I’ve been using BlogTalkRadio to do podcasts for the last five weeks. I tried my cell phone and then Skype to call into my switchboard, with results that ranged from poor to dreadful. The last Skype show I conducted, with Jonathan Hefter, sounded like an episode of the old Diver Dan show — we might as well have been in a studio in the Coney Island Aquarium for all the bubbling sounds and skips.
Blogtalkradio recommends using Skype, and in fact I bought a high-end USB headset and a monthly plan to use Skype to call regular phone lines just so I could use Skype for my show. Considering that I want many people to download my show, and that it’s also great content for my guests to use, I became quickly disenchanted with using Skype. I’ve looked into some means of improving the connection, and tried a few tweaks, to no avail. I also own a Packet 8 videophone, which has somewhat better sound quality than Skype, but it does not have a headset jack, making it impractical to use.
Last year I had my landline phone restored to use for coaching clients, but after a few months decided to shut it off again. Actually, I put it on suspension, and paid a monthly fee to NOT have a phone! I was pretty determined to have a great sounding show, so last week I called Verizon to reinstate the phone yet again. Now I’m paying for a landline, a Packet 8 VoIP line, Skype, and my cell phone. Something has to give, so I’m considering having my Packet 8 phone turned off and having my phone number (which I’ve had for the 25 years I’ve lived in Manhattan) re-ported to the landline.
Almost immediately after plugging the phone back into the jack, it rang, to my surprise – and of course, it was a telemarketer! I’m listed as Andrew, Coach in the phone book (a method of being unlisted without paying for it), so it was a little jarring to have someone say, “Coach Andrew? I’d like to tell you how to save money on your car insurance….”
I realized, when preparing to do my Sunday night show, that I had only a low-end Trimline phone for the landline, and it had no headphone jack. Off to Staples I went. I bought the most basic phone I could find that would accept a headset, a Verizon cordless model with few special features – all I really needed. I didn’t realize until shortly before the show started that the headset jack was for a 2.5 mm plug, and my headset was 3.5 mm. Back to the Trimline for my first show with the landline, but with the phone handset in one hand and my hand on the keyboard and mouse to control the switchboard and to toggle between the switchboard and my show prep document. All I needed was a foot pedal and I could do my Rosemary Woods impression. [A Nixon tape reference, for those of you too young to remember this.]