Heart To Heart with Erik Woods | Cinematic Sound Radio Hiatus

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| TRANSCRIPTION OF EPISODE |

Hello everyone, Erik here, and I’m just kind of in the middle of something. It is related to the radio show and I have a little time on my own this weekend and just kind of reflecting on my message that I put on Twitter and Facebook about this hiatus that I’m on.

I thought that you, my listeners, deserved an explanation and I’m a terrible, terrible writer and usually, in these cases, people will write a note. And I’ve done that in the past. It’s just that I’m not a very good writer and it takes way too long and I can usually say the things that I’m thinking faster into a microphone, of course, then I can typing on a keyboard. And I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time and that is whether I say something or do something. And there have been tweets from followers and Facebook messages and emails and they’re wondering you know how I’m doing and things of that sort and it’s easy for me to just say I’m fine but I’m not.

I have first world problems and that’s basically what this is and it feels so silly for me to do this and kind of complain about things and whine about things when really I have pretty good. I’m living in a four-bedroom house. I mean, it’s not mine, I rented but still, it’s a really nice home. I live in a great neighborhood. I got two pretty good kids. Got a great wife and you know I am still working on doing the things that I want to do. Not as much as I thought I would.

Now looking back over the past year coming up to the one year anniversary of me getting laid off from a job that I loved and I mean really loved and was ripped away from colleagues… who I never called colleagues… ripped away from a great bunch of people who I loved to go to work for and that sort of stuff really haunts me to this day. And the reason that it continues to pop up in my head is that I never did find another full-time job and that was because a month after I was laid off I started working for this fantastic guy out in Elora – about a half hour from where I live – and he’s not in a position to hire me full time but he’s trying to throw as much work at me as possible. My hope is that eventually, that will lead to either regular hours that I’m working throughout the week or that he eventually hires me on as a full-time member of his team. I don’t know if either or are going to happen but I kinda hope that it does. So, work has always been on my mind and it’s always something that I think about every day and the fact that there is a point where work dries up for him then I’m not going to be able to pay my bills and do things of that sort and then that directly affects me, my mood, my brain, the way I react to things and it really doesn’t take much for me to slip into a depression where I pretty much just want to give up.

How does this all reflect back on the show and Cinematic Sound and me doing this today? Well, when I get to that point I then feel like if I’m doing a radio program, and I’m not sure how many of you know the process or what goes through to make this show that I do, that I love and am proud of. You know it takes hours. Many hours! There’s a lot of writing. There’s a lot of research. Many people have said that I have an encyclopedic knowledge of film music and film scores and movies, well, I really don’t. I’ve seen a lot of movies but I haven’t seen A LOT of movies. I listened to a lot of scores but there was a lot that I have that I’ve missed. I have six thousand scores and a good chunk of that number I haven’t listened to. I mean am still discovering music to this day even though I’ve been doing this show for almost 22 years.

Anyway going back to the amount of work that has put into this program that I do. I don’t make any money off of it and I don’t think I was ever expecting that I would make money doing this show. It would be great if a radio station picked me up. I’m not saying that I’m not going to work toward something like that – although that’s something that I’m thinking that I might do – but I live in Ontario or near the Greater Toronto Area, there’s really only one classical station that I would pick up something like this but I’ve never tried syndication. I don’t know how much that pays. I don’t know what that does and I never really thought that I should ask people for money for the show and that just brings up a whole other set of problems and the issues concerning my show, which I really don’t want to go into here today. I always felt that over the years my reward was the free music and I’ve been getting free music for 20 some odd years now. I’ve got a lot of music and I’m grateful for that. And my goal of this show was never to make money but it was to promote film music. Then my job was to take the music that these record labels were sending my way and I would promote the album as a thank you for supplying the music. So I’m getting all this free music that had to pay for. But on the flipside, I’m hoping that somebody listens to the show and listens to an album and they hear it, like it and then go and buy an album. That’s how I have been running Cinematic Sound Radio since the beginning.

Even when I was on Mohawk College Radio, that was the whole point, I just wanted people listening to this and to enjoy it. I might be naive. Maybe I’m not digging deeper and being more ruthless and cutthroat in trying to actually make something out of this and that’s quite a possibility. We could probably go and do that sometime later.

But, anyway, back to the amount of work that it takes. It takes maybe 10 or 12 hours to produce a show. A lot of that is done after hours, late at night. Sometimes right up to the last minute. I usually have to submit shows to WROCK Radio weekly and sometimes I don’t get to show them until early Saturday morning. That’s not when I want to give them the show because my show is scheduled on Sunday and the last thing I want to do is have people do work over the weekend trying to get my show up on their station. But that’s just the way it works and there are some days where I’m not motivated to do it.

I love doing this show. I really do.

But again going back to the show being free and me spending so much time on it when maybe I should take those hours and look for something that’s going to bring in cash, that’s going to help provide for my family and that’s where last week when I came to the realization that I’m spending a lot of time working on something that is essential for me and it’s free. And if I can go a little bit deeper into this and the reason why I’m also thinking of just kind of giving this up for now.

