Written by Kevin Dennison
Just months after Derby News Network announced their decision to cease production, yet another major roller derby resource has decided that they too are closing up shop. In a Facebook status posted on January 6, 2015, Derby Deeds Podcast has revealed that their upcoming podcast “Episode 212”, which was supposed to be their final episode for 2014, is actually going to be their final episode overall. It wasn’t long before derby participants and supporters from all across the world began to mourn the loss of yet another established media outlet:
Derby Deeds has produced a tremendous amount of outstanding content over the nearly 5 years that it has been in operation. Since Episode 1 aired on April 16th, 2010, they have since uploaded over 200 more recordings adding up to over 300 hours worth of commentary, coverage, discussion and interviews. That’s an impressive body of work and it would certainly be a tremendous shame to see media of this caliber come to a screeching halt.
But let’s slow down here for a moment before everyone gets too down in the dumps about this. After reading one comment under the original post which pointed out that the announcement clearly states that the “current version” of Derby Deeds is ending, suggesting it could return in another form, I decided to seek some clarification from the source. I reached out to Jason Burrows, aka Megatron, one of the founding members of Derby Deeds, via email this morning and he explained that while the podcasting days are definitely over, that doesn’t mean that Derby Deeds itself is completely dead. “I am hoping to keep the “Derby Deeds” brand alive,” said Burrows. “I’m not sure what that means yet, or how I’m going to do it, but I don’t want it to just die. There are a few irons in the fire that I can’t quite talk about yet, but so far things look good.”
In terms of why the podcasts aren’t continuing, Burrows cites a reason that I am sure many of derby folk can understand: burnout. “I started the podcast on a dining room table with a few skaters & my friend Matt. We spent most of 2009 doing research, listening to other podcasts & figuring out how we were going to make D/D work, then spent 4 years doing it,” he explained of the Derby Deeds’ early days. “The cast changed a bunch, but in the end it was myself & Pitchit, and we both just needed to stop. Every episode required a ton of work, from show prep, booking guests, recording, editing… it doesn’t sound like much when you start, and the fire of doing something new & exciting keeps you going for a long time, but I had to give that time back to myself.”
I don’t know about all of you, but I totally get it. I’m no stranger to burnout either and I have met many other individuals in this sport who have also experienced it in one form or another. I can recall at least one time with the blog where I was on the verge of shutting it all down until I took a good month long break from it to reassess my goals and intentions. And I am currently not officiating the sport, despite reffing and/or NSOing just over 100 bouts between 2012-2014, because I was exhausted with it all and wasn’t enjoying it anymore. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back, doing some sincere self-reflecting, and perhaps realizing that it’s time to bring some balance back into your life!
Now, as for the airing of Episode 212 being delayed, Burrows explained that although they have finished recording it he isn’t satisfied with how it works as a grand finale. “I wanted Episode 212 to be lighthearted and fun, lots of memories, lots of smiles. It ended up being sad, and that’s not how I wanted to go out.” So, rather than air what was done, he is now asking for all of you, the listeners, to call the Derby Deeds Phone Line at 864-372-9337 and share the story of your favorite derby memory. No need to panic or rush though! There isn’t a real deadline so you likely have at least another week to consider calling in with something. “I figure I’ll give it a week or two, gather up as many submissions as I can, perhaps go back into my archives and pull some fun phone calls that never made the show. I still have every phone call ever received archived in Google Voice. It’s crazy.”
In the end, it is clear that Burrows has just really enjoyed the ride and that he is very grateful to everyone who has been a part of the Derby Deeds experience:
“Man, I have changed as a person over the past few years, that’s for sure. When I started, I was all about the crazy nature of the sport. I joined “Team Heckle” and would yell at refs, players, strategies, everything. I feel that I got caught up in those moments too often, without looking at the bigger picture, and once I was able to sit back and separate myself from the “fandom” to become something else… That’s when things really took off for me. I want to be a positive force within derby, even without wearing skates. I think that the show did some really awesome things, even if I wasn’t personally at my best when out in the community. (if that makes sense) And in the end, Derby Deeds wasn’t just me. The show was really made up of the other people around me. Pitchit, Sheeza, Lulu, Andi, Teeny, Tara Armov, Chrome Molly, Rotten, Juke Boxx, everyone who played a part in making us better. We were a great show when we were well rounded.”
– Jason “Megatron” Burrows
From left to right: Naudia ‘Smarty Pants’ Kean, Audra Layman, Jason ‘Megatron’ Burrows, Pitchit Davis and Elizabeth ‘Ophelia Melons’ Baumwirt. Photo courtesy of JoeRollerFan.com.
On a final note, there’s no denying that the greater derby community is seeing a pretty big communal shift at the moment. Between all of the recent retirement announcements from major derby athletes and the closure of long running resources such as Derby News Network, and now Derby Deeds Podcast, countless derby folk have been expressing their concern about how this will impact the sport and its community. There’s so much uncertainty in the air. However, Burrows doesn’t feel that all of this is necessarily cause for widespread worry. “I think it says a lot about how people/websites/communities that have been around for a long time are weathering the changes within roller derby itself,” he said. “Derby will survive. That much is clear. The playoffs in 2014 were truly fantastic, and I don’t see any slowing down. However, as things change, different organizations & communities will grow. DNN is gone, but their legacy will remain. D/D may be finished, but the archives will remain. And who knows, maybe someone will be able to make something new, something better.”
It is true that some outstanding, renowned athletes have retired as of late and a couple of established derby resources have ceased their operations, but there is always something new and exciting on the horizon. Just look at when DNN decided to call it quits after their years of service to the sport. What happened next? Well, a group of new community leaders and just all around outstanding people came together, stepped up to the plate and brought us all Derby Central just in time for the WFTDA finals and Blood & Thunder World Cup. As much as I miss DNN, and as much as I’ll miss the Derby Deeds Podcast, if Derby Central is just the first wave of new writers, commentators, and content creators, then I cannot wait to see what comes next!
Did you listen to Derby Deeds over the years it has been on the air? Are you excited to see what form the brand takes next? Let me know in the comments below!