Rindge man’s podcast career slowed down by inadequate internet access

  • Eric Fisk of Rindge has found ways to work around his spotty internet service to make his podcast venture viable. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Eric Fisk of Rindge has found ways to work around his spotty internet service to make his podcast venture viable. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/16/2020 2:58:04 PM

Eric Fisk’s podcast partner lives across the country. To make their passion project work, he needs a rock-solid connection.

He’s mostly had to settle for what he can get.

“I want this to be a job. A full-time job. I simply can’t compete with other people who have faster, more reliable internet,” Fisk said.

Fisk, a resident of Rindge, works a condensed schedule at a local manufacturer half the week, and the other half, he can dedicate to his sideline endeavors, including web design and running a podcast with his friend Jason Cousineau called The Fedora Chronicles in which the two riff on current events and classic pop culture. Few topics are off limits, with the hosts talking about politics, their own take on the news, and in a recent episode, how to deal with your family over the holidays.

Most of the time, Fisk said, his internet is fine for his family’s daily needs. But recording and uploading his podcast is rough with his current speeds. 

Because Cousineau lives in Utah, the two rely on a video and audio chat connection. And the same often goes for guests they have on their show. So when Fisk is on the mic, his family has to log off, he said.

“I can’t record an episode of my podcast if other people are on the internet,” Fisk said. “Everybody should be able to use the internet, but you can hear the difference in sound quality drop if just one person is watching videos or Netflix in the next room.”

He and Cousineau schedule their recording sessions around the family, but when they have to take into account guest’s schedules, it can be tough to find a time that works for everyone.

Cousineau, in Utah, has his own internet struggles, he said. Fiber optic internet is available on his street, but his apartment building doesn’t opt into the service.

“It does get frustrating when I know there’s no reason for poor service,” Cousineau said.

Fisk, who edits and uploads their podcast, has found ways – sometimes less than ideal ways – to make it work. For instance, he tends to upload their episodes between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. – times when bandwidth traffic is low and he gets the fastest speeds. 

He also chooses to format his audio files as .mp3 or using Advanced Authoring Format (AAF), despite the fact that he could get better audio clarity with other formats – at the cost of larger files and slower upload speeds.

Fisk also spends several hours editing each podcast they record – usually cleaning up background white noise and boosting audio clarity. He said he’s learned to take a philosophical view of his internet limitations. Knowing he doesn’t have the time or bandwidth to reupload episodes whenever he’s dissatisfied means he tries to get it right the first time.

“It’s definitely made me a better editor,” he said. 

The duo said they’d love to be able to put out episodes of The Fedora Chronicles more frequently, and Fisk hopes to start another podcast, focused on the Monadnock Region. It’s just difficult with his current limitations, he said.

Fisk said he’s hopeful change may not be too far off.

He’s been closely following a proposal by Rindge to bond for broadband internet, a plan expected to come before the voters in March. If approved, the town would bond $2.58 million to provide broadband access to every property in town, which would be paid back by a fee attached to those who sign up for the service. Rindge is currently negotiating a contract with Consolidated Communications, and anticipates holding a bond hearing on Jan. 15 to take public feedback on the proposal. 

Fisk said he’s in favor of the plan, but he’s also seen similar promises of fast internet not live up to their promises – in particular, a fiber-optic build-out touted several years ago under provider New Hampshire FastRoads. 


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