The numbers. When I’m talking about numbers again. Numbers… don’t take this the wrong way… don’t necessarily mean a lot to me because again I’m not bringing any income and I’m not monetizing the show, so numbers… I don’t care if I get 5 listeners or 5000 listeners BUT I actually DO care. Let’s just go back a little bit further where my show isn’t on a podcasting service so I’m not 100 percent sure whether the analytics that I’m getting, the stats that I’m receiving from my hosting server, which is where the entire shows is hosted, are accurate to the amount of listens and downloads that I’m getting. It’s really cryptic and I’m trying to use their stats software and I honestly don’t think it’s giving me the right numbers.

So then I moved on to something called Podtrac and if I insert Podtrac’s little tag at the beginning of my MP3 file and then what I’ll do is that every time that that track is played with that tag it will then send out the information back to Podtrac and it will tell them you know whether someone listened to it as a stream or downloaded it. I am hoping that this software is a bit more accurate than what I was getting from my hosting provider. So I started this maybe three months ago and I’ve started adding this little tag to all the shows that are part of the podcast that is on the RSS feed on iTunes and Stitcher and everywhere else that the podcast can be found and these files were also added on to the streaming files at cinematicsound.net. So I thought this might give me some more accurate numbers as to how my shows do. And then there’s a lot of promotion on my part that goes into these programs. And if I don’t do that the show suffers most definitely. And what I’m seeing right now, and I’m not 100 percent certain when I started with Podtrac (I think it was back at the beginning of March) and so if I look back at the shows that I have uploaded since March, which starts with Jason Drury’s fantastic interview with Mike Ross-Trever and that brought in about fourteen hundred listeners. I added my Favourite Scores of 2017 which, I thought would do really really well, and since March 14th I am getting two thousand downloads. I thought maybe it was going to do a bit better. My Favorite Western Tracks, which seemed to be very popular show through social media; the response I got from it, the interaction that I had – fifteen hundred listens. Jason Drury’s show; episode 8 got eleven hundred listens. I then uploaded Lost in Space, Ready Player One. Max & Me show… that was sixteen hundred. And Jason’s episode 9 of The Archive, which was uploaded on April 23rd… it’s now May 5th… that’s just past one thousand. I don’t know whether those are good numbers or not? I mean right now it says that my 90-day downloads are 15000.

Look I’m not complaining that people are listening to the show. I am so happy for every single person that decided to take the time to click on those links and listen to the show. I appreciate all you people. I’m just thinking that the time associated with this, the amount of work that I do and that goes into this show and the amount of promotion that I do… Again, I’m not monetizing the show or anything but I can look at this as somebody who’s like looking for money and patron supporters and whatever and say, “Hey, how come I’m not getting more downloads?” But I don’t know whether these are good numbers or these are great numbers? I don’t know what the numbers are like for other shows and I’m looking at a lot of new programs that are coming out and they’re just killing it and I’m super, super happy for those for those programs. Trust me. I am. I couldn’t be happier.

As you know or may not know I am a huge supporter of film music radio. I have a giant curated list of podcasts and other radio shows on my own site. I love promoting other people’s shows. I don’t know what these are good numbers. I don’t know whether it is worth doing this show for you know maybe a thousand listens? And that might seem petty. It probably is but it’s a bit disheartening and I mean again I only have to blame myself because maybe I’m not giving other people who are listening to the show or people who want to listen to film music or people want to listen to the podcast what they want to listen to. My type of programming… a music podcasts… are, I think, a few and far between. You know podcasts are mostly talk-shows or information based. I think a lot of the more popular ones are not standard radio shows like I do. I understand that. And some of the more popular soundtrack shows are the interview based ones.

However, I am still shocked and blown away and flabbergasted and befuddled that a show like The Annotator isn’t doing as well as it should be. Christopher Coleman, I think, has a great idea and I think him trying to jump off of Song Exploder’s popularity and format and bringing that to film music I honestly thought that would be the film music show that I would have seen first breaking it into New and Noteworthy and being one of those podcasts that these bigger outlets write about and how interesting it is and nobody seems to have picked it up and I’m not sure what these other shows are doing that are uber popular… I don’t know what they’re doing and what they’re doing right. And then I start thinking about my show and maybe it’s time to change the format and what I’m doing.

Well, first of all, the one issue that I think might be hurting the program is its length. And I did put out a poll a few months ago as to whether people would rather listen to the two-hour show where they want something shorter. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think the shorter option was the most popular one. People would be more happy with something that was along the lines of 60 minutes or 90 minutes. And trust me I’d be happy with that too because that’s less work. But I still have to do a two-hour show for WROCK Radio and that’s the dilemma. I always thought that presenting longer suites was far more interesting than just playing one or two tracks. Right now, I play roughly 10, 12, 15-minute suites from the album and I always figured that was a perfect number for me to play. I won’t be playing the whole album but enough to give the listeners a good idea of what the score sounded like and based on 15 minutes they would be able to make a decision as to whether they like it or not.

