Hey Tom, why are you…

It’s been three months of big changes for me, and since I’ve had a few folks ask me why this or that is changing, I thought I’d collect some answers here I could link to.

The big thing that’s driving me to change what I do is the need to focus. I’ve found two things in doing as many shows as I do. One, is that each show I add makes it harder to make any of the shows as good as they can be. The other thing was that at a certain point, by doing so many shows, I was making it harder for people to keep up with all the things I do, hurting the audience numbers overall.

The idea is that even though I’m doing a couple fewer shows, I can do them all much better. So here’s what stays for me, what goes, and what changes.


Tech News Today
There are many reasons for the time change of TNT to 10 AM, the biggest one being the need to have a consistent start time for a news show that has recurrent guests. I’ve gone over the plusses and minuses of this ad nauseum. The best discussions are on Google + here. But one side benefit of the new time is I’m focused on Tech News Today from 6 AM until 11 AM every day. This means I’m not distracted trying to mix in other work. I think it’s made all of us on the show improve and we’ll keep trying to make the best tech news show that can be done. Huge thanks to Leo for understanding and supporting the move. TNT is a full time job of its own really.

Sword and Laser
Launching the video show for Geek and Sundry was a GARGANTUAN task. Veronica and I formed a company, hired a set designer who built a dragon, contracted a production company, got an intern, created a show format, booked guests, worked on giveaways and, well, created a show from scratch. Thank goodness we’ve been doing the audio podcast for 5 years, so we knew the content. All the folks at Geek and Sundry have been tremendously supportive through it all, and we would have failed utterly without them. We’re also continuing the audio podcast and striving to make it better too. Between audio and video, this is also a full time job.

Frame Rate
I could not do this show without Brian Brushwood. He is the heart and soul of what makes it work. And beyond his enthusiasm and knowledge, he tirelessly works to make sure he’s there from the show. Anyone who has seen him from countless hotel rooms and lobbies knows this. Thankfully he’s put up with the constant time changes, and now that we’ve lodged on Monday afternoons, I think we can stick there for a good long while. Cord-cutting and Internet video is a category that’s in its very early days, so even though the audience may be small, it keeps getting bigger every week. I’m betting this show becomes huge… someday.

Other stuff
I will still post Tech History Today on TomMerritt.com. I’ll still call into KFWB-Los Angeles every Monday morning to talk tech. I’ll still be on The Morning Stream every Wednesday to talk about what I’m working on for TNT with Scott and Ibbot. And I’ll still make occasional guest appearances on other shows.


Who am I kidding? I can’t not try new stuff. But the other shows that I do are going to have to be on a seasonal model. Autopilot with Scott Johnson ran for 12 episodes and then we took a break. We’ll probably do another 12 starting in September, after FSL Tonight is done. No more than one seasonal show at a time. You hear me Merritt?!? Oh and East Meets West is back to audio only, with Roger and I just doing it when we damn well please.


Alas poor FourCast. The number of viewers was lower each week and it was harder and harder to get guests I also won’t be co-hosting Trinagulation with Leo Laporte. As much as I ADORE that show, it doesn’t need me to be successful. Leo was very generous to share the stage with me but it will be just as good if not better without me. I also won’t be filling in for Leo as much on other TWiT shows.

Specials! I just did the first of these about bandwidth caps, and I think it went well. I’m going to try to focus on good topics that people care about, and do them in months when there aren’t any conferences or big product (cough Apple cough) announements. The next special will be the Mars Landing on August 5th.

And who knows? I may throw in another thing or two. But not too much, and nothing with an unending commitment. I’m already feeling more productive with these changes.

If any of you have actually read down to here, you have my sincere thanks for your interest. It’s probably a lot more than you wanted to know, but I’ve had questions about all the things mentioned here in one place or another, so figured I’d answer them all.


4 Responses to “Hey Tom, why are you…”

  1. Tom –

    This is outstanding news! Also: bully for cutting ballast and refocusing. It’s really, really hard but equally refreshing.

    I feel blessed to do the things I love for a living, and I’m sure you do too. Yet the opportunity cost of being over-active is tremendous: core competencies suffer and the need to focus becomes becomes even more urgent. I’m sure you feel similarly.

    Regarding specials and eliminating ‘unending commitment’: Good strategy. From ’04 – ’08 I was locked in to a regular, syndicated show. And while it was a blast, the thought of doing this one thing forever was terrifying. I think I’ve licked that problem by recording special editions of much-loved but low-performing shows. The second solution is seasons. I ask my hosts to commit to six-episode seasons. We then take a small break to consider what we’ve done and what we want to do. Seems to work well!

    Just my #twocents.

    Anyway, you and your wife have been wonderful supporters and I’m stoked for you both!