So if you hadn’t heard the ForceCast podcast shut its doors yesterday. Amid what seemed to be some drama involving the newer cast members and directors vision of where the show was headed.
So some backstory as I viewed it…
A few days to a week ago it was announced that the current hosts of the Force Cast which consisted of Paul Herman, Megan Krause and Saf (last name never known) were leaving the show. Now this wasn’t unexpected to those who follow lots of podcasts. When schedules conflict and releases aren’t as regular as they had been an intelligent mind can put together that some things behind the scenes may not be working as well as they should.
I often listened to other Star Wars podcasts and I’ve seen some flounder and close up or go silent to more of a blog type site. Rebels Report is an example I can think of off the top of my head. Some sites adjust their schedules and have to announce it much like TheStarWarsReport while others just simply vanish.
So when the announcement was made I just assumed it was because of scheduling reasons. I knew ForceCast had let some of their shows go dormant like The Sabacc Table and Rebels Roundtable so when the announcement was made that the cast was leaving I assumed it was because someone at the Force.net’s brass decided to change the show or talk about the release consistency. Sometimes the ForceCast would skip a week or sometimes more then a few weeks before a new episode would be released. I assumed it was because of schedule but I had remembered hearing somewhere that Erik was the main and possibly ONLY person editing and posting the shows recordings. So that thought was in my head as I read the announcement.
The trio of hosts and Erik (who was technically a 4th host) were moving on. I thought about it for maybe 3 full seconds before clicking away. I knew Eric had other real life issues like work and kids from him speaking about them on the cast several times. But the trifecta of all 3 of the other hosts leaving had me slightly miffed. But not enough to really put into thoughts when I read their twitter feeds saying goodbye and such. I had listened to the ForceCast for a while so new hosts coming in and leaving was nothing new and I assumed it was again one of those times. I loved Justin Bolger as a co-host on the show and when he departed I was sad but I understood stuff happens and life has to move on.
Well we know what happens when we assume….
So a few days ago Kyle Winner released a new episode of the ForceCast. I had heard Kyle previously on the old Echo Base and while he seemed way more radio then fandom podcast he did have a passion for the fandom as we all do. He addressed that he wanted ForceCast to become a leading podcast show again and that it hadn’t been as consistent as he’d like. Which were issues some fans had with the show even though it’s all volunteer. So they did their show and after the first episode I realized it was about on par for what a Force Cast show had been over the last 8 months to a year and I left it at that.
Little did I know that twitter, tumblr, facebook, whaever-other social media there was some fans were highly upset at Kyle and the way the direction of the show. I find this hard to understand as all of 1 show had been produced but as some of the more racist colored glasses said “it’s back to being 2 white guys”… hmmm.
I grew up with a lot of racism around me, I know what it looks like even when disguised as a cry for social diversity (remember kids singling out someone b/c of their race is racism even if it’s in reverse). Those with more then diversity in their words saw the opportunity present itself to those that could cave to it, and sadly those fans of Star Wars and/or fans of the previous hosts decided to use it as a reason to stop the new show. Sad, I wasn’t Kyle’s cheerleader by a long shot mind you but I remember I wasn’t a fan of Justin Bolger‘s version of Forcecast either but I at least gave it a chance to grow on me and I could roll with it.
Kyle was angry on Twitter at fans and the situation. I could see him upset as he was promised the position and then instead the content director pulls the rug out from under him after he had brought in a new host in Dave and had another set up for the following week. I’m sure Bailey’s post which has since been deleted from the ForceCast page (and now the page as a whole) didn’t help the situation either since much of it was inaccurate with the way the cast members transitioned. However her sentiment about the backlash of lack of diversity and racial comments such as the 2WG’s was to me, understandable but poorly directed. Kyle and Dave can’t help what race and gender they are… well at least unless they are comfortable enough to try and change the latter which they may not be and that’s an area I wont go into.
Kyle and Bailey’s posts were pretty hostile and aggressive but again I don’t think the reasoning behind voicing their concerns were unfounded, just poorly executed. Kyle was (and I’m parphrasing from Erik Blythe) wanting to try and bring the ForceCast back to the prominent Star Wars podcast (Kyle himself said he had hoped to make it the ESPN of SWPodcasting). A few hours later the posts were removed and later the entire page was removed. Wow, I thought that was odd.
Later Erik on randomchatter.com makes a post about clearing the room of the situation.
Apparently someone over at Force.net decided that the drama that had engulfed the ForceCast was too much to handle and they decided to shut the doors on I believe the longest running podcast in Star wars fandom dating back to 2005.
