They say that every good thing has to come to an end. It’s a bummer when it happens though isn’t it?

I’m a heavy podcast listener. I spend four hours each day commuting and podcasts keep me company for a lot of that time. I listen to about 20 podcasts fairly regularly but the two main weekly ones that are appointment listening for me every single week are Nerd Lunch and The Atomic Geeks. Sadly, however, as of this week, The Atomic Geeks podcast is no more. But, rather than moping around and missing it, I thought I would pay tribute to the fellas and perhaps introduce some new listeners to it who hadn’t heard it before. All the episodes are still available online after all. It’s a bit like a Netflix binge just waiting to happen.

I think I came across the podcast when I just searched for ‘retro’ in the iTunes podcast store about six years ago and The Atomic Geeks must have been one of the main ones that appeared in the results. I have to be honest and say it took me a few listens to get into it properly. At the beginning I picked and chose my episodes depending on what was written in the episode description. But as I got to know the four hosts better I started loving it more and more, and before I knew it I was going back to listen to the two years worth of material I had missed. I caught up in about four months and now, six years later they have reached Episode 351.

Atomic Geeks iTunes

In those six years I have to say it has been a big part of my life, always there for me on a Tuesday, keeping me company on the long journey into London. These ‘podcast friends’ chatting amongst themselves about stuff that I love which I can’t chat to most of my own family and friends about as they aren’t into these niche geeky subjects. It’s not just like a TV show that I watched has ended (which can be hard in itself). These are real people, and you got an insight into their lives, when they changed jobs, when they had children, and it was great to listen to their musings about the geek news that is happening around us and hearing what their opinions were.

One of the things I liked about the show was that although these were just four normal guys, they were also very good at podcasting. They are all very good speakers, funny and entertaining in their own right. I could never do that myself in the same way. Some podcasts you listen to don’t come off as slick and as entertaining as The Atomic Geeks podcast did. And you could totally tell that it was just a natural rapport they had together because they’ve all known each other since college. It was very funny but also very real. Here’s a quick insight into the men behind the mics.

The Atomic Geeks

Michael ‘DiGio’ DiGiovanni
– the only person I know of who has “air quotes” named after him. A class act, akin to Out Run, the A-Team or Back to the Future. A pop culture winner. A lover of comics and fine beer, and a true podcast aficionado.

Mike ‘Downs’ Downs – a fiery passion that can be slightly intimidating one minute and incredible moving the next. Downs is someone you want to have on your team. I also loved his insights into the web, social media and technology industries. Some great insights from Downs when you least expect it (i.e. after about 8 beers)

Christian ‘Hunkburger’ Nielsen – at initial first listen Christian sounded to me like a bit of a ‘loud-mouthed, older fart’, calling everyone ‘jerks’ and saying ‘for crying out loud’ every two minutes. But I quickly started to understand Christian’s sense of humour. I got it, and absolutely loved listening to him every week. Hilarious. And when he gets sincere and passionate about something, you know it’s important. Some of the most sincere and, dare I say it, ’sweet’ moments in the show’s history normally involved Christian.

Andrew ‘Bloom’ Bloom – Andrew left the show after about 180 episodes but his legacy lived on in every episode with his great musical jingles. I absolutely love the ‘Anything Else’ one.

I did love their Geek News segments where they discussed the latest news about movies, TV shows and comics etc but their main show topics were great. They didn’t just do the usual chit chat about retro or pop culture topics that a lot of podcasts do. They tried to be different and unique, doing subjects such as The Atomic Geeks Fightdome, Desert Island Challenges, There Can Be Only One, Gunpoint Reviews and even ‘Monkey, Robot or Michael Caine’. Some of the ideas were incredibly creative and they came up with some extremely good premises for new movies or ideas for reboots as well. I actually think there were a couple of examples where a film studio or publisher announced an idea that was very similar to one of the Atomic Geeks’ ideas from a few months previous. I’m sure that happened at least once. Maybe some big guns were listening! They would certainly have been wise to have listened. The podcast was a creative hotbed for ideas.

Another aspect that I really loved was their ability to innovate in their delivery methods too. They started on Skype I believe but also experimented with Google Hangouts and for a year or two they actually had videos of their podcast too which you could watch live via Google Hangouts. Being in the UK it was very hard for me to stay up until 2 or 3am to watch it live but I did do it a few times. Watching it live was very interesting and hugely entertaining, often because you would watch Downs just rock out to hardcore rock music himself for 30 mins before the others arrived (which should be a podcast of its own quite frankly), but you just got to see some behind the curtain stuff too as it was all raw and unedited. You saw the guys logging on and saying hi to each other and catching up before starting the proper podcast, you saw when they had to stop and leave the room to nip to the bathroom or settle a crying child in the other room and you saw any mistakes and fluffs that they made along the way. Not many ‘broadcasters’ would lay themselves bare like that. Fair play to them all for doing that. I had huge respect for them after they started not only running the live Hangouts but also putting them up on YouTube afterwards. You can still watch all those videos by the way. I hope they keep them online. Here’s an example here.

They’ve also done some great videos of conventions they’ve been to, and I also really love the camaraderie between themselves and the Nerd Lunch podcast when they guest on each other’s shows or meet up in person at a convention as in the photo below (thanks to Paxton Holley for the photo).

The Atomic Geeks and Nerd Lunch

Some other standout memories for me of the podcast…

  • Beer. Hearing all about Downs’ beer-making stories, (I’ve looked into doing it myself) and being motivated by DiGio’s sheer passion for cool craft beers
  • Playing a drinking game (on my own) by taking a drink every time Christian said ‘for crying out loud’
  • Getting mentioned a couple of times on the podcast as the token UK listener (normally them apologising to me any time Christian did a bad UK accent)
  • Creating the Milwaukee Mailbag Twitter account to help stir the Atomic Geeks Mailbag mystery

To record and edit a podcast almost every single week for nearly 8 years is a very, very impressive achievement, particularly for guys who have jobs and families and other commitments. They’ve left a huge legacy that they can be very proud of. 351 episodes of their own podcast and there have been around 3 or 4 other podcasts which have started under The Atomic Geeks Podcasting Network umbrella too.

There is a huge podcast shaped hole in my life at the moment. Maybe it’s time to go back to Episode 1 again and start that rollercoaster ride back up. I’m raising a beer to you right now fellas. Thanks for all the laughs.