5.31 100 Episodes

As we reach 100 episodes and almost two years, Pj Kwong and I are still going strong with our Podcast. 100 episodes. This means 100 guests, over 100 hours of interviews, 100 times Pj and I have sat down to intro the show. I know these are big words, but I can honestly say that co-hosting and co-producing this podcast has had a profound and changing effect on my life. A few years ago, I heard about these news things called podcasts. The first one I came across was WTF? with Marc Maron. I heard something I seldom had before: a completely unfiltered, authentic and honest voice. Maron had floundered around as a comedian for twenty years, with modest success, but unable to really find his place. It’s almost like a new medium had to be created for him and match up to his unfiltered approach to comedy. But it wasn’t a comedy podcast that made him, it was the ability to sit down with people and have a conversation for an hour. Sometimes it’s not about being funny. For the listener, we got the opportunity to hear two people talk that were truly present with each other.

I remember one episode where everything clicked for me. Maron was the guest on another podcast, one that had a man and a woman hosting. Maron was going on and on about his failed relationships until the two hosts fell silent. He asked them what was wrong and they explained that they were a couple that just broke up. The cause of the breakup was similar to the explanation of his failed marriages. She was crying and he was crying and I was crying and Maron said, “Let’s get into it.” And for the rest of the time, they discussed their relationship and moved through a bunch of shit.

Not only did I want to get involved in podcasts in some way, but I recognized that more than anything else, this really had the potential to be a new kind of medium. Sure, it is related to radio, but in traditional radio, the above conversation would have been the first thing that hit the cutting room floor. With podcasts, we could go in any direction.

So, I start listening to more and more podcasts. I was talking to my friend Pj Kwong one day and probably going on and on again about how great podcasts are and she said, “Why don’t we do our own?” Of course, I secretly wanted to do my own podcast, but I was always a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. Actually, I had recorded myself trying some things out and it was so terrible that I have made sure no one will ever hear any of that stuff.

Pj is different from me. We’ve often talked about this and how it’s probably why we work so well together. I would say I’m more deliberate, where she likes to move forward and try things out. We quickly settled on a format where we’d start each show in conversation about our guest and do our interviews separately. Within a week, Pj had a bunch of interviews and I really needed to get going. I remember very clearly the first time we sat down and did our intros. I actually couldn’t even really speak, couldn’t say much of anything. Good thing Pj is a professional broadcaster and commentator.

If you go on our website and check out the episode guide, listen from the beginning and you’ll hear a guy struggling to just get through some interviews. I admit, I was pretty bad, but this was a major thing I learned from Pj - just start out, be committed to the project and just keep working hard at getting better each time. And I think I have gotten a little better each time.

Outside of putting together the show every week, what I’ve been most excited about - and really just the last few months - is that I feel more comfortable than ever. I feel connected to the people I’m interviewing, I feel present with them. And in some way, I’ve felt this bleed over into my life, and to try and cut through the bull shit and just get to it. Be present with people, not just in front of the microphones, but all the time.

As we present our 100th episode, I want to thank my good friend and podcast co-conspirator Pj Kwong. She is really quite an exceptional person. I’ve learned so much from her, about talking on mics and how to interview people, but perhaps more importantly, I’ve learned a ton about life and we’ve shared many up’s and down’s. I really would not have developed the confidence to step from behind-the-scenes and put myself out front for everyone to see, or in the case, to hear.

I want to thank all of our guests who have taken time out of their lives to sit down and speak with us. They have not only given their time, they have shared their stories. As I get more involved in storytelling and personal narratives, the more I truly believe that it is essential for us to tell our story. Tell our truth. Tell what happened.

Finally, thank you to the people out there listening. When we started, I often wondered if anyone would be interested in our little podcast. I like to be proven wrong in my cynicism in times like these. We are so thankful to everyone that has given us their ears for an hour or so at a time to listen to the people we bring on the show. We hope to keep going for another 100 episodes, and for many more after that. And we hope you keep listening.

Check out the Open Kwong Dore Podcast's 100th episode at this link.