Later that night Erik Blythe decided to do a live cast regarding the situation. For 2 hours Erik laid down the history of the ForceCast and it was quite entertaining. He said multiple times during the retelling that he didn’t blame Phillip Wise, he doesn’t blame those that left and such. Now I don’t have all 2 hours to go through verbatim but if you wish to listen to it go here—–> Erik’s eulogy (RIP FORCECAST)
Some in the chatroom expressed their own dislike of Kyle others were more neutral as I was. Lou Secki (high-five) expressed concern that maybe Kyle didn’t have the experience needed to deal with other hosts and running a show at his younger age. -Shrugs- quite possibly. I know ego’s I work with a 17 year old podcasting over at Fasterandmoreintense.com and while he didn’t have any experience with podcasting when he started he was very grounded with the endeavor. Now a year later he runs that site’s podcast with fellow host George Kostal. So while age I think does factor into it I think ego’s and personality may also be heavy contributing factors. Kyle sounded and acted like a radio DJ to me, while Megan, Saf and Paul seemed to me like the weekly book-club get together. So I could see where the the ego’s and feelings might collide. What I thought was odd was that Erik said the trifecta were offered to take the helm of the dormant Rebels Roundtable to which I would have loved since Rebels has gotten so good in the latter half of season 2 and thought odd they would decline since they had taken the ForceCast from a more news and notes show to a round table discussion show anyways.
However he said they declined. That was basically the last chance they had to stay on the network as Kyle was going to take the ForceCast in a new direction. More polished and more professional like ESPN is what I assume. I don’t know what egos and feelings were hurt but Erik said Paul had told Kyle they had earned the right to stay on the ForceCast. I don’t remember if Erik agreed. I could not however. While some may hate me for having higher standards or because they think removing the current trio would be a slap in the face to diversity (which is a slap to diversity itself if lower quality for more diversity is a better stance and I don’t think it is of course) I preferred Erik Blythe ForceCast, he wasn’t as polished as a professional radio host like the RebelForceRadio guys (whom were also ex-forcecast hosts) but he understood not to linger into long discussion and to save it for Echo Base. Paul, Megan and Saf did to go into long discussions and I didn’t prefer that as much for the main flagship show.
-side note: with all the old EU stuff Filoni has been putting into Rebels making Rountable an hour+ show discussing the in’s and outs of old EU vs new EU with Rebels and having their own discussions would work in my opinion. But ego’s apparently took the place over level headed choices for future content (my assumption not Eriks).
So they departed. Saying their goodbyes on twitter and thanking the Forcecast for their time as hosts on the show. Again this was that 3 second thought part where I didn’t really think about it too much.
So now we have it ForceCast is shut down, the trio of hosts are off and Erik and Lou went back to RandomChatter to continue to make awesome content about Star Wars discussion.
Toche Station did a timeline of events as they saw it. However some of the former ForceCast hosts are part of that network now so take the opinions of the author for what you will. I do not approve/condone those opinions or of those about Kyle or Dustin Roberts or… after reading….. it all….. the timeline of events (reads more).. what the… Erik said his leaving was known an-…… no……. nevermind no need to bring it up now. Anywho… it’s a read.
Still… something somewhere was gnawing at me.
The quickness of the backlash and moreso the fact that it seemed those decrying race and/or bemoaning the lack of diversity had happened so fast even when the trifecta of hosts had left (along with Erik) saying they were all leaving on good terms that the situation had my old spidey senses tingling.
Let me through some of my own history into the mix now. While I’m a lifelong Star Wars fan I grew up in the 80’s graduated in the 90’s and had a healthy career in the investigative field and assisted some nationally known banks in their investigative fraud departments. I often spoke with federal regulators and federal agents regarding patterns/unusual activity and strange coincidences that never turned out to be strange nor coincidences. The skills I honed during those years have diminished over time since leaving that field but sometimes the tingling feeling that something happened to create a cause-and-effect still catches my eye.
I was wondering if there was cause-and-effect regarding the departure of the people from the ForceCast show. I decided to do some digging and snooping and not surprisingly some who had said their goodbyes were not quiet about the backlash Kyle was getting and seemed to be joining in even though he’s seen as immature for his own backlash… eh well. Sad… that its become this petty.
What the hell am I saying these are STAR WARS fans. For some reason after the debacle of the prequels, then the utter train-wreck that was Star Wars Galaxies that brought much, much more hate and vitriol from Star Wars fans then this podcast changing formats I should have expected as much…. I guess in a sense Lou was right… the lack of experience Kyle had with the hatred that Star Wars fans can produce may have been his own weakness and downfall… hmmm.
So now all those involved (even Chris Mcguffin whom i left out of the mess but put his opinion on the FB page before it was taken down) seem to have moved on… I’ll miss you guys in some senses and others in different ways. I hope all those that had a part to play in all of this have learned something… what I can’t specifically say as each side in this mess needed to learn something different not to make it the cluster it quickly became so if said side figured it out great… if not, work on that.
I’m glad my young friend is still podcasting at FMI. We had our differences to the point where we would literally yell at each other over skype. But we knew it was better for the content to put out. Maybe one day the swords and axes will lower and those willing to walk across the isle will be able to put out quality content in the future.