This Week in Tech, the TWIT network’s flagship podcast, is going on hiatus for the next two weeks, apparently this week because it was too nice outside to do a podcast and next week because Leo’s away on a Geek Cruise. Leo claims in a post at the TWiT website that This Week in Tech is on life support and that the heart monitor is flatlining; more specifically:
It’s about 80 degrees out – in all likelyhood the last nice day of summer in Northern California – so all the TWiTs decided to play hookey. At the same time. Unfortunately that means there will be no show tonight.
It’s my turn to play hookey next week. I’m off on a Geek Cruise next Friday, and will be gone through November 4, so there will be no TWiT next week either.
I’ll decide what happens to TWiT, the show, when I come back, but at this point it looks like it’s on life support and the heart monitor is flatlining.
You can read the whole post (I only left out the last paragraph where he says he’ll put up This Week in Law in TWiT’s feed this week) here.
I have mixed feelings about this. Personally I’d miss TWiT if it were gone, I think it’s one of the few podcasts that I really really look forward to every week, and without it the TWiT network would kind of be adrift without a flagship podcast to really bring a large number of its audience back to TWIT every week to listen. The majority-if not all-of the listeners to the other TWiT podcasts, like MacBreak, Windows Weekly, MacBreak Weekly, DailyGizWiz, This Week in Media, and Security Now! all came to those podcasts because of TWiT, and it would be incredibly sad and a significant loss to see it go. Most of the listening and podcast world seems to agree with me, and the inevitably rallying cry has gone out to Save TWiT.
At the same time, I think Leo needs to loosen the reins a bit, and give up on drumming up support via controversy. I think the whole “netcast” v. “podcast” thing was a starter, inadvertant as it might have been, where a rather silly (in my opinion) distinction turned into an massive rallying cry against essentially nothing-a powerhouse cure for a disease that hasn’t struck anyone yet, and I think that this kind of rallying of the troops in the name of controversy is a little tiring. I stop just short of insinuating malice or ego, I don’t think it’s nearly that bad, but I do think that Leo couldn’t possibly have thought the reaction to his comments about TWiT, which seem to the rest of us to be coming out of the blue (no one Leo, NO ONE, thought that TWiT was on life support until you said so. Maybe the other panelists thought so, but none of your listening public thought so, so I don’t see where that’s coming from-and I’m very certain that it’s not on life support by way of lack of listeners or listener input) would have been any different than the outcry he’s seeing.
Why is he saying what he’s saying now? Maybe the other TWiT network podcasts need attention. Maybe he’s just burnt out and wants to do something different and is tired of TWiT. Maybe all the TWiTs are tired of TWiT. That could all be very true, by why not say that, instead of being ambiguous? I don’t know.
Personally, if Leo let TWiT happen without him, a little in the way that MacBreak and MacBreak weekly happen without him, and now how This Week in Law happens without him, we might see the show pick back up on its own: I’ve thought this from the TechTV days: Leo-you don’t have to have your hand in EVERYTHING. Relax and listen to your own network sometimes, it’s pretty good what you’ve done-you can let this bird fly a little now.
Either way, I really don’t want to see a stellar podcast like TWiT go down the proverbial tubes (not at all like a truck) because the stars are tired. Bring in some other names, cover some other topics, or divest the podcast to some of your biggest fans and listening public. Every one of the core TWiTs has another podcast presence somewhere-how about some new blood? I’m particularly fond of Cory Doctorow’s appearances, and Lawrence Lessig’s appearances, not to discount my favorite panelists like Patrick Norton, David Prager, and John C Dvorak, but I can see why they might be getting burnt out, and I can certainly see why Leo might be getting burnt out.
But still, Leo, please, let it go a little and don’t be scared to change the show before scrapping it, picking up your ball, and going home.