This is part 3 of a 4 part blog series where Erk explains the events at the end of January/start of February 2012 which led him to stop recording podcasts for a week. As will become clear while reading, many podcasters were affected. As a bonus & for other reasons to be explained in the blog series, each post will feature an unedited podcast episode from an affected podcaster.
If you missed parts 1 & 2 of this series, check out Erk FM Special episode (Alpha) including episode 210 of the Ourobouros podcast hosted by Colin as well as Erk FM Special episode (Bravo) featuring episode 386 of the PC Podcast hosted by Pete Cogle.
As detailed in parts 1 & 2 of this 4 part series, the end of January 2012 saw Erk shut down podcast production for a week due to the inability to upload to his then current audio host, Mevio. Erk has been podcasting since mid 2007 & for most of that time had been hosted free of charge with Mevio. While other companies had folded, somehow Mevio had always managed to survive. But was the end of January 2012 the end of the road for the company or merely a fork in the road?
Truth is, no one knew. Emails to support were going unanswered, the Mevio Producers email list was silent from the company’s point of view & no firm statement had been made. Even the phone was going unanswered at Mevio HQ. It would not surprise me if someone local actually went to the effort of heading over to the office to see if the lights were on.
As the week went on, things did not become clearer. Podcasters were no longer looking at this as a short outage – one that could happen to anyone – but began to sense that they had been locked out of their accounts. Different stories were coming through on the podcaster grapevine and people doing the same thing would get different results. Some people could upload, others could not. As the week went on, people started to make alternative plans. People started to get angry.
One such person who was not happy was Dark Compass host Rowley. On a Facebook group for podcasters, I mentioned that now would be a great time to make a Hitler video, something along the lines of “Hitler Finds Out His Mevio Account Has Been Suspended”. Using footage from the German movie Downfall based on the end of Hitler’s life & WWII, it has become an internet meme to create a video based on a scene from the movie using alternative subtitles to suit the situation as the spoken dialogue is in German. Soon after suggesting that, I went to bed.
The next morning I wake up & find that Rowley had a couple of hours to spare so he made the Hitler video above. As you’ll hear him say on the featured episode of this post & on episode 19 of Erk FM: Metal Monday, making the video was a good coping mechanism.
Another person that wasn’t happy was Pete Cogle who I featured on the previous post. He created the Space Invaders themed album art for his episode of the PC Podcast – I thought that it was clever and very apt. By the time that I saw this graphic, I had decided that it was game over player 2 (Mevio).
Despite some anger and frustration from people who have larger audiences and runs on the board in terms of podcast production, there were still some people who were only finding out about it mid week. From my point of view of producing multiple podcasts a week, I have a greater chance of seeing if there are problems compared to someone who only releases an episode a week or longer. So while I was not in any shock by mid week, it was still a shock to those people finding out mid week.
As my tweet from January 30 (left) says, I was keeping calm on the outside. I was surprisingly calm. Having made the decision after day 2 or 3 of the outage to stop production a big decision but it was a very important one. Any anger that I did have was being channelled into getting the new audio host & subscriptions sorted as well as writing this series of blog posts.
As of February 3, did we finally have an answer? As I wrote at the time on a Podcasters’ Facebook group:
[bq_left]Just saw this email in a Mevio producer email group. It’s taken them a week for some official comment from some guy with a Mevio email address. Read into this what you will:
“We hope you will accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused by de-activating your Mevio account. We are working diligently on solving the issue. Please be ensured that your content is not lost or deleted. If you have emailed us, please look for a personal email from us within the next 12 hours outlining a solution to gaining access to your content hosted on Mevio.
With this news signed by some dude with a Mevio email address but who did not indicate his position half a week after the outage started, were podcasters finally able to get back into their accounts? I recorded a special episode for Channel Erk listeners with one for people who had found the new feeds and one for those still on the older Mevio feeds. I was hoping to be able to upload this final episode to encourage Mevio based subscribers to come to the new subscriptions. The promised email of February 3 from Mevio to their producers has not occurred for many podcasters nearly 10 days later (February 14 as I type this) and I am still locked out my account.
Finally, people outside of the Mevio community were reporting on the story. To paraphrase the stories and the attitude, the message was clear – MEVIO DON’T WANT YOU! (my caps). It did not need an article on Techcrunch or Blubrry CEO Todd Cochrane to point that out – most of the affected podcasters had figured out that for themselves. I had been a listener to Todd’s podcast Geek News Central & I know how much he hates it when his suppliers or sponsors let him down – he also hates it when he can’t produce a show. He has produced programs in circumstances where many others would not.
While I had missed (very few) weeks with most shows, I had never missed a Friday episode of Erk FM since commencing the podcast in January 2009. I had completed 2 extended overseas trips, have issues with shiftwork and family considerations but I had never missed a week. The week in question would be the first. I wanted to concentrate on getting the new website up and running and the new audio hosts & subscriptions. I did not want a week of shows that I could not upload and no one could listen to because they were not subscribed. Nor did I want a week of angry shows. Some people do angry very well – I think Colin from Ourobouros is the best example of that from podcasters that I know. I did not want that, especially for music based shows. However, I think the amount of work that I did in a week well exceeded what I would do at my day job.
With a week now passed & new subscriptions sorted as well as the website looking great, Erk took the weekend to relax somewhat in the knowledge that even a knockout punch from his long term ally had not killed the podcasts. In some ways, it was a boot in Erk’s arse to keep up the good work so far but take things to a new level. It will be some time before the whole website is complete and all the show notes have been converted over to the new format but the website is completed in terms of recent music podcast episodes. The music podcasts continue & Erk’s talk show Erk Pod will be returning soonish.
The following week felt awesome. With a great website & the weight of an awful week off Erk’s shoulders, Erk went back into podcast production. The new week started off with a special guest on Erk FM: Metal Monday episode 19 (thanks, Rowley!) and some awesome music on Wednesday’s Erk FM: International & Friday’s Erk FM: Australia.
Erk knows that if you are reading this, you care. Many people don’t care and some don’t understand or want to know the indepth details. It is an interesting story – the likes of which have not been seen in podcasting for some time. There will be some people who (unlike Erk) will decide that the process is too hard & they will stop. This is probably the biggest single event to affect the podcasts across the whole of Channel Erk but Erk is determined not to give up. Erk enjoys podcasting, Erk enjoys finding and presenting the music. Erk enjoys going to gigs & the music podcasts have opened so many doors for him.
In what should be the final instalment in this blog series and will be the final episode from another podcast, part 4 features The Bugcast with Dave & Caroline. Their show was formerly hosted by Mevio but they changed ships a while ago. The Mevio ship has sailed but Erk is no longer on it.
About The Featured Podcast
This post features episode 506 of the Dark Compass Podcast hosted by Rowley. Rowley has been one of the longest running podcasters in the world & is arguably the longest running UK music podcaster. Recently having celebrated episode 500 of his main show, it was Rowley in part who encouraged me to become a music podcaster in the first place & indirectly showed me the value of presenting a metal show. He has always been a supporter of Erk FM & provided me with great music.
A long term producer using the Mevio service, the timing of the outage & his determination not to miss an episode meant that Rowley did not miss a week of the Dark Compass podcast. He speaks about his experiences in the middle of Dark Compass episode 506. Not one to mince words, I could understand his frustration and was glad to hear that my Hitler video suggestion in fact helped to calm him down.