Introducing 5 by 5 Studios

I have some big news: starting today, I’m podcasting for a living.

I’ve put together a new broadcasting network where all of the shows I’m working on will live: 5 by 5 Studios. It’s named after the old-school radio term five by five, which means “loud and clear.”

I’m also happy to announce two brand new shows that I’ll be hosting solo, both starting this week:

  • The Pipeline, an interview show talking with designers, developers, writers, and entrepreneurs. Upcoming guests include Kottke, Storey, Vaynerchuk, Coudal, Mann, Siracusa, and many more. I’m incredibly thrilled and humbled that these great people will be joining me on the show. The Pipeline is brought to you by the amazing Campaign Monitor.
  • The Conversation, a live-streamed talk show featuring topical discussions, reviews, special guests, news with Christina Warren from Mashable, and, your calls, all live. The Conversation is brought to you by the awesome people at Shopify.

I’ll be interviewing my good friend and personal hero Jeffrey Zeldman as the very first Pipeline guest, on Friday, January 29th, 2010.

The first episode of The Conversation premiers live at 12:30 PM EST on Thursday, January 28th, the day after the big Apple Tablet announcement. You can be sure we’ll be talking about it, and I’d love to hear your thoughts too. Details about the live-stream coming up shortly.

5 by 5 has also inherited several other shows, including The Ruby Show (née Rails Envy) with Jason Seifer, Tack Sharp with Duncan Davidson, and The ExpressionEngine Podcast with Ryan Irelan.

We’ll be announcing a few more shows in the coming weeks, along with some cool conference coverage, so stay tuned.

I really hope you enjoy the shows. Please listen in.

And in case you’re wondering, I’ll still be working with PeepCode and Sifter, curating Playgrounder, and doing voice work for hire, but 5 by 5 and the shows we’re producing are my primary focus.

How’d I get here?

I always wanted to do radio. I knew it when I was a little kid, running around with a little tape recorder and mic to interview my Batman and Evel Knievel figures, and any hapless friends and family who happened to walk by. I was captivated by talk radio since before I can remember, and I’ll never forget the first time I stayed up late enough to watch Carson. Big turning point. By the time I was in high school, I was consuming many hours of great talk every day, from the local radio guys, Stern, Shepherd if I could find him, and on TV, everybody from Carson to Rose.

I was a Radio/TV major in college, until a local talk show host convinced me I was making the mistake of my life. Horrible hours, he explained. Miserable jobs spinning vinyl at stations in the middle of nowhere. And if you’re lucky, after 10, maybe 15 years, maybe you get to host your own show from 1 to 4AM, taking calls from drunks and stoners.

So I changed my major, trying to double in Computer Science and Technical Writing, setting aside my dream of hosting a show to focus instead on Modula and participial phrases. I finished the Technical Writing degree first, ran out of money for the second major, graduated, and went to work writing, coding, and soon, blogging.

Years passed. It was 2000, and I thought I’d try something new. I set up a little pirate radio station on my own SHOUTcast server, talking and spinning music. People listened, the server slowed to a crawl, and we all had fun. But it never really caught on.

A few years later, podcasting happened. I started a new show called Hivelogic Radio. I interviewed friends, mainly software developers and designers. I had a great time, and the great conversations spawned new shows, like The Talk Show with John Gruber, and Tack Sharp with Duncan Davidson, both great hits. I soon found myself as the co-host of another successful show, Rails Envy (now The Ruby Show) with Jason Seifer.

I finally realized that this was my space, what I really enjoyed doing, and I knew that if there was any way I could do this for a living, I had to give it a try.

I started planning. I didn’t want to do it part time or half way — I wanted to do this for real, meaning full-time. I wanted to create an Internet-based broadcast network, a place where I could create and host shows for myself and with my friends.

And that brings us to today. And me giving this a shot. And 5 by 5. So please check out the broadcasts, and let me know what you think and how we can make the shows better.


Even though this is new, it’s been a long road getting here, and I’d really like to say thanks to the people who helped me get to the point where I can actually consider doing this. John, Duncan, Jason, Ryan, Christina, thanks for everything. There aren’t better people in the world to record (or code) with.

I’d also like to say thanks to my founding sponsors, to Dave at Campaign Monitor and to Tobi at Shopify. You guys have taken a big leap of faith in helping jumpstart this little venture. I couldn’t have taken this leap myself without you onboard.

If I wanted to properly thank my wife for her constant support and confidence in me now and for the last 17 years, I’d run out of Internet to do it with. Thank you so much.

OK people. Go listen.

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