Episode-618- Listener Feedback 3-7-11 — 47 Comments

  1. I enjoy both the calls and the email questions.Some folks might feel pressured when they know they only have about 2 minutes to ask their question.Some people with great questions might not participate if you go to calls only.Love the show and whatever you decide will be fine.

  2. I vote for more e-mails and less call-in. With all due respect, callers tend to ramble on and repeat themselves when their question can be stated in one sentence.

  3. I really like the e-mail shows. The phone calls are ok but call quality and the rambling makes them a bit more annoying. At least with the e-mail shows, you can edit and we get the usual Jack Spirko efficiency and delivery. I would suggest two e-mail shows and maybe a call-in show a week and do a couple of topic shows a week. Now that you have gotten most of the usual survival topics done, I tend to get more out of the e-mail shows. The interviews while entertaining at times are probably my least favorite shows.

  4. Hey Jack, another great show. Why does it have to be either or on the call in vs. email thing. Why can’t you just mix the two together and just do both on in whatever percentage you feel like on that day? You can still call it the “Listener Feedback Show” or whatever.

  5. Worm bins can create a smell if you have too much food to bedding ratio. A few foods can cause a smell like orange peels. Just covering your food additions with bedding every time is enough. The finished compost smells like dirt.

  6. Hey Jack, Great show! In regards to vermicomposting, I’ve been doing it indoors for about 6 months now. If you stay away from meat or dairy products the smell will be minimal, but you still want to keep it in a well ventilated area. I have trouble with raccoons, so I keep mine in the garage. I use a food grade 5 gallon bucket, you can usually get these free from a bakery, make sure to drill lots of very small holes in the lid and around the sides, but only near the top. The small holes will keep the insects out but still allow air flow. Liquid will build up and it must be removed, the “soil” (50% dirt & 50% food scraps) should be moist, but not soaked. The liquid works great for watering my herbs. The worms seem to like dark warm areas best, if it’s too cool they slow down on their consumption. A layer of dirt a couple inches thick across the top, I have found to be helpful in reducing the odor too. Hope this helps!

  7. @Jack,
    I like the e-mail shows, and honestly, personally, I would be much more likely to send an e-mail question than call, but that’s just me. I can express myself more clearly and concisely in an e-mail than a phone message.

    I’d suggest the possibility of not separating e-mail and phone-in shows–just have “listener questions” from either source.

    Bottom line–it doesn’t matter to me, what the format is coming in, so I’d say, do whatever works best for you.

  8. @Warren Puckett

    It doesn’t have to be one or the other it doesn’t have to be anything. I am asking you guys what you want. In the end I will do as always what I think is best for the show but I try to get a feel for what you guys really want and get as close to it as I can.

    Sometimes it just gets tough going through 500 emails a day is all. Perhaps when Dorothy is on board with me fully as part of the team after the move it won’t be as big a deal.

  9. I like both, it mixes it up. But Jack, you gotta do what you gotta do.

    I just wish i knew about the Polar Bears invading Brooklyn. Any idea which route they’ll take? I could be in their path. Damn, another thing I gotta plan for.

  10. Email vs Call:

    Given the choice, I don’t care to “hear” the callers speak their questions, when the same result is gotten either in a oral form by us or written form by us. I choose Email questions over Call ins… because you can articulate the questions quicker and condense them if you have to in order to answer them quicker better.

  11. Outstanding show today, Jack. Your podcast/blog-craft is growing at a healthy pace.

    I really appreciate you giving us a glimpse of your vision for the future of TSP. (GO SIS Wolf and TW!!)

    And, thanks for asking our opinions about the listener feedback shows. My personal opinion is much like Jonah’s above. But you will have to continue to give John from West Virginia a few minutes of air-time each month so we can all enjoy his awesome accent.

    But I understand your possible desire to shy away from e-mail questions – sorting through all that electronic chit-chat takes dedicated concentration to the task at hand. Previewing listener calls is more conducive to multi-tasking…making another batch of biltong or what-have-you. You seem to come up with a good solution each time you grow the TSP realm, so be assured that your decision will be embraced by the likes of me.

