Behind the Podcast: Episode 5

Behind the Podcast: Episode 5

Who: Laura Franklin – Chair of Fine Arts at Saint Louis University

Where: Her house in STL

With: Recording microphone that sat on her dining room table

When: June 12, 2016

Prelude: Laura and I were grad students at UNCG together (when she was a doctoral student and I was a master student for one year).  She was my percussion ensemble director for the first semester I was in the program there. 

This visit was, sadly, the first time I’d gotten to see her in Missouri since she’d moved there 2 years before.  But it was great getting to see her in town.

What constitutes "in town" these days.

What constitutes "in town" these days.

Volume issues:  This has been a recurring problem while listening to my podcasts.  I clearly have to raise the volume going forward for the in-person interviews…it’s just too soft.  When I hear another podcast come up right before/after mine, it’s MUCH louder.  I have no problem hearing their podcasts at pretty much any volume.  But when I’m listening to my own on the highway?  Have to turn up the phone AND the car volume to hear it easily.  Gotta fix that going forward.

Can't hear you.

Can't hear you.

HEEEEYYYY!!! That's more like it!

HEEEEYYYY!!! That's more like it!

During the interview, her daughter came up on “checked on her, made sure she was okay”.  It was very sweet.  And actually, she timed these check-ups nicely.  Allowed us to stop for a coffee break, use the bathroom, just chat etc.  Kept the conversation running smoothly.  

Little bit slow on my own delivery of “raves”.  Sounds good…too slow.

Content:  Was a blast to talk to Laura.  She’s super easy to talk to, very pleasant, very informative, easy laugh.  Plus, she drops lots of great information.  Such as:

She was very driven in College, and finished in 3 years, but knows she did so at the cost of any real type of social life.  But, she realizes, she was FULL SPEED AHEAD, so some things had to be dropped to the side and left alone.

She took on LOTS of committee work (even doing the Accreditation writing for her school as an untenured faculty, which, for those in the know, is INSANE) and realized that she liked these experiences of expanding her knowledge.  She’s also, for those who know her, someone who works hard to build bridges across departments and colleges.  The fact that she’s turned into a well-respected administrator is about the least shocking thing I’ve heard this year.  Case in point: the fact that she won the job at SLU considering they NEVER go outside to hire for administrative positions like hers. 

Lesson: Soon enough, if you’re good at things, people will notice. 

I always think about what a senior colleague once told me, when I told him I handed in a budget for something or some other paperwork about load credit on time:  “What?!  What’s wrong with you?  You know what’s going to happen now?  They’ll give you MORE administrative stuff to do.  Is that what you want?”

Wise words.

(Approximation of who gave me the advice.)

(Approximation of who gave me the advice.)

Race Diary for November 24, 2016 (Gobble Wobble 5K)

What: The 2nd Annual Gwinnett Gobble Wobble 5K and Fun Run

Where: Little Mulberry Park, Dacula, GA

When: Thanksgiving (November 24, 2016)


My cousin-in-law Corey asked me if I was interested in running a 5K. 


The end.

Also, I ran some regularly before.  LET ME KNOW IF THIS IS TOO EXCITING FOR YOU TO READ RIGHT NOW. I’m falling asleep typing it.

This'll work.

This'll work.

Pre-Race Day:

Arrive at the site at 7:20AM for the 8AM race.  On the way we passed LeBron James' Jewish Church.

Still got it.

Still got it.

Get in line to pick up the bib.  The volunteer, while handing me my racing bib:

“Just ignore Jenny’s name on there.”

Message received.

Message received.

Weather is about perfect.  Partly sunny, mid 50s.  

Turkey mascot looking like he’s eaten a little too much of himself before today:

Course is completely in the park, following the paved trail and going back through the race entrance.

Our group, Pre-race:

Top: Me, Rick, Cody, Mike.  Bottom: Stephanie, Corey, Shana.  Taking the picture: Gracie.

Top: Me, Rick, Cody, Mike.  Bottom: Stephanie, Corey, Shana.  Taking the picture: Gracie.

Local squirrel without his racing bib still has enough room for a large, multiple-acorn snack.

He's holding about 37 acorns in his mouth.

He's holding about 37 acorns in his mouth.

Onion Headline: “Area man extremely worried about turkey-headed runners.”

