I listen to a number of podcasts. Maybe it’s just my intersection of interests, but a lot of them have a similar feel to them and too many of them hit the same irritating tropes that seem to exist to either make the host feel superior or to pad the length of the episode.

An older-style microphone

So, of course, I got to thinking about what a podcast might sound like with only the parts that I dislike. The results were surprisingly cohesive, and it’s nice to invent a fictional world that isn’t politically motivated. I won’t openly accuse any of the podcasts I listen to as being inspirations for this, partly because I probably otherwise enjoy them and partly because connections will probably be obvious to fellow listeners. None of the “bits” should be unique to any one podcast, though.

I’ll pop back in after “the show” to give a quick rundown on where the names come from, at least.

You can listen to it, too, due to the magic of modern text-to-speech software.

HOST: That is a good question.

Overly long podcast theme plays.

HOST: Jumpin’ jeeeeee-ho-see-fat, boys and girls! No, that’s still a terrible way to start the podcast. Well, I’ll keep changing it up until I find something that works. Happy Wednesday night, all, because this is the Instant Podcast Podcast, where our motto is “just add content, because we won’t.” I’m Podarge Carste Host, and with me today is some nobody named Igor, who I call my partner, but keep him off-mic except for occasional supportive syllables that sneak through editing, and I don’t give him a share of the company. They don’t even know if you exist, Igor. I could kill you right now and nobody would ever be any wiser.

IGOR: Mm-hmm.

HOST: I won’t kill you yet, though, Igor, because I need to ask you how you’ve been coping with all the chaos out there. Oh, that’s right, you don’t get a microphone. Well, I’ll tell you that I had a rough day. I had to get out of bed to come here, and everything’s so frustrating these days, that I don’t feel like doing this every day, but I will, because I love doing it.

IGOR: Aww.

HOST: However, because of that delay, I do want to apologize sincerely to the audience, because this episode is going to be released a couple of hours late and podcasts are obviously like television, where you need to be there when it’s released or you miss it. I hope that the delay doesn’t spoil anybody’s Wednesday evening. Although time has no meaning, these days.

IGOR: Wednesdays are rough.

HOST: Remember, Instant Podcast is listener-supported. Subscribers get the warm feeling of keeping the podcast going, plus access to our back-catalog of recordings of me mumbling to myself as I go about my business on normal days and special access to a secret website where we exclusively post pictures of pets we find on the Internet. If you already subscribe, consider paying more for your subscription to compensate for the people who would like to subscribe but can’t. If we gain a thousand new subscribers before the end of the month, we’ll record an episode as video so you can see if Igor is a human being or just a sock puppet.

IGOR: And buy a boat!

HOST: That’s a mobile studio, Igor. But when we get back from the break, we’ll talk to Arthur Guest. Arthur will talk about what podcasts are and how they work. First, though, I want to run down my schedule of appearances, for the people who want to see me personally. Oh, right. We don’t travel anymore. I miss traveling, getting to meet the salt of the Earth people who live hand-to-mouth waiting tables. But I don’t want to get an infection.

A brief musical sting plays.

HOST: We’re back, and we have Arthur Gooiest, here. You might remember our mentioning Mr. Gooiest back in episode number four. Remember that far back, Igor, when the audio quality was terrible because we thought you could sell ads against audio recorded from just any old microphone? The good old days. Well, here’s Mr. Gooiest.

GUEST: Sorry, my name is actually Guest. Art Guest.

HOST: I don’t understand.

GUEST: Well, my name isn’t “Gooiest.” Here, let’s try an exercise. While I’m visiting your podcast for the interview, I’m your…?

HOST: You’re a guest on the podcast.

GUEST: Right. My name is exactly the same word, just used as a name.

HOST: Fair enough, Mr. Gooiest. Arthur, let’s start out by asking what we ask everyone, these days, how are you holding up with “the everything.”

GUEST: Fine, I suppose.

HOST: Good, good. And where are you currently located?

