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The RAAF Museum’s Walrus photographed shortly after the
completion of its restoration
How did you and Steve meet, when and who’s idea was
it for a podcast radio show?
We were both contributing content to the Airplane Geeks
podcast, Grant via email and Steve via audio recordings that
the Geeks had started referring to as the “Australia Desk.”
We’d emailed a couple of times and were having a “meet &
eat” lunch in June 2009 at the RVAC Bistro at Moorabbin
Airport along with Steven Pam who also listened to the same
aviation podcasts as we did. Steve suggested that the two of
us join forces and record the Australia Desk together, which
we did for a few weeks. Very quickly we found that we had
lots of content that we had to cut out of the Australia Desk
segment to fit it in the eight minutes allotted to us each week.
We decided rather than just dumping and trimming, we’d do
our own podcast with the full weekly news review and
discussion then trim it down to make the Australia Desk
segment for the week. Thus was how Plane Crazy Down
Under born. Our first few episodes were produced this way
and then we started recording the Australia Desk separately
from the full PCDU podcast. Over time, our show grew from
being a weekly news review and started including interviews,
theme topics and much much more.
How do you keep up with what’s going on and how do
you decide what is ‘newsworthy’?
We’re always monitoring news feeds and forums plus keeping
an ear out for news from friends and contacts. Sometimes a
chance mention of an item will trigger the idea for an episode
and we’ll work our contacts or look up people who we can
talk to about it. Generally if it’s of interest to us or we think
our audience might enjoy it, we’ll explore it and try to put
something together. Of course, for our weekly “Australia
Desk” segment for the Airplane Geeks show in the USA, we’ll
monitor the aviation news feeds and pick a few stories each
week that are either “big” items or may be of interest people
in Australia and overseas. Naturally, lots of stories get left
behind and sometimes there are more things we’d like to
discuss than we have time for.
How often is a new episode released and how do they
come together technically?
The current aim to release two shows per month, and we
achieve this most of the time. The show has evolved from a
straight news/comment format into more of a variety show
with interviews and segments. In general, interviews are
recorded up to several weeks prior to the show being
released. This gives us time to edit and have them ready to
insert into a show as required. In addition, reporters/
contributors send in interviews and segments variously. Each
show is planned out in advance using MediaWiki. Once the
running order is decided, we record “wrappers” to go around
the pre-recorded interviews and segments – ie. intro, bridges,
commentary, listener mail and shout outs, sign off. Once the
wrappers are edited, everything is carefully spliced together
so that it flows perfectly. Ad breaks are added, along with
various theme and backing tracks, then everything is mixed
down into a single mp3 track, tagged and checked, then
uploaded to our server for release. Once the audio file is
ready, we’ll produce the show notes and (if we have time) a
custom graphic for the episode’s “cover art.” This is all loaded
onto the web site and published to the show’s RSS feed which
then makes it available to people via iTunes, directly on the
website or via any other podcast downloading/listening
software the audience may be using. Recording in the field is
done using Zoom H1, H2 & H4N digital recorders. Our studios
are in Cranbourne and McKinnon. Recording and mixing is
generally done at Steve’s end (Cranbourne) with Grant and
others coming in via Skype.
What is the hardest thing about putting Plane Crazy
Down Under together?
Finding enough time each week to do it around our days jobs
and family lives. It has become a very involved undertaking.
Where do you get your funding to travel overseas for
We fund these activities by selling advertising into the shows in
the main, but also rely on donations from our listeners. Our
trip to Oshkosh last year was funded roughly 70/30 this way.
Who does what – how do you spread the work between
When it comes to editing, Steve is “the man!” He spends hours
working on each episode, editing interviews and splicing it all
together. Sometimes Grant will help out with editing content if
Steve’s busy working on another episode or there’s a deadline.
Usually Grant is looking after the web site and the more
technical aspects of having an online presence. Otherwise,
everything else from finding new guests to posting on
Facebook and Twitter is generally shared between us.
Do you see this as the final format or do you have
ambitions for Plane Crazy, given it has a bit of a
niche market, ie digital radio?
We’d dream of growing Plane Crazy into our day jobs,
producing the show online and variants for radio shows as well
as doing more airshow announcing and exploring the fun of
video. For now, we’re trying to expand our audience even
further and leveraging our sponsors and advertisers to help
offset the costs of travelling to events in Australia and New
Grant McHerron Southern Skies Online Media
Phone: +61 422 914 949
An internet podcast radio show that has become very
popular, covering all aspects of aviation. Look through the
archives on their website and find interviews with Dick Smith,
Deborah Wardley and many other Australian aviation identities
and issues covering the Australian scene.
After meeting them at our most recent Pageant (PCDU
Episode 83) the Editor asked Grant McHerron to explain
more about this amazing resource...
Aerogram December 2012
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