Nothing creepy going on here.

Nothing creepy going on here.



Took about 25 seconds to get to the starting line.  We were crossing the finish line in a reverse of what we started to run.  There were at least 300-400 runners/walkers doing the race in all age groups.

The course was the trail at Little Mulberry Park.  All paved.  Very pretty views throughout.  Like this.  

And this:

10:20 (Mile 1)

There’s always that one dude.  Wearing the headphones too loud.


That guy.  Picture him in your mind.  Let that sink in.

It took all of this mile for me to find my pace AND space.  It was very tight on a relatively small path.

That's more like it.

That's more like it.

19:10 (Mile 2)

Started to find good room among some surprising hills.  Go with my usual pattern: lose ground uphill, speed downhill.  Plus, since this was only a 5K, a fast pace was possible.

28:03 (Finish)

Again, because I’m in Champion mode, mostly sprinted to finish.  The route doubled back around on the opening half mile, so we circled the lake again at this point:

Making it better.

Making it better.

And I came on through the finish (not pictured).

Pictured here was the one champion of the group, Gracie, who placed second in her age group:

The Real MVP.

The Real MVP.

Lots of fascinating outfits throughout the race:

Hipster pilgrim

Hipster pilgrim

Turkey tutu.

Turkey tutu.

This one confounded our group the entire day:

Turkey shirt?  Or Angry Bird?!

Turkey shirt?  Or Angry Bird?!

I still don't know.

I still don't know.

Corey and Stephanie (and bemused runner):

Final tally:

#1 of the non-medalists!!  World Champion status unaffected.

#1 of the non-medalists!!  World Champion status unaffected.


Shower, Nap, Turkey, Nap, Football, Bowling, Sleep.


Behind the Podcast: Episode 4

Who: Dr. Jason Kihle, Associate Professor of Percussion/Marching Band Director, Texas A&M-Kingsville

Dr. Kihle (key-lee)

Dr. Kihle (key-lee)

Location: Marriott Courtyard Hotel, San Antonio

Device: USB Microphone onto computer

Length of interview: 2 hours

When recorded: May 15, 2016

Analysis: a fun, relaxing conversation with a good friend and colleague and an intervening air conditioning unit that wouldn’t shut the hell up.



Pregame: He was up for the interview.  We had time to practice (finally) on our piece.  We're a good performance duo!  He was up for interviewing later in the day.

Setup: worked pretty well.

Interview: Went pretty well.  Had quite the backstory, with stops all over the country, both growing up and for work.  Met (fake) John Elway. 

Probably looked like the dude on the right (approximation).

Probably looked like the dude on the right (approximation).

Dispenser of great advice.  For example:

After I made a side comment regarding him being “a good actor” for his job interview, he took the question seriously.  To sum Jason’s comment up: if you feel confident in your ability to teach, you can just about teach anything.  Jason could teach marching band even though he didn’t have any marching band experience.  He made a great point when he showed his students what was missing from his C.V., and whether it really mattered at this point in his career.  He "acted" the part but did the work to get better.

It was helpful for me to hear this again, because I had some of the same feelings about my own experiences, where I’ve taught classes outside of my primary area (Percussion) and felt (generally) successful because I was confident in my own ability to teach (Instrumental Conducting, Instrumental Music Ed, Sacred Music History, Music Appreciation etc).  And with changes afoot at Lincoln University, this has been especially helpful to re-hear.

In addition, Jason took some personal leaps of faith to travel to parts of the country he’d never been to to get teaching experience. 

And then there was the story of getting stuck in the flood.  Holy crap.

Post-Interview: The next morning, Jason sees a stack of books I’ve got with me on the trip, as I usually travel:

Actual set of books I'm currently reading.

Actual set of books I'm currently reading.


Me: Not yet.

Still haven't read it.  Book hasn't gotten any smaller.

Still haven't read it.  Book hasn't gotten any smaller.

But this leads to our dinner conversation:  ONLY books.  Ones we like.  Authors we like.  Authors we should read.  Doorstops.  Small books. It was fantastic.  Jason’s a voracious reader.  It’s pretty cool to discover these facets of your friends…it’ll make future visits and opportunities with them more fun as we go along.