GUEST: What? Baguio, in Luzon, Philippines.

HOST: Huh, so that’d be in…that direction, I guess. I’ve never been there, but I think I’ve seen the Philippines on maps and I used to know a man named Phillip. OK, so Arthur Gooiest, let’s ask…what are podcasts?

GUEST: Well, a podcast is a way to share information as digital audio files.

HOST: Exactly…

GUEST: Sometimes, people download or subscribe to podcasts to listen to them.

HOST: That is correct.


HOST: So, how do podcasts work?

GUEST: Well, usually the—

HOST: Oh, I thought of something else you could have said about podcasts! Some of them are in video formats, too. We’ll be filming a video episode, soon, if we get enough paid subscribers.

GUEST: Uh-huh.

HOST: Well, not film, I guess, because nothing is on film, anymore. But digital film, I guess.

GUEST: Sure. So…with podcasts, usually—

HOST: Have you considered naming podcasts after Santa’s reindeer? I think that would be charming.

GUEST: I can’t really say that I have, no.

HOST: That’s too bad. But before we run out of time, is there anything that you think I should have asked you, but missed? I know, it’s a really hard question, because you need to think about all the good questions, then all the questions in the universe, then all the questions I asked, and you probably have an enormous spreadsheet already created to deal with this.

GUEST: Well, I’m not really sure we even touched on why I was here.

HOST: That is a good question. Ah, well, we’ll try to plug your good and/or service in the show notes, if I can remember. I’m sorry to see you go. I could easily talk about this topic all day, but you can’t just add time to a podcast.

GUEST: I mean…

HOST: That was A. Gooiest, everybody.

IGOR: That’s Arthur Guest, Pod.

HOST: Oh, well, I can’t pronounce words. Everybody knows that. It’s part of my charm. But be sure to follow him on all the social diseases. No, not social diseases. I’m getting silly. Let’s take an ad break, Igor.

A completely different musical sting plays, simple like elevator music.

HOST: Are you ever sad, Igor? Like when nobody listens to a word you say, and you know that I sometimes have Diah just edit out your soliloquies? Well, you should try Quirk, a defunct, open source cognitive behavioral therapy app for your smartphone of Apple or Android typing. Sorry, I got derailed, a bit, there, but Igor, you can use Quirk all you want and Quirk will pretend to care about you when nobody else does. The website is gone and it was always free, so get one hundred percent off by compiling the app for yourself and using promo code “it’s already free.” Sure, there are plenty of reasons to think that it might be a bad idea, like turning your mental health into a productivity concern in the absence of free will, but it’s better than asking me to listen to you, Igor. And then try getting around with LibreTaxi. Worried that the problem with ride-sharing apps is that the drivers are vetted to ensure they’re not criminals, or that the data isn’t creepily public? Grab the LibreTaxi app and find out what freedom means instead of just calling a local taxi company. Or log on to their public Telegram channel and watch everybody’s testing data go by. Don’t enter a promo code, but hey, try to negotiate a better deal with your driver. But above all, buy some of our merch. People want merch with my face on it, even though nobody has ever seen me in person. Oh, and I should plug whatever Art is working on. Go check that out!

Perky music plays for longer than it should, but gets cut off before the tune is finished.

HOST: We’re back, and now it’s time for my absolute favorite part of the show. Every day, people e-mail us at Instant Podcast with their ultra-local news to update us about their lives. Long-time listeners might remember that we briefly spun Ultra-Local News into its own podcast, but we brought it back to the main podcast.

IGOR: Not enough subscribers to advertise, and we want that boat.

HOST: Like you’re going to be on it. But the personal news is back in the main podcast, where everybody seems to want it. Let’s get right to it, though. Our first news item comes from Liliana Rodríguez, who says…well, actually, this is just pictures of genitals. Oh, and she asked us not to use her name. Oops! Well, the next is from Layliin Jawda, who writes in to tell us that she got a new puppy. We love pets, here, so please send us as many pictures of pets as you can.

