When Your Backup Plan Fails - Have Another Backup Plan
We're professionals. We've been doing the podcasting thing since before it was formally called "podcasting." We've been doing podcasting long enough that we teach community courses on podcasting - everything from introduction to podcasting to more advanced podcasting techniques. We've been podcasting long enough that we have a weekly episodic podcast that has been running for over ten years. During that ten years, we have aired over 500 episodes of this particular podcast. There is a very good possibility that we could podcast with our eyes closed.
And, then came Tuesday night.
When a weekly episodic show has been running for ten years and we can count on one hand the number of times we've had to cancel, I'd say that's a good thing considering. Last night was that freak occurrence where no matter how much planning goes into something there is always that remote chance that things are going to go south - and the odds are against you. Last night involved a multitude of prayers to a multitude of higher entities, and an off-the-cuff magic trick from our master in-house podcaster.
The host for our standard Tuesday night podcasts, and the technician who keeps the show moving seamlessly (see "master in-house podcaster" referenced above), was out of the country on a work project. While he toyed with the idea of a scheduled break in the Tuesday night live line-up, we assured him that his band of merry men co-hosts could step in and keep things flowing smoothly. Short of learning the ins and outs of everything he normally does, we opted to use Google Hangouts on Air through YouTube - a simpler and somewhat automated version of his in-house switching and mastering through a professional mixer.
While setting up for remote discussion with the co-hosts via Google Hangout, we were thrown off with a screen stating "Hangouts On Air is not available at this moment. Please try again later." We tried again later. And, we tried again a little later. And, we tried again a little later. Halfway through the scheduled time for the first podcast, we called it quits on that show and sent a social media blast notifying listeners of some technical issues. In an effort to salvage the second podcast, we waited Google out a little longer. By that time, we were able to video chat with each other, but the "Go Live" feature was unavailable. Alas, our backup plan had failed.
Thankfully we were able to coordinate with our master in-house podcaster, and he was able to make sure we had a finished product. Although our podcasts were not done exactly how we do them week-to-week, the first was finished and uploaded, and the other podcast is being handled in a similar fashion! It's always good to have options available in case your odds become that one in a hundred chance for technical issues.