Brian Ibbott of Coverville accepting A LOT of awards as WWE wrestler and podcaster Chris Jericho tries to figure out WTF. — screengrab via NMX 2015 New Media Expo

The Guy In The Funny Hat

The Daily Tech News Show​ with Tom Merritt​ won a People’s Choice Podcast Award last night. I work for that show, so it was nice to see my boss Tom Merritt recognized for his excellent daily analysis of the technology news.

Actually, a slate of shows — The Morning Stream, The Instance, Film Sack, Night Attack, Coverville, and DTNS — won every category in which they were nominated and rolled over the awards show like Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda.

Several of the hosts couldn’t attend the awards show in Las Vegas for various reasons, but Brian Ibbott — an OG podcaster who hosts Coverville, The Morning Stream, and Film Sack — did attend. He wore a funny hat. (See above) And that hat became the star of an otherwise awkwardly-produced awards show, because that funny hat kept on accepting award after award.

It got to the point where podcast award host and WWE wrestler Chris Jericho, looked perplexed and said:

“Who is this guy?”

Later Jericho called Ibbott, “the most famous person I’ve never heard of.”

Here’s what I think what Jericho — himself a hugely successful podcaster — was trying to say:

How did this happen?

The answer: the combined power of the communities supporting these excellent podcasts decided it should be so, and so it was.

People who have supported these shows for years with their hard-earned dollars, their talent, their thoughtful commentary, and of course, their Podcast Award votes.

And not just in the “guy with the funny hat” pocket universe.

A show called Rob Has A Podcast and another called Internet Box beat out Serial (yeah, that Serial) in two different categories because their fans showed up to vote every day.

Night Attack, hosted by Brian Brushwood and Justin Robert Young beat out Loveline because the DiamondClub community hounded / hollered / built a reminder bookmarklet so that each day they could vote for their show and all the others on the <tp> slate.

The Morning Stream hosted by Ibbott and Scott Johnson beat out WTF with Marc Maron​ because the Tadpool showed up to vote every day for their show and the rest of the <tp> slate. TMS is a podcast that only exists because Scott Johnson wanted to be a morning radio host since he was 9 years old and one day he realized that no one on the internet could tell him not to try.

And our show won, because my boss has spent the last ten years reporting the tech news every day. And because our bosses are a dedicated community of people who value that news enough to support the show financially with via Patreon, Paypal and spare bitcoins. And they voted for our show, and all the others, every day.

For the last 1.4 years it’s been my privilege to watch this all unfold in real time. I’m just an old-media alumni trying to stay afloat in the thriving newmediaverse. Mostly I smile a lot and remember all the meetings in previous jobs where bosses fretted about how to “achieve engagement” for billion dollar enterprises.

Old bosses, here’s this year’s case study : ) New bosses, all 4, 930 of you? You rock.

Anyway, next year a whole bunch of new shows will be nominated for a Podcast Award and their fans will show up and blast them past well-established, impeccably-produced shows and that moment will be equally awesome for those communities.

And all across the internet, and all across the world, these pocket communities will continue to thrive and evolve without anyone else’s permission, because the fans decide it should be so.

So if you’re wondering WTF happened at the Podcast Awards last night, it was nothing new. To quote BSG, “all this has happened before and will happen again.”

But you know what? It was fun. It’s fun every day. So come on in and take a swim in the deep end of the internet — the water is warm.

And not just because someone peed in it.

But for those of you who can’t quite shake the feeling that all that you once understood is fading away, don’t fret too much:

This American Life still won.



The Podcast Awards

Daily Tech News Show with Tom Merritt and guests

The Morning Stream with Scott Johnson and Brian Ibbott and the Tadpool!

Night Attack with Brian Brushwood and Justin Robert Young and The Diamond Club

Coverville with Brian Ibbott.

Film Sack with Scott Johnson, Brian Ibbott, Brian Dunaway, and Randy Jordan

The Instance with Scott Johnson, Patrick Beja, Willie “Dills” Gregory and Mark Turpin (aka The Turpster)

Tell It Anyway, a storytelling podcast with um, me.