For this post, I will be following up on last time by sharing some of my thoughts on how the show might change in the future. Instead of just stating my ideas here, I decided to reach out to Damian Hardeen, the producer, to ask him where the show will be headed as time goes on. Here’s what he had to say:
Question: Are you considering putting the show out on iTunes for their podcasts app?
Answer: “As a matter of fact, we have discussed this option recently and we will be featuring the podcast on iTunes by Spring of this year.”
This was important to ask because iTunes is probably the best way for the podcast to reach the largest number of people. Podbean is great, but it is relatively obscure compared to iTunes.
These two pie charts compare who paid US taxes between 1952 and 2015 (found on Stats portion of FNR website).
Question: Will there be guests appearing more frequently, or even a panel of guests?
Answer: “Since our beginnings, our guest appearances have increased significantly and we hope to further increase this as we go. Our audience varies from week to week and they are invited to interact with the show. They can also ask questions during taping for a chance to have them addressed when that segment comes up. Additionally, I have been offering more ‘sideman’ off-camera commentary as well.”
This question was prompted by my interest in seeing the Professor participate in group discussions like Bill Maher does on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. I think he would be well-suited to back and forth debate, especially if he could get people he disagrees with on the panel. It’s too bad that such debates won’t be a part of the show’s near future. However, the highly focused and structured nature of the show may be to the viewers’ benefit, as Maher’s show rarely spotlights one topic for as long as it should.
Question: Will there be more direct interaction with the live studio audience, such as having the Professor answer any questions they might have?
Answer: In addition to the above, we also encourage audience members at home to submit their questions or comments while watching the taping as a live event on Facebook every Wednesday at 5 pm.
Professor Leventhal himself also had a statement to add in response to my inquiries:
A quote from former President Theodore Roosevelt (found in the Stats section of the FNR website).
I underscore Damian’s remarks. I would like to add that the studio can now accommodate a guest, but additional guests would probably not look good. One of the things we are quite proud of is how remarkably professional the show looks, especially given our shoestring budget! We are working on finalizing the phone system so we can do call-in guests as well because that will greatly expand our range of who we can invite on.
We like the idea of exchange with the audience and will work more of that into the show as the audience allows. Damian and I think that the spontaneity of responding to questions adds a liveliness to the show, which is part of why he is interacting more with me. There are real concerns here, however, as we live-stream, because asking the audience for real-time questions is often a recipe for disaster.
Thanks again, and please do share your suggestions with us! We may not be able to implement them all, but they will all get strong consideration!”
Thanks to David Leventhal and Damian Hardeen for taking the time to respond. For more information about the show, check out their website and my previous post.