The RaT Project Concludes

As of tonight, being 13 June, 2013, I am officially announcing that I’m retiring The RaT Project podcast.

I began The RaT Project back in mid-2005, when podcasting was still in its infancy. Podcasting was a thing I was reading about on some blogs, a new idea, a niche hobby. People could record short bits of audio of themselves and others talking about whatever, and post those as episodes online. As someone with a life-long interest in audio recording, radio broadcasts, and things of the like, this was something that intrigued me. Leo Laporte had just recently begun his own podcast, originally called Revenge of the Screen Savers, but eventually renamed to This Week in Tech, or TWiT. On that, Leo would talk about this emerging medium known as podcasting, and of its possibilities, and how easy it was for one to do their own podcast.

I was living in a dorm room, a residential hall, at University, a student still early in his college years. I was listening to some various podcasts I was finding online, most done by unknowns just playing with the idea of podcasting. There were some more well-known podcasts I would listen to, including TWiT and Daily Source Code (that latter hosted by Adam Curry, known at the time as the “Podfather”).

I wanted to do my own podcast, but didn’t have a microphone. I played around with various ideas, and eventually started thinking, what would happen if I plugged my headphones, ordinarily an audio out device, into the audio in port on my computer. Could my headphones somehow work as a microphone? Turns out the answer was yes; I opened Audacity, started recording, and spoke into the left earpiece. Sure enough, it acted as a microphone, albeit with remarkably poor audio quality. I recorded my thoughts at the moment, with the idea of doing an audio blog, a stream-of-conscious style of narration. I uploaded the files to a site called PutFile.com (a site that is long-since defunct), and linked to them on my blog. For a while, episodes were simply audio recordings of an accompanying text blog entry.

I needed a name for my podcast, I needed something catchy, so I looked at the screenname I was commonly known as online, that being Rand al’Thor. I had just started listening to a band from decades prior known as The Alan Parsons Project. The initials for Rand al’Thor, as had been pointed out to me on the old Shimlar game, was RaT. I took that and appended Project to it to get the name of my podcast: The RaT Project.

I needed a format, so I decided to go with my interests. Thus, The RaT Project became focused on video games, sci-fi, Doctor Who, tech, and anime and manga.

It was in 2006 that I learned of the website TalkShoe, where I could host live episodes where people could call in, all for free. I had a cheap headset, and started doing live episodes. My early attempts were as awful as you’d expect, where I had horrible audio and the entire episode was full of stuttering and off-topic, meandering dialogue. It was an early attempt, and I soon put the show on hiatus.

Eventually, I returned, when I had spent more time with the Cultdom in Audio podcast, then the Cultdom Collective, and Logan’s Run podcasts. I was a bit more competent as a podcast host, and had a better understanding of the software required. Also, I had a better headset. The RaT Project began a lengthy run as a live Saturday night show, featuring many regulars from Cultdom Collective, including Dave AC, Graeme “The2ndDoctor” Sheridan, Darth Skeptical, and Logan*. I had a news segment, then focused on the main topic of discussion for that episode.

Eventually, life happened, and I had to put an end to doing weekly live episodes. The show went on hiatus. I would eventually record a “studio” episode and upload it to the feed, but things had fallen quiet on that front.

That brings us, more or less, to now. The podcast that brought me into the medium has now officially concluded. I hope you’ve enjoyed the podcast. The back catalogue will remain. You can find it on iTunes or on TalkShoe ID 21129.

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