How to Start an Architecture Podcast – I don’t know… it’s probably too hard.

I bought a house.

I realize this has nothing to do with the title of the post. I just wanted to complain about being ultra-crazy-busy lately. Basically, the process of buying an expensive house the size of 1 car garage, and then trying to organize all of your shit – plus put a bed, a cat, and a jumbo-sized litter box for previously mentioned cat inside a 1 car garage becomes time consuming.

Furthermore, if I was just writing a blog without finding someone to fix the fireplace that exploded or getting the stove to function – my cat and wife would have either killed me, froze to death, or starved. All 3 were not preferred options, and since this blog produces no monetary income…

Hold on.
I’m just a little winded. I haven’t been able to go to the gym lately either.
OK. There we go. I crawled back up on my soapbox…

Blogging takes way more time than I ever imagined! I don’t even add pictures anymore, and it still takes me 8 hours a week to finalize one post. But I have been listening to architecture podcasts, and have been wondering if podcasting is easier and more rewarding than a blog that nobody reads.

The architectural podcasting community is smaller than the architectural blogging community. There are basically only 3 architecture podcasts. One of which is the Archispeak Podcast.

The Archispeak podcast is premised on 3 guys bantering about life and architectural-related topics for an hour. It’s basically just a recorded phone conversation with my brother – minus the 25 minutes of me telling him he needs a companion cat.

The last podcast was the 100th episode. I assumed it would just be Evan, Neil, & Cormac patting themselves on the back, while blowing kazoos, for how amazing they all are. However, I was pleasantly surprised that they were instead having their first ever guest appearance1bongo drumsmusical crescendothe godfather of architecture blogging – BOB BORSON!

And if you don’t know who Bob Borson is, then you are probably reading the wrong blog.

Bob Borson also promotes #Architalks – a monthly topic where all architectural bloggers write on the same topic and post on the same day. Bob has altruistic ideals that everyone should write an architecture blog, and was posing questions towards the Archispeak podcast crew of what it takes to start a podcast; and moreover, what were they doing (similar to #Architalks) to advance the profession.

But instead of being advocates for architects to start podcasts – they basically stated podcasting is hard, and blogging is a piddly endeavor that only takes 5 minutes. But considering that every one of the Archispeak listeners are either architecture bloggers, wanna-be architecture bloggers, or maybe in the future would consider being an architecture blogger2 – I took their words as blasphemy. Not necessarily because I think blogging is a worthwhile endeavor, but because podcasting is the hip new media platform. Therefore, this site is relegated to the era of, rollerblading being cool, and lower back tattoos.

Thus, I began to write a comment on the Archispeak website. However, my comment became an 1,800 narrative, and I pondered how else I could send my comment. I could email them, thanking them for the podcast – yet displaying my displeasure for a 5 minute duration out of the 120 minutes of the podcast.

Oh yeah!
I have a soapbox I never write on anymore.

Therefore, the following is my comment of the 5 contentious minutes of the show – with my running commentary included.

Dear Archispeak(ers?)

I don’t know if I would consider myself to be a “friend” of the show – but more like a frequent listening acquaintance. Thus, I have listened to all 100 episodes. And wanted to congratulate you on the effort and commitment to reaching this numerical milestone.

Since there aren’t many architecture podcasts, I do listen to your show, but was especially enthusiastic about having Bob Borson featured on this episode. During the podcast, you called out some idiot from Buffalo3 who wanted you to transcribe every episode. You said it would be a tremendous undertaking to transcribe every episode, and because Bob isn’t mean and didn’t call you out, let me transcribe my contentious portion of episode #100, KEEPING IT REAL, YO! that occurred just after the 1 hour mark:

[Bob] Tell me … what this podcast represents, and give me a week of your time – of what this podcast details.
[Someone] Wow… (inaudible)
[Cormac] Hundreds, and hundreds of texts.

    * {So basically you are 13 year old girls.}

[Neil] Yeah, Lots of texts that go back and forth throughout the week, in between episodes, right?

    * {Who are asking? I don’t know when you text?}

And not all of it is exactly show related. But I think it, what does go back and forth though, is ultimately show related, in that we’ve become great friends over the 4 plus years we’ve been doing this. And I think that comes through in the show.

