Sunday, June 11, 2006

Airspeed - Transitions

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Note: Airspeed in Brief is being merged into Airspeed! If you only subscribe to Airspeed in Brief, please make sure that you subscribe to Airspeed as soon as possible! The iTunes link and the RSS feed are shown above.

[Following is a pretty close approximation of the verbiage from the episode entitled "Airspeed - Transitions" that appeared on Airspeed beginning beginning on June 11. You can subscribe to the podcast using the links at]

One of the philosophies of this podcast has always been to keep the administrative stuff to a minimum and talk about aeronautics and aerospace as much as possible. Part of the reason is that the short version of the podcast, Airspeed in Brief, airs as a regular radio show in some markets and I’m too lazy to produce a separate version of the podcast that radio listeners won’t understand because they’re listening to the radio and aren’t as actively involved as podcast listeners are.

So this one’s just for you, my pod people!

We’re going to be doing some new things with the podcast. First off, we’re going to merge Airspeed and Airspeed in Brief into one podcast under the flagship Airspeed name. That’s going to mean some variability in the podcast as we merge the two and we have the different perspectives, audiences, and lengths of the program through a single RSS feed. You’ll probably hear differing lengths of programs and the focus will vary between those shows meant for non-aviators and those meant for seasoned pilots.

We’re doing this for several reasons.

First, producing two different podcasts is a lot of work. We’ve done it for about four months now, and we seem to be finding that the audience isn’t much different between the two podcasts. It’s really not necessary to break it up because a lot of the audience seems to subscribe to both of the podcasts.

Second, it turns out from the feedback that we’ve been receiving that the general public, to its credit, is perfectly willing to accept material that goes a little over its head (pun intended), and that it doesn’t mind us getting a little technical. Maybe we’ll be serving a better purpose by letting everybody have the undiluted aeronautical stuff and piquing the curiosities of those who don’t fly regularly.

Third, consolidating the two podcasts will allow us to spend more time going after the interviews and features that you’ve told us that you like. We’re going to respond by really ramping up some of the features. Watch in the upcoming months for feature interviews with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, Lima Lima, Frank Ryder of the Oreck Flight Team, and Michael Hunter of Flight for Diabetes. We’ve arranged opportunities to meet with, and talk to, these cutting-edge aviators and, as you know, we do our research to come up with the best questions and make the best podcast episodes we can. Count on in-depth and solid coverage from us.

Lastly, and this is perhaps a petty reason, but I really want to know how Airspeed stacks up against some of the other aviation-related podcasts out there. I have long suspected that having two podcasts results in some cannibalization in the iTunes and other ratings versus some of the other aviation-related podcasts. By consolidating down to one podcast, we’ll have the chance to see how we truly rank. Airspeed has ranked as high as number two out of the active aviation podcasts on iTunes, and I can’t help but think that a single podcast concentrating all of the listenership would allow us to see how we really stack up.

In case you’re wondering, the other podcasts with which we compete are primarily Jason Miller’s The Finer Points, Pilot Dan, Pilot Kent, and Pilot Mike’s PilotCast, and the Flying Pilot. No cross-promotion here. We didn’t cut a deal with those podcasters for reciprocal mentions or appearances. We just think that they have really good podcasts and we’re honored to share the flight levels with them in terms of subscribership. But we’d really like to see how we stack up with no cannibalization by our own sister podcasts. I’ll bet we catch a few of them but, even if we don’t, that’s some pretty rarefied company to be in and we’re all pretty lucky to have access to a high-quality group of media presentations on the things we love – Turning avgas, Jet-A, or your favorites combustible into beautiful noise and pure excitement.

And here’s some other good news. We’re going to keep going with the features that you’ve told us that you most enjoy. We’re delighted that you like the Steely-Eyed Missile Man series and we’re also going to do a few more episodes about what to expect in flight training. You’ll also get more audio from the cockpit and real-world experience with general aviation. As you know, I’m going after my instrument rating and spending a lot of time in the cockpit. I’ll be taking along my MP3 recorder and plugging it into the intercom so you can hear what’s happening as I continue my own journey in flight training.

So here’s what to expect. We’ll probably pull the plug on Airspeed in Brief during the next month or so. If you subscribe to Airspeed in Brief and not to Airspeed, please be sure to subscribe to Airspeed as soon as you can. We’ve got it out there at iTunes and Podcast Alley and we’ll probably take the time to add the RSS to all of the other podcast aggregators over the next few weeks. We’ll put an announcement on Airspeed in Brief shortly before we pull the plug and we’ll leave it out there for awhile so that anyone who didn’t hear this episode can find his or her way to Airspeed.

Finally, we’d like to throw open the suggestion lines for listeners. By the time this goes live, you wonderful people will probably have downloaded episodes more than 75,000 times since January and we’re very grateful for the way you’ve picked up this podcast and made us want to give you the very best. We have listeners in the US, Canada, Germany, Australia, Japan, the UK, the Netherlands, and 28 other countries. Between 10 and 20% of the listenership is outside the US and we’re very grateful for such broad support.

We’re betting that, with such a broad audience, many of you have story ideas and/or contacts that you can share with us. Do you have a story idea? Are you an astronaut, flight controller, aerobatic pilot, airline pilot, aerospace worker, or demonstration team member? Or do you have an in with any of the above? Drop us a line at and let us know. We’ll respect your time and energy and that of your contacts and, if you’ve been listening for long, you know that we’ll do a fair, in-depth, and exciting story. We’re especially looking for opportunities for media orientation flights.

So. Thanks for your support in the early days of Airspeed. Airspeed 1.0, if you will. We look forward to bringing you Airspeed 1.1 in the weeks and months ahead and we hope you’ll stay in the right seat for the ride. We’ve really enjoyed flying with you so far and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

For Airspeed, I’m Stephen Force. Airspeed is cleared as filed. Runway heading to three thousand and expect flight level six-zero in no time flat. Contact your favorite podcast aggregator for departure control and squawk five-one-five-zero. Have a great flight!

- Steve

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