With a 60 minute show I’d have to rejig things might have to maybe play few albums, which I don’t think is a bad idea. And I think that there are so many podcasts out there that with the 2-hour time limit…. well, maybe I just can’t get on to the iPod’s or the digital devices that I want to get on to because people see the two hour time limit and they’re like, “I don’t have time for that.” They’ll listen to a 20-minute show here or 40-minute show here or there’s an interesting interview then they’ll stick around for an hour or so instead of listening to a two-hour traditional radio show as a podcast. I’m just thinking aloud here.

The other thing that I might plan on doing, and I’ve been thinking about this over the past week, is to just completely rejig the way that I do the show. You know when I started with WROCK Radio I thought it was a great way for me to have something that was strictly formatted. That I would play maybe three or four new releases a show. Play a John Williams album because I like him so much and highlight his great work. Play a re-recording, an archival album, a video game album within two hours and that’s a good way of showcasing the best of film, TV and video game music on the show. However, I started getting to these top 10 shows, which I think are just so much fun to produce, and then I had other ideas. I like the re-recording shows. I like the theme shows as well.

But then I am bombarded, absolutely bombarded each week… and people that are in the industry or have reviewed film music know that once you know you get on these mailing lists you’re just bombarded with albums. It’s not a bad thing it’s just that there’s no way for me to cover all of that. And then I thought with the WROCK Rock shows that playing four or five new releases would allow me to try and cover as many as possible. I don’t think I’m getting much satisfaction out of that and maybe it’s also that I’m not getting a lot of satisfaction out of the new stuff that’s coming out. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that I download from these record labels. And again, I appreciate everything that they do and I don’t think they expect me to play everything that they send me but there is stuff that I just I’m just completely not interested in. I’m thinking that in order for me to get back into the show maybe it’s time for me to be a little bit selfish and start playing the stuff that I truly love or that I think that you might love. And only do a new releases show once a month or so. But even during those new releases shows just playing the six, seven or eight scores that I really, really like that I think that you might like. And that’s not really fair to the other ones that I’m going to say, “Nope, I’m not going to play it.” But I think I also have to enjoy the music that I’m playing in order to feel motivated and feel inspired to continue with the show.

I’m also thinking maybe I should do these Heart to Heart’s once in awhile. I mean for those that even got this far into this broadcast did you enjoy this? Do you like me just rambling and complaining that I have a podcast? I think I said this at the beginning of this little rant that this is just so petty and so first world. But this is the world I’m living in and this is the reason why after 22 years my interest in this show is kind of waning; it’s not as interesting as it used to be.

And I also think that the cool thing that I used to do many, many years ago was that I would get the jump on everybody and I’d be able to play that album for the very first time for you people. And that’s when the show explodes. So it’s really neat. I remember The Phantom Menace days when I shut down the server at Mohawk College. I remember premiering Skyfall and that is still to this day the most popular day in the history of Cinematic Sound and I’ve never been able to replicate that. I mean the place just went crazy during that day. Everybody really wanted to hear the brand new James Bond soundtrack. Nowadays, everybody can hear on Spotify, YouTube or whatever streaming device or streaming service you subscribe to. And I rarely get the jump on exclusives. There are a few things that I do get before you get a chance to hear it through those services but I guess again it’s few and far between. I used to love playing a whole bunch of new stuff.

So that’s kind of why I want to go deeper into my own collection right now and even play some of the older stuff that might either be rare or obscure or maybe you haven’t heard before. There are a couple of other ideas that I want to try out and I’m not sure how this is going to work but I was thinking of doing some live shows. All request shows for the listeners so you can have an opportunity to request a track.

Interviews are just something that I never really got into. I love talking to composers but if I was going to do an interview or interviews I would love to be the one that really stirs the pot a bit. Asks questions that don’t normally get asked. Things that maybe these guys haven’t said before. Again here I am criticizing other shows and things of that sort as if I’m the guy who knows it all. I mean, I don’t. It’s clear that I don’t. But yeah.

So what’s the point of all this? I guess I had to air my dirty laundry and I just tell you where I am and what’s been affecting me and why I feel this way. And if I lose listeners I apologize that this is what made you turn me off. But I’m going to be back. At some point, I will be back. I have to be back. I think about the show every day. I really do.

But I also got to find a way to bring more people on board that want to hear this show. I’m really a hundred percent sure how to do that. And that’s my problem. But again I appreciate the 1663 people that downloaded my latest show, which came out almost a month ago, and I really appreciate every single one of you for giving it a listen. I also appreciate every single one of you that got through this entire broadcast. This might be something I eventually delete somewhere down the road but thank you very much for listening. Thanks for your ear. Thank you for coming back every week or whenever a new show was uploaded.

And I just want to thank again Jason Drury, Tim Burton, David Coscina and anybody else that has contributed to Cinematic Sound Radio over the years. I truly do appreciate all the time and effort that you put into this program and hopefully sooner than later I get my mojo back and I’ll be back behind the mic. And instead of bitching and complaining, we’ll be talking about film, television and video game scores and playing more great music for you.

So, until next time, thank you very much for listening and take care and happy listening!

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