Acapodcast #65: Seven minutes to say goodbye.

65 isn’t a hugely significant number. Its a common speed limit on highways. And it’s the nominal age of retirement.  Neither has terribly much to do with a cappella. But they are both indicative of limits, changes, and endings.  No joke, it has literally been 6 months since I last put out a show, and it’s time for me to fess up to myself and to everyone that The Acapodcast, at least as it is, is being retired.  And I’ll go into this in a bit, but I want to start with some thanks.

Thanks to all the groups who sent in music, or gave me the green light to put them on the show. Especially those in the first year, when podcasts were still fairly new, and The Acapodcast was a new thing with not a lot to show. It’s because of early groups responding to emails out of the blue from some random dude with no name or affiliation that I was able to build a show and a brand and get more and more for the listeners.

Thanks to fellow podcasters and audio wonks who contributed their knowledge. When I started I came with a knowledge of the computer side, but not the audio side, and the help was invaluable. A special nod to Brian Ibbott of Coverville fame for his write-ups on dealing with music licensing agencies. Similarly, thanks to all the other podcasters and websites and people who made a plug for me, mentioned me to their audience, or just told a friend.

Thanks to the a cappella community as a whole.  The folks at RARB, CASA, and every other a cappella community venue are some of the most passionate, and yet the most kind and supportive folks around.  Every hobby, niche or not, should have such a talented and dedicated community.

Thanks also to a few specific people who helped me turn the show into what it became.  Thanks to Tony Angeles for the artwork, and the enthusiasm.  Thanks to Deke Sharon for all the music, the bed tracks, and his humble cheerleading. Thanks to Joey C., Mr. Tim, and others who gave me something to measure up to and who unknowingly egged me on to be better.

Thanks most of all to all the listeners over the past 5 years. I never stopped hearing from fans, giving words of encouragement, suggestions, thanks, and compliments.  I’m a fundamentally shy guy by nature, and you rewarded me for putting myself out there.

So, why stop?  Well, basically, its because the show has kind of reached the point where it’s done what I’ve set out to do with it.  When I started 5 years ago I was interested in podcasting, and especially interested in podcasting a cappella. At the time I saw a big vacuum in that regard, one that I had the ability to fill.  At the time, podcasts were starting to take off, but a cappella was still far out of the mainstream.  I’d hoped that by starting the show I could reach out to a little bit more of that mainstream.  Now, I’m not saying that a cappella is mainstream yet, but face it, we’re closer than we’ve ever been.  I say this coming off the heels of the second season of the Sing-Off, including appearances in the Macy’s Day parade. I say this because I feel we’re now at the point where almost everyone has at least heard the term a cappella, and knows what it means.  I say this because more and more mainstream musicians are connecting with a cappella, from Naturally 7 touring with Michael Buble, to Ben Folds releasing an a cappella covers album.  I say this because shows like Glee are raising a global interest in vocal music, and the interest in voices as more than just the lead to a pop song.

I also set out to become more involved and connected with the a cappella community myself. To get to know more great artists and groups, fans and a cappella movers and shakers.  And I have.  It’s brought me to more concerts, festivals, and discussions than I would have thought possible.  As I mentioned, I’m not normally one to put myself out there. I was always the guy who sang the harmonies or the fundamentals, and not the soloist. So it was also a dare to myself, to be the front man on something. And since I have too much stage fright to front a group as a soloist, I started behind a microphone at my desk instead.

There are other reasons for wrapping up the show.  To be fair, my life is in a different place.  It’s been 5 years, and a lot can happen in five years.  I’ve changed jobs, gotten married, and bought a house.  And those are just the big things.  Putting out a regular show doesn’t fit in my life the way it used to.  And I care too much to phone it in.  Some might say I’m letting perfect be the enemy of good, and that any show is better than no show, but there’s more to it than that.  There is no reason for me to put out a subpar show now when there are so many good places for you to go that are way better avenues.  The rise of iTunes, Pandora, and YouTube make it far easier to find new and quality music.  Websites like the Acappella Blog and The Vocal Blog can give you more news and updates than I ever did.  Twitter and Facebook can keep you more connected to your favorite artists.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Mouth Off Podcast, where Dave and Chris do a better job at everything I was hoping to do than I could ever do.  Having two people, with a segments and updates format, a weekly album review, and a legitimate background in the hobby gives them more insight, authority, and connectedness than I ever had.  You might complain that they don’t play full songs, but trust me, the licenses for that are -not- cheap, and if the goal is to learn more about a cappella and to find great new music, it;s hard to do better than their show.

