VLO: The Future

As you may have picked up from Episode 438 — posted on December 1, 2019 — Tony Snyder is hanging up his Golden VLO Microphone. To set the stage for the future, Jason Gillikin now shares the following reflection.

A Point of Clarification

Sometimes when duo-hosted shows close, it’s because of some behind-the-scenes friction between the wise and sexy on-air talent. That’s not the case with Tony; not only does he lack friction, but also wisdom and sexiness. (I kid, I kid … I guess.) He has elected to channel his time more deliberately in support of his career, and Jason will be along with him for the ride. Our friendship is not affected, not even a little bit, by this change.

Our listeners do not realize, because we’ve never disclosed it, that every single year since we started the show in September 2010, Tony and I have discussed, with seriousness, whether that year was the one when we ended it. We always said that we’d keep going until we lost the fire in the belly — that is, we wanted the show to end on a high note.

In August, Tony decided to wrap up his involvement with VLO, effective 12/31/2019. So we had some considerable conversation over the intervening months about the fact that by this point, we’re one of the “gather round kids, grandpa’s got a story” shows, bested only by Five Hundy and a very small number of other podcasts for overall longevity. We’ve built a great community (not an audience, a community) around an improbable 30-minute show by a pair of half-trained schmucks that doesn’t specialize in anything particular and isn’t focused on breaking news — yet sometimes manages impressive feats, like occasionally being the No. 1 hobbies-and-games podcast for iTunes in France.

(Yeah, we don’t get it, either.)

So we agreed: Tony is hanging it up. If the community wants VLO to persist, then Jason offers a pathway for it, which I’ll outline later in this reflection. But first — a recap of how great this endeavor has been.

Successes and Joys

Tony and I launched the show over a drunken conversation at a bar. Go figure. In the summer of 2010, we began recording. Originally, we’d record a few shows at his solo-practice law office in Old Town, Lansing, Michigan. The first few shows were just speaking. It took a bit before we figured out that a script and bumper music might be nice. Later, we changed the bumper and beefed up the script.

At first, we didn’t get a ton of traction, but we didn’t care. We were having a ton of fun. We met some local podcasters — the Cigars & Scotch Podcast fellas — and made some of our first contacts, among them the awesome Texans who later launched the popular Denton, Dallas & Beyond show.

Things grew. We held a fifth-anniversary weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. Friends in our community came together for extended weekend casino trips, including twice in Windsor, Ontario and once in the Chicagoland region. In addition, Tony and/or Jason and/or both attended most of the old VIMFP weekends and the 360Vegas vacations. We’ve occasionally both guested and welcomed as guests other folks running other podcasts, and we even managed to get Roux to come to Detroit … in winter.

Our Twitter account welcomes more than 1,000 friends, and we’ve got three-figures worth of highly engaged, respectful and active friends in the Facebook group. As best as we can determine, an average episode gets roughly 6,000 listens worldwide. Nothing to sneeze at!

By 2019, we’ve gotten to the point were dozens of people are on our short list of real friends — not just followers. Whether they hail from the Canadian Prairie or the capital of Brexit or from across the Fruited Plain, we’ve been to so many places with so many friends that we see some of you more often than we see members of our own families.

Tony and I aren’t the draw of Vice Lounge. You are. And we’re deeply grateful, and humble, because of your many years of friendship and kindness.

Next Steps

So here’s what’s next.

Over December, you’ll see Sweet, Loveable Jason re-emerge from his social-media hiatus. It’s been pleasant to be away from Facebook and Twitter since early summer, but all good things must come to an end.

To our Patreon supporters — THANK YOU. You’re on notice that if you wish to withdraw your support this month, you’re welcome to do so. No refunds come January! 🙂

Here’s the deal: If you’d like to see VLO continue, then YOU must be part of the on-air talent, because I’m not going to release a solo-host show. You’ve got a couple of weeks to reach out to Jason directly to pitch an idea — send an email to jason@viceloungeonline.com.

Some ideas include:

  • Guest hosting for an entire show, for one or more shows in a recording session. That recording session may be in-person if you’re from the Upper Midwest, or by Skype.
  • Guesting for a segment series. Again, in-person or Skype, but instead of doing a whole show, you’ll do the cigar, alcohol or gaming segment, either a couple of them or on a semi-permanent basis.

You’re welcome to volunteer for as much or as little as you wish. I’ll handle all editing and posting. If you’re guesting, then you will bear some accountability for contributing content. We’ve never done deep scripting, so it’s not a heavy lift. Just think of an idea and support it with a handful of bullet points (and perhaps “marketing speak”).

If not enough people are willing to participate for enough meaningful content, then come January 5, Jason will release a brief solo “farewell” show and the podcast will come to an end. We’ll keep the website up and the Facebook group live, but, as they say, “no more bets.”

If, however, there’s a viable go-forward path … then forward, we shall go.

Stay tuned!

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