We have bad news.
Sadly, The Timbre will not be returning. In the immortal words of Jerry Maguire, “This break is a breakup.”
Before I get into the cold, calculated reasons for why we are pulling the plug, please bear with me as I wax sentimental.
When Eric and I first hatched this idea, we had no idea if anyone would want to read what we wrote. We imagined a few podcast fans might stumble upon the site and hopefully share it with their friends. That one day thousands of readers from all over the world would visit our fledgling, little website, that we would count radio folks as our dear friends, that our partnership would grow into three with the addition of the talented Laura Jane Standley, and that we would be published in The Atlantic and mentioned in The Wall Street Journal was far, far beyond our expectations. We’ve been honored and humbled at the response we’ve received. We’re so grateful for how kind everyone has been, how you’ve shared our work and encouraged us, and how you welcomed us into this space.
So, thank you.
Since we began this website in the fall of 2014, our motto was “Be thoughtful.” It was a phrase repeated in the “Company Mission” we feverishly typed out in those early days, before we even knew what the site could be. It was scrawled on a sticky note that hung from a computer on which so many posts were typed. Be thoughtful. Be thoughtful in the way we listen to shows, be thoughtful of the creators who spent years honing their craft, and be thoughtful in how we talk and write about the work.
With that in mind, let me be as thoughtful as I can in explaining this decision.
The first reason is simple: money. What is that saying? If you don’t know the answer, the answer is money. Even as our small streams of revenue increased and some faithful readers generously donated money to us, it was never enough to pay us for our time. Not by a lot. Combing through hundreds of podcasts and distilling our thoughts into coherent sentences took dozens of hours each week. Often we put more time into the site than we did our full-time jobs (don’t tell our bosses), but the math never equaled out. We just couldn’t work for free any longer.
There is more to it than that, though. Often you hear the phrase “creative differences” bandied about when a rock group breaks up or a magazine goes belly-up. I don’t know what that phrase means for them, but for us, it wasn’t a disagreement about what the site should look like so much as a divergence in our own interests. Our ambitions. We have things we want to do—things we want to write and podcasts we want to create. At some point we had to be honest about the amount of time we spent listening to the incredible creations of others and not creating something ourselves.
Maybe I’m not talking about creative differences so much as creative egos. We’ve got ’em. We want to make things.
And so we are. Eric is busy starting a sports documentary podcast. LJ is pouring herself into her writing projects. And I’m jumping into the world of podcast editing. Everyone is creating something and I have no doubt that my partners will make beautiful things. That we all got to work together for as long as we did and make this site for you all was a beautiful thing.
If you want to stay in touch with us (we’d really like it if you did), you can reach us on our personal email accounts or follow us on Twitter.
Eric McQuade: firstname.lastname@example.org (Twitter: @McQuadeEric)
Laura Jane Standley: LauraJStandley@gmail.com (Twitter: @LJStandley)
Devon Taylor: DevonLTaylor@gmail.com (Twitter: @seedevonwrite)
There are a lot of things on the Internet. Thank you for choosing our site as worthy of your time.
Devon Taylor, Editor in Chief