So where do I go from here? Where does the show go from here?  Well, I’m not going away.  The web site is staying up, I’m still on twitter and Facebook and email and forums.  For the third year I’m nominating for the CARA awards.  And I’m still going to more shows and listening to more a cappella than I did before all this started.  I’m going to be stepping back though, and looking for where I can next spend my energies to help out this community.  And yes, I’m open to suggestions.  I’m hoping to do more singing in 2011, as I haven’t been in a group since 2007, and haven’t done much singing at all since then.  I fear I’d have a hard time with even the warmups at this point.  I may even change things up and record a podcast now and again, but The Acapodcast as it has been is over.

So, in closing, thank you all for listening over the years, and for being a part of this with me.  I have been deeply humbled and honored by you.  It has been an amazing ride sharing the love of a cappella with all of you.

11 responses to “Acapodcast #65: Seven minutes to say goodbye.”

  1. This news struck me almost the same way as hearing that someone I’m a fan of has died. Although I understand that Chad has many other obligations and was very generous to ever provide the show in the first place, I am extremely sad.

    Acapodcast was still the best a cappella podcast by far. ACappellaU has basically devolved into a complete scam, Mouth Off is just plain annoying, and A Cappella Originals is too infrequent and has very little variety. So even though Chad said there are lots of other options now, none of them can take the place of the Acapodcast (or even come close).

    Chad was an excellent host, but even if he doesn’t want to do it anymore, I wish he had at least passed the torch to someone else. Probably no one else could host as well as Chad did, but nonetheless, Chad was not the first host of the Acapodcast, and he didn’t need to be the last.

    I am grateful to Chad for all the hard work he did, but this is still some of the worst news I have gotten in recent memory.

  2. Chad, say it ain’t so! You have such an excellent ear for ferreting out the best of a capella worldwide, and fashioning it into a cohesive, educational, thoroughly enjoyable show.

    Thank you for all the hard work and research you’ve put into your classy — and instantly classic — podcast. It will be sorely missed.

  3. Thanks so much for the years of entertainment — I’m very sad to hear the podcast is coming to an end, it’s been one of the few podcasts I really listen to.

    I’d love to get out to see more a cappella in the Boston area, but I never seem to hear about shows. I know there used to be a community calendar, but I think that’s long dead. Do you know if something else exists? If not, maybe that’s a lack you’d be interested in helping to fill?

    Hope to see you at Arisia!


  4. I’m still really bummed out about this. I wonder if anyone out there might be considering doing something new in the world of a cappella podcasting?

    I might do it myself, except… I don’t sing, I don’t think anyone really even likes my speaking voice, and I have no qualifications and no resources.

  5. I am bummed as well. I had turned my youngest son onto the podcast after he got hooked on The Sing Off. As a fellow podcast going all the way back to March of 1995, there aren’t many of us left in this very corporate world when we still have other jobs and do the podcasts out of love for a subject.

    Thanks for the great music and for keeping up the site. And I hope every now and then, something new will pop up on the feed.

  6. Sorry to hear you go Chad. I didn’t need making aware of acapella but you introduced me to a quite a few new gems over the years. Best wishes for all you do in the future. From one of your England-based listeners.

  7. Rats. I am truly grateful for all your excellent work, Chad–and there is still a great library of old shows on iTunes– but I am sad to be losing such a terrific program. It’s worse than having your favorite TV show cancelled. And as Jacob stated so accurately above, nobody else’s show has been coming close. Here’s hoping that you inspire someone else to pick up the baton.

  8. I respect your decision. It is sad to see it go. I’m very proud of you for all you have done here.

    Love you

  9. Great Show! I can sincerely say that I think it was hands down the best a cappella podcast available. I looked forward to every episode like a kid waiting on Christmas. You opened my eyes to the world of a cappella, and I greatly appreciate your hard work and effort in putting out this podcast. I will miss it terribly. Thank you again for hosting this show.

  10. I’m a bit late getting this news and I’m devastated. I’ve been listening to the reruns for the past 6 months and was craving a new episode. Your time and dedication will not be forgotten. I do love the idea of seeing the torch passed on. Is there any chance of that happening? I wish you the best in whatever comes next for you. You and the show will truly be missed.