Pete's analysis of Pete:  getting a little better.  Not as much down time…more interjections.  Intros are getting a little more interesting.  I realized how boring I was on previous intros (no energy).  I went into Game Show Host mode…it takes more effort but I actually now want to listen to myself.

Having a personality AND using it?  It just might be a winning combination.

(Be this in audio form.)

(Be this in audio form.)

Behind the Podcast: Episode 3

Who: Megan Arns, Assistant Professor of Percussion, University of Missouri; co-host of the @ percussion podcast (and about 6500 other professional percussion activities)

Location: her office at Mizzou

Device: Unintentionally recorded on my computer through built-in computer microphone (more on that later); intentionally recorded on my professional USB microphone

Length of interview: just under 2 hours over 2 days

When recorded: May 10 and 11, 2016

Analysis:  An in-depth look at an up-and-coming percussion colleague.  She did great!  Me?  Well…

Pre-amble: I thought Megan would be up for this.  I was right.

Additionally:  we booked the interview about a week earlier than we did it, although she ended up having to put the time later in the day.  Earlier in the day, I got a text from Megan asking me to push the interview to a few hours later in the day.

When I arrived, she explained to me that she had a lesson she had to teach in 45 minutes, so we may have to cut the interview short and possibly resume on another day.  That was going to be fine, if it came to that.

Then she explained the reason why we had to delay:

“I just got off the phone with the Dean of the College, and my position has been upgraded to tenure track.  It took all day, but it’s now a reality.” 

She was in great spirits, and she should be.  She got a competing offer from another excellent school, and she leveraged it into a permanent position at Mizzou.  Like a pro.

And the interview started.

It was a pleasure getting to know her better through the interview.  She’d had even more experiences than I was aware. 

I was most interested in going in depth with her time in Amman, Jordan.  She’d spent at least 3 separate trips there, including a full year teaching and playing there.  I was happy to hear her get to talk about not just playing and teaching, but the food, the safety, where she lived, traveling, the dissolution of the orchestra…all those things that are ancillary to her job but make for full lives and are of peak interest to me. 

Percussion talk is fine, but I’m more interested in stories. 

The microphone issue:

When I typically open up GarageBand, I get this:

Opening screen.

Opening screen.

When I plug the microphone in, I SHOULD get this screen:

The choice is apparent.

The choice is apparent.

Which leads to this:

And we're in business!

And we're in business!

Sooooo….I thought I was all set.


I apparently moved a little too quickly and didn’t check everything out.  So I plugged in the microphone, set it up…but never verified the appearance of screens 2 or 3.

So a microphone that should be balanced right between us ended up being 1 foot away on my lap and about 8 feet away from Megan.

I got it right the second day.  Balance was much better, as was the fact that it didn’t sound like I was eating the microphone.  Jeb!...


Post-game analysis: Getting a little better asking questions.  Would be nice to stop stammering like an unprepared lout.  But I also need to stop with the damn whispering.  Is this some sort of game show?  A game of telephone?  Did it a couple of times…made sense in the room, but doesn’t work for an audio podcast.  I’ll improve. #petespercpod

Behind the Podcast: Episode 2

Who: David Grubb, Writer/PR Director for Dillard University (LA), Writer for, Wake Forest Alum 1997

Location: our respective houses

When: May 1, 2016

Device: Doubly recorded on Skype and Garageband…one of which failed (more on that later)

Length of interview: 2 hours

Analysis:  It always helps when friends are willing to help on your projects.  Also, it helps if you already know if they’re REALLY up for doing this.


David and I hadn’t talked to each other physically since we’d both graduated from Wake (almost 20 years).

He and I had been in contact through Facebook and direct message for the past few years.  I’d also been providing some infrequent help when he started getting back into his writing, here and there.  Usually, contact between us had to do with how our favorite teams were sucking it up on the field, usually in sadness.

Here’s a sample from last year’s NFL season, after his Detroit Lions started to win a bunch in a row after their typical horrible start:

11/23/2015 11:32AM


Are you guys trying to make the playoffs now or what?


It's Fontes-esque what's happening right now. The Free Press (I think) put out an article about how we could win every game the rest of the way. Delusion and football...that's what Michigan does!


It's a far cry from what Jets Nation's like: "Pessimism and football”!