    * {So to be clear, you do not send work specific texts, but just texts to your friends. If someone asks me how many billable hours I worked this week, I usually don’t include the hour long conversation I had with my brother Tuesday night where we talked about Douglas Darden’s Oxygen House}

We kid each other, we play around a lot. And, and, much more of that happens outside of the recording booth than inside, but that leads to it. And the conversation, the casualness of it all. Stems from…………(blah, blah)
So there’s that. Then there is. Sometimes, there is the 2 or 3 hours of recording to generate that 1 hour of show. And then there’s.
[Evan] I would also add that there are sometimes recordings that, just, never turn into a show.
[Cormac] Yep.
[Neil] We have done that before as well.
[Evan] Many many times.
[Neil] I still want to go back and do that one show where we kept playing music back and forth,… for like 3 hours, but Bob, to get back to the other part of your question.

    * {Finally! 300 transcribed words later! And no. Please never publish that podcast.)

There are emails, there’s work being done on the back side, either responding to people. Or working with our sponsors, to coordinate that. There is work being done on the social media site for the postings themselves, that, that all has to be done, and written, and posted, and re-posted continually.

    * {Yeah, it’s called automatic postings.}

Um, that just is moments throughout every single day all week long, weekends, it’s, it’s, it’s non-stop. Right?

    * {Who are you asking? Your automatic posting robot if he quits?}

And in addition to that, I don’t know how much time Evan spends editing.

    * {No one will ever know, because nobody actually answered this question. But considering this episode is 2 hours long, and it appears like nothing was cut out, I would guess not too much time.}

He’s very good, and he, he’s much faster than I am…(long diatribe)… one of the first episodes I edited myself… I spent about, uh, 19 hours over a Saturday and a Sunday editing…(longer diatribe on time and clocks and how many hours in a weekend)… a good portion of that was learning how to do it [editing]… but I’ll probably spend anywhere from 6-8 hours editing an episode. And that’s, that’s editing, producing, writing the show notes, coor-coordinating, you know, the graphics – we pretty much put a picture, pretty much that we’ve taken typically, on, on the show notes,

    * {Yeah, and since you don’t write a caption or mention the picture, nobody knows what the picture is referencing. Is somebody peeing in a corner? Did you get this individual’s permission to post this photo?}

and then coming up with the creativity of the writing for the show notes, and then all of the different posts. So, all of that goes in, and then just posting the episode. Getting all of that. Doing the tags in iTunes. So, if anybody out there wants to start a podcast, it can be done, it’s far more work than doing, I think, a blog site. Which is, there’s so many more tools available.
[Someone:] Yeah!
[Neil] Like you can go to Medium. Right. And boom. In five minutes you have a blog. And there’s not a whole lot of extra work there. But to actually generate, and produce, a pod-podcast, it-it’s a boatload more work.
[Bob] Well, how does,
[Evan] And I would add, Sorry.
[Bob] No, no, no
[Evan] There is a ton of other stuff, that, that you, once you set it up, you kind of forget about it. But the initial setup took a lot of time and effort to figure out. So I mean there’s the software you have to learn how to edit it. There’s the website design that you have to create, and all the topography,

    * {Now I’m just throwing in archispeak jargon, before I have to shovel some dirt and re-grade my computer interface.}4

and all the copyright. And making the buttons work, and then there’s the stuff, like, like our show notes. Like, how does that work? How does that whole system work? How does umm, an RS fee, an RSS feed go into Mailchimp, and how do you setup the template for that, and where does the data go, and who does it go to, and how do they sign up.

    * {What is paper made from? Where is my cat? Trust me, this is all very technical.}

And, so there’s a lot of other things, that have been done along the way. That, obviously we try to automate as much of that as we can to make our job easier. So that it doesn’t take more than 19 hours a weekend to do it. But, all that stuff is added up, and so like, like really I don’t even think there is a way to quantify how much effort has gone into creating a podcast. And does that mean that they are all that hard? No. I mean, we definitely have a bar that we’ve set to make it happen.

