A View From The Bridge – 15 Years of Podcasting

On the 15th Anniversary of the podcast’s debut, long time host Patrick Smyth looks back at how the show has endured this long

When Aaron Kernohan approached me in 2005 with the idea of starting a podcast, I only had a vague idea what one was. The technology was in its infancy. You could only download them using specific software. Apple hadn’t started on them, the BBC wouldn’t do so for nearly 5 years and Spotify wouldn’t be launched for another 3 years.

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So why did we think the idea of a “downloadable radio show” with the niche topic of an ice hockey team in Belfast would be worth the time? We didn’t, but it was worth a go for the craic.

Aaron listened to one produced by fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the week preceding Theo Fleury had made his spectacular debut for the Belfast Giants, so the time seemed right to gauge an audience.

A couple of headset mics, Aaron in Bangor, me in Egremont, West Cumbria and off we went with the first edition of the show. We leaned heavily on Marty McAllister to aid in the uploading and use of the KotG platform to help store and publish the show. But with the technology not really as user friendly for producing the show as it is now, the task seemed like a fun challenge at times.

The first edition was nerve filled, jolted but entertaining to produce.

Little did I think that 15 years and over 600 editions later, I’d still be involved in creating that same show.

To be honest, we would have hoped to be in the midst of a season, and to use one of our regular recordings to celebrate this milestone, however the world is a strange place at the minute and while we are deprived of EIHL until, possibly, next summer, the hunger and passion for the sport will only redouble when the time comes to drop the first puck.

It’s been an interesting 15 years on A View from the Bridge. From the early years with Aaron and Conor to the change of pace with Davy and Coach, strengthening ties with the Belfast Giants organisation and enjoying what we have now with Davy, Simon and Joel. I feel the show has matured through the years. Or I’d like to think it has.

It’s a hobby, a pastime and a passion. The ability to both support my team and then talk about it with my mates in a means that other people are kind enough to want to listen is a humbling thing.

When we set out on it we didn’t think it was something that would last (and at times, it nearly didn’t) but with the support of people both on the show and listening in we have reached a decade and a half.

Big thanks have to go to all at KotG and AVFTB over the years, many I’ve already named. The Belfast Giants, with Robert, Steve, Mark, James and even Todd Kelman who have all supported, chatted to and helped us in creating something of interest for Giants fans.

But most of all thanks have to go to the listeners. If you interact with the show on social media or have attended a live show, or even if you just listen to 20mins of an edition a week… thank you.

We’ve always wanted the tone of AVFTB to just be “Mates talking about the Giants”, sometimes it’s a bit raw, sometimes a bit controversial, sometimes a bit boring, and sometimes a bit jovial. But in the end we, like you, are just passionate fans of our club.

What does the future hold for AVFTB? Who knows, but whatever it is, we’re glad you are with us.

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