Sunday, June 14, 2009

Today's live show - call with Skype!

Quick the studio is closed for the summer, we'll be doing the show live, from Dillahunty International Studios.

If you'd like to call in, here's what you need to do:
- Download and install Skype (if you haven't already)
- Setup a Skype account (if you haven't already)
- Add 'atheisttv' to your contacts list

When the show is live, DO NOT CALL. Instead, send an IM to 'atheisttv' with your name, location and subject. The call screener will be making outgoing calls, as we can. He'll contact you first to see if you're ready for the call and we'll see how it goes. :)

Please be patient...this is a first attempt and we'll try to make improvements each week.


  1. Skype > real phones in terms of quality.

  2. Sounds like a good plan to deal with callers.

    I quit using Skype about a year ago due to call quality issues. The calls were actually clearer than traditional phones, but they broke up almost constantly and it made conversing pointless.

    Perhaps they have rectified the problem in the intervening time.

    Hope it works out guys. I need my AxP!

  3. I think this turned out well. There were some frustrating issues with the ustream feed dropping, though. I'm not sure what the cause of that would be. But the content was interesting.

  4. For the most part I think this worked pretty well Guys. Good stuff. Patrick was a great caller too.

  5. Nice show, thanks guys.

    Some random observations:

    - Skype caller audio quality was very good, even for the most part better than what your own mics recorded.

    - A landline number for incoming calls (non-free extra Skype service) could be a nice touch, so that people don't need to use Skype to call in. On the other hand, I suppose that the incoming call screening through Skype IM worked well, so I don't know if you want to give up that since I wouldn't bet that incoming call queuing is possible using the Skype landline number.

    - The number of simultaneous UStream viewers seemed to max out at about 450, which isn't much extra when compared with normal shows from the studio, I have seen perhaps 350 people watching the stream before. How many people did you expect to show up and are you satisfied with the turn-out?

    - Related to the previous point, do you have any stats on how many viewers you might on an average have on the cable show on TV? I'm not from the US so I don't know; do the public access channels get ratings?

  6. The show today took me quite by surprise: everything worked. The mikes worked, the headsets worked, the video worked, the music worked, and Skype worked so beautifully that people from the other side of the globe sounded as if they were right there in the room with us. The is mostly all due to the hard prep work done by Frank, so shoot him an email at the TV show address and shower him with praise.

    It wasn't entirely without little hitches. Ustream dropped out at least once, but I'm told that happens all the time in the studio too.

    Improvement goals for next Sunday include getting an external speaker so we Matt and his cohost don't have to wear headphones (which did give today a real sense of guerilla-TV fun, I must admit), and snagging some clip-on mikes.

    Sebastian: Adding a land-line is unlikely as we are only going to be doing the next 6-10 shows max this way. As this is only a temporary stopgap while the Access studios are under summer renovations, we'll probably just keep queueing calls like we did today. But it's nice to know we can do a home-based show, and talk to callers from anywhere, as easily as we do it at Access.

    We were pleased with the Ustream turnout, which was around our weekly average of 450. Now the goal is to get all of our Ustream viewers to hook five of their atheist friends on the show too, so we can get those numbers around 2000 or so! (And no, no way I know of to see who's watching on cable.)

    BathTub: Kazim phoned Matt right after we signed off and told us the consensus in the chat room was the Patrick might possibly have been notorious Canadian creationist ex-YouTuber VenomFangX, real name Shawn something, who earned infamy recently for soliciting cash donations via his YouTube account while failing to declare himself a registered charity, in violation fo Canadian law. He was also humbled prior to that in an incident where he got pro-science YouTuber thunderf00t temporarily banned by making a false DMCA violation accusation against him. Shawn had to eat crow in a widely circulated video apology for that.

    If Patrick really was Shawn -- and while it didn't hit us while we were live today, after watching bits of the DVD recording, Matt and I had to admit it really did sound like the kid's voice -- it's interesting that he had none of that cocky, petulant Hovindite VenomFangX attitude. He was really all politeness and civility, which was why Matt and I respected and appreciated the call so much. If it really was Shawn, can his recent problems have humbled him and provoked a little hurried (if belated) growing up? Hope springs eternal.

