If you follow me, you’ve probably become well aware that I have a new podcast called “Obscure Reference with Doug Driesel Jr.” (http://obscurereferencepodcast.com). I’m pretty proud of this particular endeavor.
However, it’s the cause of a weird little coincidence about which I could not help but write.
I had wanted to start a podcast that was to be called Southland Tales Tales. However, my laptop broke as I was in the planning stages of said podcast. The laptop was a PC, as I had been a life-long PC user. Before the computer broke, I had decided to make the switch to Mac. To this end, I had purchased a G4 from someone who spoke as though he knew more than he did.
I quickly discovered my folly. I kept using the laptop, which was functioning at 45% at the time and kept the G4 in a corner.
When my laptop broke, I decided to jump into the podcast with the G4, which at least functioned for voice recording (that’s the purpose for which the previous owner used it). However, I was new to Macs (I’m, to this day, still learning. Many things are different between PC and Mac). I was using Audacity, which seemed to be the easiest.
However, I recorded 8 episodes, of which only 5 were properly saved. And of those, only two of them are fit to air (technical difficulties messed up the other three). So, I abandoned the project until I could purchase a new computer for the purposes of editing my movie 100 Jokes and start it back up again.
The show was ostensively about the movie Southland Tales, where I would have a comic on and we would talk a little about stuff and improv and “yes-anding” was encouraged. We would also play bizarre games that seemed little more than excuses to use puns for their names. There would be a sketch and a little improv scene along with the interview and it would be wrapped up by an intro and outro by myself.
Obscure Reference with Doug Driesel Jr.
After around four months, I finally was able to purchase a new Mac Mini to edit the movie. When I found out I’d be able to afford one, the first thing I got to working on was Southland Tales Tales. What vexed me, however, was the same thing I imagine you guys thought of right when you heard the title “How do you make a podcast about the movie Southland Tales interesting every week.
And the answer was: You can’t.
So, back to the drawing board, I cannibalized Southland Tales Tales. I kept the intros and outros. I kept the stupid games (though, over the course of the last nine episodes, they resemble more proper games than stupid pun things). I kept the improv nature. I kept the sketch. I tossed the Southland Tales stuff.
I remembered, for no particular reason, that when I first tried to record my first album “My Name is Dave,” it was supposed to be called “Obscure Reference.” But I shelved that, deciding to go with an actual obscure reference. I then remembered two bits of advice: One was from my friend Ed, who runs a long-running stand-up show, to put your name in things so people can find it easier. If people know it’s your podcast, but they forget the name, they can just search for your name. The second piece of advice was not to me directly, but Paul F. Tompkins talked on his podcast about how a podcast can be anything you wanted it to be.
I looked around, saw all my peers who had podcasts were trying to copy the WTF format, and for the most part, there wasn’t a podcast where people at my level can dick around with characters and stuff. So, I added two guests, made some of them characters, and that was Obscure Reference. A quick Google and iTunes search revealed there were no other podcasts called “Obscure Reference,” so I was golden.
The Weird Thing
As soon as I got my tax return, I got the extra cables and mics I needed to expand the guests to three, I IMMEDIATELY started recording. I upload everything to my sever and stream it from there with Wordpress. My first episode went up May 7th, 2013.
When I needed to get the link to my podcast’s iTunes page for the second episode, I found that TWO DAYS after my first episode landed, the first episode of another podcast called “Obscure Reference Podcast” had landed. Mine was a full episode, theirs was a quick one explaining what the show is.
Here’s the thing: When I purchased the website for the podcast, I assumed I was just going to call it “Obscure Reference,” the “with Doug Driesel Jr.” last minute decision. The website “obscure reference (dot) com” was $7,000 (you read that right), so I bought “obscurereferencepodcast.com” (hey, that’s the name of the other guy’s podcast.
Now, I’m not accusing these guys of stealing anything. It’s a simple Man-Thing/Swamp Thing situation. Theirs is a spin-off of a pretty popular-looking podcast called The More You Nerd, where my minimal research shows they regularly had done a feature on their podcast called “Obscure Reference” that they just decided to spin-off at the same time as myself.
As a spin-off podcast, they’ve released only three more episodes since then (May 9, May 24 and Jun 6).
LATER, on the 19th, ANOTHER podcast, called Obscure Reference Hour landed. Here have been four episodes released. Two on May 19th, one on the 20th, then one on June 7th. These are, as opposed to what the name would suggest, very short podcasts, to which I have not listened, but they seem to average out at about seven minutes (5 minutes and 9 minutes).
BOTH of these podcasts appear before mine when you search on iTunes for “Obscure Reference.” Now, a spin-off podcast from a popular podcast, I can understand that they appear above me. For NOW. When I have 30 episodes and they have 11, I’ll be a bit miffed.
But Obscure Reference Hour started after me me, has less episodes, and they don’t appear to have a significant amount more of listeners than I do. Why are they appearing first?! Stupid iTunes algorithms.
Anyway, like I said, it’s all a coincidence. But it’s a very weird one. Let’s admit it, “Obscure Reference” is kind of an obvious title for a podcast. And, not only is it weird that no one had done one called that up until now, but it’s weird that THREE people started up podcasts called “Obscure Reference” at the same time.
That’s all. Sorry if it was too long to be satisfying.
The Post Script
I don’t actually think it’s a coincidence, but to explain why not, I’d have to get into my beliefs on the collective unconscious, the collective subconscious and a brief survey of quantum physics. And since this is already long enough, let’s just stop here.