About the JKPodcast

The JKPodcast is a weekly political science podcast rooted in libertarian and anarchist ideals. The show was founded in August of 2012 by Jad Davis and Kevin Ludlow. Since its inception, the show has grown to several thousand listeners and even has a small staff. Efforts are made to ensure that transcriptions of all episodes are available online for the hard of hearing, for research purposes, and for citation purposes.

The Episode Process

Although the show was initially recorded on Wednesday evenings, it has since been moved to Tuesdays. Every Tuesday evening between 10pm and 12am Jad and Kevin connect remotely with one another through Skype. Occasionally the two conference in a guest speaker for the show; this is also done through Skype. Often times the two have a topic or series of topics prepared for the evening, other times the show is recorded entirely off the cuff.

Earlier episodes relied exclusively on a Skype recording and thus the voice quality was bottle-necked at the highest bit-rate provided by Skype. Newer episodes merely rely on Skype as the bridge of communication while all parties record their own uncompressed wavfile in Audacity. The files are then layered as one single file. The recording usually goes for two hours.

Once the recording has been finished, either Jad or Kevin will step through the episode searching for the time-codes of each topic. Each topic is then broken up into its own audio file and sent off to one of the team's editors. The edited version is shorter, audibly balanced, and scrubbed of verbal clutter, so to speak. The editors usually return each episode within a week or two. They are then checked for content and further edited, but only need be. Finally, either Jad or Kevin will record an introduction for the episode. The various audio pieces are eventually stitched together in Audacity and result in a single MP3.

The MP3 file is uploaded to the site, an episode entry is created, and the show is formally released.

Origin of the Name

Jad and Kevin met as coworkers at the private financial giant, Dimensional Fund Advisors, in Austin. Admittedly, it was an unusual location for any self-described anarchists or libertarians to meet, but such is the story. During frequent political conversations with coworkers during lunch, the two displayed a penchant for one another's political outlooks.

As part of a distributed Python program, Jad became interested in writing a script that would run WHOIS queries for all remaining three, four, and five-letter .COM domain combinations. Essentially the effort was to create a database of potentially valuable and as-yet not-purchased domains. Jad finished his program, but lacked the network of servers to properly distribute and run his program (there were about 12.3 million alphabetical permutations to consider and each took several seconds to run). As the owner of a server farm, Kevin volunteered seven of his own servers to the effort. Once installed, Jad's program, playfully dubbed the WHOIS-Hammer, was on its way.

In the few weeks it took to run the WHOIS-Hammer, the seeds of starting a podcast were planted. This was primarily from the enjoyment the two found in the daily lunch conversations, but also because Jad previously ran a podcast of his own. Both agreeing it would be a fun and fruitful venture, they needed a name for the show. Kevin queried Jad's WHOIS-Hammer database for any subsets of the word "pod". As it happened, both jkpod.com and kjpod.com were available. The two agreed that jkpod.com sounded better and thus the site was born.

The "J"ad and "K"evin "POD"cast.