    Then again, if we're wrong and Patrick was really just Patrick and not Shawn, then, hey dude, we liked talking to you, and call back any old time!

  7. Interesting, I never would have made that connection to VFX. I guess I will need to listen again.

    Thanks for the update.

  8. Will the interim (non-studio) shows be uploaded to iTunes? I'm never available to watch the show live (or at all really), and look forward to the Podcast every week.

    Thanks for all you guys do!

  9. I'm in the same boat as Amber.

    Being from Australia, the show usually clashes with my working hours. However, I had a late start today and was able to catch some of the streamed show. Thanks to Frank for getting things setup and for it to have worked as well as it did.

    You know, you're only encouraging more international callers now that you're using Skype in this interim period. ;)

    Don't forget we Podcast devotees when doing your viewership/listenership count.

  10. Yes, we may be encouraging more international callers, but the screening process is better. In the studio we only have three lines to play with, and if we hang up on someone then there's no guarantee he'll be replaced by someone better. I imagine with the new setup, you can pick the best call out of a hundred at your leisure.

  11. Thought about external speakers and no headphones: Are you worried about feedback. My understanding is that is how the studio's set up is, external speakers and no headphones, and I am not really sure how they do it.

    In class we skyped in some phone calls from experts in the field that the class was on, and played their voice over the built in speakers in the classroom. When the class wanted to ask a question, we just shouted at the direct of the microphone on the laptop. The biggest problem with this set up was the fact that the callers could hear themselves echo in the background, and for them, it at times became distracting.

    I have no idea how to solve these problems, or if it would be a problem, but there is it.

  12. regarding echo/feedback, with correct mic placement and input levels, they should be able to hear the caller in studio without the mics picking it up, but it does require the right equipment and knowledge. worst case, the hosts could wear some cheap earbuds that are more comfy and less visually obtrusive.

  13. Will you upload the show? I can't watch it live since I live in a different time zone...

  14. We recorded a DVD, once it's edited (there's pre-show setup footage at the beginning that needs to be removed), it'll be posted (at Blip) like any other show.

    I recorded the audio in the same way I record Non-Prophets. I'm waiting to hear, from Steve, exactly what he wants (bit rate, mono/stereo) and I'll modify it and create an MP3 and OGG Vorbis for it.

    It won't happen as quickly this week, but next week should be quicker.

  15. thanks, i wish there was a way i could help you all out with some of the more boring and tedious tasks, but as i am in atlanta, i am guessing it would be more trouble than help, ha!

  16. Wait, hold up....VFX is Canadian?

    My national pride has suffered a mighty blow this day. :(

  17. I agree Mayhemm, it's as if being Canadian wasn't bad enough...

    I kid, I kid. :D

    But at least this one isn't American.

  18. Awesome show guys :)

  19. Will there be an mp3 posted on the podcast feed? My Zune software won't recognize ogg vorbis format as a valid podfeed. Thanks.

  20. Another enjoyable show.

    Please continue with skype as it's so much better than the landline when it comes to voice clarity, the callers really sound like they're in the same room.

  21. it's funny, i have never actually anticipated a show until now. i actually kept checking to see if it was posted and was happy to see it show up on itunes this morning.

    i think one of the best things about the show was that it was really indistinguishable (in podcast form) from the normal show. i agree, some of the skype stuff was phenomenal. hopefully, whatever the studio upgrades entail will improve calls when you go back to the studio. would be sad to actually downgrade!

  22. I just finished watching the video of the show on I think the overall quality of the audio (and the video) was far superior to the videos produces in the 'official' studio. Props to you guys for working out all the technical issues and putting out a quality show under less-than-ideal circumstances! YAY AE!!!

  23. I agree that there's a very high chance it was VenomFangX. The voice is absolutely dead-on, the age seems right, and the fact that he identified himself as an apologist. We can only hope it really was him, because it would show that he has changed his attitude, and also that he didn't have any good answers for anything.

  24. Best... show... ever...

    For my money you can drop the tv studio and just produce the show from Matt's Casting Couch from now on.


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