  12. email vs call: i vote both, calls are nice to put “real people” in the mix. however call in shows are the hardest shows for me to bring myself to listen to. wearing headphones at work and getting a soft caller, so i turn up the sound all the way then getting blasted with sound once they are done.

    i know most questions come in after a program, but adding a few questions after a subject show from older emails i think would be a fun way to add a Q&A mix to the program.

  13. @Kevin I understand just what you need to know is how much time and how many emails I comb through to make that happen. Where as 95% of calls are usable and no one gets more than 2 minutes to get to the point.

    On soft calls I do my very best to deal with this. Callers you really need to SPEAK UP on your calls and I can’t tell you how many calls, start soft, get loud and become soft. Like they are not speaking into the phone at times.

  14. I like the way it is Jack. You cant be all over the web all the time. I like how someone sends you something and you comment on it.
    I have not called in yet but plan to. I really like hearing from John from west virginia. (I hope your Dad is Ok John. I will pray for you)

  15. I’ll have to vote for email as well. Occasionally there is the diamond in the rough who sounds good (I believe there was a female a couple of shows ago, but I may have that mixed up with another ‘cast), but for the most part, us laymen don’t belong on the radio. Leave it to the professionals. You do a great job, Jack!

  16. I think the call in shows add a human element to the show, not that Jack isn’t human, but instead of reading off an email we get to hear the other preppers out there. I think more calls and less email would be good, maybe 2 listener feedback shows a week with most of the content being calls and some emails thrown in. The main thing I like about keeping some emails in these shows, is it gives the opportunity to send jack links, or write your “book” as jack calls it. Some stuff you just can’t do with calls alone. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I have loved most of the interview shows, I think they’re awesome. And I guess what I mean by human element is when you have people like John from west virginia call in, that guy is funny as hell sometimes!

  17. The audio on the voice mail calls is often not the same level of volume as the rest of the podcasts. So I have a tough time hearing the question. I also agree that it is a better use of time to get right to the point. I vote e-mails over podcasts.

  18. I think there is a reason for both emails and calls…I would like to see both continue based on receiving enough quality input to build a show around. Again thanks for what you do….Jimbo

  19. How about an email show every other week? then the rest of the time Call in shows? I think emails should still be used. Get the good ones tho.

  20. I didn’t read all the comments so maybe this was said already. What do you think of all call-ins, but have a way to tie the call in with a background email. Because that seems to be the one problem with call in questions we say our issue, question, or comment but sometimes there isn’t enough background for a solid answer.
    So my thought would be to let people call in and you have to give some name and location, like Rick from PA, then ask the call in question. Then I will also if I want or need to send you a background email and in the subject line I would say “Background email for Rick from PA.” Then I can give you some background on the call if there are any questions you might need to clear up. Then Jack, if you have time, you could open up a mini dialogue with that person if the issue is important enough?
    Just a thought.

  21. I’d like to suggest a potential interviewee if I may: Samuel Thayer, author of the outstanding Forager’s Harvest, and most recently Nature’s Garden. His website can be found at: He has an incredible depth and breadth of knowledge of wild foraging, and both of his books have been incomparable. I think he probably shares a lot of similarities philosophically with TSP, and although I’ve never seen him use the word ‘permaculture’, parts of his books seem to almost describe it; probably not surprising given that his expertise is understanding nature. In any event I’d love to hear you interview him, and I suspect most TSPers would enjoy it as well

  22. I enjoy the email shows. Please keep them around. The call-in shows are nice, but email really allows a listener to articulate their question better.

    That said… We the audience have no idea how much filtering you do on emails to only read us the coherent & articulate ones.

    I try not complain without also offering some solutions. So, what about…

    – A dedicated email box for show questions. This would filter out emails for Jack from email questions for on the air. Hopefully this would make the 500+ emails a day more manageable.

    – Submitting email questions through the TSP forum rather than direct email. Maybe there could be forum threads started several weeks in advance (eg: ‘Monday March 28th listener questions’) where listeners could post their questions. Perhaps there could even be some method of automated forum voting where other listeners could decide what questions they want to have answered.

