Podcaster Eric Bramble holds a microphone at the Torrent Investments office on Langley Street where he produces his podcasts.

Pump up the volume: Meet Victoria’s podcasters

Greater Victoria's online hosts discuss the appeal of digital talk shows and alternative voices

Twice a month, Eric Bramble puts a microphone and a growler of beer on a boardroom table and invites the world to his downtown office.

As the founder of 29er Radio, the 40-something commercial property investor is one of a growing number of locals making names for themselves in Victoria and beyond through podcasting.

“I have been a wannabe radio person forever,” Bramble says.

Podcasting is a simple concept: discuss a topic, make a digital recording and put it online for users to download. The rest is up to the audience.

Bramble’s podcasting portfolio (a hobby he began two years ago) includes the Growler Hour, where Victoria-based guests like Nick Blasko from Atomique Productions and Accent Inns CEO Mandy Farmer discuss what makes them tick.

He’s also got the Lisa, Gene and Eric Show, a bi-weekly podcast with Victoria Coun. Lisa Helps and Monday Magazine founder Gene Miller that explores urban and regional issues. (Most recently, the trio invited a sewage expert to discuss the potential benefits of burning human waste for energy).

“Sometimes I think we forget about the amazing people we have in town here,” Bramble says. “And we can get better, deeper information if we sit down and listen to what those people have to say.”

The Front Nine author Mike Vardy, a self-proclaimed “productivityist,” somehow finds time between regular international speaking gigs to host a weekly podcast, Mikes on Mics, from his Victoria home.

Vardy and his Brooklyn-based co-host, Michael Schechter of workflowing.net, use Skype to talk shop on staying productive with the latest technology. The podcast has been so successful, the duo get paid to host their work at 5by5.tv, a U.S. Internet broadcasting network.

“Podcasting is a lot easier to do than ever before, and with people wanting to listen to something when it’s convenient, they’re becoming a lot more popular,” Vardy says.

The audience for Mikes on Mics is about 70 per cent U.S. listeners, he adds.

“If you’re thinking you don’t have much to talk about that anyone in Victoria is going to care about, well Victoria is a small place,” he says. “There’s a lot more people out there.”

Greater Victorians are typically known as early adopters with new technologies and online innovations, said Rian Bowden, an internet strategy consultant at plusROI.com. In 2009, Bowden built a podcasting platform, dailysplice.com, that attracted a surprising number of Capital Region emergency services like Saanich police and Sidney Fire Department. The platform is still used by View Royal fire department to easily broadcast updates to media and residents.

“It was one of the earlier platforms and fairly innovative,” Bowden says. “You just pick up the phone, dial and 800-number, leave a message and that goes to your website’s podcast feed in a few seconds.”

Vardy encourages anyone to try podcasting at home, but cautions once an opinion is online, it’s probably there forever.

“It’s just like Facebook or other social media,” he says. “You want to be very careful about what you put out there, podcasts included.”

Listen to Bramble’s podcasts at 29erradio.com.

Find Vardy’s podcast at mikesonmics.com.

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