IGOR: Send them to her, not “us.”

HOST: Well, Hannes Stein writes to tell us…OK, this is just genitals, too, and definitely not all from the same person. So many genitals. We should probably screen these. Nope, way at the bottom, there’s mention that his daughter passed a math test. Way to set the bar. And finally Wen Mo writes to tell us that, this week, they visited a Taoist temple and enjoyed the trip. That’s sweet.

IGOR: Uh-huh.

HOST: So, as a quick reminder, we at Instant Podcast are taking our vacations, next week. But don’t worry, we’ll keep your feed filled with last week’s episodes, so that you still have something else to listen to. In fact, we might have extra-long episodes, where we’ll edit together the last two episodes from each day of the week for double the Instant Podcast fun.

IGOR: Such a thrill.

HOST: Right? So, that’s all the time that we have for this episode. Remember that Instant Podcast is listener-supported. We realize that not everybody can give during these unprecedented times, but if you have some extra cash lying around, you could do worse than give it to us. You can join our wonderful, amazing, handsome, top subscribers like Victoria Woods, Ahmad Durrani, Huan He, Weed Monkey 420, Pedro Pinto, Boob Master 69, Terror Dude 13, Suzanne de Leeuw, Mao Xie, Vitór Díaz, Network Phreak 666, and of course, Elza Ulianov. Instant Podcast is a production of Instant Podcast LLC, produced by me—Podarge Carste Host—with editing and scheduling by Diah Kapoor. Growth-hacking, information management, and all things cyber by Durga Jakibanjar. And logo by Sofia Rossetti. If you have any recommendations for people you’d like to be interviewed on Instant Podcast, e-mail them and have them contact Diah. We’re much too busy to hunt people down to see if they’re interested, so it’s much better if they come to us. And remember…you da man! Every one of you, including—no, especially—the women, children, and non-binary people out there. Not Igor, though.

Part of the podcast theme plays, fading out.

It’s probably obvious, but our main characters are:

  • Podarge Carste Host: Name chosen so that he or she can be called something that sounds similar to “podcast host.”
  • Igor: Named for the stock character largely inspired by Fritz in the 1931 Frankenstein movie, here the mostly off-microphone second banana used more as a prop than a sidekick.
  • Arthur Guest: Opposite to Host, this is “A. Guest.”

Other names were either generated using my own character generator or given the most stereotypical user names I could think of.

Quirk is a real (though abandoned) open source project, and I oversimplified the criticism of cognitive behavioral therapy for the sake of the joke, not meant to attack the therapy, people who benefit from it, or Quirk, since I have no experience with the field. Likewise, LibreTaxi is real, and the software does dump plain text requests into a chat (Telegram) channel; I make fun of it in the spirit of having a thoroughly unappealing ad read, but again, have no experience with the system beyond skimming the Telegram channel; that said, they’re probably no worse to use (despite my attempts at jokes) than the ride-sharing apps that do everything in their power to avoid paying drivers enough money to survive and have no problem breaking laws to cut costs. Depersonalized therapy and ride-sharing felt like the most stereotypical ads, with only an affiliate program missing, in my opinion.

The audio presentation—created largely with Mimic to record the voices, a script I previously wrote to drive Mimic, and Audacity to insert the audio—isn’t perfect. Some words, like “OK,” didn’t work quite right. But it takes a while on my laptop to “record” and merge everything, so I probably won’t bother redoing it, when characters mispronouncing obvious words is slightly funnier to me.

Credits: The header image is Vintage Astatic crystal microphone by LuckyLouie, released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International license. The music credits follow for the audio version.

Title Creator License
Pariah Scott Buckley CC-BY 4.0
NewsSting Kevin MacLeod CC-BY 4.0
Flighty Theme Kevin MacLeod CC-BY 4.0
Sarsaparilla Scott Buckley CC-BY 4.0

Formal credits are also on the Internet Archive page.