  23. Good suggestions and great feedback so far. I am thinking about a few things to make stuff better.

    1. On email starting to ask people to classify emails as either “question for jack” or “commentary for jack” with the latter being for links to articles, etc. This alone would help me filter faster. I would also be able to have Dorothy filter the commentary and keep doing the questions personally.

    2. Setting up themed feedback shows like the one I did on GMOs with episode 613 but instead of culling them out saying. Next Monday we are going to do a show on the US economy and I want your feedback and questions related to it. And giving a specific subject line for that show.

    3. Check out today’s listener calls show. I put the file though levelator (free cool program, It requires me to first generate the show in .wav then run it though levelator, then do it as and MP3 and publish. The work is nothing may be two minutes of actual work but the process eats up the better part of 30 minutes which delays shows on call in days. This is what I do now with all interview shows. If you guys tell me it makes a positive difference I AM HAPPY TO DO IT. So listen to episode 619 and let me know your thoughts.

    These are just some ideas you guys are giving me. I asked the question because I want to give you the show you want, (within reason :>) ) so I will do my best to use your feedback in a way that works best for the biggest part of the audience. For instance as long as people call I will never stop doing call in shows but I guess I am spoiled by the speakers on my PC, I had no idea the levels were this big a deal so I will figure out how to fix that.

  24. I like both email and call-in’s, maybe some volunteers could help sort your mail using some specific guidelines… just a thought.

  25. Hi Jack I much prefer the email shows to the call-in shows, if I’m driving in the truck even with it turned up really loud i still sometimes can’t hear the questions and if I’m listening on my mp3 player then sometimes I’m fast forwarding through to the answer.
    I really like the idea of different e-mail headings.
    The best shows are the ones that you find a subject and just talk passionately

  26. I was honestly shocked at how many people said they prefer the email shows over call in shows. I’m not dissing on the email shows, I think they have their own place and use within the podcast as I mentioned in my earlier post. I guess I like more of a variety and the interaction. I do like the themed shows that compile a lot of listener feedback into one show.

    Couple suggestions:
    On having folks separate out questions and comments, awesome idea. However I can see people misspelling commentary, putting the wrong word in like comments for jack or something like that and your filters missing the email. Maybe keep it short and simple, something like “info for jack”?
    Also, I think it would be cool if the emails were sprinkled in everyday as a little listener feedback segment. Maybe a couple emails a day after house keeping and before the main topic? It might also break up the culling process to a few minutes each day vs. however long it takes to get a whole email show ready.

    Just my 2 cents for what they’re worth. I love the show and what you’ve created here. Rock on dude.

  27. Re: Gold

    I like this line from Gary North’s article: “It is not that people can get rich with gold. It is that they are less likely to get poor.”

    It’s all about the difference between saving and investing. From what I’ve seen lately, most people seem to confuse the two. Those who push gold claim it’s the best investment ever. Those who hate gold say “you can’t eat it” and point to dismal historical performance. (Well duh, until circa 1970 the dollar was defined by gold.)

    If you see gold as savings, then it’s okay to only keep up with inflation. Almost like a bank CD. That’s the whole point of it.

    (By the way, my analysis of past inflation suggests that gold is at least double what it ought to be. This even assuming political CPI fudging, increased Chinese demand, and impending double-digit inflation for multiple years. I’m waiting for the bubble to burst before buying any. NOTE: I’m not an expert so feel free to disagree.)

    Gary North: Right on target this time.

  28. As an international listener, I prefer emails to calls. I don’t have skype and calling a US number is expensive, but an email costs nothing to send.

    Also, some calls ramble, some are noisy, some mumble – I prefer an easy email read out by Jack.

  29. I understand the strain of working through hundreds of e-mails a day and the reality that many are repeats and just suck your time. I do prefer the call in shows, but some questions just need more than 90 seconds of background. So, I’d say that if you want to move away from the e-mail shows, you create a call in system where folks ask their basic question, then provide you with a call back number so you can have a bit of an interactive segment.

    I think it’s the next step forward, since you’ve expressed with some questions the desire to get more information from the caller or e-mail writer. I think it’s worth a try.

