So, how do you judge a podcast?
That question came up pretty early in the deliberations. This is a brand-new category after all. One that didn't even exist until a good ways into the judging process.
I never asked, but I suspect that I may have been the only judge who listened to podcasts before I asked that the category be introduced. That probably made it a bit of an uphill battle for some of the judges. The time commitment involved here was huge. I was already in the process of catching up on several podcasts, and even still I was working on listening to them right up to the very end. There were 23 of these, and some have 100+ hours of content.
Not that it was unpleasant, mind you, it was just long.
So, how do you judge a podcast? Well, I think it starts with defining the things that make a podcast useful and enjoyable. Things like production values, value/utility of content, and sense of humor are very important here. It's a lot more like judging a fansite or art than the usual game book.
Still, there are no real guidelines here, and so we had to work it out as we went. If I do this again next year I think I'll ask the podcasters and their community what it is that's important to them.
Anywho, from here it was a matter of trying to find which shows best embody these traits. I tried to nominate a number of different shows, each strong in their own way. Fear the Boot for example has incredible production values, and is a heck of a lot of fun to listen to, while Sons of Kryos has some of the best gaming advice I've ever heard. I mentioned in an earlier post how much I enjoy the reviews Have Games, Will travel, and particularly how the very thorough early ones are directly responsible for selling me on a number of games, and helped to secure my support for a couple of nominees.
There are shows that didn't make it here that certainly had a place. Gamer the Podcasting didn't enter, but I always assumed they would have gotten my vote as well. Also, Dragon's Landing, which has been a center of the community didn't quite make it, which disappoints me a little. The list goes on and on.
Still, here more than anywhere I have no one to blame but myself. The other judges knew this was my baby, and they really stepped back and supported my choices. Four out of the top six are on the list directly because of my votes, so if you're unhappy with the choices, it's my fault.
I wonder if I can talk the board into asking Mick Bradley to present the award. From the outside looking in it seems that, if the podcasting community has a heart, it's that man, and I know he could entertain the crowd.
Anywho, I guess that's about all there is here. If anyone has any questions please leave a comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I'm able. Also let me know what you think of these commentaries before I waste too much time writing things no one is reading.