But you're the little brother...that's your lot. We've had the best running back of his era and arguably the best receiver of his era. That kind of talent gives you optimism. You keep hoping you'll find a way to put the pieces around them. The Jets don't have their own city or their own stadium. You're the Clippers of New York. That has to suck.

Let me put the salt back in the cabinet, since I used so much of it on your wounds. Sorry.


You're not saying anything I haven't said to myself for 40 years about them.

Here's a sampling of words from one of my older brothers that occurs while watching Jets games:



No awareness

This could be bad


Same ole Jets

Not good.


What's funny is that we do this week after week and year after year.


So damn true.


It's like a slot machine. I've been playing this machine for so long, I just can't get up and watch it pay off for someone else.


So, that’s the deal with our friendship.  Some Lions-Jets thing, usually, gets it going.  And if we’re engaged, it’s opened up other things for us to talk about.

David’s been working on his sports columns for a few years now.  I already knew his opinions would be excellent.  I also knew he’d be great for a podcast.  He’s been on a couple of podcasts with other guys on sports (mostly college football), and honestly, he was the only thing good about those.  He also steps in frequently on Ro Brown’s “Sport-a-Facts” sports show on WBOK 1230AM in Louisiana. He’s getting his reps!

And he was the guy who I wanted to have on from day 1 of thinking about making this podcast a reality.

Once we got it settled, then we just had to find a good day.  And once both (1) Prince died and (2) Kobe Bryant retired, it was time to have him on, soon.  (The podcast interviews are not intended to be topical, but in this case I made an exception.)

Day of podcast:

David and I get set up.  We talk for about 7 minutes and do find a rhythm, and then we get started.

We covered most of the subjects I intended to.  We ended up going long, and decided to save the Kobe part for a future podcast (more on that later).

But really, it was so much fun.  I didn’t think we’d get to talk about my college jump shot, but we did.  And we did talk about his struggles with bipolar disorder, which I was hoping to find a way to talk about, just because his FB feed frequently posts articles about it.  He ended up going into it when it started to affect his life and career in his early 20s.  He also allowed me to keep that discussion in the interview.  I always tell my guests that, if something comes up you don’t want to talk about, I either won’t air it or will just turn off the recorder (something like this has happened in nearly all of my interviews so far). 

I also double recorded it on Garageband as it was happening (my go-to spot for recording in-person interviews).  That didn’t work.  Apparently, recording audio from Skype directly onto Garageband has messed with the audio for my guests.

The good news, though, is that in my research before starting the podcast, it was recommended for me to purchase Call Recorder for Skype.  It records Skype interviews as a Quicktime movie.  The audio and video are clear and direct representations of the Skype movie.  It works quite well, and the recording window shows up immediately when you open Skype.  Hooray!

The other big change related in this podcast was my decision to talk about what’s been going on at Lincoln.  This is the way Marc Maron opens his “WTF” podcasts, where he’ll go on about what’s going on in his life.  I had no intention of doing this.  But it felt right, and I plan on continuing.  Others have told me it’s a good move.

Maddeningly, I’m bored listening to myself.  I know this because I’ve been listening to my podcasts amidst listening to all the other podcasts I listen to, and the lack of energy is noticeable. It’s been helpful to compare and realize I need A LOT of work.  A LOT!!!  I’m very ready for this to move from being “a cool thing to do” to it actually being good.  That’s a big step.

Through some feedback, and due to the length of the podcasts, I've been putting time markers in, starting with Episode 4 (Jason Kihle).

David and I are planning on co-hosting a sports-centered podcast in the near future.  We’ll get to Kobe (and many many many more things) on that one.

Behind the Podcast: Episode 1

Behind the podcast: Episode 1


Who: Scott Cameron, Percussion Instructor

Location: Dr. Cameron’s Office at Missouri State University

Device: Audio technica universal microphone resting on Vic Firth drumpad on snare stand in between the two of us.

Length of interview: 50 minutes


Analysis:  It always helps when friends are willing to help on your projects.


Since it was my first interview, I was quite nervous.  I put some questions together.  Scott was up for it, though he was also a little unsure about how it was going to go.


Pre-interview: Scott and I talked at dinner after the concert and clinic I did at his school the night before.  It helped to loosen both of us up before we did the interview.  It also helped to shape the interview and give me some stories to reference for the taping (such as the tidbits regarding his dissertation editing).


