Recently, Roger Edwards over at Contains Moderate Peril announced the shuttering of his podcast after a fantastic five year run. In true Roger fashion, he’s carefully worded his announcement, terming it an “indefinite break”, thus refusing to completely close the door on future projects. At face value, however, I think it’s fair to say that the CMP podcast as we know it is ending. Five years is a long time to do anything, even something you’re passionate about, and especially something that requires as much work as a weekly podcast. It’s fairly easy to understand why Roger is choosing now as the appropriate time to step away, before his passion for gaming fades completely and while the show is still very well thought of within the community. “Going out on top”, as they say.
Even so, I feel a distinct loss knowing that I won’t be hearing DJ Ric Santos greeting my Monday commute. I’m going to miss Roger’s British-isms and Brian’s scroogy-ness. For me, Operation Smash will forever be associated with settling in for some good gaming, movie or pop culture conversation.
Contains Moderate Peril is probably number two in podcasts that have had the most influence on my decision to try my hand at podcasting. First, there was Casual Stroll to Mordor (along with LOTRO Reporter and LOTRO Academy, but CSTM stands out) that gave me the courage to participate in a podcast. The down-to-earth nature of the hosts taught me that I didn’t have to be a broadcasting guru or gaming expert in order to be on a show. Soon afterwords, I discovered Contains Moderate Peril, which broadened my perception of what podcasting could be. CMP brought an introspective, thought-provoking approach to gaming that I had not yet encountered in fan podcasting. This is not a slight to the previously mentioned podcasts as much as a compliment to CMP. Admittedly, sometimes I thought they were fishing for something that wasn’t there, but at least the conversations made me consider the possibilities. I found myself going over the podcast topics in my head, formulating my own responses to them, and eventually turning those positions and thoughts into blog posts.
It wasn’t until Layanor nudged me into considering producing my own podcast that I realized how prominent CMP had become to me. I drew much inspiration from the style and quality of the show, knowing that I wanted my podcast to have the same effect on others that CMP had on me. I wanted the topics I discussed to be the beginning of the conversation. If you claim solution to a particular topic, then what does the listener have to take with them? How does the evolution of thought continue? Where does community participation come from? These are the lessons I learned being a CMP listener, and the things I tried to incorporate into Beyond Bossfights.
Now for a few behind-the-scenes snippets, and since the podcast is no more, Roger can do nothing to refute them! I was fortunate to participate in two episodes of the CMP podcast. The first time, even though I was a “nobody” podcaster, Roger patiently scheduled the recording around my busy family life. Almost as soon as we started recording, I went into full-blown promotional mode for my podcast and immediately afterwards told Roger “You can cut that out. It was really awkward.” Luckily, he did, and didn’t hold my breach of etiquette against me. Once my nerves calmed a bit, we were able to record the rest of the podcast without much difficulty, and Roger and Brian were both very kind. When I (almost apologetically) told them that my podcast would be coming out monthly instead of weekly, Roger encouraged me, telling me that twelve episodes a year for a working father was a very sensible goal. That little bit of encouragement reminded me that what I was doing was ok, even if it wasn’t what everyone else was doing. I must not have been too terrible, because I was invited back to participate in CMP’s roundtable discussion on the future of MMO’s for milestone episode 150. As it turns out, this was the final milestone episode that CMP would produce, but it was a great time. Future TGEN members Syl, Jewel and Joseph were present, as well. The “roundtable show” is something that TGEN hopes to continue on various member podcasts in 2015. Maybe we can talk Roger, Brian and Sean into being the first of our illustrious alumni to participate!
When I got the itch to try my hand at organizing a gaming podcast network, the first thing I did was contact Roger to see what his thoughts were. The second thing I did was see if he would be interested in participating via the CMP podcast. There were a couple of reasons for this. First, I knew that if a brand-new podcast network were to gain any traction, it would need at least one well-established and relatively well-known podcast to act as a flagship. But more importantly, knowing that Roger would be there to bounce ideas around with gave me the confidence to approach the other podcasters. While not very outspoken outside of the podcast/blog setting, he carries a presence that made me believe that we could work through whatever trials came with starting a new endeavor.
It doesn’t matter how old one is, it’s always good to have a mentor for various situations. Someone who has been there before. Someone who can dispense advice, or simply be present to bounce ideas off of. I see Roger in this way, whether he knew it previously or not. And from the responses I’ve seen from other podcasters upon hearing his decision to hang it up, I’m not the only one. I think I know why. For all of his self-reported cynicism and supposed curmudgeonly-ness towards the game industry, when it comes to people, Roger is a builder-upper. He does it quietly, and behind the scenes, but he encourages. From his leadership role in the Newbie Blogger Initiative, to the Gaming Blog Nexus, to the guest appearances on his podcast, to simple re-tweets, Roger helps people. That’s been my experience, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who says otherwise. Even after the lights have gone dark on the podcast, you’ll see his influence carry on in the form of others paying that help forward. With the reputation of gaming taking a hit recently, that influence is sorely needed.
Sorry if that sounded like a lot of gushing, but I feel that the CMP podcast deserves a proper send off. I know many listeners/readers have not had the good fortune to work as closely with Roger as I have, so I hope these words give you a little glimpse behind the scenes. Whatever Roger, Brian and Sean decide to do from here on out, it will certainly make somebody reflect, and that’s the biggest compliment I can think to give.
Goodbye, Contains Moderate Peril podcast. And until next time, cheery-o.