Yes it is boring, but excellence often is" and his season features high on my list of 2013 highlights in the upcoming year-end Velocast.  

I do have a serious problem with a subset of his fans and a corresponding subset of the fans of Team Sky. 

Last night, after a few glasses of wine (a treat since I now have 5 days off work) I made a throwaway comment about it being too early to give Brad a Knighthood. In virtually the same Twitter breath I said I felt the same about Sir Chris Hoy and that I wasn't questioning Brad's achievments. My personal opinion, even without beverage in hand, is that a Knighthood should be an honour to bookend a career.

I'm not going to try to defend the farcical and often corrupt honours system. It's anachronistic and ripe for, at the very least, reform.

Here's the thing though.

The response to my simply questioning if Brad's knighthood was too early in his career, even whilst explicitly saying I wasn't calling into question the fact that his achievments made him worthy of said honour, was instant and knee jerk. Within a couple of "generations" of tweets it was clear that folk hadn't really bothered to read my original tweets, it was simply that the fact I had dared raise any question about Wiggins or Sky had registered on their timelines and action MUST be taken.

Burn the Witch!

I had folk asking, nay SHOUTING questions at me I had answered in tweets seconds before. Even "Sir" Jimmy Saville was mentioned!

Go and read the timeline if you want.

Which brings me to the problem.

There's a fanatical "if you're not with us you're against us" culture which is building within a certain segment of the cycling fanbase around Wiggins and Sky. Dare to question anything, anything, about Sir Bradley or the team? You're the enemy........

....and we've been down that particular road before, haven't we?

 

J

 

p.s. and before the inevitable jumping to conclusions starts? No, that doesn't mean I think they're doping like USPS. Kinda sad I even felt this particular post script was necessary. *sigh*

Thursday
Dec202012

Twitter? Good God Y'all! What is it Good For? 

I've discussed my ambivalence about Twitter often before. I'll be staying so no "I've had enough! I'm off!" from me though. What I will do is limit the types of interaction I engage in using the medium.

It's a great broadcast medium.

It's great for hanging out with "virtual" chums.

It's excellent for delivering a pithy bon mot.

It is however SHIT as a forum for debate.

The 140 character limit means that comments lack nuance. The terse nature of the discourse lends an antagonistic air to even fairly mild disagreements. Almost inevitably the discussion descends to the playground level within the first few exchanges. So, if you want to engage me in debate I'm more than happy to play my part but it'll be via a form of media that is better suited to it (ideally face to face whilst supping a suitable beverage).I love me a good chinwag.

So, I'll be tweeting as much as normal but I'll be limiting myself to the kind of interactions that are actually suited to the service.

I'll see you there. You want to argue with me though? Don't waste your, or my, time. It's simply the wrong tool for the job.

 

J