  30. Hi Jack,

    Did you misspeak in Episode 618 when you said that if you deposited $200,000, the bank would be able to loan out 90% of it?

    I thought the way fractional reserve banking worked was that if you deposited $200,000 they could loan out 9 times that, or $1,800,000. Thereby keeping 10% reserves.

    So instead of them being able to loan out 90%, they can actually loan out 900%.

    • @properinent

      No I did not misspeak what you say is true but not the way you say it. LOL How is that for clear as mud? Seriously the way that happens is the bank loans you the 180K off the 200K deposit. Now you buy my house with it, I put it in another bank or the same one, doesn’t really matter. That 180K is now a new deposit and can now be loaned on up to another 90%, that loan gets spent, becomes a new deposit and so on.

      Theoretically there is no limit on this but in practical terms it tends to average out to about a 9X return on all currency that enters the monetary base. For more read my free ebook at

  31. I’m gonna have to vote for neither. What drew me to this show some 500+ episodes ago was Jack’s monologues on a subject. I know those shows generally require more homework now, but they also are the ones that get me thinking.

    Most of the questions in both the e-mail and call in shows can be answered with a quick search of the blog or have been discussed on the forum.

  32. Jack, regarding whether or not call-in shows are desirable, I want to offer a consideration that might not appeal to you, but this is coming from a screenwriter (me), someone with an eye toward how to package a media presentation meant for the general public. Now I realize that you yourself have an impressive background in marketing, so you also have both training and experience as far as media presentations go. It’s just that I am concerned my effort to point this out to you might come off as my being all plastic consumerist-minded when your show so obviously rises above that.

    But anyway, here goes ….

    I think call-in shows do a good job of breaking up the auditory monopoly that Jack Spirko’s voice would otherwise have on the show. By allowing an auditory variation via the occasional insertion of different voices, you provide auditory interest. It’s sort of the auditory equivalent of the video trick used in broadcast TV news where instead of just one unwavering camera trained unflinchingly on that sole newscaster for the full half hour of news, the engineer keeps switching back and forth between a second or even a third camera angle trained on the same newscaster, but from different perspectives. So we (the audience) need that break-up to lend relief. It’s not that you’re not interesting to listen to, it’s just that monotony is never a good thing.

    • @Oil Lady I completely agree with that and it is why I put a priority on getting calls and interviews into the show.

  33. jack i have to say no to the all phone in show. unless you can fix the call in quality. i barely here half of what they say. i always wait for you (much louder) to tell me what they said. thanks and great job

  34. Jack I disagree with old lady.
    You are the show, your Monologues are better than call-in shows better that interview shows. For me the perfect show would be a monologue with some e-mails after the intro segment

  35. HI Jack,
    First let me tell you that my husband and I are big fans of the show. We listen to you daily and have made changes to our life both to get out of debt and become more self sufficient. We have no gardening experience and this year we are going to start our own garden.

    Also, I would like to volunteer my services as a proofreader/editor for your books and articles. I majored in English and have a year’s experience in editing. I use the Chicago Manual of Style for editing purposes.

    Just let me know!

  36. Hi Jack

    Have you thought about having either an email or voicemail with QUICK TIPS from listeners. I feel this could just give you a whole load of practical tips from listeners (not rants)

    maybe a different voicemail number and limit it to even shorter than the lister feedback EG

    “Paul in Melbourne I have a tip to help you get cheap building materials … Visit local tips”

    Just an idea

    and yes I love “shopping” in garbage tips

    Keep up the good work

  37. Posting then I will read the comments… I enjoy the call in shows, as they make the show more of a community involved show. I would even like to hear life calls in the future if you could make that happen. Of course I won’t stop listening based on your decision. I like the idea of mixing in a few email questions throughout the week.
    Just my two cents.

  38. @endure2survive and @mike love your ideas!

    Also have to add that I listen mostly while driving a pos pickup truck, and I can usually pick out what callers are saying or listen to jacks recap, but I tend to skip interviews unless the audio is great or great subject (or both for the gary v interview ) but don’t stop interviews!