5 Questions 5 Pictures, Interview with members of DWA! Podcast (Driving While Awesome).
1. You guys started this gig out of a 24 Hr of LeMons race, tell us about the race, the car, how you didon that race and how the hell did you go from a race to starting a Podcast?
Shitbox racing! Bryan read about the first race in AutoWeek, and we were quick to assemble a team and kill it on our application video to get accepted. Our first race was the second @24hoursoflemons race ever, this one back at Altamont, and the salvaged title Porsche #944 (car 44) we put together felt much faster out of the turns than everything else on track. If we had known anything about anything we might have been contenders, but between the unnecessary use of drifting on track, and the necessary use of sledgehammers and welding equipment off track, we ended up finishing in 44th place, mid-pack, with a beat up car and giant dirty grins on our faces. So much fun. The racing was really dirty back then, you should check out our YouTube videos to see what the early days were like.
As for the podcast, at the root, LeMons worked for us because we've got a solid group of car nerd friends who are down to make it happen, and it’s the same with this project. Years after the LeMons team broke up, Lane and Bryan were carpooling together and wanted to make something valuable out of the 3 hours on the road every day, so they began recording their endless car chatter as the "Skyline Chronicles" (never published). It's not a big jump from those twice daily in-car Tascam recordings to our now twice weekly show with the four of us and real microphones.
2. Can each one of you, briefly describe who you are and your first Porsche experience?
Lane Skelton (@laneskelton): Family man, slangs carbon fiber for exotic cars @MAcarbonfiber and resident Porsche geek. I have had a thing for Porsches since I can remember, but my first Porsche will always stick with me. At 17 I purchased a 1974 Porsche #914 in Phoenix Red that I wish I never sold and to this day I can still smell the oil burning off the heat exchangers.
Bryan McQueen (@mcqueenracing): Past SpecE30 builder/racer and present project car neglecter. Porsche's "Are You Listening" 993 promo video (and the quotes by Hurley Haywood) made an impression on me in high school, along with a notable tail happy back road ride in a friends SWB #911T, but my first real Porsche experience was driving Lane's #996. Being kind of a cheapskate when it came to cars, I remember the direct steering feel and great visibility alone convinced me of the substance behind the Porsche hype.
Warren Madsen (@viewology): I was aware of the Porsche brand at a young age and about the time I learned to pronounce it properly, a family friend gave me an impressionable ride in a black G-body. I still remember the rear squat on acceleration. As a teenager my favorite Porsche, the #993, was born and I watched the GT1 scream around Laguna Seca...obviously, I was listening.
Art Cervantes (@artsees): Work in tech, but live and breathe automotive everything. Love RWD, lightweight, balanced cars and have been known to be absurdly pedantic with automotive spec minutiae. First Porsche experience, that I remember, was in the back of a family friend's #928 in the late 80's. I remember climbing into the back, sinking deep into the seat, and thinking the car felt and looked like a spaceship.
3.Tell us about the DWA! podcast, how has that grown and who is your audience?
In the beginning we were expecting to last maybe seven episodes before we ran out of new things to talk about, but with about two years and 120 episodes under our belt, without missing a single week(!), even posting twice a week we should be able to keep it up for a while. At the moment we have an estimated audience of a few thousand regular listeners and it’s been growing steadily and from all over the world, mostly from word-of-mouth thanks to people who simply dig what we do.
The content in our feed is usually related to what we discuss on our program(s). The podcast has been closely linked to our social media efforts, especially Instagram, where we share our daily automotive experiences. All of our content comes from us and we’re sharing what we think is awesome, from a more approachable and fun perspective than is possible with the run-of-the-mill supercar stuff - of course adding a generous dose of genuine opinions. It all follows our interests.
Our audience is a mix of DIY'ers and folks who appreciate getting into the finer details and nuances of automobiles and the ownership experience. Like us, our listeners tend to be more in tune with cars beyond the numbers and are folks who love to drive. We hear from people that the podcast is saving them on their long commutes, that they’ll turn it on in the background when they’re wrenching in the garage, or that it’s working as a stand-in for a car hangout session, when maybe they don’t have as many car friends around as they used to.
4. How do you guys chose your topics and what do you consider a really successful podcast?
We don’t usually pick topics, just mash on that record button and end up covering what’s top of mind; what’s been happening in our personal automotive lives over the past week, car projects, events we go to, craigslist and @brzo_app searches, audience questions, current events, sometimes talking to guests about their car history, and always trivia with Warren.
One type of a successful podcast is when we start hashing ideas out and going deeper into a single topic. With several of us in the room there’s a good chance that one of us has a different opinion about the new 911R for example, and it’s great to be able to dig in and understand why, where do the differing thoughts come from, what does that mean about the car, the market, human behavior, future purchase potential, etc... When a podcast goes well we seem to be uncovering a better understanding of some detailed part of the automotive world. Of course, at the same time we probably have listeners in their car yelling at their radio because they’re experts and we’ve totally got it wrong, but that’s probably part of the fun too.
We hear from listeners that the personal stories are entertaining, which is probably when we’re talking about past screw-ups, sketchy situations, things getting weird, that sort of thing - and that definitely comes up. Which ties into probably the best indicator of a good podcast, how much we’re laughing. It’s great to look at the audio waveform of the recording afterwards and see where Warren came up with some funny term and the audio levels are peaking off the charts because we’re cracking up.
5. What you guys do is a lot of work and dedication, what do you guys get out of it?
It’s a chance to escape from the daily grind by getting together with friends to immerse ourselves in what we’re all passionate about. It’s our vent for the automotive thoughts of the week. There’s always that project you’re working out in your head, parts purchase to make, or car that you’re poking around on Craigslist for (you probably don’t need another car btw), and it’s great to be able to toss thoughts out to a hungry audience of critical friends and discuss, and then hear more back later from our bigger audience. It’s not much different than any car buddies hanging out chatting, just amplified, when you turn the recorder on and have a dedicated time each week it seems to attract a little more focused thought and then turns it to a conversation with many more like minded individuals. It can feel like a little community, helping you make the right decisions, motivating you to do cool stuff, rightly making you feel guilty for blowing it, and challenging your opinions in a good way.
Also, it’s turned out to be a great way to connect with both the auto industry and our audience worldwide. Each of us will always be into cars, and so making connections through DWA spills over into our personal lives and allows us to get more out of this hobby. With the ease of connecting through social media today, and so much good stuff going on - rad #adventuremobile and sports car builds, cool aftermarket companies, auto manufacturers releasing interesting products, other automotive podcasts, auctions, track days, back road rallies - it’s fun to add our two cents and just be mixed up in it all.