We got coffee at the local Panera before the interview.  Because you needed to know that.


We set up and did sound check and did the interview (again, pertinent information).


About 15 minutes in, one of his students knocked on the door (you can hear this around the 13-minute).  He asked me to stop the recording so he could answer the door, then told the student he couldn’t talk because “he was being interviewed”.


And I WAS THE INTERVIEWER.  Ha!  I’ve arrived!


Students started practicing just after 9AM and the bleed was in the recording.  Not enough to be an issue.


We kept going until I had to leave (because I had to drive back to teach).  With about 10 minutes left, I knew that the interview was going to have to be cut short.  So I just kept getting more worried and more worried.  But we found a decent point to leave on (though I had to skip over all of the great things he’s done with his program since he’s been there).  We finished, and I basically ran out of the building (with him, because he picked me up from the hotel since parking is really tough without a pass on his campus).  He drove me back to the hotel where my car was at, and I bailed.


After posting my first podcast, it took a long time to figure out exactly how to get the podcast on iTunes.  (Lots of me getting mad about figuring what exactly an “RSS feed” is.)  Also, I’d been traveling a lot, so focused time was hard to locate.


The one comment I had about my opening podcast episode (from numerous friends who listened) was to add music to the episode.  Fair point.  It is a “percussion podcast”.  Honestly, I just wanted to get the first damn podcast out so that I’d just get started.  Wasn’t even concerned about the bells and whistles yet.  It did occur to me that I have a recording of a multi-percussion piece called “Triple One” I wrote years ago.  It’s not published (at this time), so it’s still mine.  It’s the official music of the podcast.


Also, I decided to add “Raves”.  Another Round, The Political Gabfest, and Hang Up and Listen podcasts all do this.  Thanks folks!


Let’s see where this all goes from here.

Race Diary for November 27, 2014 (Thanksgiving)

Race Diary for November 27, 2014 (Thanksgiving)

Race: Five Star “Business Subdivisional” Turkey Trot, 10k 15k, Johns Creek, GA

Other participants: Jennifer Peace, Dana Tamasi, Tonya Weaver

Pre-Race: Jennifer sends an email to family who are going to GA for Thansgiving about running this Turkey Trot race.  I like running.  I enter. Pretty cheap fee ($15).

Pre-Race Training: Non-existent. 

No. I take it back. 

I ran 7 miles the Monday before to prove to myself I could run the 10k.  But running has been sporadic this fall due to illness (diverticulitis – 2 weeks lost…don’t ever get that) and a major Charlie Horse from playing pick-up basketball (3 weeks before I felt good enough to run).  But significantly less for a race than I usually do.  I also had some good cold weather training at PASIC 2014 running in 15-degree weather.

Pre-Race Morning: Start out on the road to get to the site at about 7:30.  Dark outside.  Temps in the 30s with a significant wind.  Pick up Dana.  Find a parking spot somewhere.  Meet up with Tonya, Jennifer’s friend who recently ran an ultramarathon in the NC mountains.  Headover to get my racing bib and chip. Stand around all cold waiting for the race to begin. 



Mile 0 of the Business Subdivisional

There’s about 1500 runners in this race, split up runningthe 5k , 10k, 15k, and half-marathon. The course is a 5k-ish length that’s run either once (5k), twice (10k), thrice (15k), or four times with an extended turn after each lap (halfmarathon).  The course moves completely through business parks.  No running through neighborhoods.  You pass and see Arris, Sofo Foods, Orthopedic Surgeons, and, of course, a Trampoline Park.  Because…

Trampoline Store

Trampoline Store

Mile 1 (:10)

I was very happy that Jennifer had brought tissues, because we all definitely needed them.  A nearby participant yelled, “MY NOSE IS RUNNING FASTER THAN I AM!”

Mile 2 (:19)

The course has no major hills, but a long, steady decline near the beginning of the loop and a similar incline (same spot) going back.  Otherwise, it’s the least exciting/interesting running course I’ve done.  Run up the street, see a median, small trees, and business buildings…take a left…see a median, small trees, business offices…take a right…see a double yellow line, slightly larger trees, business park.  The varieties of business offices ranged from“strip mall business front” to “strip mall that looks like a house business front”.  Truly invigorating.

