Niche is Nice – Reaon Ford

Have you met Reaon Ford (The Midnight Rider)?

One of the reasons we love podcasting is its ability to connect with specific audiences in various corners of the web and world.

Unlike broadcasting, podcasting can be as niche as you like.

The biodiversity of the podcasting ecosystem is astounding.

There is literally something for everyone. No topic too small, no hobby too arcane. To illustrate this, JAR Audio challenged its talented employees to bring their current obsessions – their secret passions and interests – out into the light, and blog about them. In return, we unearthed a podcast playlist to go along with each hobby.

Our first installment is by JAR producer Reaon Ford – a deep-voiced newsman who we now call “The Midnight Rider.”

Midnight Rider

Hi, my name’s Reaon, I’m a producer at JAR.

I come from a broadcast journalism background, news radio specifically, and was a reporter and anchor in Vancouver, British Columbia, for more than 15 years.

I’m thrilled to be working in podcasting because it allows me to use my (somewhat specific) skillset in a whole new way.

I’ve believed in the power and intimacy of audio-based storytelling for decades and am happy to be able to bring it to a whole new type of listener.

Podcast production aside, my passions include video games, craft beer, and cats.

I’m also the founder of a small cycling group called “The Midnight Ride Club”, which, as the name suggests, is most active at night.

Oh, and I’m also trying to bring back footbag (or hacky-sack, to the uninitiated).

I love being outdoors at night because the world is so much quieter and more serene.

Fewer cars, fewer humans, fewer distractions. I’ve biked to every park in Vancouver and several beyond the city itself (more than 265 of them) and it’s allowed me to see parts of my city I would never have seen as a driver or pedestrian.

The footbag thing is also pretty fun… it’s delightfully retro, and the sight of a couple of dudes in their mid-forties, wearing knee-braces, contorting themselves in painful-looking ways, tends to elicit smiles from passers-by.

Maybe one day I’ll produce a podcast about the Midnight Ride Club, but for now, it’s a pretty small, exclusive affair.

I do highly recommend cycling at night, with the proper safety gear and lights, of course!

I was by no means a bike enthusiast until relatively recently, but it’s given me such a sense of freedom and exhilaration that I can’t help but be an evangelist for my hobby now.

Midnight Rider / Footbagger Podcast Playlist:

Night Ride through Moscow’s History – NPR: Check out this 4-minute audio story about “Velonoch” — an event where night cyclists in Moscow use FM radio to hear historians and architects talk about sights along the route.

Boston Midnight Marathon Bike ride Mixdown: Rachel Rock put together this short audio piece about this leaderless “show and go” bicycling tradition started by Greg Hum, held on the course of the famous Boston Marathon, the night before the big race.

Mountain Biking at Night – Single Tracks Podcast: In this podcast Aaron, Greg, and Jeff discuss mountain biking at night. They talk about why they ride at night, provide recommendations for lights, and strategies for getting the most out of your light system.

Bikes or Death: In the spirit of Reaon’s love of bikes and overnighters – this show focuses on the people and stories that contribute to the bikepacking (mountain biking combined with backpacking) community. Creator Patrick Farnsworth says it’s all about “getting people out adventuring.”

The Wellington Bike Rave – RNZ Nights: Radio New Zealand host Bryan Crump interviews a participant in the Wellington Bike Rave. How do you “rave” on a bike? Listen and find out.

The Symposium: Footbag Podcast: A bunch of young footbaggers interview footbag enthusiasts and hacky-sack heroes. They are super serious.

The life of hacky sack co-creator Mike Marshall – Name Taken Podcast:  Host Michael Marshall interviews all people he can find who share his name (2900 according to the US Census). In this episode, he sits down with footbag hall of famer Bruce Guettich and mother of hacky sack Linda Roberts to examine and discuss the colorful history and legacy of hacky sack co-creator, Mike Marshall.

Who knew?