    * {Like a standard height bar. Maybe a 5’-5” bar)

And to make it happen how we want it to happen. But, there’s, and there’s also tons of personal control. Kind of being wielded over this whole thing. Like, we are not having anybody do any of this for us, so, so that that plays into it as well. But I definitely think that, uh, that it’s way bigger of an undertaking than anybody kind of thinks it is. It’s just like the book that I just wrote…

    * {blah, blah, I wrote a book about how to pass the Architecture Registration Exam. note: The book does not actually contain A.R.E. problems, but just one person’s personal self-help book. blah, blah, We work hard)

… Huge undertaking. There was this one guy for a while that was like, “why don’t you transcribe every show.”
[Neil] No, no no. I could read, I could skim through your dialogue in only maybe ten minutes instead of wasting an hour of my time listening to you, that was his point.
[Bob] You know, it wasn’t delivered very well. But it’s not invalid.

So I just brought this 5 minute transcription full circle. And no, the guy in Buffalo wasn’t invalid. If blogging only took 5 minutes, everyone would blog their entire podcast. I’m sure producing a quality podcast is hard, but a lot of things in life are hard.

You know what else is hard?
Hanging shelves in your house so they don’t collapse in the middle of the night – causing you to frantically search for the cat because she “must’ve been up to no good.” But in reality you just don’t know how to use a stud finder.

You know what else is hard?
Putting together an IKEA shopping list for your mother-in-law, because she’s driving through Nevada right now – and not realizing the paneled curtains also require a separate curtain track.

You know what else is really hard?
Bob Borson writing 3 blog posts per week, at 8 hours per post – by himself – and staying gainfully employed. Podcasting naturally draws sponsors and advertisements to the platform. But blogs can rarely be monetized – mostly because ads are annoying.

In conclusion, it basically seems like Cormac does nothing,5 Neil helped out one weekend, and Evan worked hard in the beginning – but now gets adequate sleep.

But in reality, do you know what is actually too hard for me to try?
I really want to make a podcast. Mostly because I think I have witty banter. Also, I think it could actually make passive income. But inevitably, I would need 2 other friends to even make it a feasible endeavor – but I only have a cat. While my cat is highly adept at walking on the keyboard – I doubt she is proficient at editing.

I regularly enjoy the Archispeak podcast and would suggest you listen to their “casual conversations” on a regular basis as well.

And if you are interested in all of the podcasts I’m currently subscribed to, I listed them below ranked by three classifications: 1x speed, 1 1/2x speed, and 2x speed.

Radiolab is the only podcast I enjoy enough to intently listen to every word. All other podcasts I listen to at 1 1/2x speed. I’ve convinced myself it’s a productivity trick (even though it annoys my wife), but I mostly do it because Roman Mars is depressingly boring. However, Roman Mars talking twice as fast is extremely fascinating.

Shows I listen to at 1x

Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn (Only because she talks fast)

Shows I listen to at 1 1/2x

Reply All
Planet Money
Science Vs.
Revionist History
NPR Politics Podcast
How I Built This
Ted Radio Hour
This American Life
Love + Radio
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

Shows I listen to at 2x

99% Invisible




Click the purple numerals to transport between hyperlinks

1 I made up this fact. I’ve listened to every episode and can’t recall another guest appearance. But if there was one, it must not have been memorable.
2 This was an un-scientific poll I took of members inside my household.
3 I don’t know where he was from, but my continuous negative commenter is either from Buffalo, Alaska, or Russia. I forget, but it’s somewhere bitterly cold – thus causing his bitterness towards my sunny blog.
4 I’m assuming he was referencing “typography” but I didn’t transcribe it that way.
5 He literally “phones it in” every other week.


  1. James Lukacovic

    I’ll join your podcast team but I am only going to talk about Apple© Pencils, and iPads and the iPhone I don’t have, and I’ll do 4 sponsor read per episode, that should cut the actual content production in half.

    I can throw in a Revit rant or two if needed to fill time.

    • brady ernst

      Wow. You would actually provide valuable contributions. When my cat and I were brainstorming, the only show topic we could think of was going to be one long Revit rant; hopefully sponsored by ArchiCAD & Friskies.

    • brady ernst

      Ooh… Sorry, I already promised my cat she could be the Cormac of the show.
      You might have to be the Neil.

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