Mile 3 (:30)

There were a few dogs on the course.  One of them was a sheepdog type.  The other one was a small horse.  Or a wolfhound.  It was hard to tell.  The dog/pony was not being led by her owner, but the other way around.  “Must be nice” was said by a random runner. 

Giant Dog/Pony

Giant Dog/Pony

Mile 4 (:39)

There were a few people dressed up.  One guy was dressed as The Flash, and the rest were turkeys.  Well, to a degree.  A few were wearing turkey hats (with the drumsticks flopping around…the hats appeared to violate the bird).

Turkey Head

Turkey Head

One was wearing a turkey shirt, tutu, and a severe look (I guess she was going as a “stern schoolteacher turkey”).

Stern Schoolteacher Turkey

Stern Schoolteacher Turkey

Others were in similarshirt/tutu looks, and one dude went with the full turkey bodysuit.  Which, in the cold weather, probably felt great.

Turkey Full Suit

Turkey Full Suit

Mile 5 (:47)

There were, maybe, 3 people watching the race. I guess that’s what happens when you run a race through business parks on a day when businesses are closed.  Luckily, the people giving water were cheering!

The mentioned soundtracks of the day: Pitbull andKe$ha.  Hold. Me. Back.

Mile 6 (:57)

The most interesting part about running a loop race (aside from the fact that the route gets more recognizable as you go along) is that, in this case, the routes ran 2 ways on the same stretch of road.  So you could FEEL like you were running fast…then you’d watch the people running 5- and 6-minute miles, and YOU were slowing them down.  Also, you’d take a turn and say hi to your friends on the way around.  So they’d be the ones cheering you on. (Again, 3 fans watching race.)

Mile 7-ish (1:08)

No signs for miles 7-9, so I guessed.  Jennifer told me the night before that she decided to do the 15k.  She egged me on to do it, though I hadn’t run more than 8 miles in at least a year. But I was up for the challenge.  Because I am a Champion.

Mile 8-ish (1:15)

Since I didn’t prep for the race, I went ahead with my usual running strategy.  Run the hills fast, and manage to stay afloat on the hills.  So I managed to pull off some miles at 7-minute clips, and others at 11-minute clips.  So that averages in the 9-minute range, faster than my usual pace.

One strategy that was definitely going to happen, though…sprint to the end.  Why?

Because that’s what Champions do.

Mile 9 and finish (1:29:30)

The Champion gets sidetracked.

As I make the final turn, I turn on the jets.  I’m about to turn into the lot where the finish line is…and get confused.  I expect that we’re going to wrap around and finish, but there’s a bunch of runners waiting around to hear the results of who won the 5k and 10k, and blocking my expected path.  I stop, run backwards about 20 yards…then finally see the time clock and the general direction of where the finish line is.  (I will once again point out the 3 people watching the race and how that makes things a little weird).  So, without a crowd (albeit even a small one), I got momentarily confused.  But I went through the wickets at what I think was a pretty decent time. 



Jennifer told me I could change my mind about how long and tell them I ran the 15k. Due to a missed turn, she ended up running basically a16k.

Jennifer wins the 16K!!

Jennifer wins the 16K!!

Dana ran a 10k, and Tonya did the half-marathon.

So I told the guy I ran a 15k, and he registered it, and immediately said “Oh, that’s a good time!” And I enjoyed the compliment but didn’t think about it.  Jen says “you know, you may have actually placed”.  Never crossed my mind, but I guess it was possible.

Dana, Jen, and I hang out with Jen’s mom talking about the race and seeing if people placed…AND THE WIND BLOWS THE MEDALS DOWN.  Actually, one rack stayed put, another fell on Jen (but she caught it), and the 2nd place racks fell all the way to the ground.  A group of people with me put the rack and medals back up.  Once that gets done, I get asked what age group I’m in.


“Congrats, you placed 2nd”.

Turkey Troy and Me! (I'm the one wearing the medal.)

Turkey Troy and Me! (I'm the one wearing the medal.)

So, the picture of me with the medal is not a finishing medal.  It is a silver medal with a turkey on a cannibal diet. 

Turkey with opposable thumbs.

Turkey with opposable thumbs.

In the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld regarding silver medals:

“Congratulations.  Out of the group of losers, you are #1.”

Moral of the story: run the race with the fewest people.