August 28th is the next “final Sunday of each month” that will find us back in the studio with live broadcasts and a lively studio audience. If you are in Austin, consider making plans to join us for live broadcasts of Talk Heathen (1-2:30 pm) followed by The Atheist Experience (4:30-6 pm). Guests are invited to stay for both or either or simply stop by to reconnect with everyone! Doors open at noon, and parking is "where you can find a legal spot" after the lot is full. Matt Dillahunty & Jim Barrows will be hosting The Atheist Experience and Johnny P. Angel & Student Doctor Ben will be hosting Talk Heathen. No ticket required, come on over.
July 31st was our first day back in the studio in two years, and it was a wonderful return. Over the course of the day we had almost sixty friends and fans join us in the studio audience and the “back room” where there was a bit more conversation during the broadcasts. The time before, between, and after the shows was a great time to meet new people or share a few words with a favorite host. We ordered pizzas at 6 pm to wind down the day.
Vern Graner (ACA Board Chair) has been behind the scenes doing tech and production (and, well, everything!) for years and he put in a tremendous amount of time getting things ready indoors and out for our guests. We asked him how it felt, as an ACA leader and as part of the crew, being back in the studio after years of pandemic closures and remote broadcasts.
“There’s such a contrast between operating the business side of the organization and being on the ground meeting people at the building and running the tech to support the live show. There’s a lot of work to do to manage the organization, but there’s equally much to do when setting up mics and choosing frequencies for wireless mics, balancing the speakers, getting remote stations set up for call screeners, etc. So for me, switching gears from management to tech crew was the biggest change. There’s that feeling of getting back on a bike, after a few years, right back into the swing of live shows. The cadence is so familiar, the ups and downs. It felt great being back in and doing this work, though I will admit that on Sunday most of the people I got to speak with were the folks I talk to every day. ACA crew. When we arrived to open the studio we were still oscillating between terror at being overrun and worry that we wouldn’t fill the chairs. That degree of nervousness was in the background about every aspect of the return to the studio. What if something goes wrong? If the PA goes out, or we lose the internet? Everything has to go right for the show to go off. Anyone who understands this work knows what I mean when I say it ultimately feels awesome when the systems you put into place actually work right. And there were new elements for the first live broadcasts. Remote call screeners with hosts in the studio was a first. The control room only had two of us, everyone else was remote–the call screeners, video director, and camera operator. Still, it all came together. A mic that didn’t work (loose connection) at the start of The Atheist Experience was the only significant technical problem. Nothing else interrupted the flow of the show. For me, when the intro rolls is a favorite moment, at that point it’s a go and all the work is coming to a point. Like when the roller coaster clicks and climbs to the top of that first climb and then it all happens.”
We caught up with the hosts for those first two shows, and here’s what they had to say.
Christy Powell (The Atheist Experience) "The energy being back in the studio was amazing. The chemistry with your co-host, charged up by the crowd and connection to the crew make everything about the show so much more electric. It was amazing to reconnect with the community and see so many people engaged with the mission of spreading positive atheism."
ObjectivelyDan (Talk Heathen) “I am not the type to get nervous when doing any kind of public speaking, but I think being back in the studio gave me a kind of nervous energy that I haven't had since I first started hosting. It was great to be back and see everyone in person, and I'm looking forward to more.”
Jim Barrows (The Atheist Experience and Talk Heathen on July 31st!) “It was familiar and strange. Wonderful and strange. I loved the audience questions, and I’m glad that got added. It was a little strange, and not perfect, but it’ll get better. Can’t wait to get back there.”
All this to say, "JOIN US IN AUGUST!"
Doors open at noon.
ACA Freethought Library and Studio
1507 West Koenig Lane
Austin, TX 78756