Originally posted January 21, 2014
I was getting behind in my podcast queue so for The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universeepisode #438 I skipped directly to the interview of Tim Farley and Susan Gerbic because I really wanted to hear it. The rest of the episode then slipped my mind and did not realize that I had not listen to it until the next week’s episode automatically downloaded on my podcatcher app. I failed to hear episode #439 because I planned to first listen to the previous episode . Long story short, I have now ceased regularly listening to the SGU. I note this not to proclaim the SGU is dead to me, nor to opine others should stop regularly listening too. I note this because it is weird to me how not weird it is.
I started listening to the SGU sometime around March, 2006. If I recall correctly the first episode I heard was produced in the time between when Rebecca Watson was a guest one the show but before she became a Rogue. I then proceeded to listen to the entire back catalog, and every episode released since March, 2006. I was laughing and stunned by the infamous Neal Adams interview. I was deeply saddened and depressed when Perry DeAngelis passed away. I watched way too much of the SGU 24 hour marathon video feed, and was bleary eyed after the ordeal. I watched Rebecca get married live at TAM in Las Vegas on the live video feed. I guessed along with the Rogues at numerous Science or Fictions. I purchased my share of SGU swag in tee-shirts and a refrigerator magnets.
I cannot quite put my finger on why it suddenly has gone bland for me. I do not think it is one particular thing, which makes me wonder if after a break I’ll be listening as regularly as ever in a few months. The strange thing is I do not feel like I am missing anything. I am get most of my hot off the presses news of the weird and woo-woo variety daily at Doubtful News. I still keep up with Dr. Novella on Science Based Medicine andSkepticBlog. Over the week between listening to either some or all of Strange Frequencies Radio, watching Virtual Skeptics, Skeptically Challenged, Skepticalility, et al I am not really missing anything. The SGU is still the most popular outlet, but it has lost it's the must hear gravitas of a couple years ago.
In a media environment as rich in content providers as the current one the SGU, while well produced, is no longer a necessity to hear. I wish to repeat it is for me. If one only has very limited time to soak up science activism and skepticism each week the SGU is an excellent source. If one listens and reads a variety of skeptical outlets the SGU is not as vital source of information and commentary as it was three or so years ago.
Also, in the past few months the SGU now has regular ads, membership pitches, as well as weekly paid premium content which I find off-putting. I suspect a new listener would not notice the ads, and membership pitches. I do not blame the SGU for trying to raise money. It does not mean I cannot find it annoying.
I might start listening regularly again, and I am going through some weird phase, or perhaps the SGU after nearly eight years is bound to become stale? I am not ready to delete it from my podcatcher queue, but it definitely off its must listen pedalstal.