On the Future of the Show

War Stories Listeners,

Firstly, thank you. This show started with an email written on a whim. Staffer and I had recently appeared on a podcast episode together. In the episode, we talked about the dearth of history that occupied the space between popular and academic ones. More specifically, histories that showed you what it was like to be on the ground at a particular moment in history while also showing you that single, minute puzzle piece could be used as a gateway to understanding a larger picture. I didn’t then and I still don’t think there’s anything revolutionary about that model. Still, there were so many of these threads that occurred on the frayed edges of history. Ones you only heard as parlor stories. Instead, in the right setting, we thought they could illuminate something more. We built the show around that idea, not knowing whether it’d be too personal for the military audience, too niche for the storytelling crowd, or perhaps both. I’m glad you saw the same value we did and started listening.

When we began the show, we didn’t know what it’d take to finish a season. We didn’t know if we’d be able to finish a season at all. The response we received from you all made that decision easy. Still, once we started it up, we spent those four weeks between episodes constantly digging through primary sources, looking at official histories, technical manuals, writing and editing scripts, before eventually recording the thing then producing it. One slip in a schedule or a research track was enough to upset that episode’s release. And even then, we were coming out with a fraction of the number of shows we should have in a month in order to give you the continuous narrative you expected.

We never thought that was a viable way to run the show. But it’s how we did it for two seasons in order to keep up a relatively consistent output of episodes, letting you know, “Hey, we’re still here!” It’s also why we’re now putting the show on a break. It’s not a total shutdown, but short of funding that allows us (or me) to make this a full-time position, what we do come out with is going to look a little different than you’re used to. I’d say you should expect less frequent, longer specials on particular topics that’ll come out when we can manage it, with some fun ones that have caught our eye mixed in. It’ll allow us to look at topics that might not have taken up a full season, but are filled with the same sorts of personal stories that made War Stories resonate. I’m being careful not to promise too much or give too many details on what a schedule might look like; a lot of this is still up in the air. All the same, we hope you’ll listen in when we update the War Stories stream.

This means a few things more or less immediately. First, we’re going to keep the shows and website online. Don’t worry about suddenly not being able to retrieve anything we’ve done in the past. We will be shutting down our supporter program on Patreon and assuming I can find the source files, adding some additional bonus episodes to our regular stream. However, we’re going to leave our supporter Slack channel online. You just won’t have to pay for it anymore. If you’d like to be added, drop me a line (it’s where I’ll be running a series of alt history RPGs when there’s interest and/or time).

We do still have episodes that’ll be released over the next few months. Loose Rounds will continue through October. We’ll also be taking part in a live event around the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference in DC, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Finally, I have a special that’ll come out around October or November. After that, I’ll make sure to give you all an update about where we’re at.

I’ll be honest. The opportunities this show opened are part of the reason we’re making this shift. This was a passion project from the moment it began, one which hinged upon schedules that allowed for no small bit of flexibility, constant engagement between Staffer and I to develop research and topics, and learning how to work as a jack-of-all-trades between social media, production, writing, web development, and everything else that goes into running a show we’re proud of. The calculus just isn’t there to hold up all parts of that equation right now, and we’d be uncomfortable offering anything less than the standards we’ve set for ourselves. Regardless of how much time we can spend putting together stories specifically for this show, its spirit will continue on in the projects we continue working on. I know for at least a couple of mine, audio versions will come out on here first, I can promise you that. I hope you’re here to listen.

Until then, thanks for sharing in these stories.