The lit­tle Peter­bor­ough pol­i­tics pod­cast that grew

Host Bill Tem­ple­man shares the story of his weekly ra­dio pro­gram and pod­cast

The Peterborough Examiner - - Opinion - BILL TEM­PLE­MAN GUEST COLUM­NIST

Like many of my projects, this one started out high on ideals and low on prac­ti­cal de­tails. Back in April, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat to in­ter­view can­di­dates for city coun­cil, and pro­duce pod­casts that they could use in their on­line cam­paigns?” Then I heard a Trent Ra­dio ad look­ing for sum­mer pro­gram­mers; I pitched my idea for a show on lo­cal pol­i­tics. This would let me con­trib­ute to the elec­tion de­bate. Five months later, this mod­est lit­tle project has turned into an all-con­sum­ing mon­ster. I re­call a nov­el­ist say­ing that, “This book started out as a play­ful di­ver­sion, then it be­came a habit, then it turned in a chore, then it be­came a job, and fi­nally, it mor­phed into a mas­ter to whom I am chained as a slave.”

Trent Ra­dio liked the idea enough to let me try, al­though they made it very clear that they had a CRTC li­cense to up­hold and fundrais­ing cam­paigns to run, so my pro­gram must give equal time to all sides and not be­come a bully pul­pit for my pet causes. No par­ti­san jabs at pro-Park­way can­di­dates. I de­cided to call the show Pints & Pol­i­tics af­ter the mod­est weekly gath­er­ing of pun­dits I host at the Gar­net pub. I was ad­mon­ished to not ad­vo­cate beer-drink­ing on air. The tal­ented vol­un­teers at Peter­bor­ough In­de­pen­dent Pod­cast­ers showed me how to con­vert the record­ings of my shows to pod­casts. I was ready to launch.

I sent out an email note to all the de­clared can­di­dates at the time. Zach Hat­ton bravely vol­un­teered to be first. Zach and I went live to air on May 1; he gra­ciously sti­fled his laugh­ter as he watched me fum­ble with switches and slid­ers on the con­trol panel. More than once I for­get to turn up the mi­cro­phone vol­ume so that I was mum­bling through a profound ques­tion that only Zach, and not our lis­ten­ing au­di­ence, could ac­tu­ally hear. While the sins of live ra­dio are there for all to hear, only the au­di­ence ac­tu­ally hears them, then they are gone.

I soon dis­cov­ered that I was able to edit such bloop­ers out of my pod­casts, much to my con­sid­er­able re­lief. Hence my fas­ci­na­tion with pod­cast­ing. All my ver­bal mis­cues could be swiftly ex­cised from an au­dio file with a few clicks of a mouse. Never a smooth pub­lic speaker, the tech­nol­ogy cov­ered up the worst of my bum­bling in­com­pe­tence.

My next can­di­date was Dave McGowan. Imag­ine the sink­ing feel­ing in my stom­ach when I dis­cov­ered that Dave is a veteran broad­cast jour­nal­ist, hav­ing worked in ra­dio and tele­vi­sion for many years across On­tario, in­clud­ing a stint with CHEX Newswatch. So there I was, perched awk­wardly in a broad­cast stu­dio I did not un­der­stand in the least, while across from me sat the broad­cast equiv­a­lent of Wayne Gret­zky.

Dave speaks ef­fort­lessly with none of the mum­bles and stum­bles that come out of me. He was com­pletely at home in the stu­dio, while I, the pu­ta­tive host, was ut­terly in over my head. Switches were for­got­ten, vol­ume lev­els were not checked and there were fre­quent patches of dead air when I for­got to ad­just in­scrutable levers on the con­trol panel.

The half-hour ra­dio broad­cast was a to­tal sham­bles, but thanks to the afore­men­tioned edit­ing soft­ware, I was able to pro­duce a 16minute pod­cast. Dave still smiles broadly when we run into each other at cam­paign events; he has been my most pa­tient and for­giv­ing guest.

Of all the 27 reg­is­tered can­di­dates for the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion, I in­ter­viewed 21. The other 6 chose not to be in­ter­viewed; I have to re­spect their de­ci­sions. Mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions are won or lost at the doors; door-to-door can­vass­ing is the sine qua non of elec­tion cam­paign­ing. Ra­dio broad­casts are not. And pod­cast­ing may still be too geeky for mass ap­peal. There are now 33 episodes on the Pints & Pol­i­tics web­site. In ad­di­tion to the 21 can­di­date in­ter­views, there are panel dis­cus­sions on lo­cal pol­i­tics, and cam­paign launch speeches from Ther­rien and Ben­nett.

My con­clu­sion in talk­ing with these 21 can­di­dates is that Peter­bor­ough is blessed to have so many smart and ac­com­plished cit­i­zens will­ing to run for of­fice. I in­ter­viewed can­di­dates I was thor­oughly pre­pared to dis­like be­cause of their per­ceived po­lit­i­cal al­le­giances; I dis­cov­ered they had much to teach me. My only re­gret is that now I wish I could vote for two can­di­dates in ev­ery ward. Con­trary to Doug Ford, I be­lieve we need more coun­cilors, not fewer.

Bill Tem­ple­man is the host of Pints & Pol­i­tics, a Trent Ra­dio show on 92.7 FM ev­ery Wed­nes­day at 9 p.m. This show is also avail­able any­time as a pod­cast at https://pintsand­pol­i­tics.pt­bopod­cast­ers.ca/

CLIF­FORD SKARSTEDT/EX­AM­INER FILE PHOTO

Bill Tem­ple­man has launched a new weekly ra­dio show and pod­cast that looks at lo­cal pol­i­tics.

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