Shalin, I'm glad you've raised this issue in a very respectful and objective fashion. I think BOL was probably the first podcast to which I ever subscribed. It's been a huge part of my daily regimen for a few years now. And since Molly's departure, it's just not as enjoyable. It's sometimes almost...annoying. This is not, by any means, because of Natalie and her skills or talents. It's because the chemistry is gone.
It's partly because of the remote studio issues. It's clear that the hosts aren't feeding off of each others' emotions like they can when they are all in the same studio. Plus the remote studios introduce an awkwardness like on conference calls, where the slight delay makes it hard to get timing right.
It's partly because of a generally lower energy level. Tom's a pretty laid-back guy, and it takes a bit to get him fired up. Natalie (whether she really is or not) comes across as very docile. And Jason has the whole surfer-dude persona going on. The daily team lacks the fire that was historically at the table every day.
It's partly because the hosts seem less informed and involved. Over the past few months, many of the topics seem like they're being simply recounted--with far less personal experience or investment in the relevant issues. We don't listen to this simply as a news show. We want to hear informed opinions about the tech news, not "I don't know...this may be cool...."
It's partly [largely?] because Molly is gone. There...I said it. That is all.
HOW TO FIX? If I address the issues I've raised, specifically, here are my suggestions:
Nix the remote studio option for the regular hosts. It just doesn't work. I firmly believe the regular hosts need to be in the same studio.
Ensure that there's someone on each episode with the right energy level. In the current line-up, that includes people like Brian, Brian, Molly, Lindsay, Charlie [where'd he go?], and Rafe. Every episode should have one of these people as a host.
Give us your thoughts. The listeners of BOL don't want another news show. We want to hear from people who know, have, use, and love (or hate) the technologies in discussion. This used to happen daily. Now it's rare and usually (only) Tom.
BOL has been a highlight of my day for a long time now, but it's becoming less important and (frankly) less enjoyable lately. The recent NY-hosted episodes, with both Tom AND Molly gone, were...uninformed, uninspired, uninteresting. PLEASE bring back the BOL flame. Please bring back the energy, the interest, and the passion. We, the BOL listeners, understand that Molly has moved on to other things. That's fine. But please don't let that also mean that BOL loses its way.
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